Rice Salad with Ginger & Lemongrass

IMG_4034Potlucks are easy ways to gather for a meal.  They’ve been around for years, and will continue for many to come.

One way to hold a potluck is to give no rules, and just see what turns up.  There have been stories of twelve bowls of green salads lined up, with nothing else.  Or the transformative Thanksgiving dinner we held at a shared house; we offered to do turkey as the hosts, and left the rest up to the ten or so guests to do the rest.  We had a great dinner of turkey, stuffing, gravy and 6 different versions of pumpkin pies.

What I recommend doing, is to look after the meat & dessert.  Let everyone else bring side dishes or appetizers.  At least this way the meal will have a bit of structure.

There are times that I pull out all the stops and work to create something memorable.  However if time is limited, there’s nothing wrong with doing a simple dish, as long as it is presented well, is yummy, and interesting!  This is easy to make, and can be served cold or at room temperature.  As you can see, I served it in my bamboo steamer, but here’s a tip if you don’t want to worry about dishes.  Line a foil pan with an oversized sheet of parchment, tuck in some herbs or flowers at one side, and you can just walk away from it at the end of the meal. Continue reading

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_4170Cookies are usually the first baking for children to help with.  They do well stirred with a big wooden spoon, taste great raw, and take just a few minutes to bake, with instant results.   They are also an easy fix for a well-earned hunger, or a comfort with a book and a cup of tea.

I can still remember making cookies as a young girl, usually with my sister.  We had a pamphlet cookbook that had lots of recipes in it, but the most used was the one for Chocolate Chip Jumbles.  Having found the original book of recipes recently, it didn’t surprise me that the only page missing, besides the covers, was the page that had that recipe on it!  Probably years of wear and tear had it loose and lose-able! IMG_4384

This version of chocolate chip cookies (the one I’ve made most often for the past several years) makes large cookies with tender centers, an essential to good chocolate chip cookies. Continue reading

Farmhouse Chicken Wings

IMG_4301I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually had Chicken Wings in a pub setting.  Most likely because I had left the city and was living on this lovely little island before they became a “thing”.

There are, however, a couple of recipes of sticky, yummy chicken that I remember most fondly.  One was a family recipe of friends that used to summer on Okanagan Lake.  I travelled with them for a couple of summers, babysitting and thrilling in my time away from the city.  I remember there always being a bag of this amazing chicken in the picnic cooler anytime we spent the day out on the boat.  I’ll see if I can track down that recipe.

The other recipe was submitted to a cookbook I put together in 1982 as a fundraising project.  They were simply called Japanese Chicken Wings, but the flavour told a much bigger story than that.  They were dredged in egg & flour, browned in skillets of melted butter, and then cooked in the oven with a sweet & sour type sauce.  I’m sure there were huge amounts of calories, they were messy to make, but always a favourite at potlucks and gatherings.  I made 5# of them once to hold the kids over for 5 days while we were away.

So these little wings have a little bit of both those stories.  They were concocted one afternoon, when we were foraging in the freezer for that night’s supper.  There was only one proviso, that they would be Gluten-Free for my co-conspirator sister. Continue reading

Glazed Raspberry Scones

IMG_4275Sometimes at the crack of dawn, I lie in bed thinking up what I want to cook.  Then I mull around how I’m going to do it, and in the process fall back asleep.  During those last few important minutes of morning sleep, my brain seems to do the work for me and I’m able to wake up able to make sense of an idea or a method.

We had friends arriving to pick up their dog, which we had been looking after for a few weeks while they were at Crufts, and I wanted to make them something they’d both enjoy.  She likes coffee and he likes tea that has steeped in a pot, preferably my white one.  I remember one winter visit when I steeped his tea in my beautiful new red pot, and his first remark was to ask if we still had the white one.

Anyhow what I wanted to serve was something fresh, with a bit of tang, and a touch of sweet almost labeling itself a dessert.  So in those early hours, remembering that I had frozen raspberries from the previous summer, and some white chocolate hiding somewhere in the pantry, I went back to sleep.  When I awoke, I couldn’t wait to get started on a scone packed full of the tang of raspberries & lemon, the lusciousness of white chocolate, with a bit of glaze to sweeten the whole thing.

Using my basic cheese scone recipe, I changed a couple of things (besides leaving out the cheese) and made these very yummy, super easy scones.  The lemon and white chocolate are great additions, but even just with raspberries and the glaze, these are excellent.  The recipe makes 18, and when our friends left to go home, I noticed there were only 5 left.  Yup, we drank a big pot of tea, several mugs of coffee and ate a whole whack of scones.  And we were all the better for it.  Enjoy! Continue reading