Summer Sangria

Well the warm summer days are coming (aren’t they?) and this is a lovely, fresh drink to consume on the deck with friends. Easy to make and delightful to consume. If you don’t consume alcohol change the white wine for a non-alcoholic white ‘wine’ and go from there. Easy.

  • 2 cups white grape juice, split
  • 1/4 cup berry sugar (very fine white sugar)
  • 1 bottle Chardonnay wine
  • 4-7  lemon mint leaves
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened apple juice
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1 bottle ice cold soda water (same size as wine)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored, sliced thin
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced

In a saucepan combine 1 cup of the grape juice and berry sugar over medium heat, stirring until completely dissolved. Add 1 mint leaf. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In an 8 cup container combine the cooled down juice, remaining juices, mint leaves and wine. Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, add about half of the grapes, lime slices from 1 lime, and pour half of the sangria into the pitcher and top with cold soda water.

Serve this in cocktail glasses, garnish with a lime slice and a few apple slices and a mint leaf.

ooohhhh this is truly delightful.

Herb Butter For Steak

This is a perfect butter for a steak dinner. Read on and then make it to enjoy.


  • 4 oz. soft butter
  • 1 tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. dried chervil
  • 1 tsp. dried tarragon
  • 3/4 tbsp. grated onion.

Blend all the ingredients together and spoon on to wax paper. Shape this into a 1 1/2 inch log and wrap up. Set in the freezer to set. When ready to use, cut into thick slices and place on top of your steak. Add a baked potato and fresh chilled salad and you have a great dinner.

Oh, I forgot to mention a glass of Sangiovese wine would make it perfect.

Monteray Jack Truffles

Planning a cocktail party? Having an Open House this season? Here is a wonderful Hors d’ Oeuvre to present on the table.

  • 1 container of boconcini cheese, drained
  • 10 sun dried tomatoes, drained if packed in oil
  • ½ cup Monteray Jack cheese, grated
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp. well aged balsamic vinegar

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until grainy.

Scoop up scant teaspoons of the mixture and form 24 balls with your hands. Repeat until all used up.

Chill in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.



  • 24 basil leaves
  • olive oil
  • aged balsamic vinegar

This should be one of many delectable treats for your guests to munch on and mingle.

Serve the truffles at room temperature on individual basil leaves and have a bowl of olive oil and balsamic oil for dipping. Always have picks and napkins available.

Carrot Puree Or Carrots Your Kids Will Like

Yeah, I know…they won’t eat them but this will make a difference (just like Don’s Special Beans does). It is so easy yet, tasty.

To serve 4:

  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  •  1 garlic clove
  •  2/3 cup chicken broth
  •  pinch of salt
  •  4 tbsp. heavy cream
  •  2 tsp. butter
  •  1 orange, grated and juiced

Simmer the carrots, garlic, broth and orange juice, covered until the carrots are tender (15 minutes).

Puree the carrots and 1/2 the broth with the cream and butter in a food processor until smooth. If too thick, add more broth.

Sprinkle the orange zest over the carrots and serve. Yum!

Grilled Mahi Mahi With Sweet And Spicy Pineapple

I had a request for a Mahi Mahi recipe and this one is a good one to start with. All the ingredients are fresh and it can be done in less than an hour. It can be a during the week dinner or company fare….the choice is yours.

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  •  2/3 cup shallots, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  •  3 tbsp. olive oil
  •  1 fresh serrano chile, minced and including the seeds
  •  3/4 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 4 cups)
  •  1 tbsp. fish sauce
  •  1 tsp. sugar
  •  pinch of salt
  •  1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  •  6 (1 1/2 inch thick) mahimahi fillets with skin

In a large skillet, cook the garlic and shallots in 2 tbsp. oil, stirring constantly for 4-5 minutes. Do not burn the garlic. Add the chile and pineapple and saute over a moderately high heat until the pineapple is softened (about 5 minutes). Add the fish sauce, sugar and salt and saute a further 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature and, if using immediately, add the cilantro. If not, make ahead and keep in the fridge adding the cilantro at the end, just before serving. No more than 4 hours ahead of dining.

If grilling outdoors, preheat grill on high, covered for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium. Brush the fish all over with the remaining oil and grill, skin side down until the skin is crisp (4 minutes). Turn the fish over and cook a further 5 minutes.

Remove, plate and serve with the pineapple mixture spooned over the top.

Add a lemon flavoured rice (using fresh lemons) or a Limoncello risotto and a green salad. Yummy!

Oh, did I forget? A glass of perfectly chilled white wine would be a great addition.

Chicken With Tarragon And Garlic

This dinner is coming to you in a short time (25 minutes total) and therefore, is an easy during-the-week dinner. Add a salad, vegetable and you’re done.

  • 3 large, unpeeled garlic cloves
  • 4 small skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or cutlets
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 cup Chardonnay wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream

Heat a small nonstick frypan over medium heat. Add the garlic, cover and cook until browned in spots and tender when pierced. Turning occasionally (8-10 minutes). Transfer to a work surface and cool.

Melt butter in the frypan and add the chicken, cooking until browned and thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken to a plate (do not clean the frypan before the next step).

Peel the garlic and add the garlic and wine back into the frypan, mashing the garlic with a fork (about 1-2 minutes). Add the broth and tarragon, simmer until it has reduced by half. Add the cream and simmer for about a minute. Return the chicken back into the pan and heat through. Transfer to a plate and spoon the sauce over.

What did I tell you? Easy and yummy….

Don’s Fresh Tomato Soup With Creme Fraiche

Everyone who knows us, knows my husband could make an icicle taste good. This is one of the many soups he makes, and I might say, is really, really good.

The only thing to add is my grilled cheese sandwich…..just sayin’.


In a large pot add:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 carrots, medium chop
  • 2 celery stalks, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1 tsp. onion powder (not salt)
  • 12 large Roma tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1 box (900 ml) chicken broth
  • 1 can (398 ml)  tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. baking soda*
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tbsp. parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp. sugar

Cook on simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

When cool enough to work with, put in a blender in 3 – 4 batches and blend until really smooth.

Serve hot and add a dollop of creme fraiche or 2 tbsp. sour cream on top.

* the baking soda will neutralize the acid effects on the cream.


Note: If it was me making this, I would alter the chicken broth amounts and put in cream…..that’s just me! But then I  would take some puff pastry, cut into squares large enough to cover the filled soup bowls, and bake in the oven until the pastry is cooked to a golden colour. We used to do this. It is a real show stopper.