Butternut Squash/Sweet Potato Soup

YUM! What a wonderful soup to prepare and enjoy with your homemade croutons and a little fried sage as a garnish. The cooler (cold) weather is coming and it is a nice way to start the season.

  • 1 lb. cubed, peeled butternut squash
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 generous sized sweet potato, peeled and cut in cubes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. good olive oil
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 McIntosh apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 900 ml vegetable broth (no salt)
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl toss together the squash, garlic, potato, onion, pinch of salt and pepper mixing well. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the mixture out and bake for 15 minutes, turn the vegetables over and bake a further 15-17 minutes until tender.

In a large pot, melt the butter over a low heat and cook the apple until soft,  stirring gently for about 6-7 minutes. Stir in the vegetable mixture and pour in the broth bringing up to the boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat, add the cream and lemon juice. Blend this until smooth. Now the fun part, strain back into the pot so you have a perfectly smooth soup. Don’t cheat or it won’t be the same.


  • 7 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 slices white bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp. finely grated Asiago cheese

In a skillet, heat the oil and cook the bread for about 5 minutes, tossing until a golden brown. Remove from the heat and toss with the grated cheese. You are almost done.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 6-7 sage leaves

In a small frypan cook the sage leaves until crisp (about 3 minutes). Remove from the pan and place the leaves on a paper towel to cool.

To serve, heat the soup up and ladle into pretty bowls, top with the croutons and a leaf or two.

Now you can proudly say “damn I did this”.

Fresh Berry Cheesecake Squares

With berries coming into season now, this would be a super dessert to make. If you sample it first, you better make a second one immediately then you won’t feel guilty because the first one disappeared. I know this calls for jam but it still feels like the real deal.

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups finely chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 2 pkgs. softened cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  •  1 cup berry jam (your choice)
  • 3/4 cups sliced almonds

To make the crust, combine all the ingredients up to and including the butter. Reserve 3/4 cup for the topping.

Press the remainder into a 13 x 9 inch cake pan sprayed with a nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-15 minutes or until the edges are golden.

For the filling cream the cheese, sugar, extract and eggs until smooth. Spread this evenly over a hot crust. Bake a further 15 minutes. Stir the jam until smooth and spread over the filling. Stir the sliced almonds into the remainder crumble mixture and sprinkle this over the jam. Bake another 15 minutes. Cool completely on a rack for about 3 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon Loaf With A Streusel Topping

Always looking for new and wonderful things to try, here is one you will probably really like to try….again and again.

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating to incorporate each one well. Beat in the vanilla.

Whisk together in a large bowl the dry ingredients and alternating with the buttermilk, add the egg mixture. Set aside while you prepare the streusel.

Streusel Topping

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into chunks

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and, with a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it looks like a bowl of large crumbs.

Now scoop one half of the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth out, Add a layer of the streusel and then top with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the remaining streusel on top and bake in the oven for about 60-65 minutes. Test to make sure a tester comes out clean.

Cool, in the pan, for about 5 minutes before turning it out on a rack to cool completely.

The streusel running through the center of this loaf is what really makes it so perfect.

Beef Stew – The French Way

Just a note of trivia….this is my 1700 recipe on this site.

We all have to try something a little different to break the ‘same old – same old’ way we do things. This may be just one more for your to try.


  • 4 oz. pancetta
  • 2 – 3 lb. sirloin tip roast
  • 3/4 lb. large white mushrooms, cut in quarters
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  •  medium onion, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 cups full bodied red wine
  • 1/4 cup dried mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf


Slice the pancetta in bite size pieces and heat in a large pot. Stir often until it becomes crispy around the edges. This should take about 10-12 minutes. Spoon into a small bowl, leaving the fat behind.

Cut the steak into bite size pieces, and in batches, add the beef to the pot. Cook, over a medium high heat for about 6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the rest of the meat, leaving the pot totally empty.

Add the butter, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion and garlic to the pot. stir occasionally for about 4 minutes. Add the beef and pancetta to the pot. Sprinkle with the flour and continuously stir for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the broth and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until tender. This could take about 2 hours. Check halfway through the cooking time to see if it needs more wine. Remove the bay leaf and thyme. Remove the bay leaf and thyme.

If not, pour yourself one. Everyone will love  you for this. Add a crisp salad (Caesar, perhaps?) and a slice or two of an Artisan bread. You can also serve a side of garlic mashed potatoes with this.


Grand Marnier Crepes

I have always promised to show you how to entertain with exception and this, friendly bakers, is one sure way to accomplish just that. Look at it this way – company staying overnight and what to serve for dessert? Here it is.

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 3 tbsp. melted butter (have extra for the pan)pinch of salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 3/4 cup butter, cut in cubes
  • 1/4 (+) Grand Marnier
  • 1 orange, peeled, segmented

Combine milk, flour, eggs, water, melted butter and salt in a blender, processing until smooth. Transfer to a container you can cover, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. This gives you time to spend with your guests, right?

When ready to serve, heat a non-stick frying pan or crepe pan for about 2-2/1 minutes. Brush the bottom and sides lightly with butter. (Butter should sizzle)

Remove pan from the heat and tip slightly so you can pour 2 tbsp. of the batter  then slowly rotate so the batter will cover the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds and flip, cooking about 30 seconds longer. Should be golden in colour.

Place on a cooling rack and repeat until all the batter is used up. Make sure you brush the pan only as needed.


Bring the orange juice, sugar and zest slowly to the boil in a saucepan, stirring until it thickens and becomes syrupy. Whisk in the butter, piece by  piece  stirring until melted and smooth then remove from the heat.  CAREFULLY add the liqueur, enough to taste. Do not keep this warm any longer than 30 minutes please.


On very pretty plates, place 2 or 3 crepes on each plate, add a few orange segments for show and drizzle that luscious sauce over. YUMMY.

  • Note, to keep the crepes fresh until using, layer parchment paper between the layers and then wrap in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate up to 2 days. Reheat both the crepes and sauce and you are the winner.

Elegant Seafood Casserole For Company


If you are like us, we are always looking for different ways to impress guests at dinner and this is definitely one of them.  It looks fussy to make (but not) and the flavours of this dish are really and truly awesome.


You will need:

  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 – 10 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 lb. lump crabmeat
  • 1/2 lb. medium shrimp, cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb. bay scallops, poached 3 – 3 1/2 minutes, drain well
  • 1 cup buttered panko crumbs
  • 8-10 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Saute mushrooms in 2 tbsp. of melted butter. Drain and set aside.

In a medium skillet, melt 6 tbsp. butter and whisk in the flour, making a smooth roux. Add the broth and cream slowly, whisking all the while and cook until thickened.

Carefully combine the crabmeat, shrimp and scallops. In a 3 qt. casserole alternate layers of the seafood and mushrooms. Pour sauce over the layers, letting it seep to the bottom. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Top with the panko crumbs and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until bubbly. Just before serving, sprinkle the parsley over the top.  Serve with a cold salad, lime slices and either rice or buttered noodles and a glass of chilled white wine.


Fresh Lime Cake With A Salted Chocolate Glaze

Ooohhhh! This is so yummy, you won’t believe it.


  • 1 tbsp. lime zest
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1  3/4 cups flour
  • 1  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper before setting aside.

In a bowl, using your fingers, rub together the lime zest and sugar.  Add the lime juice, buttermilk, eggs and oil and whisk together until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture and beat in your electric mixer for 2 minutes until smooth. Pour into the cake pan and bake for 35-45 minutes until tested in the middle and is done. Cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes. Turn out to cool to room temperature.

Cake Filling

  • 2 cups white chocolate melting discs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Bailey’s liqueur
  • pinch of salt

In a heat proof bowl, add the chocolate wafers. Set aside. In a small saucepan, add the whipping cream and butter and warm up, stirring constantly until it reaches a simmer. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for about 4 minutes.. Add the liqueur and salt and stir with a rubber spatula until completely combined and smooth as silk. Let this sit until room temperature.

Carefully trim the edges of the cake and cut in half. Spread a generous layer of the filling on the bottom cake and then top with the other half. Reserve any remaining filling for another use (filling cookies?). Refrigerate the cake for about an hour. This should allow the filling to harden up.

Run a sharp knife under hot water and then slice the cake into 36 squares. Make sure you constantly run the knife in hot water and then dry with a paper towel. Return these back to the refrigerator.


  • 1 cup white chocolate melting discs
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. Bailey’s liqueur
  • pinch of salt
  • Flaked sea salt for garnish

Repeat the steps for melting the chocolate as noted above and then allow this to cool to room temperature but still pourable. Take the chilled cake squares out of the refrigerator and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Pour the warm glaze over the top of each cake and let it run down the sides. Sprinkle a few flakes of the salt over the top. Let this set for 30 minutes, place on a pretty plate and serve.



Summer Vegetable Pies

This might be one way for kids and adults who claim NOT to like vegetables, to eat them. It is very pretty to look at and the vegetables are not mushy in texture. A super summer dish.

  • 2 pie crusts (store bought is good)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. cold water
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into a small dice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Emmental cheese, grated
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. baby carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (variety of colours is really pretty)
  • 1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, cut into 1/2  inch pieces
  • 8 small nugget potatoes, sliced in 1/8 inch pieces
  • 2 small zucchinis (1 green – 1 yellow), sliced in 1/8 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lb. cherry tomatoes, cut in 1/8 inch slices
  • pinch of salt and freshly grated black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pie crusts to cover two 4 inch pie or tart pans. Cut each crust into 5 inch circles and place one circle in each pan. Confused? Never mind, keep going.

Using small cookie cutters, cut out about 18-20 shapes of your choice and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tsp. of cold water. If using a pie plate, then take a small brush and brush the one side of the small cut outs and set around the pie plate edges for a pretty design. Fill the plates with baking weights. If using tart pans, just leave on parchment lined baking tray.

With a fork, prick the base of the pie crust and bake all for about 8-12 moments. Remove from the oven and remove the pie weights. Let cool.

In a medium sized fry pan, heat the olive oil and the onion and garlic, cooking until fragrant which could be 4-5 minutes. Divide into two and spread evenly over the base of the pie plates. Top this layer with the grated cheese.

Blanching Vegetables

Fill a bowl with ice water and set aside. Bring a large pot with water to the boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and plunge into the ice water to prevent further cooking. Remove and blot dry with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining vegetables.

Now here is where you become creative. Line each vegetable up in rows over the cheese, making sure to reach the edges of the pie plates. Trim if necessary for a perfect fit.

Place in the oven and bake for 13-16 minutes until the cheese has all melted and the vegetables are heated through. This can be served hot or warm (room temperature).

Paired beautifully with a chilled Chardonnay.