Saturday, September 19, 2015


Bruschetta is a tasty Italian appetizer or snack.  It is traditionally made by piling ripe tomatoes onto toasted garlic bread.

Prep time:  40 minutes
Cook time:  5 minutes
Serves 2

4 x 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices Italian style bread, such as ciabatta
3 medium-sized ripe tomatoes
1 tbsp. olive oil
6 basil leaves
1 clove garlic, peeled

cutting board
metal spoon
grill pan

1.  Halve and seed the tomatoes.  Press the seeds through a sieve over a bowl, then discard the seeds.  Dice the tomatoes and add to the bowl.

2.  Add the olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.  Let stand for 30 minutes.  Roll up the basil leaves, hop finely, then add to the mixture.

3.  Toast the bread on both sides, preferably in a grill pan to create dark lines, or under a preheated broiler.

4.  Rub the warm bread with the clove of garlic.  Place each piece of bread on a plate and heap with the tomato mixture.

Tip:  Try adding some torn mozzarella, which can also be lightly toasted under a broiler.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Onions and leeks are great for adding flavor to savory meals.  They also contain vitamins and minerals that will help keep your heart healthy.

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  20 minutes
Serves:  4

4 tbsp. butter
4 leeks, trimmed and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium potatoes, chopped
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
small bunch of tarragon, chopped
1 cup milk
salt and pepper
creme fraiche or sour cream

cutting board
sharp knife
wooden spoon

1.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the onion and leeks.  Cook gently for about 5-7 minutes, until the onion and leeks are softened.

2.  Add the potatoes and stock.  Cook for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

3.  Stir in the tarragon.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  It is dangerous to blend a soup when it is hot because the heat will force the lid off the blender.

4.  Pour the cold mixture into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Reheat with the milk in a saucepan to make soup.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with creme fraiche. 

Monday, September 7, 2015


This wholesome, warming soup is perfect for a cold day.  It's made from roasted butternut squash but you can use pumpkin instead if you prefer.

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  40 minutes
Serves:  4

2 lb (1 kg) butternut squash
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cups hot vegetable stock
2 tbsp honey

To serve:
Gruyere or Swiss cheese
freshly chopped parsley

vegetable peeler
baking sheet
wooden spoon
food processor
large saucepan

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F (200*C).  Cut the butternjut squash in half lengthwise, then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and pith.

2.  Cut into large chunks, then, using a peeler, remove the skin.  Cut the chunks into  1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes.

3.  Place on a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, then drizzle the oil on top.  Roast for 20 minutes; remove from the oven.

4.  Add the onion and stir.  Return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool a little.

5.  Place the butternut squash and onion in a food processor with half of the stock.  Blend until smooth.

6.  Place the paste in a saucepan with the remaining stock and honey.  Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.  Serve with slices of toasted baguette, cheese and parsley.

Saturday, September 5, 2015



Soup is a comforting meal or snack and it makes an easy appetizer to a main meal.  This soup is wonderfully thick and creamy and is topped with small pieces of toast, called croutons.

Prep  time:  20 minutes
Cooking time:  35 minutes
Serves:  2-4

1 small onion
1 small carrot
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tbsp. all purpose flour
14 oz. (400g) can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (optional)
2 cups vegetable stock
a pinch of sugar
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 thick slices of bread
salt and pepper

sharp knife
cutting board
medium saucepan
wooden spatula
cookie cutters
bread knife
non-stick baking sheet
oven mitts

1.  Peel and chop the onion and carrot.  Preheat the oven to 425*F (220*C).  Heat half the olive oil in the saucepan over medium heat.

2.  Add the onion and carrot and cook for about 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the garlic and flour and cook the mixture for 1 minute.

3.  Add the tomatoes, paste, thyme, stock, sugar, and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and cool.

4.  While the soup is cooking, use cookie cutters to cut out shapes for the croutons.  Scatter the bread on the baking sheet, drizzle over the remaining olive oil.

5.  Use your hands to coat the bread in the oil and season.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until crisp and golden.  Turn after about 4 minutes for even cooking.

6.  Ladle the cool soup into the blender and blend until smooth.  Reheat in a saucepan, then ladle into bowls.  Serve with the croutons on top.