After years and years of taunting the stomach flu by eating every single questionable, 40 seconds over the 5 second rule, maybe-sort-of-moldy and definitely expired ingredient in my house, I paid. A nasty old stomach flu that struck me like boot in the face. All kinds of nastiness ensued and my appetite hid warily behind the angry mob that overtook my guts.
All I wanted was something warm and smooth, creamy and satisfying, to ease my stomach into accepting a meal of real, solid food. A few days prior, my friend Chantal had cooked about 50 jars worth of spiced, coconutty rice pudding topped with a sweet, floral strawberry and rosewater jam. It was the only thing I saw when I closed my eyes and shivered in my 40 layers of cotton. I needed it.
After a quick inspection of the cupboards, I realized it was unlikely that I would soon be spooning that cozy little treat into my mouth. I did, however, find a few things to make something similar but different. A creamy barley pudding prepared almost like a risotto, that felt warm and comforting as it snuggled into my aching belly. I followed Chantal’s recipe for rice pudding as a guideline, but used pearled barley in place of basmati rice and added some maple and nuts instead of jam. You can use whichever you please, but the rice pudding would be cooked by using all the liquids at once rather than in small, spaced out additions.
Feel free to play around with the spices, add whatever nuts you please, or even top with some strawberry-rosewater jam. It’s lovely every way you please. I put Chantal’s rice pudding recipe at the bottom of the page too - it is absolutely delicious and you’re missing out if you don’t try it!
Spiced Coconut Barley with Pistachios and Maple
adapted from Chantal’s recipe (recipe below)
Feel free to swap out the cows milk for almond or soy, whatever you’re able to use.
1 ¼ cups pearled barley, rinsed well
1 cup milk
½ cup water
2 cups coconut milk
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp maple syrup + more for garnish
¼ unsweetened coconut, toasted
¼ cup unsalted pistachios, crushed
Place barley in a pot with the milk, water, cinnamon and cardamom. Bring to a boil and let simmer until almost all the liquid has been absorbed by the barley. Add ¼ cup of the coconut milk at a time, letting it absorb for a few minutes in between additions. This process is similar to a risotto so you’ll have to keep an eye on it and stir often.
When almost all the coconut milk is absorbed, the barley should be cooked through but still have a bit of a bite so it’s not mushy. If you like it softer, add a bit more coconut milk (or reg. milk/water) and cook until desired doneness.
Add the maple syrup and toasted coconut and stir. Spoon into bowls and top with crush pistachios and maple syrup.
Chantal’s Rice Pudding
2 cups coconut milk
3 cups 2% milk
8 cardamom pods, crushed
3 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla beans (slit open)
1 cups sugar
1 cups basmati rice
Steep cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla in liquid. Bring to simmer, then reduce heat to low for 15 min. then add rice and sugar, bring to light boil, then immediately reduce to simmer on low for 45 minutes or until you obtain a loose porridge consistency. You will need to stir often. Top with fresh strawberry jam.
2 cups strawberries, sliced in half
Juice of 1 lemon
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp good vanilla
1 tbsp rose water
Combine all ingredient in sauce pan and bring to a slow simmer, reduce heat to low for 15 minutes. Strain liquid and puree fruit.
Nina Roy DOES NOT like eggnog. And honestly, I can’t blame her in the slightest.
Me and eggnog, we don’t get along all that well. It’s not that I don’t like it, its just that I don’t love it, need it, HAVE TO HAVE IT RIGHT NOW, OH MY GOD ITS DELICIOUS the way t of you feel about it. And there is nothing wrong with being that excited about eggnog (I feel that way about puffy cheezies so I’m not judgin’), I’m just not there with you, happily sipping my raw eggs and cream.
That said, I learned in my elementary years that being left-out is a total bummer, so I had to find a way to enjoy the holiday treat. I’ve also learned that baking with eggnog can get me closer to your excitement level. And it’s a good thing, because those skills came in handy here.
Natrel Milk has launched a new campaign that has put notorious eggnog cynic, Nina Roy, at the head of their social media for the month of December to determine if someone, anyone, can get her to enjoy eggnog in some way shape or form. Whether it’s a smoothie, a boozy variation, a baked good or something completely off the wall, Nina wants to hear about it and potentially test it out to see if it can change her nog-hating ways. And it’s been made incredible simple for you to share your love of the nog with her. You can…
- Post on Natrel’s Facebook Wall
- Hashtag #ninaroy on Twitter
- Hashtag #ninaroy on Instagram
Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why in holy heck do I care if Nina Roy likes eggnog? Well, let me tell you why. Of course there’s something in it for you! I know the way to your hearts and it’s through presents (its why we get along)! If you change the Eggnog Scrooge’s mind and she turns out liking something made with eggnog, you could be the proud recipient of 1 in 10 Ultimate Eggnog Lovers packages. Included in the package;
Not bad just for sharing your favourite way to enjoy eggnog, right? Even I, a scrooge only second to Nina, am in on the whole gig, creating a recipe that I’m sure would change any skeptics mind. This bread pudding is rich and indulgent, warm and gooey. All the things that the holidays should be! Well…maybe not gooey. If you’re not a big fan of drinking eggnog, you might be surprised at how lovely the flavour is when mixed with warm, gingerbread spices and a completely addictive, sweet, sticky maple-eggnog sauce spiked with brandy. The sauce alone, which does actually taste a lot like eggnog, had me dunking my spoon in and sneaking mouthfuls of the stuff. It’s that good. So make it and rejoice - you can love eggnog, too! And if you already do, you can love it even more!
Eggnog-Gingerbread Pudding with Brandied Maple-Eggnog Sauce
This is best eaten the same day it’s made, right out of the oven. It comes together quickly so makes a great dessert for Christmas dinner, or even a luscious brunch on Boxing Day.
8 slices sourdough or favourite crusty bread, sliced 1” thick
1 cup eggnog
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of both ground allspice & cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 large eggs
Tubinado or raw sugar, for topping
Brandied Maple-Eggnog Syrup
1 ½ cups eggnog
½ cup good quality maple syrup
2 tbsp brandy
pinch kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350.
Place sliced bread on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted. This works best in two batches, especially if you have an apartment sized oven like I do. (One of my dirty little secrets!) Tear or cut each slice into 1” piece and place in a large bowl. Keep oven on.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients (except coarse sugar) and whisk until combined. Pour over the bread cubes and toss until everything is nice and soggy.
Pour into a lightly greased baking dish and sprinkle generously with coarse sugar.
Bake in a preheat 350 oven for 20 minutes, or until set. It should be crisp on top and somewhat soft in the middle (but not uncooked).
While the bread pudding bakes, place a heavy sauce pot on the stove over medium heat and add the eggnog and maple syrup, whisking constantly until thickened. Do not let it boil! It should be thick enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon and the colour will be deep amber. Whisk in the brandy, salt and a pinch of nutmeg. Let cool slightly and spoon over the bread pudding.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Natrel sponsored it and compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend restaurants or products I use/enjoy personally and believe will be good for my readers.
It’s that time again…. Farmers Feast #2 is here! And it comes bearing brilliant red berries and crispy smoked bacon. That sounds good, right? I thought so, too.
When Tara dropped off the basket this week (I wasn’t able to make it to the market last Sunday because I was shoving my face full of oysters, fish burgers and Kichesippi beer at The Whalesbone 5th Annual Oysterfest – I know, it’s a rough life. I’m super hard done by.) I first laid eyes on the pint of impossibly plump, unblemished and heart-achingly deep plummy red cherries. I don’t know if I heard anything Tara said for the first 10 seconds as my brain slowed to a hazy berry-induced coma while I fully absorbed the excitement of it all. To their right, a pint of equally stunning Red Currants, as delicate and glossy as glass beads. I knew that despite my urge to start popping them in my mouth like M&Ms, I wanted to hold out and do something extra special.
Along with the berries came some bacon, naked oats and a red wheat flour blend, humongous fava beans pods (which, to be honest, I was a little terrified of at first), some rainbow Swiss chard, delicate sugared flower petals (that are so beautiful I’m almost scared to use them!), some incredibly pungent Belarus garlic, spotty, organic brown eggs and some life-changing amber maple syrup (that I’ve been sneaking regular swigs from).
Since we’re mere days away from celebrating Canada’s 145 birthday (she’s a lovely old broad, ain’t she?), I thought something Red and White might be suiting for the occasion. Fluffy white clouds of billowy whipped cream layered between tangy, succulent cherries, lusciously tart red currant curd, and a crisp, salty-sweet maple bacon granola. Are you still with me? Should I send help? Quick, get the nearest person to hurl a glass of ice water in your face! That’ll shake the bacon sweats right outta you!
Though I wasn’t able to use everything offered in the basket (I wasn’t sure if you’d welcome the idea of Fava beans in your parfaits), I came pretty darn close. The list of vendors who graciously provided the contents of the Farmers Feast this week are;
Roots & Shoots Farm – rainbow chard
Garland’s Sugar Shack – amber maple syrup
Castor River Farm – flour, quick oats and smoked bacon
Corinne Mooney’s Fleurs Combestiles – sugared flowers
Acorn Creek Garden Farm – Belarus Garlic
Warner’s Farm – currants and cherries
Waratah Downs Organic Farm – fava beans
Reinink Family Farms – Organic eggs
Cherry & Red Currant Curd Granola Parfaits
After making and tasting the final product, I’m not 100% sold on the addition of bacon. The bacon itself was un-frigging-believable in flavour, but it didn’t add much to the final product. Try as I may, sometimes things just seem better on paper. So I’ve made adjustments if you’d like to leave it out.
That said, the Maple-Bacon Granola on it’s own is something you MUST try. I back it 100% and have been eating it with a spoon since yesterday morning.
Red Currant Curd
adapted from La Twisted Chef
2 cups fresh red currants (about 1 pint) rinsed (save a few for garnish!)
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
pinch of salt
In a saucepot, add the currants (stems and all) and a splash of water. Cook until the berries have burst and released all their juices. Use the back of a wooden spoon to gently help smoosh them.
Strain the juice into a bowl pressing on the pulp to make sure you’ve gotten all the juice.
Stir half the currant juice (for a more tart curd, add about 3/4 of it), yolks and sugar together in the rinsed sauce pot and place over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and add butter, 1 piece at a time, until incorporated. Scrap curd into a bowl and push a piece of plastic wrap right against the top of the curd (to prevent a skin forming). Refrigerate for at least an hour so it can set.
adapted from Married and Cooking
6 slices bacon (optional)
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup bacon fat (or vegetable oil if you’re cutting out the bacon)
Preheat over to 350.
If using, place the bacon on a wire rack over a clean cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake until crisp (about 10-15 minutes). Pour the bacon fat into a small bowl and reserve. Let bacon cool and then crumble into small pieces. Maintain the oven temperature.
Mix the oats, cinnamon and pecans and pour onto a cookie sheet. Place in the oven, stirring every so often, until oats and nuts are lightly toasted and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and pour into a large bowl. Add the maple syrup, bacon fat (or oil), crumbled bacon and salt. Mix well and pour back onto cookie sheet. Bake for another 10-12 minutes or until oats have absorbed the oil/syrup and feel dry and crunchy to the touch. Let cool and pour into a jar.
For the Parfait:
1 ½ cups whipping cream
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 pint cherries, pitted and rough chopped
Pour whipping cream and maple syrup into a bowl and, using electric mixer or stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form.
In 4 serving glasses (alternatively, 2 tall glasses), spoon a layer of whipped cream, then a layer of curd, a sprinkle of cherries, another layer of whipped cream and a thick layer of granola. Do another layer of whipped cream and curd, and then top with cherries and granola. If you’ve reserved any currants, garnish with them.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set, and then dig right in there!
When Milk Shop, an incredibly unique and fun clothing shop on swanky Dalhousie St in Ottawa, asked if I’d be interested in sharing a monthly dessert recipe on their blog, I jumped at the opportunity to work, even in the tiniest way, with them. Milk is so involved in their community (case in point; here) and are always working on ways to do more for the city they call home. I’m such a big fan of everything Inaas, her sister and their team do.
Read on for the recipe for these beautiful little Spring scones!
I realize I’m on a mad-posting binge this week. I hope you’ll forgive me for not posting like this every week going forward. It’s just been one of those months where I have so much to share with you. I don’t want you to feel left out, you know.
Today I was incredibly lucky and honoured to be able to make my television debut! How odd it sounds to say that. No, I wasn’t on the Food Network or anything like that, but I may as well have been since it was just as cool. The local news station, CTV Morning Live, asked a few weeks back if I’d ever be interested in coming on to do a cooking demo and chat about the blog. Like there was even a question of if I’d do it. I jumped at the opportunity without so much as a thought. If you’re interested in the video, it can be seen here!
Since I know everyone goes cuckoo for anything bacon related these days, it wasn’t hard for me to come to the decision that I was going to make Bacon Jam on the show. Of course, I knew people would be excited about the recipe, but I also sort of hoped that they’d be so excited that they wouldn’t notice how terribly nervous I was. I mask it well at times, but I’m paralyzingly shy in some situations. This was one of those times. I promised myself that I’d do more things that made me scared and uncomfortable this year, and this was probably the biggest one.
Nerves aside, I was so happy to be able to show you all how to make the jam at home. It’s such a wonderful recipe and yields a savoury condiment that is surpassed by none. Spoon it over eggs, or a warm baguette, stuff pork or chicken with it, serve it on the side of a cheese plate, fry up with perogies, mix with ricotta for a pasta-filling….or simply spoon into your gob as I tend to do whenever I make it. It never lasts long enough to be able to serve it with something in this house. I admit, it’s not the prettiest of foods, but what it lacks in appearance, it more than makes up for in explosive flavour. If you’re stretched for some last minute gift ideas this holiday season, it also makes a very unique gift that any bacon-lover would be thrilled to receive. Do yourself a favour and cook up a batch as soon as humanly possible. Your life isn’t complete until you’ve tried it.
And just so you have something extra delicious to serve them with, I’m going to share a recipe for Cheddar and Caramelized Onion scones. Slather the warm jam on one of these guys for a heavenly little treat.
Chipotle Bacon Jam
adapted from Homesick Texan
I’ve provided a sweet-maple variation at the bottom for those who don’t like or can’t have things too spicy. It’s uses are just as varied as the chipotle version.
You can purchase the Chipotles in Adobo in the Mexican aisle of most grocery stores or specialty Latin stores. If you can’t find them, you can use ground chipotle peppers in a pinch.