Friday, April 29, 2011

Banger and Mash Pie

Here it is, finally. It's been a long day!
First attempt. Not so good. I've been up over 13 hours. Give me strength...

Second attempt. Better. No need to be perfect with puffed pastry in this sort of pie. Most pubs have the insides bubbling out all over the crust. It adds to the charm! (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Bangers and Mash Pie
Serves 4


  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/2 tbsp butter

  • 1 large onion, finely diced

  • 2 banger sausages

  • 2 tbsp flour

  • 2 cups water

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch cubes

  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1.5 - 2 cups frozen peas

  • Package of frozen puffed pastry or refrigerator pie crusts

  • 1 egg, beaten

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with the olive oil and butter

  3. Saute the onions and sausage, removed from the casing until browned

  4. Sprinkle in the flour and stir for 1 minute

  5. Add in the water, potatoes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and onion powder.

  6. Simmer for 10 minutes until the potatoes are fork tender

  7. Add in the peas and heat through

  8. Cut the pastry into 4 rectangles

  9. Spray 4 small casserole dishes with cooking spray

  10. Place one half of the pasty in each dish with the other half hanging over the side

  11. Spoon in the filling mix evenly between the 4 dishes

  12. Turn over the other half of the pastry to cover the casserole.

  13. Brush on the beaten egg.

  14. Cook for 25- 30 minutes until golden. Check often, ovens and casseroles vary!

Really tasty! Quite easy too (aside from the battle with the first puff pastry) They looked fine in the end.


Wedding Day

Mom in her wedding hat enjoying her English Breakfast tea!

10 AM and I'm losing steam. Wedding was beautiful. Someone needs to provide Princess Eugenie and Beatrice some styling lessons. Camilla has no shame. But overall a lovely day. You can tell William and Catherine really love each other and share a solid foundation for a good relationship. He is lucky to have found such a great partner to share his royal responsibilities (and burdens) with.

If you think the monarchy costs the British people you'd be quite wrong. The monarchy actually pays the British government and the queen pays income and capital gains taxes. Check it out here along with other interesting facts (Camilla could actually become queen...).

No Pimms were to be found here so I had to forgo the Pimms Cup cocktail. Straight champagne it is!

I haven't made the Bangers and Mash pies but I will this afternoon and post the recipe then. If that's not enough time for you to make it tonight.... well it'll be here for another British event... Queen's Jubilee, opening of the Summer London Olympics, to celebrate the birth of William and Kate's first born (with a year I'm predicting!)....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Royal Wedding Viewing Menu

I'm ready!

The hat is the extent of my official Royal Wedding outfit. I'll wear it with my jammies. 4am is a little early to put on a fancy smancy outfit...

Since I'll be glued to the TV all day, I'm doing some 'make ahead' dishes. Here's the day's menu:

Whole Wheat Cranberry Scones (not my recipe but very, very good. Serve with your favorite jam)

Assorted Tea Sandwiches

Curry Egg Salad (regular egg salad with a dash of curry powder)

Apple and Cheddar (sliced apple and cheddar with honey dijon mustard)

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese (this one is pretty self-explanatory)

Ham and Mustard (again, self explanatory)

Bangers and Mash Pies

Instead of having bangers, mashed potatoes and mushy peas, I'm going to take puffed pastry and make a pie out of diced banger sausage, potatoes and peas. I'll post the finalized recipe once I make it. The point is that I can make these up tonight and they'll be ready to go tomorrow evening.

And a large pot of tea, of course! And maybe a Pimm's Cup or Pimm's Royal or two...

It's gonna be a partay!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mom's Birthday Dinner

The day started with a lovely brunch of smoked salmon eggs benny with the yogurt sauce I posted yesterday (see below). Then I made this Sour Cream Cheesecake. Next time I'd half the topping since it spilled over the pan. It was a simple and delicious recipe. I sliced up some fresh strawberries for the top. We went with the traditional Newfie Jiggs Dinner but instead of salt meat we had corned beef, a preference of mine and mom's since our Jersey days. The beige mashed stuff in the blue glass bowl is pea pudding. Just yellow split peas boiled in the pot in a pudding bag. Any cotton pillowcase will do to in a pinch. Tie it up tight and toss it in the and simmer for a couple of hours until the peas are soft then mash with a bit of butter. OMG, it's sooooo yummy.

You start by boiling the meat and peas pudding in a large pot for a couple of hours until the peas are soft and the meat is tender. Toss in some turnip and carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks. Cook those for about 20 minutes and then toss in the peeled potatoes and chucks of cabbage. I usually pull out the peas pudding at this point. Cook the veggies and meat for another 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are fork tender. That's it.

I use any leftover pea pudding as the base for pea soup. I also freeze the liquid I boiled the meat and veggies in for a base for pea, veggie or beef soup or stew later. It's got great flavour. My favorite is the leftover hash the day after. Mash or dice up the veggies and meat and throw it in a pan with a couple of big spoons of peas pudding. Sometimes I add some diced onion first. Best comfort food ever!

I could have made anything Mom wanted for her birthday but she thoroughly enjoyed this meal!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthday Brunch Yogurt Sauce

Today is my mom's birthday. I'm in the kitchen all day making some favs for her. We started the day with Eggs Benny with Smoked Salmon. Mom's watching her weight so I thought I'd try something lighter for the hollandaise sauce. Here's what I came up with. (Mom licked her plate so I think it was an acceptable substitute!)
Birthday Brunch Yogurt Sauce
Serves 4

  • 1 cup low fat or fat free plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 green onions (scallions or spring onions)
  • 2 tbsp light miracle whip or sour cream
  1. Mix and enjoy on eggs benny, veggies or fish.

Yup, that simple. Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Rainy Day Minestrone

It's a crappy, rainy, cold day around here. Mud up to our eyeballs. Even the dogs are thinking it's too wet to play outside! I was going to heat up some leftovers from the freezer for supper so I could get some household chores done but it's too dreary to think about chores. So since I'm not getting anything done around the house I figure I might as well play around in the kitchen. This recipe is great to make a supper for one night and then have cups of it for a starter for the rest of the week in place of a salad since its full of veggies and a good soul warmer for these chilly spring days! I've got a multi grain ready to bake loaf in the freezer that will round out the meal quite nicely.

Use whatever veggies you've got on hand. The combo here is what I had handy.

Rainy Day Minestrone

Serves 8 -10


  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 large carrots, diced

  • 2 ribs celery, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 6 cups chicken broth

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 798ml/28 oz can of tomatoes

  • 1/2 large cabbage diced

  • 2 tsp each dried parsley, oregano and thyme

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 medium zucchini

  • 1 cup orzo pasta or some other small pasta.

  • 1 540ml/19 oz white kidney beans (also known as cannellini beans)

  • Parmesan to serve.


  1. Heat a large pot over medium high heat with the olive oil

  2. Add in the onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft, about 5 minutes

  3. Add in the garlic, chicken broth, lemon juice, tomatoes, cabbage and dried herbs.

  4. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.

  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  6. If I'm making this for later I would stop here and let the soup sit until shortly before I'm ready to head to the table.

  7. Bring the soup up to a boil.

  8. Add in the zucchini and pasta

  9. Simmer until the pasta is done. (refer to package directions for time)

  10. Stir in the beans and heat through

  11. Serve with a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan


Thursday, April 07, 2011

Rant - Processed Foods Are Evil!

  • I'm pulling out my soapbox and hopping on it. Although I should be knitting my mother's birthday gift this is just too important. (and my hand is going numb again so I could really use the break) I just watched Dr. Oz reveal the recent research that has found a link between preservatives, processed foods and Alzheimer's. I've been saying for a couple of years now how important it is to find the shortest distance from Mother Nature's hands to your mouth when making food choices. Processed foods are EVIL! Stop eating them. They are bad for you. They increase the risk of cancer and diabetes. And now we see there is a correlation between type 2 diabetes (previously known as adult onset diabetes but is now seen regularly in kids) and Alzheimer's. Scared?! You should be!

  • For years we've known the correlation between diet and heart disease but we all must start to recognize the connection between our complete health, physical and mental (the brain is just another body organ after all) and what we put in our bodies. Any population that has been touted as 'being health', Sardinia, Greek, Italian, Indian, are population groups that eat natural food products with no processed foods. It seems living off the land is a good thing. But if you can't live off the land, you can at least make better choices when you put food into your body. What exactly are processed foods? A good general way to look at it, to help keep things simple, is once man has interfered, the food have become processed. Natural sources are always, I repeat ALWAYS, best. Read the ingredients, if you can't identify everything in the list put it back on the shelf. There are special things to look for, Glucose-fructose (sugar), MSG and has Dr. Oz pointed out, the dreaded Sodium Nitrite. Here's a good list to start with!

  • The label says it's healthy and natural with less fat, injected with omega 3 or probiotics. Must be good for me, right? Hold the phone folks! If it's not as Mother Nature intended beware. It's officially a processed food. Adding nutrients into other food sources isn't the best way to get the nutrient. Get your omega 3 from fish, not added to your yogurt or margarine (don't even get me started on margarine, use olive oil and limited amounts of butter - way better than man-made margarine, I don't care what health organization the margarine producer is supporting...). Check out a great article from on foods touted as "healthy". Actually the whole site is pretty great for a different perspective on healthy living.

  • One more thing to consider under the heading of processed foods. White flour, white sugar, white rice, anything processed to 'white' is bad for you. Period. No dancing around it. When it comes to food, white ain't cool. Save 'white' for your summer wardrobe, not your diet. If you can find a local small mill that is stone grinding flour or grains, buy, buy, buy! Even white salt should be replaced with sea salt. Yup, less processing, just as Momma Nature intended.

  • I'm getting off my soap box now. For supper this evening I'll be having leftover Cheesy Spinach Pasta Bake (see below) which has all real foods, nothing processed!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Pasta Bake

I'd picked up a large box of fresh baby spinach at the CostCo and wanted to use it up by it "Best Before" date so I was thinking veggie lasagna. When I checked I was low on lasagna noodles but had tons of these wonderful ziti noodles. Hmmm, baked ziti is one of my favorites of all times. This is a healthy variation on the dish. It's a bit time consuming making it a perfect weekend meal with lots of leftovers for lunches, another weeknight meal or the freezer.
Cheesy Spinach Pasta Bake

Serves 8-10


  • 1 lb/454 g dried ziti or tube type pasta

  • olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 28 oz/798 ml can diced tomatoes, no salt added

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 6-8 cups fresh spinach, chopped or 2 packs frozen, drained

  • 500ml container low fat cottage cheese

  • 3 cups shredded part skim mozzarella

  • 1.5 cups shredded parmesan

  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the package but pull it from the water about 2 minutes before the recommended cooking time (it will absorb more fluid while baking in the oven) and drain

  2. Heat a large pot over medium high with a drizzle of olive oil

  3. Saute the onions until soft.

  4. Add in the garlic, tomatoes and oregano, simmer for 5 minutes

  5. Add in the spinach and stir until just wilted

  6. Remove from the heat and stir in the cottage cheese, 2 cups of the mozza and 1 cup of the parmesan.

  7. Add in the pasta.

  8. Pour the mix into a 9 X 13 baking pan (lasagna pan)

  9. Top with the remaining cheese.

  10. Bake at 350 for 35 - 40 minutes until the dish is bubbly and brown.

Enjoy! (This one is nice for a make ahead dish for entertaining!)