Avocado Bisque

IMG_7930Here’s a little something that I’ve been doing for years. A little bit of yummy-wow to lead into a special dinner. It’s so easy to do, and is delicious, with creamy avocado goodness, all dressed up to impress. There are two versions; one has a decadent cream base, while the other uses coconut milk. Both are wonderful.

Serve in chilled martini glasses, or other cute glasses, with a simple flower garnish. Shown here with dried rose petals. Continue reading

Green Pea Cakes with Apple & Fennel Salsa

IMG_6858Today, spring truly feels like it’s on our doorstep.  There are a few days in early spring, when it just feels like spring has really arrived.  Somehow in a matter of days the frogs are louder, and the birds are busier.  The horse pastures are vibrant green, while the crocii have opened up under the bursting forsythia.  The thermometer has moved into the double digits (celsius), and it feels sooo good!  To celebrate spring, and my sister’s birthday, I just felt the need to show it in food.

Just in time for St. Patrick’s, this is a very green dish, with a light, tart salsa in small mounds on top of bright green little pancakes.  I’m sure they should be called something like “Emerald Isles”.   Bonus: they work really well Gluten Free. Continue reading

Lemon Roasted Prawns

IMG_6045Preparing a lunch the other day for visiting friends, I was wrapped up in a gluten-free, vegetarian, lactose intolerant, garlic-free menu preparation.  I really don’t mind being given parameters to cook from, as it simply narrows down the field of options.  Which is not a bad thing as it helps me to be creative.

Recently I read an article about Instinctos. I suggest you read up on it rather than me trying to explain it in any detail.  The basic premise is that an Instincto is guided by their sense of smell of raw foods, and when the right smell is found, they eat it.  As I have now found the hardest people to serve food to, I won’t complain again about someone’s life choices when it comes to food.

Here’s a very simple garlic-free recipe for prawns that I came up with for the meal.  The prawns were delicious, and I noticed more than one person sucking the cooked lemon away from the peel. Continue reading

Wedge Salad Appetizers

IMG_5938Appetizers are a mainstay of holiday parties, lots of cheese, phyllo, puff pastry, tarts, crackers and meats.  If we’re lucky there are bowls of olives & pickles, and some raw veg to balance things out.  I think that adding a cold crisp salad is a perfect foil for the rest of the menu.

Recently I was invited to a party that was to embrace the 50’s & 60’s. Most of my time in those periods, was toddling around in nappies, skinning my knees while learning to ride a bike, watching my mom go crazy for the Beatles, and my sister becoming a hippy.

My only true memory of foods of that time was when mom & dad would have Bridge night.  A group of 8 or 12 neighbours would play once a month, rotating houses.  I well remember getting up early the next day and scavenging through the living room, eating leftover AD mints, black olives, gherkins, and the ultimate, broiled spam & cheese on open dinner rolls.  Mom would grate spam, and cheddar (not even Velveeta), mix with mayonnaise (never Miracle Whip) and then spread this on top of dinner rolls.  Broiled just until the cheese melted and the spam sputtered, they were absolutely decadent.

Okay, so my tastes have changed somewhat from when I was eight.

The Wedge Salad was an ever-present menu item for the 50’s & 60’s.  It lost favour when Romaine started edging it out in the 70’s, and open leaf lettuces with vinaigrette started to take over.  The lowly iceberg lettuce has always remained on the produce shelves because it has some amazing qualities.  First off, no other lettuce can replace its crispness.  It holds up well to tossing, and works well with other lettuces to give your salad some lift.  It also seems that the iceberg lettuce of today, is more open and green than the ones of even 20 years ago, which is great.

The lettuce is what makes this appetizer fresh & crispy, and a wonderful addition to an appetizer buffet.  The recipe is followed with notes on plating a basic Wedge Salad, if you want to go traditional. Continue reading