Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Pork Cutlet - yes I'll eventually get tired of these but it hasn't happened yet.

This meal almost feels like cheating because I don't have to season and coat the cutlet. I put the potatoes on to boil first then set the carrots and broccoli in the steamer.  I cooled the veggies under running water when they were almost done so I could put finish them in olive oil, salt and pepper. The mashed potatoes were finished with salt, butter and light cream.  Plain old apple sauce is the condiment. A quick salad on the side.


1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
pinch salt
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
few drops Worcestershire Sauce

This slightly more complicated vinaigrette was a nice change, I'll make it again.

Everything was perfect for a change, creamy potatoes, crisp vegetables and tasty pork. 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marinated Pork Stir Fry

We had tiger prawns on penne pasta yesterday so I looked for pork cutlets at Save On again but no luck. I picked up a pound of pork stir fry pieces instead. When I got home I took a cue from Mitchell's meat counter and made souvlaki. This was my best marinade yet! I've been buying breaded pork cutlets because I couldn't do better yet. This is better. A lot better.

Pork Marinade

3 cloves garlic
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp lemon juice

I think they marinated for 2 or 3 hours. I fried them in a large pan, making sure the thick pieces were cooked all the way through. Served with mashed potatoes and steamed carrot and broccoli that were finished in olive oil and salt. Just before plating I threw the green onions into the pork. Then plated everything. No salad so there's a heap of vegetables. 

The meat was absolutely wonderful. The caramelized  mustard pushed it up a notch or two.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlet

I'm getting really good at cooking these things. All the breading stays on both sides, amazing what a little practice can do. I think the plating is on the bus heading for downtown now. I tried something new with the rice.  I put half a cup of rice, cup of water and packet of Bovril Chicken Stock. Then when it was ready I folded in some fresh green onions. The carrots and frozen peas were cooked together in the microwave and finished with butter and salt. The condiment is apple sauce from a jar. The simple salad is from a bag and I made a simple dressing.


1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp raspberry vinegar
big pinch salt

The rice was such a nice change that the frozen peas managed slide past without being noticed. A really nice easy meal.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Snapper With Carrot Salad

I went to the store intending to buy sole fillets only to find that sole was dear and snapper was on special. So of course I bought snapper! I checked the dates on the package and pressed the fish with a finger. Fresh fish will spring back when you press it. Rotting fish will retain the finger depression. If you buy the rotting fish it will taste unpleasantly fishy no matter how well it's prepared. These fillets had not even a hint of fishy taste. I seasoned them with salt, mixed pepper and dried thyme and fried them in plenty of oil.

I boiled the potatoes and steamed the broccoli. When the broccoli started to soften I ran it under cold water to stop cooking then when the fish went in the pan the broccoli went back in the pot with olive oil to reheat. 

The carrot salad was simply a carrot shredded, 1/2 cup dried apricots diced small, 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted. A sprig of parsley diced finely. Fern doesn't like sweet dishes unless they are dessert so I had to be careful with the vinaigrette.


1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp walnut oil
1 tsp canola oil
1-2 tsp rice wine vinegar

Balance the sweetness of the carrots with the vinegar and it will all taste wonderful. Fern even said he would like that salad again and he doesn't usually like carrot salads. This fish was perfectly delicious.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Turkey Roll

Why turkey just before Christmas? It was on special and I needed dog food. Lucky dog. I seasoned it with salt, mixed pepper and poultry seasoning and brushed it with oil. I put bay leaves and some rosemary springs on top and put it in a 350º oven for 2 1/4 hours. 

I also diced up a turnip and carrot and boiled them for an hour then mashed with butter. Frozen peas done in the microwave. Uncle Ben's traditional stuffing mix instead of potatoes. A small side salad.


1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp canola oil
1 tsp raspberry vinegar
mixed pepper

Whisk and toss the salad in it and plate.

It was delicious and the dog is ecstatic.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Breaded Pork Cutlet

I'm getting pretty good at this meal, Save On Foods breaded pork cutlet. I managed to keep the breading on the meat on both sides. Those nugget potatoes are a really nice change from mashed. Brussel's Sprouts were steamed, cooled under cold water and reheated in olive oil with a pinch of salt. Plain old apple sauce for condiment. The secret to frying is to get the pan hot before food goes in it. The bottom should be covered with oil and 1-3 teaspoons should collect on the edge when the pan is tilted.


2 tsp olive/canola oil
1 tsp raspberry vinegar (or any vinegar or lemon juice)
pinch salt
mixed ground pepper

Whisk, drop in salad fixing, toss and serve. 

The cutlet was crunchy, potatoes buttery, sprouts firm and tasty and the salad was from a bag so I can't expect too much from it.  Even so, it's great to finish a meal with a small salad. My middle age digestive tract loves it. 

I had this ready in twenty minutes but had to hold off finishing because Fern was taking a nap. That is almost as fast as fast-food! 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Lots of vegetables, that is what we both need at this time of year. A stir fry is one of the easiest ways to get lots of vegetables into one meal. I finely diced half a small onion and started sweating it.  I diced the chicken breasts, other half onion, a stick of celery, a carrot, green pepper, 6 mushrooms and baby bok choy. I put a heaping teaspoon of flour on the chicken pieces and toss them around in it to coat them. 

First I sweated and slightly browned the finely diced onion.  Then I added the floured meat. When the meat had a light sear all around I took it from the pan. Next I seared the mushrooms and cooked the carrot in the microwave when the rice was done. I slowly added all the ingredients and kept tossing them. I added a few drops of fish sauce and some sesame oil. When the green pepper was softening I added the meat back in.  A handful of cashews. and finally some soy sauce to season the whole thing.  
This was a great meal and we'll finish it off for lunch. It works well with leftover turkey as well!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Pork Cutlet

This time of year I can forgive myself for not spending a lot of time cooking dinner. This is about the fastest large meal I can make.  The potatoes go in water and boil for 20 minutes then put salt and butter on them. The fresh carrots and frozen peas are done in the microwave. The cutlet was seasoned by Save On Foods so all I had to do was fry it. The salad is from a bag of Fresh Express Garden Mix. For $1.67 I get enough to make 4 salads so all I have to do is whip up a ...


1 tbsp olive/canola oil
2 tsp raspberry (or other) vinegar - to make put fresh raspberries in white vinegar for a few months
mix pepper

Whisk and toss. 

The secret to frying is start with a hot pan and enough oil. I use a 12" All Clad pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and canola oil so the bottom is oiled and there is a teaspoon reserve. I get the pan hot but not smoking. A drop of water should bounce around. When the pan is hot, tip it to coat the bottom with oil and lay the cutlets in pan. Watch the edge of the cutlet, when it is brown, turn them over. If the pan dries out add a little more oil. Too much oil makes the cutlet greasy. Not enough and the breading sticks to the pan. It takes about 6 minutes one side and 4 minutes the other, but it entirely depends on the particular cutlets you are cooking. So don't time them, watch them.

Plain old store bought apple sauce is the condiment.  This meal practically makes itself in less than half an hour and it tastes light years better than a tv dinner.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ham and Cauliflower with Cheddar Cheese Sauce

Ham and cheddar were on special over the last week, too bad cauliflower wasn't, but two out of three ain't bad. All I did here was thinly slice the potatoes and par cook them. The cauliflower I steamed till it softened a bit.  Ham all thinly sliced. Potatoes on the bottom, then a layer of ham and the cauliflower on top.  Cheese sauce over top and cover with grated cheddar.

Cheese Sauce

2 tsp flour
2 tbsp butter
2 cups milk
2 cups grated cheddar
3 cloves garlic finely diced

Melt the butter into the flour, add the garlic and let it bubble for a minute to cook the flour taste off.  Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the milk.  Return to heat and bring to a simmer. Add 1/3 of grated cheese and melt into sauce.  Add another 1/3 of cheddar, mix it in.  The cheese sauce should be too thick because it will thin from water in the dish components. Pour the sauce over all and top with grated cheddar.  

Bake at 325ºF for up to an hour. Once the cheddar has a little colour it's done enough.

This is a dish from Fern's childhood, it's simple but tasty and filling for cold winter days.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Cajun Snapper

The last time we had snapper I didn't check the freshness and it tasted fishy. Not encouraging. This time I checked the dates, this was the freshest. Then I pressed it with a finger. It sprang back. If it's been sitting there for two days it won't spring back. Don't buy it if it doesn't spring back. Besides making sure it's fresh, the bones have to come out. There are usually 3, but I've come across 6. I bought pliers to pull the bones but Fern didn't think they belonged in the kitchen.  Eventually I found fish pliers on (Canadian site didn't have any) so I ordered them. They took a couple weeks extra getting through customs but they got here eventually. The proper tool makes prepping fish a breeze.

I seasoned only one side lightly with Cajun Seasoning but salted both sides.  Yellow flesh potatoes were boiled then mashed with salt, butter and milk.  The broccoli was steamed and finished in olive oil.  I turned over the fish to brown it and plated with some lemon juice over top.  

The salad was a simple vinaigrette of olive/canola oil, raspberry vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk, toss and serve. 

The fish was wonderful. No fishy taste at all. The light Cajun seasoning was perfect. Now I know I usually use too much.

Mince Meat Tarts

I have never liked mince meat. Some years I might try one tart but only if the pastry looks good. I've never found one I like. Fern, however, loves mince meat so when I saw it on special at Mitchell's I bought a tub.  It's bulk, I'm not sure if they make it themselves, but it tastes like it.

I put a little under 2 cups flour and 2 tablespoons corn flower in a large bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix.  I added 1/3 of a brick of lard. Cut the lard into the flour until it is like coarse oatmeal. Beat an egg, add a tablespoon of vinegar and fill with cold water to 1 cup. It should take about a third of the cup to wet the dough. Gather the dough into a ball, cover with clean dish towel and put in fridge for at least 30 minutes. When the dough is holding together, dispose of the remaining egg, vinegar, water mixture.

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Flour a large counter space and roll the dough out to less than 1/4 inch thick uniformly. Cut out 4 inch circles, I use a 500ml yogurt container for this.  Press the circles into the muffin or tart pan and fill with mince meat.  Put in hot oven for 20 minutes then check for brownness. When the pastry has good colour, take the tarts out to cool.

I wasn't expecting anything but I tried a tart just to test the pastry. A touch short of lard in the pastry but the taste was good.  The mince meat made me stop. It tasted wonderful! I've never tasted mince meat I like and this stuff is delicious! I couldn't wait for Fern to try one. He loved them. I bought more mince meat for two more dozen.

Pork Cutlet

Again I got started late but pulled it together at the end.  Yellow flesh potatoes, mashed with salt, milk and butter. Frozen peas with fresh carrots cooked together in the microwave with olive oil and a Save On Foods breaded pork cutlet fried. Straight apple sauce is the condiment.

The salad was the last bit of a bag of salad greens. This time of year it's more cost effective to buy bags of pre cut salad mix than buy all the fixing and have them quickly wilt in the fridge. Olive/Canola oil, salt, pepper and raspberry vinegar are the salad dressing.  

Still a great meal in under an hour.

Chicken with Hollandaise

I started late so this was supposed to be just rice, broccoli and chicken. I put the rice on and salted the chicken breast.  Then I coated the breast in 50/50 flour/onion powder.  Lay it in hot oil and brown the first side.  Turn it over and put in a 325ºF oven for 30 minutes total cooking time.  Press on the breast and it will spring back when it's cooked. If you still aren't sure, stick a fork in it. If the juices run clear, it's done.

I took the cooked rice out of the microwave, the broccoli was steamed and ready to reheat and the breast was in the oven so I stood there with nothing to do. I can make hollandaise! I separated an egg yolk and melted a 1/2 inch slice of butter, melted but not hot.  Slowly whisk small amounts of butter into the yolk until all butter has been taken up.  Mix 2 teaspoons lemon juice with 1/4 cup cold water. Add a pinch of salt to the yolk and half the lemon/water mixture.  It will thicken when it's heated. Once the breast was cooked I took it from the oven and put the broccoli in olive oil to reheat and started heating the Hollandaise.  The sauce got a little too thick so I added a little of the lemon/water to thin it. Once the broccoli was ready I plated everything.  

I love Hollandaise so I covered everything. It does look like a drive by saucing, but it tasted great.  It has taken me all this time to get to the point that I could decide to make Hollandaise at the last minute and pull it off. It was wonderful.

Pork Cutlet

I'm still buying Save On Foods breaded pork cutlets because they taste better than my own. In my defence, why struggle to outdo someone when the price is right and the taste is better? So heat up a pan with olive/canola oil and lay the cutlet in it.  The potatoes were yellow flesh. I usually buy russet but these were on sale so I bought them.  They are a bit rich for Fern's taste but nice for a change. The broccoli was again steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil.

Canned apple sauce for condiment and serve the meal. I really like this meal so of course I gobbled it up. It took Fern a little longer but he cleaned his plate too.

Rib Steak

Fern is away so steak comes into play. A nice rib steak with baked potato.  I had bacon in the fridge so I cooked some and broke it over the sour cream on the potato. I seasoned with salt and pepper then fried the steak. I steamed the broccoli then finished it in olive oil.  It was a simple delicious meal for one.

Chicken Breast

The chicken breast was salted then coated with 50/50 flour/onion powder.  I seared both sides in a frying pan then put the pan in the oven for 30 minutes total cooking time. Paired with mashed potatoes made with butter and milk and broccoli which was steamed, cooled and finished in olive oil. Fern wanted a light meal and this was fairly light but still full of flavour.

Chicken Chop Suey

A stir fry has enough vegetable that no salad is required and it cooks in one pan so I like them a lot. I put rice on to cook and coated the cubed chicken with flour.  I browned the chicken first and removed it from the pan. Next I seared the mushrooms, then I sweated the onion, carrot, celery, green pepper and finally the bean sprouts. I had added sesame oil to the pan right at the start and now I added several drops fish sauce. Next some soy sauce and add the cashews and the chicken.  Toss till it's all cooked through and serve next to white rice.

It was delicious.

Pork Chop

Boneless chops were on special.  I had yellow peppers to use up so I picked up a small sprig of broccoli and a bunch of green onions. I fried the chop and mised up a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a teaspoon of honey.  When the chop was almost cooked I coated both sides with the sauce and seared it onto the chops.

Mashed potatoes were boiled, mashed and finished with butter and milk. I steamed the broccoli then ran it under cold water to stop cooking.  The diced pepper went into the pot with olive oil.  Once the pepper had softened a bit I added the broccoli.  When the broccoli was warmed up I added the diced onion and gave it a toss. 

Fern was sceptical about the sauce, he doesn't like sweet main meals. When he tasted it he was convinced. The chops were absolutely delicious. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Dog Food Chili

Fern made the mistake of cleaning out the freezer onto the dogs plates. Now they won't eat anything we didn't make. So, I cooked up a 2kg roll of lean ground beef for dog food.  I put some bay leaves in it so it would taste better. Also it had a carrot, onion and stick of celery.  It smelled wonderful, to me. Storm wouldn't touch it. He doesn't like the bay leaf smell. I cooked up some more ground beef without bay leaf. He gobbled it up. So, what to do with 2kg of tasty dog food? I made chili.

I soaked a bunch of beans for a couple of hours then sweated some green peppers from the garden. I added the greens, beans, a jar of Fern's tomato sauce and a can of store bought tomato sauce. 1 tbsp of chilli powder, 1/2 tsp cumin. Salt, black pepper. And water, I kept adding water as the beans cooked and absorbed it. It simmered for about 7 hours which you'd think would cook all the beans but a good portion were still firm. So I left it cooking for the evening. Put it on the BBQ outside for the night. Put it back on the stove this morning and hopefully the beans will cook over the day. The taste was great, it's just the firm beans that need fixing.

I also made bread, fairly well this time, but it didn't brown enough. I used 

1 cup All Purpose flour
1 tbsp wheat gluten
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup water. 

I mixed water in with a fork, then started kneading the dough. It was a little too dry so I added more water and kneaded it in.  Between 5-10 minutes of kneading and the dough felt soft and pliable. I put it in the oven with just the oven light on. It rose to double it's size in about and hour.  I preheated the oven to 450F, put bread in and turned down to 400F for 35 minutes. Unfortunately I used a bread pan and the sides prevented the bread from browning. So it was pale bread, but good!

Fresh grated cheddar on top. Overall, not a bad meal for dog food.