Category Archives: Recipes

My book is finally complete!

Well it’s taken a long time for me to get this book finished but it’s finally done and out in the stores for sale! This is thanks to the hard work of the Caitlin Press Publishing crew. I am very happy with how it turned out. Vici (the owner of Caitlin Press) said she wanted to try to get it in color but was not sure it would be possible. But she managed the impossible and it looks great. There are many color photos inside that illustrate what I was up to. Some you will have seen on this blog and some are new.

It was a nice surprise to wake up to a box of my very own book on my front porch last week. Even funnier surprise to hear that my mum bought a copy for my dad for Father’s Day!

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Filed under Books, Educational, Food preservation, Food Sovereignty, Hunting, Learning to Farm, personal food sovereignty, Politics of Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

Pumpkin cheese-cake, with low carb version

Fresh pumpkin cheesecake

Crust

1/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 1/4 cup flour (replace regular flour with soy flour if making low carb version)

1 egg

1 tsp cinnamon

Mix together and press into spring-form pan. Bake at 450 for 5 mins. Remove and cool.

Cheese-cake filling

3 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

2/3 cup sugar (splenda if making low carb version)

2 eggs

2 cups fresh pumpkin, steamed and blended

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Beat cream cheese, sour cream and sugar together well. Add pumpkin and mix until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 1 hour or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or cinnamon on the whipped cream if desired.

NOTE: for true low carb version, omit the crust all together. Spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray.

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Filed under Desserts and sweets, Eggs, How to..., Low carb foods, Recipes, Uncategorized

More cooking for Cullen: the dreaded dessert

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

Homegrown butternut pumpkin cheesecake.

I made this cheesecake a week in advance of the dinner  I was hosting for Nathan Cullen because I knew I would be out moose hunting right up until the day he was to arrive. I was a bit apprehensive about how it would turn out because I had never made a butternut pumpkin cheesecake before, and I did not have a recipe to follow. But, having fiddled with cheesecake recipes before I knew that cheesecake is both flexible and forgiving. In addition to these qualities (not to mention it’s sumptuousness), the fact that cheesecake freezes well is just another one of it’s–more than–seven wondrous features.

Having gone to the work of preparing a dessert, I was disheartened when, on the night he was to arrive, a friend (who had eaten with Cullen before) told me, “He’s not much for sweets.”  Always a good source of trivia, she had made mental note of the fact that he didn’t eat any of the sweets served on that occasion. Deflated, but not discouraged, “Well, maybe he’ll like cheesecake” I ventured.

With this in mind, I wasn’t expecting Nathan to eat any. However, I wasn’t too concerned that I’d be left with a whole uneaten cheesecake at the end of the night: I  knew one friend I’d invited would have difficulty stopping himself at one piece!

As I was getting the dessert out of the fridge, Nathan excused himself from the conversation, joined me in the kitchen and asked if there was anything he could do to help. Not one to turn down such gracious offers, I thrust the hand blender at him and searched for a bowl to whip the cream in. “How much?” he asked as he poured the cream into the bowl. Level decided, he went to work on the liquid as I tossed in some vanilla and sugar, and we continued our conversation over the whir of the beaters.

Whipped cream ready, he returned to the table and served up the cheesecake slices with generous dollops of cream, passing them around the table before setting himself up with a respectable piece.

NathanCullen&Kristeva

The very gracious Nathan Cullen and me after dinner still enjoying the evening's conversation.

After swallowing his first bite he looked up, face revealing a mixture of wonder and  disbelief, “Wow, this is delicious!” He took a second bite and as if the puppet master of his eyes, his eyebrows shot to the crest of his forehead and maneuvered expertly across it making his eyes dance between the slice of cake on his plate and the various people around the table, “Who made it?”

I was charmed by his lack of presumption (as to who made the cheesecake) and felt a sweet butternut pumpkin victory as I answered his question, “I did… I even grew the squash myself!”

HDR’s Butternut Pumpkin Cheesecake

Crust:
1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup graham crackers or ginger snaps, crushed into crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan and stir in crumbs. Press into ungreased 9″x9″ springform pan and bake 350°F for 10 minutes.

Filling:
2 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 – small butternut pumpkin, steam cooked and peeled
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Beat cream cheese and sugar together well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in remaining ingredients being sure to blend in the pumpkin pieces well. Blend until there are no lumps left. Pour over crust Bake 350ºF for 50 minutes or until firm.

Chill and garnish with whipping cream. Sprinkle a bit of nutmeg or ginger on the whipped cream if desired.

Serves 10-12.

NOTE: to make it low carb, omit the crust and replace some or all of the sugar with sugar substitute.

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Filed under Desserts and sweets, Recipes

Slow roast goat leg

Cooking for Cullen

I’m hosting our National Member of Parliament for dinner tonight, Nathan Cullen. Consequently, I had to find something to cook! Having recently butchered one of my goats (and checked with his reps that he doesn’t have any food allergies or dislikes, I decided to try finding an interesting recipe for goat leg. This recipe is inspired by Chocolate and Zucchini which calls for a lamb shoulder and I’ve made some adjustments to suit my taste and the goat leg.

For the seasoning paste:

1 bushy sprig of fresh rosemary (you can substitute 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, but fresh really is preferable)

lemon (organic if possible)

50 gm filets of anchovies packed in olive oil, drained (if you don’t have anchovies, then use a combination of green and/or black olives!)

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons whole mustard seeds

A fresh ground black pepper to taste, or several good turns of the mill

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

3 teaspoons olive oil

For the meat:

2.2 kg (5 pounds) bone-in Goat Leg

8 small ripe tomatoes, about 650g (1 1/3 pounds)

8 small onions, quartered

4 cloves garlic,

Serves 6 to 8.

Pluck the needles of rosemary and discard the tough central stem (you can leave it to dry and use it as a skewer on a later occasion). Peel the zest of the lemon using a zester or a simple vegetable peeler (save the naked lemon for another use).

Using a mortar and pestle, combine the rosemary, lemon zest, anchovies, peeled garlic, mustard seeds, pepper, vinegar, and oil. Grind until the mixture turns into a coarse paste.

Place the leg of goat in a baking dish large enough to accommodate it, and rub in the seasoning paste, taking care to spread it well, and on all sides. (Clean your hands meticulously before and after the rubbing.) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, preferably 3 or 4.

Remove the meat from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to bring it back to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Remove the plastic wrap from the baking dish. Add the unpeeled garlic cloves and the tomatoes, cored and halved, slipping them under and around the meat, wherever you can and place the quartered onions all around the goat leg and drizzle with olive oil.

Place the dish in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Lower the heat to 130°C (270°F) and cook for another 2 1/2 hours, basting and flipping the meat every 30 minutes or so. Cover with a sheet of foil if it seems to brown too quickly.

Let rest on the counter under a sheet of foil for 5 minutes. Carve the meat table-side and serve. (The leftovers are even better the next day.)

Goes well with greek style roasted new potatoes or brown basmatti rice.

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Filed under Goats, How to..., Low carb foods, Meat and game cookery, Recipes

Tasting Sundown

Two beautiful sides of goat for the eating.

Two beautiful sides of goat for the eating.

As many of you will know, I butchered my first goat last weekend. Her name was Sundown. When my friend Clarence and I were butchering her he asked me how I chose her to do in. I told him my reasoning: she was the only doe not to get pregnant last year, she is the bottom of the heap in the other goats’ eyes, and the most stand-offish goat in the paddock with me. So, I rationalized, even if she were to get pregnant next time, I didn’t want her teaching her kids to be stand-offish with me. Summing up, it was obvious that she had to go.

I took her to the local butcher for hanging. She hung for 5 days and then the butcher cut, packed, and wrapped her for me–all 40 lbs of her. Clarence was keen to help me do that piece as well, but the weather has turned and I just wanted the job done. I am more interested at learning how to cook her.

I have just made my first goat curry and enjoyed every bite.

Curried Sundown

1 lb goat meat cut into stewing pieces

1 onion, chopped

3-4 tbsp oil (I use olive, but for more traditional curry you should use canola or vegetable)

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 in piece fresh ginger, grated

1 package A Taste of India Hyderabadi Biriyani mix

1/2 can coconut milk

vegetables such as zucchini, peas, green peppers (or a mixture of them)

salt to taste

3-5 tbsp cilantro, al gusto

Fry onions in oil until translucent and tender. Add goat meat and cook until all pink is gone. Add ginger, garlic, and Hyderabadi biriyani paste along with a cup or two of water. Then add 1/2 can coconut milk and simmer for several hours until goat meat is tender. Add the vegetables. When the veggies are tender, add the cilantro. Adjust salt to taste and serve with steamed rice and naan.

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Filed under Butchering, Recipes, Uncategorized

Deep fried olives!

Deep fried olivesIMGP3029Take pitted green olives; pipe some mashed seasoned goat cheese into where the pit was; flour them, egg them, crumb them (mix a bit of Parmesan mixed into the breadcrumb mixture); fry them in, yes, olive oil. Let them cool a little while before letting yourself pop one into your mouth to enjoy the burst of warm, wet olive flavor. They go fantasically with goat cheese, crackers or a nice home made crusty bread, and a hearty wine!

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Filed under cheese making, Low carb foods, Recipes

Not Dabbling in Normal today

Zucchini squash blossoms make an interesting base for several unique recipes.

Zucchini squash blossoms make an interesting base for several unique recipes.

I’ll eventually post this up here on my blog, but today it is reserved for Not Dabbling in Normal! I am planning to do a series of recipes using this unique ingredient this summer. It is a great way to keep those pesky overly enthusiastic zucchini’s at bay.

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Filed under Heirloom vegetables, How to..., Recipes

Low-carb chocolate cake

Low Carb Eating:

This low carb chocolate cake will fool people. It is very decadent with an almost fudge-like texture.

This low carb chocolate cake will fool people. It is very decadent with an almost fudge-like texture.

Over the past few years, I’ve begun to lean towards a lower carb diet. For one thing, I’ve managed to gain a shocking amount of weight, largely thanks to too much healthy home grown food coupled with a penchant for cooking! One of the things that really helps me take off the excess relatively painlessly is cutting out the starchy carbs: breads, potatoes, white flour, rice, pasta, and sugary food. In general, I find it quite painless to do right up to the part where I find chocolate in that ‘give it up’ category–I simply cannot do it. So, I search for recipes that either are low in carbs that include chocolate, or adapt my favourites accordingly. This recipe was already relatively low in carbs because it called for only 1 heaping tablespoon of flour. In order to make it even less carb laden, I substitute the sugar for Nutra-sweet and replace the wheat flour for soy-flour. Viola, I turn a nearly 200 gram cake into a 115.5 gram cake. So, each slice is lowered from 20 grams to 11.5 (considering 10 slices per cake). If you are opposed to using ‘fake sugar’ and more concerned with using natural ingredients, then this cake is still a relatively low in carb dessert thanks to the miniscule amount of flour used.

Note: this cake is best made a day ahead

1. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup  minus 1 Tbsp butter
  • 7 oz dark chocolate
  • 1 C sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 4 eggs
  • One rounded tablespoon of flour (I use soy-flour to make it even lower in carbs)
  • 1tsp vanilla (I have also used Kahlua, Amaretto, and Frangelico for a variance on the flavours)

2. Directions:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper (no need to if you’re using a non-stick pan).
  3. Melt together the butter with the chocolate (in a double-boiler or in the microwave slowly and for just a few seconds at a time).
  4. Transfer into a medium mixing-bowl. Add in the sugar, stir with a wooden spoon and let cool a little.
  5. Add in the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Finally, add in the flour and mix well.
  7. Pour the dough into the pan, and put into the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off but leave the cake inside for another ten minutes, then put the pan on a cooling rack on the counter to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and take it out about an hour before serving.
  8. Fantastic with a dollop of fresh whipped cream on the side–its carb free!

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Filed under How to..., Low carb foods, Recipes

Fresh mozzarella cheese

Origins of Mozzarella

According to the historian Monsignor Alicandri, Mozzarella cheese was first made in the 12th century by the monks of San Lorenzo di Capua in Italy. Originally, it was made with sheeps milk, but in the 16th century water buffaloes were introduced to Italy and the cheese makers soon discovered that the animals’ milk was rich enough to make cheese with. Henceforth the making the mozzarella from water buffalo milk was the norm and the tradition began.

Making young cheese

NOTE: When making ‘young’ cheeses, it is recommended to use pasteurized milk. If you have access to raw milk, then step one should be to pasteurize it.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice

1 gallon pasteurized milk

1/8 tsp liquid rennet, diluted in 1/4 cup of cool, unchlorinated water

1 tbsp cheese salt (salt without iodine, I use canning salt)

Directions:

1. Add the lemon juice to the milk and mix thoroughly.

2. Heat the milk over a low flame on the stove-top until it reaches 88 F. (The milk should start to curdle. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of lemon juice.)

3. Stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion. Continue heating the milk until it reaches 105 F. Turn off the heat and let the curd set until you get a clean break. This will only take about 6-5 minutes. At this stage, the curds will look like thick yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

The clabbered mozzarella will hold the spoon up; it is thick like yogurt.

4. Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and place into a microwavable bowl. Press the curds gently and pour off as much when as possible being careful to save the whey (then make bread using the whey as the liquid, or feed to the chickens–they love whey!).

5. Microwave the curds in HIGH for 1 minute. Drain the whey and quickly work the cheese like bread dough. You can wear rubber gloves if you wish as the cheese will be quite hot to touch.

6. Microwave the cheese twice more for 35 seconds each. Again work the cheese into a ball draining the excess whey each time.

8. Knew quickly like bread dough until it is smooth, sprinkling with salt as you work. When the cheese is smooth it is ready to eat.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

My first ever mozzarella cheese.

At this stage it is bocconcini and quite unlike the mass produced mozzarella of the grocery store. Hence, I use it right away. It is traditionally use on pizza Napoletana, though I found it doesn’t melt the way mass produced mozza does (this of course could be something I’m not doing quit correctly and you may have a different experience as so much about cheese making is precision related). However, instead of using it on pizza, my favourite thing to do with it is slice it thinly and layer it between slices of tomato. Then drizzle pesto sauce over top, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of olive oil and some cracked pepper. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or plain crackers. YUM. If you have pesto on hand, it is a quick and easy–yet elegant–appetizer.

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Filed under cheese making, Educational, How to..., Preserving the harvest, Recipes

Lotsa mozza

A fresh batch of mozzarella cheese. Photo: Gourmet Girl Magazine

A fresh batch of mozzarella cheese. Photo: Gourmet Girl Magazine

Got up this morning and did the usual chores. Took the dog for a morning walk and had coffee by the river. It’s the springtime morning routine. Got home and found an urgent message on my answering machine: “I’ve got extra milk. If you want it for cheese then come on over quick and bring containers!”

I immediately dropped all the plans I had for the day and set to collecting suitable containers to bring the milk home in. It  is not often that I get such a wonderful opportunity, in fact this is the famous first! I am now busy processing 4 gallons of beautifully fresh milk into mozzarella cheese. I’ll take one batch back to the farmer in thanks, and keep the other three for myself. Will post the how to and photos soon, when my hands are not so full!

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Filed under cheese making, Food preservation, Milk preservation techniques, Recipes