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Breakfast Waffle Quesadillas

Breakfast Waffle Quesadillas



One of my favourite pieces of kitchen equipment is my waffle maker.  I have a heart shaped one that I use a lot, I also have one that does waffle fingers.  That one I use mostly for, well . . .  waffles, but the larger one, I use for all sorts.  A waffle maker is a very handy piece of kit to have!


Grilled sandwiches are really nice done in a waffle iron . . .  you get all of those lovely crispy crevices to enjoy.  I love crispy cheese.   You can do potato waffles in them, and all sorts.  Today I made breakfast quesadillas in them and they turned out fabulous!


They are really very easy to do.  First you scramble some eggs.  I like to add a bit of chopped onion and bell pepper to mine, both for colour and for flavour and crunch!


Next you will want some crisp streaky bacon, or you could even use sliced ham if bacon isn't your thing, or sliced cooked sausages . . . or you could leave meat out of them all together.


You  then just layer everything in your waffle iron  . . .  first a tortilla, and a bit of cheese.  I like to use a grated four cheese blend . . .


Top that with some of the scrambled egg and some slices of bacon and a generous portion of cheese, finally placing another tortilla on top . . .


Press your waffle iron shut, or as shut as you can get it.  It won't shut all the way, but that's okay.  You just want it shut enough to start toasting the tortillas and melting the cheese  . . .


Once they are done you can cut them into quarters and serve them with your favourite quesadilla toppings. Guacamole . . .  sour cream  . . .  tomato salsa . . . all work beautifully! 


*Breakfast Waffle Quesadillas*
Serves 4
I love stretching the limitations of my waffle maker and this is one of the most delicious ways yet!  Scrumptious! 

6 large free range eggs
60ml milk (1/4 cup)
4 TBS each finely chopped red, green and yellow pepper
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
salt, black pepper and pepper sauce to taste
180g grated four cheese blend (1 1/2 cups)
6 slices streaky bacon cooked
4 (8-inch wheat tortillas)
butter or cooking spray

To serve:
guacamole, sour cream, salsa, etc. as desired



Melt a knob of butter in a nonstick skillet.  Beat the eggs together with the milk, onions, peppers, salt, pepper and hot pepper sauce.  Scramble them in the non-stick skillet, until cooked through.

Brush one side of each tortilla with some butter or spritz with cooking spray.  Heat your waffle iron according to the manufacturers instructions.  Place one tortilla onto the bottom of the waffle iron, buttered side down. Top with a bit of cheese.  Spread half of the scrambled egg over top and lay 3 of the slices of streaky bacon on top.  Top with more cheese and another tortilla buttered side up.  Close the waffle iron and toast until golden and the cheese is melted.  Keep warm in the oven and repeat with the remaining ingredients. Cut both into quarters and serve with your favourite quesadilla toppings or fixings.

These are really, really good.  Crispy and delicious and very moreish.  I baked some hash brown wedges to go along with them.  This made for a really, really nice meal.  Great for a weekend breakfast when you want to pull the stops out a tiny bit!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
2 Comments
Dutch Apple Pie

Dutch Apple Pie



Todd is always wanting me to make him an Apple Pie.  I think Apple Pie is one of his favourite pies of all.  He had Mitzie to the dog groomer today and so I decided to bake him an apple pie as a surprise for when he got home!


I went for a Dutch Apple Pie.  He loves apple crumble as well and a Dutch Apple Pie ticks both of those boxes!   He is getting a double whammy of pleasure!


You will want to use a tart apple, not too sweet.  I used a Cox's Pippen, because that is what I had.  I also had Granny Smiths, but I felt they would not bake down properly in the time required.


They worked great.  I am not sure what the North American Equivalent would be, maybe  a Cortland.


You do have to keep an eye on it while it is baking. The crumb topping has a tendancy to burn if you don't watch it closely.  If you see it getting too brown, loosely top the pie with a sheet of foil.


The original recipe is one I clipped from Women's Day magazine back in the 1970's and it has always worked very well for me. 


I have seen some Dutch Apple Pie recipes which require the addition of raisins, and you could certainly do that in this case, but the original recipe doesn't call for that.  Also if your apples are really juicy, you may want to add a TBS of flour with the sugar when you toss them together.


My apples today were really juicy . . . .  you don't want a watery pie. The addition of a bit of flour helps to prevent this, but you be the judge.


This would be gorgeous served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. We had none, so it was enjoyed simply plain.  I know Todd was wishing I had custard for on top of his, but well . . .  he enjoyed it all the same!  Its not every day I bake him a pie!


*Dutch Apple Pie*
Serves 6 - 8
I believe this recipe hails from Pennsylvania Dutch country.  I have also seen it with raisins in the filling. Either way it is delicious with a juicy apple filling and a sweet crumble topping.


Filling:
2 pounds tart apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 tsp lemon juice
126g granulated white sugar (2/3 vup)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp each ground cardamom and grated nutmeg
dash ground cloves
pinch salt

For the topping:
125g softened butter (1/2 cup)
100g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)
140g plain flour (1 cup)

You will also need:
1 unbaked 9 inch pie shell
icing sugar to dust (optional)



Put the apples into a bowl and toss together with the sugar, spices, salt and lemon juice.  Set aside.

Cream the softened butter together with the brown sugar.  Add the flour and rub it in with your finger tips until you get a crumbly mixture with bits the size of small peas.

Take your pastry lined pie dish and  turn the apples into it.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the apples.  Place in the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes to set the crumbs.

While the pie is chilling preheat the oven to 225*C/425*F gas mark 7, and place a large baking sheet in the oven to heat.  (I like mine with foil for easier clean up.)

Place the chilled pie on top of the heated baking sheet and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the apples are tender and the crumbs are golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  Dust generously with icing sugar before serving if desired.

*Standard Pastry for Single Crust Pie*
Makes one 8 or 9-inch crust 

156g plain flour (1 cup plus 2 TBS)
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBS all vegetable shortening
2 1/2 to 3 TBS ice water

Sift the flour into a bowl with the salt.  Drop in the shortening and then cut it in using two round bladed knives or a pastry blender, until it looks like coarse meal.  Add the water, 1 TBS at a time, stirring it in with a fork, lightly, until the flour is moistened and the dough barely clings together.  Gather the dough into a ball and pat flat into a disc.  Roll out on a lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. (1 1/2 inch larger in diameter of the inverted tin, if using a 9 inch pie tin, and 2 inches larger if using an 8 inch pie tin).  Transfer to a pie tin.  Leave an 1/2 inch over hang and trim. Fold under and flute the edge all the way around, proceed as per recipe.

Note - if you are using this for a recipe which requires a pre-baked crust, prick all over with a fork. Bake at 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.



This is a mighty fine pie.  If you like apple pies and you like apple crumble, then you will quite simply love this!  Bon Appetit!





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Marie Rayner
4 Comments
Almond Cake

Almond Cake



I've had enough Christmas Cake.  I can't really eat Christmas Cake anyways, except for a tiny bite now and then . . .  Today I wanted cake.   I love almonds and so I decided to make my favourite Almond Cake.


This is a basic every day cake chock full of lovely almond flavours . . .  moist, dense and buttery . . .


The batter is an almost equal mix of self raising flour and ground almonds (almond meal) along with the flavors of both vanilla and almond extracts.


More almond flavour, and a lovely crunch, comes from the sprinkling of coarsely chopped almonds which you sprinkle on top of the batter prior to baking . . .


The cake is so moist and delicious that no icing or frosting is needed, but a drizzle of dark chocolate  really sets it off perfectly.  I drizzled it back and forth in one direction first and then did it again in the other direction. 


I thought it looked really, really nice.  Very tempting . . .


I use these cake tin liners, something like muffin or cupcake liners, except they are the size of a cake tin.  They work wonderfully, without the trouble of having to measure and cut.  I have them in three sizes.  8-inch 9 inch and then loaf tin sized.  They do leave lines on the sides of the cake, but for a cake like this, lines down the side don't really matter that much.


In fact I think they add to the attractiveness of it and actually provide lovely little crevices to grab any icing, or chocolate drizzle or whatever happens to float down the sides . . .


Mmmm . . .  next to a Victoria Sponge, this is my absolute favourite cake.  Truly.


*Almond Cake*
 one 8-inch round cake
cuts into 8 slices 


 
A great every day cake, moist and dense with lots of almond flavour. 

225g butter (1 cup) softened
225g caster sugar (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
3 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
140g self raising flour (1 cup)
175g ground almonds (2 cups)
50g whole blanched almonds, coarsely chopped (scant 1/3 cup)
25g dark chcocolate (1 ounce)



Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2.   Butter an 8 inch round deep cake tin and line with baking paper. 


Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat together the eggs and extracts.  Gradually beat this into the butter/sugar mixture.  Sift the flour into the bowl.  Stir into the batter along with the ground almonds.  Mix until smooth.  Spoon into the prepared cake tin, smoothing the top.  Scatter the chopped almonds on top. 


Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden, well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely. 


Break up the chocolate and melt in a glass bowl over gently simmering water, until smooth and free of lumps.  Drizzle over top of the cooled cake and allow to set before cutting into slices to serve.



This cake would be perfectly happy on any tea table.  I think you are going to love this one.  I really do.  Its delicious.  Its simple.  Its just a great, great all-rounder!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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Copycat Swiss Chalet BBQ Sauce

Copycat Swiss Chalet BBQ Sauce



One eatery place I always enjoyed dining at when I lived in Canada was a restaurant called Swiss Chalet.  The Menu is based on its signature Rotisserie Chicken with is served along with sides and its special BBQ sauce.  Back in the day it was pretty much the only place you could get a rotisserie chicken, but of course they are really common place now with most shops selling them ready cooked and so convenient for bringing home and enjoying in the comforts of your own little house.


Their BBQ Sauce is pretty amazing however and was always my favourite part.  They used to sell packages of the  mix in the grocery store that you could make your own at home with also.  It never quite tasted the same as the stuff in the restaurant though (what does?) but it was close. 


So delicious for dipping your chicken in and your french fries/chips.  A number of years back they ran a contest in the Toronto Star Newspaper to see if anyone could come up with a copycat recipe for the sauce and this sauce I am showing you today is the winner.  I believe it was attributed to home economist Kay Spicer.  In any case, I copied it down into my Big Blue Binder and have been making it ever since.


The original recipe called for poultry seasoning, which is not something we can get over here in the UK, so I have adapted the recipe to use what I believe if a fair substitute.  In any case it tastes about the same!


It is quite a lengthy list of ingredients, but once you get them all assembled, the recipe goes together very quickly and I have to say it is very close to the original, if not better.  Todd just loves this, and so do I.


*Swiss Chalet Copycat BBQ Sauce*
Makes about 750ml (3 1/4 cups) 

I make this whenever I get homesick for Swiss Chalet Chicken. This is a recipe which appeared in the Toronto Star many years ago.  It is delicious. It is recommended that you use 1/3 of the sauce to baste the chicken with while cooking and the remainder for dipping at the table. From my Big Blue Binder.It looks like a lot of ingredients, but if you assemble it ahead of time the sauce goes together very quickly.  

710ml water (3 cups)
60ml tomato juice (1/4 cup)
1 chicken stock pot (cube)
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1 TBS granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp mustard powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp dried sage
1/8 tsp dried marjoram
pinch ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf, broken
3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
6 drops Tabasco hot pepper sauce
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 TBS cornflour (corn starch)
1 1/2 TBS water
1 TBS butter



Measure the water and tomato juice into a medium saucepan.  Add the stock pot.  Mix together the sugar, salt, basil, parsley, thyme, ginger, mustard powder, onion powder, sage, marjoram and nutmeg.  Whisk this into the saucepan along with the Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco. Add the Bay leaf.  Bring to the boil, whisking constantly to combine, then reduce to a simmer and simmer over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.  Whisk together the cornflour and water.  Remove the bay leaf from the sauce and then stir in the lemon juice.  Whisk in the cornflour mixture, whisking constantly, for several minutes until the mixture boils and thickens.  Whisk in the butter.  Cook for a further two minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning as required.  Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.


I really highly recommend that you make this sauce the next time you bring home a rotisserie chicken, or when you go to cook a chicken yourself. You will be so glad that you did.  I guarantee!  Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
4 Comments
Dublin Coddle

Dublin Coddle



One place I haven't yet managed to visit yet since I moved over here to the UK, is the Republic of Ireland, which is what the Southern most part of Ireland is called.  A country in its own right it is not a part of the United Kingom, like Northern Ireland is and Dublin is it's capital.  It is on my bucket list however and God willing one day I will get there!


This dish today is a traditional Irish dish from the Republic, and in particular the capital. Dublin coddle, a warming meal of sausages and potatoes, dates back to the 1700s and is traditionally thought of as a city dish which would be eaten in the winter months.


It is said that an Irish wife could go to bed and leave it simmering on the stove for hours so that it might be ready when her husband arrived home from the pub and wanting his dinner.  Historically the dish is also a way of using up all the rashers of bacon and sausages on Thursday night before Friday, which in the Catholic faith the eating of meat is forbidden.



While researching this dish, I came across quite a few versions.  Some just included potatoes, onions, bacon and sausage.  Others included other vegetables like carrots, and some had the inclusion of barley.  One thing they all had in common was the cooking of it in a pot on top of the stove.


I chose to cook my bacon and sausage first so that they were nicely browned.  This was a visual thing, and for no other reason. I don't find the sight of unbrowned sausage or bacon very appealing to the appetite!  You don't need to cook them all the way through, just so they are golden.


The barley makes a lovely almost nutty addition.  You will want to check the stock levels as you are simmering it on top of the stove however.  You will not want the pan to boil dry and the contents to catch.  I added a few herbs and the end result was fabulously delicious!


*Dublin Coddle*
Serves 4

 
A Coddle is a traditional Irish dish usually associated with the city of Dublin. Hearty and delicious it is a stew-type of dish created with good pork sausages, salty bacon, pearl barley, onions, potatoes and herbs. 

1 large onion, peeled and chopped
100g pearl barley (about 9 TBS)
6 rashers of streaky bacon
8 large thick good quality butchers sausages
2 - 3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/3 inch thick slices
500ml chicken stock (scant 2 1/4 cups)
1 bay leaf
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp savoury
a generous knob of butter
Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Crusty bread to serve




Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Place the sausages and bacon on a baking tray.  Cook them in the oven for 10 minutes or so until the bacon has started to crisp up and the sausages are coloured.  Remove and drain on paper toweling.


Take a medium flame proof casserole dish with a lid. (I use my enamel iron one).  Place the chopped onion in the bottom of the dish.  Top with the pearl barley.  Place the bay leaf on top. Cut up the bacon into squares and place over top of that and then the sausages over top of the bacon. Finish with a layer of potatoes.  Pour the chicken stock over top and then sprinkle with salt, pepper, savoury and thyme.  Cover and then bring to the boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, over low heat for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the lid and dot with butter.


Place, uncovered into the heated oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are golden.   Serve ladled into deep bowls, scattered with fresh parsley and with crusty bread on the side.



This was perfect for a cold Winter's day and a most delicious way to use up some sausages in my refrigerator that needed using up.  Todd really enjoyed this.  I wager any man will.  It's hearty and satisfying and very tasty!  They say a glass of cold Guiness goes very well.  Ithe Shona! 





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Marie Rayner
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