Indian Black Rice Pudding

Now for those of you that know me – you know the thought of rice pudding makes me cringe. I, however asked my foodie friend Victoria if she would be interested in doing a guest blog for me. Victoria is one of the wisest people I know and when we get together I am sure we could wind up ruling the world if given a chance. We plan and discuss each others futures including where to live and how to invest to ensure our futures are secure etc (Victoria has been in the financial world for years and currently acts as a corporate trainer along with wearing several other interesting hats – check out her blog at rycepapers)

Sooo…..Victoria sent me her guest blog and low and behold it is on rice pudding!  So while I am sure it is as delicious as she says it is I will not be making it.  I do however encourage you to try it as she is a very good cook.  Here goes…

Indian Black Rice Pudding

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I find people either love rice pudding or roll their eyes at the mere mention of this dessert.  I am firmly on the love side and will eat any variety.  It can be hot or cold, with raisins or without, topped with whipped cream or naked.  Recently I tried an Indian version of this creamy dessert called ‘Black Rice Pudding’. Wow, it knocked my taste buds into heaven. So for all you rice pudding lovers, here is the recipe from Gurpareet Bains’s wonderful book “Indian Superfood”.

1/2 tablespoon black glutinous rice
1/2 tablespoon basmati rice
350 ml milk, partly skimmed
400 ml can light coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
6 green cardamon pods, very lightly crushed
Put everything in a heavy bottomed pot and cook on medium heat until it boils.  Reduce to a low heat and cook for an hour, stirring often, lid off.
Remove from heat, spoon out cardamon pods and stir in 20 chopped unsalted pistachios or maybe cashews, if you like them. Let your pudding cool. Then refrigerate it and it will continue to thicken.  Serve with fruit like berries or mango.
Serves two or three.  Or in my case, one.
I know the amount of rice seems paltry, but it actually works.  And the cardamon pods need only the slightest pressure to open. When I first did it, I practically ground them into paste.  Oops, start over.  What you want is the cardamon flavour and whole pods to remove.  The pods swell during cooking and are easy to find.
And the colour!  Prepare yourself for a wonderful lavender dessert. The black rice is actually deep purple and it slowly infuses your pudding with colour as it cooks.  It looks beautiful, smells divine, and tastes outstanding.
As a big fan of Indian food, I added this recipe to my favourites’ list.  Only 7 ingredients and, for a dinner party, you make it the day before saving you time and stress.
Think Chai Tea and rice pudding combined to get an idea of the flavour. Mine didn’t set into a firm pudding, but was thick.  Let me know if you try it.
Victoria Ryce
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Peach Galette

So Suzannes post last Wednesday really made me crave a peach dessert. I am not a real baker but I decided to make a peach galette for some company that was coming in the afternoon for coffee.

I will be truthful and tell you I used Tenderflake pastry for the crust and sliced up about 8 peaches (skin on). First I rolled the dough out into a semi rounded shape. Then I laid the dough over a round baking tray and put all the peach slices into the centre and folded the dough up and around the edges.  I sprinkled a bit of brown sugar over the peaches (okay so I never said it was low cal ;-). I used some egg whites to wash the top of the pastry and sprinkled some maple sugar over it. Baked it for about 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees (F) till the top was golden browned.

My only issue is that the peaches got quite moist and left the bottom of the pastry a bit soggy.  Curious to know how to avoid this in the future.  Comments welcomed.

Peach Galette

Apricot Thyme Galette

This recipe comes from one of the wonderful blogs I follow called Cottage Grove House (they got it from Cooking Light Magazine). The recipes and photography on this blog are wonderful and this recipe is not exception.  I happen to love the tart/sweet/mealy taste and texture of apricots. I grill them on the BBQ, eat them plain, slice them with yogurt (both frozen and not), drizzle balsamic glaze over them – I could go on and on. They are a very versatile fruit and this is their season. This is a simple recipe but the result would be a show stopper at any table.  Enjoy! The photo is courtesy of the blog Cottage Grove House.

 

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Apple Lattice Pie Baked in an Apple

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This recipe is from a post called tablespoon. I am so intrigued with this idea I am going to have to try it.  They look so cute and really not that difficult and much healthier than a regular pie.

I think it was my friend Peter who sent me this link. He is one of the best pie makers I know.

You have to admit these don’t look that difficult – you really want to try making them don’t you…..come on, I know you do. I bet you could also fill them with a different fruit that worked well flavour wise with apples….

The photo is from the site and the recipe is by Girl Who Ate Everything. I will have to keep an eye on this blog (tablespoon)

Party Time!

I am invited to a big party this weekend and the hosts asked if I wanted to make the food for the party as well (given I do a side food business).  I have been wanting to try a couple of things out so I agreed.  I will do several posts over the next few weeks with some of the dishes prepared.  Here is the first post of two dishes – very yummy – The dates are a little messy looking but well worth diving into. The first platter are Medjool dates with maple goat cheese.  The second is a salad platter that can be served with a fork and is easily eaten.

 

Madjool dates with maple goat cheese

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Ingredients (for what is shown in the picture):

40 Medjool dates (these are the very large plump dates)

225 grams of goat cheese plain

¼ cup of maple syrup

Directions:

Mix the goat cheese and maple syrup. I used a fork to just mix it all up.

Slice each date down the long side and take out the pit.

Fill each date with about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese mixture (maybe less depending on the size of the date)

That is it! – told you it was easy and boy do they taste good.

 

The second dish was just cucumbers and sliced tomatoes with some pearl sized bocconcini cheese balls sprinkled over top.  Simple but pretty to look at.

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Low Calorie Brownie (gluten free?)

So there I was reading through facebook and on my friend Katherine’s timeline I see a recipe for 37 calorie brownies!!!! Well it started a huge chain reaction on her timeline and so I had to make them then and there to see whether they were real and any good.

Below is the full recipe as it appears however I did change one or two things (hence my title “low calorie” versus 37 calorie). I also didn’t see gluten in anything but I wasn’t sure which is why I have a question mark by the title.

First the recipe and then the pictures. I have to say they were actually quite delicious.  Very very moist and somehow they held together too which when you read the ingredients you will wonder how. They were super quick and easy to make.  All done in about 40 minutes.

3/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt  (original recipe used vanilla flavoured)

1/4 cup skim milk

1/2 cup Cocoa powder

1/2 cup Old fashioned rolled oats (like Quaker)

1/2 cup Truvia (or any natural/stevia based sweetener that pours like sugar) – I used mostly organic real sugar and topped it up with Splenda (I am not that crazy about artificial sweeteners – hence the more than 37 calories – but not high calorie by any means)

1 egg

1/3 cup applesauce

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch salt

* I added some chopped pecans to the mixture and blended and then topped with some chopped pecans when finished)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a square baking dish (I used 8″x8″). Combine all ingredients into a food processor or a blender, and blend until smooth (about 1 minute). Pour into the prepared dish and bake for about 15 minutes (I baked mine for 25 minutes as they were still wet at 15 minutes). Allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 large squares.

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brownies

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Enjoy!

The Best Coffee….

Last Saturday I took a “Web Development on WordPress for beginners” course taught by Avery Swartz at her company “CampTech“. Of course I got there early (very type A) so I stopped in at the Dark Horse coffee house right next door.  As I went up to order I realized sitting by the window, were two old friends that I hadn’t seen in years who were taking the course too (very small world). I ordered my drink sat down with them and got caught up.

Now you should know that I make myself a double espresso cappuccino every morning (with a separate small bowl of lactose free skim milk all frothed up for my cat who is addicted to it). This first cup is delicious and gets me through the day usually without any more caffeine. Knowing I was going into a class to learn technical information I decided I may need a second cup and thought I would treat myself to what I think is called a mochachino(?).  It had chocolate on the bottom and then a fabulous cappuccino on top and was so so good I could of had three! It was one of the best coffees I have had in ages.

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You will be happy to know I only had the one and thoroughly enjoyed every last drop!

As for the course – I highly recommend it! Avery talks in lay person terms  making it easy to understand with step by step instructions. She is a great presenter. You also get a take away deck of instructions so when you are working at this on your own you always have a referral document to answer any questions.

PS – They serve a great lunch too!

Friday Night Dinner With Old Friends

I may have mentioned in previous posts about my friend Fern who is my oldest friend (not in age but in years we’ve known each other 😉 )

Last Friday I went over to Ferns in the afternoon so we could cook a nice dinner together for Friday evening.  Her dad, husband Ian one of her sons Chase along with another old friend (again not in age but years known) Liz all came for dinner.

I went over about 2:00 in the afternoon so we could take our time and hang out.  We made the honey sesame chicken recipe I have posted before on brown rice along with brussel sprouts seared with chestnuts and bacon pieces and a great salad.

There is a small story behind the brown rice I have to admit.  I am not good at making rice.  I do not have a rice cooker and my rice always comes out a bit mushy or wet even though I follow the guidelines exactly.  This time Fern gave me a box of Uncle Bens converted brown rice.  How could I go wrong? Well I started following the instructions for something else on the box and in my defence there were about 3 different methods of cooking the darn rice.  I added way too much water and thankfully Fern came to the rescue and dumped half the water mid way and saved the rice from being porridge. I don’t think I will ever live that down as the whole time we were cooking (and drinking wine) I kept saying “I don’t think this rice is right”

We lucked out since Ian (Ferns husband) just bought a restaurant downtown that serves fabulous cheesecake so he brought home a great assortment for us to choose from along with a great chocolate “babka” cake Liz brought.

When all was said and done, it was a really great day and a lovely evening with old friends and great food.

salad

 infamous rice
chicken and sprouts
chicken on rice
Couldn’t resist this picture too – When I got up to bring something to the table and came back to sit down – this little girl was in my seat – think she wanted to join the fun! She was quickly shoo’d off the chair but what a face!!!!
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Chicks in Charge Retreat

I just love that name!  We just had our annual Chicks in Charge (women running their own businesses) retreat at Sheryls country home.  I always come back exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened! This year was no exception.  Food always seems to be the key to getting everyone connecting – we eat like royalty when we are there starting with Sheryls initial lunch which was once again outstanding.

We had poached salmon, roasted green beans, mushrooms, walnuts and baby potatoes, pesto marinated tiny heirloom tomatoes and a kale and mango salad. That was just lunch!

poahed salmon

Kale salad

roast veg

tomatoes

Snack time (as though we needed more food….) Amy made an incredible flourless, sugarless chocolate cake (sugar was in the chocolate only – it was divine).

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Dinner was my turkey chilli (click for link to recipe) with toppings that included guacamole, shredded old cheddar cheese and low fat sour cream along side a great mixed green salad and home baked oatmeal cookies made by Victoria.

Breakfast the next day was a fabulous frittata with peppers, onion, mushrooms and zucchini (I forgot to take pictures again – forgive me,  we just dove into the meal) made by Nancy. We also had Eloise’s home made granola (click for recipe) and yogurt along with regular and gluten free muffins.

Lunch was leftovers of the day before but the main course was Mariannes fabulous coconut curry chicken – so so good. Below is the recipe. Well worth trying it was devoured by the chicks.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I usually DOUBLE this recipe, and freeze the extra portions.  Can be served hot or cold.

Ingredients                                                                           Substitute

¼ cup coconut oil                                                                Canola oil

¼ cup (or less) Dijon mustard

2 tbsps.  regular mustard (e.g., French’s)

½ cup coconut nectar                                                        Honey

½ tbsp. or more Curry Powder

1 tsp.  lime juice AND grated rind

1 tsp. salt

Garlic

1-1.5 lbs. boneless chicken thighs (~12)                        Boneless chicken breasts,                                                                                                             sliced

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a stainless steel saucepan.  Pour over chicken.  Cook for 45 mins. at 350 degrees.   Enjoy!

Believe it or not, we also managed to have a great guest speaker (Wendy) and business and life discussions from morning till night and then again the next day.  Now you understand why we leave feeling exhausted, stuffed with good food, invigorated and enlightened!

Till next year!

Thanksgiving at Richards

Spent a wonderful Thanksgiving (Canadian) at my friend Richards with a number of friends eating great food and having great conversation.  After a wonderful turkey dinner, out came dessert which his friend Rita made that was not only beautiful to look at but out of this world delicious!.

Baked brie with toasted almond slivers and sliced fruit.

baked brie

So aside from a lot of slicing this was fairly easy to make according to Rita.  Here is how she made it.

1 round of brie cheese with the top skin sliced off

Toast a handful or two of slivered almonds in butter

Bake the brie in a 350 oven till it becomes creamy (she pre-baked it and then we heated it up)

Thinly sliced apples and pears

You dip the slice of fruit into the brie and viola….you are in heaven.  The fact that Rita used double cream brie just made it even better.  Definitely not a dish for lactose intolerant individuals!

I have also seen this dish with dried cranberries on top or apricot jam or anything you like as a topping.

Try it for your next gathering as an appetizer, dessert, with wine – anything will do.