Links

Monday, December 15, 2014

Biscotti



Christmas is almost here! And we are all crazy busy now with the shopping, wrapping, partying, cooking and baking. There must be time to make cookies!

One of our favourite cookies to make for Christmas are Biscotti. They are a wonderful Christmas treat at anytime of the day. Dipped in your coffee, they slowly disappear. But they will last a little longer than anything else as kids do not really like them. Unless you show them a trick of dipping them in warm milk- but I do not recommend it if you want to keep your cookies.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Rush And Mexican Wedding Cookies






Christmas is almost here and we are all starting to feel the rush of excitement in the air. We are planning, buying gifts, making cookies, deciding what to prepare for Christmas dinner, getting anxious in the stores and in parking lots. Relax. I am sure you are buying the right toys for your kids. And you are not missing anyone from your list. Unless you are a Christmas Eve shopper- then good luck.



Christmas. One the early memories from Poland was the same feeling of excitement I have these days when I shop for gifts. I was grown up enough to go out on my own and buy presents for my family. I must have been in high school already and capitalism was doing just well in our country. The chill in the air, the Christmas music, the big Christmas tree in the market square and the search for the right gift in the stores were so much fun. One of the stores I remember really strongly is the Chocolate store that sold nothing else, but chocolate in every possible form. Truffles, chocolate candy, chocolate bars with fillings, nuts, fruit. Chocolate ornaments, chocolate Santas, different shapes, sizes and flavours. That smell was one to remember. Long gone were the days of cherishing chocolate, eating a little piece of it everyday because no one knew when we would be able to buy or receive another one. When all the chocolate was gone we kept the silver with the wrapper and when chocolate was nowhere in sight I would have to satisfy the craving by smelling it. I still remember this sweet milk chocolate paper smell with hazelnutty background. Maybe that is the reason I cannot eat a whole chocolate in one sitting. It is so much better when you savour it. Another store I strongly remember was a regular grocery store with tropical fruits. These were a novelty and it was pretty cool to buy a pineapple or a mango as a gift. Oranges were the only tropical fruit available during communism and usually only around Christmas time. I also would buy newly imported coffee from Germany. Still today the best coffee I drink and always have at home is from Germany - Jacobs. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Cookery

"Don't be afraid, your time will come, you are the beginning of everything"
Mela Koteluk (Polish Singer)

This post is dedicated to my Dear Friend- Magda H.


 


Time is so precious. We all need and want to stop, feel inspired, laugh, enjoy the best things that are available to us in this world. We want them now and fast because we are young and time flies. Isn't it funny that when we have the most energy and desire to do, see, feel, love and everything else, we also have the least time on our hands. This is where our lives peak. This is when we put our energy and love into nurturing, creating, running, loving, doing everything except for stopping. Time flies and sometimes I miss the slower moments from my youth when time was abundant and our minds were free to choose instead of being jammed up with all the commercial and material junk these days. It is hard to find time for many things, but once in a while we should stop and make time for friends, food and to reflect on what is really important to us. 






I was able to enjoy time with friends over some delicious food two weeks ago at the wonderful place called The Cookery, where we celebrated my birthday. It was a wonderful idea and gift from my friend Magda- and it was one of the best birthday gifts yet- thank you Magda! Cookery is a brand new store that was created for those who love to cook, eat and enjoy anything food related. The place is very new yet wildly popular. I hope I am going to make it even more popular by telling all my friends about it. It is in my old neighbourhood of Roncesvalles, which I miss dearly. 




The Cookery hosts all kinds of cooking classes that include hands on or demonstration. While learning  you can enjoy the much needed friend time where people can bond and share food related experiences (and not only!). The store carries anything you might desire for your kitchen or as a gift, so make sure to stop by before Christmas! But best of all you can learn how to cook in order to throw fabulous dinner parties and of course to make your family and friends very happy!

The store lures us with an amazing design and warm lighting. At the back of the store a tiny kitchen is visible with a table that sits comfortably 6-7 people and the chef. Quiet music, elegant and tasteful decor, the neighbourhood and people walking by on the street make you feel as if you were in New York. The ambiance and warmth combined with the smell of the food cooking away transport you to a warm, happy and quiet place where you can relax.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter's Night Chilli




Days have been crazy recently. It takes me several days to put away the laundry and when I finally do I have another load to do! I have time to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for my girls and husband but I eat on the run myself and I am very rarely able to sit down to have breakfast, dinner, read something or watch unless it is after 10 pm.  I do not enjoy food eaten in a rush. We are all guilty of eating too fast and not celebrating the food. That is why sometimes I stop and try to really saveur the food that I cooked. And today's dinner was delicious and worth stopping everything for it! A heartwarming chilli with some quesadillas and a quick salad. Delicious!

When days are getting colder most of us crave comforting foods such as piping hot oatmeal, hearty soups, stews and steaming hot apple pies. A dish that I crave quite frequently in cold weather is chilli. I have never heard of it before coming to Canada. The first time I ate it, I remember nothing spectacular- it was a simple meat-bean-tomato stew with very little flavour. After becoming a little more adventurous in cooking I started to like this dish more and more until I finally cooked it in a way that I love. First of all I use turkey, a leaner and healthier meat. Then I add the Mexican chilli powder that has a gorgeous depth in its flavour. I add bacon, because bacon makes everything better. And for a special kick and something to make my chilli unique I add a tenderly spicy poblano pepper. Yum, yum and yum!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Celebrating Life Of Our Ancestors With Pan De Muerto

"The ground on which we stand is a sacred ground. It is the blood and dust of our ancestors."
   
                                    Chief Plenty Coups, Crow




Halloween in North American culture is a product of commercialism and focuses on costumes, scary decorations and children trick and treating to collect candy. It is definitely an event like no other but somehow I do not feel any spiritual connection to the actual holiday it should represent- to remember the dead ones.




In Poland we observe All Saints Day, which is November 1st and it is a statutory holiday. We visit the graves of our family members and take time to remember them and pray. We light the candles, more than usually and we go back to the graveyards again late in the evening. The sky lights up with the glow of the candles and the cemetery looks beautiful as if life after death was not scary or dark and lonely, but warm, bright and close to those we love. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Down the Memory Lane Pineapple Upside Down Cake






It is getting pretty chilly outside and Jamie Oliver could not have picked a better time for the release of his new book titled Comfort Food. As it gets colder most of us tend to hide inside, covered with warm blankets, curled up on the couches while sipping hot chocolate, sweet ciders or spiced up mulled wine or one of my favourites- warm beer with spices and honey. 

Yum! It is a sad moment whenever I put away all the summer clothes. In winter it always seems like hours before we are all able to be ready and dressed to go outside. November and December are still pleasant as there is lots of excitement because of Christmas of course. But the rest of Winter is pretty miserable. January can hit really hard with crazy low temperatures and never ending snow storms. That is why we should all escape to warm climates and for the rest of those dark weekends we need to pick up Jamie's book and cook up heart warming meals for our friends and family. Lots of delicious food and lots of wine will help us get through this winter.






One of the first recipes I cooked from his book was a sweet one as I had some pineapple on hand and needed to use it immediately. I had two, actually, and I managed to use it up making naan bread Hawaiian pizza, pork with pineapple and finally this cake.


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Thanksgiving Feast



The time has come to cook the turkey yet again. It is the only time of the year that we venture out and take on this Canadian tradition in our Polish-Mexican household. We celebrated the Mexican Independence Day few weeks ago, Christmas is all about Polish food and Thanksgiving is as traditional as it gets.

I have to say and I do not want to brag about it but I am pretty proud of myself that at 35 I can throw a pretty delicious Thanksgiving party and for the last 4 years I have. While most people are afraid of cooking the turkey I embrace the process and would be happy to teach anyone willing to learn. The first Thanksgiving I cooked brought on comments such as - This is so much better than my mom's from some friends and I stole the heart of my husband with the pumpkin cheesecake. It also took me 4 years to perfect this menu and the stuffing, turkey and all the sides are always so good I do not dare to make anything else anymore. This year however, since we have been invited to dinner two nights in a row I will not be throwing this feast ( which makes me exceptionally happy because my two girls are so active I do not have much energy to host a party this year) with the exception of brussel sprouts, squash and the cheesecake to bring for the host. So please be my guest and enjoy with your eyes but also cook your heart out!