Hot & Sour Soup

IMG_8778One of our family’s favourite soups is Hot & Sour Soup, slightly spicy, sweet & sour with just a few ingredients; this is perfect for a light meal. There are some additions that do make it more authentic, but even this very basic version makes for a very happy meal. I can remember many busy school nights when this was served, always leaving us satisfied! Continue reading

Risotto with Shrimp & Peas

IMG_2653Risotto is not a finicky dish to make.  Picture yourself in a large Italian farmhouse kitchen, with a big apron tied firmly around your middle.  Put a couple of pins in your hair to keep things neat.  The stove has been on most of the day while you’re making bread.  You have a large pot on the back burner with fresh chicken stock, never wasting anything that you’ve either grown or carefully purchased in the market.  Family members have come and gone, chatting as they go about their chores.  During this time you’ve been sautéing onions, adding rice and then slowly have added spoonfuls of the chicken stock with a few splashes of wine, while you stir and talk.  When the family gathers round, you add in some grated hard cheese, and maybe some tender vegetables with a knob of butter.  Without paying too much attention, you’ve created a beautiful glossy dish of risotto, warm and creamy, one of the best comfort foods.

This is a social dish – prepare your ingredients before hand, and enjoy a glass of wine while you cook and visit.  Don’t let it be pretentious.  When it’s ready, serve it simply.  The rest of the meal can be served after. Continue reading

Udon Noodles with Mushrooms, Gai Lan & Shrimp

IMG_2236It was dry today.  Yesterday was a mix of monsoon type rain, with snow.  Dry days in the winter allow us a snippet of daylight hours to get things done!  Living on our farm makes us so appreciative of breaks in the weather and a toasty fire in the woodstove.  Stretching the day to the limits means that dinner only gets about 45 minutes from the inkling of an idea to eating.  Here is today’s offering.  It happens to be Bill’s 65th birthday today.  As we had friends over on Sunday for a meal with a long, extremely fun visit and will be doing a January Birthday Boys’ dinner next week, having a simple meal tonight suited him just fine.  I hope. Continue reading