Buttermilk Apple Cake

apple cake - trustinkim

Some of the things I enjoyed about this recipe:

  • the hint of lemon
  • the slight crunch of the turbinado sugar topping
  • it’s still delicious on day 4
  • you can make a design with the apples

I found this recipe here. I just used a different type of apple, and changed the kind of sugar called for.

What you need:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, which I used)
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to milk as a substitute)
  • 4 small apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1 & 1/2-cm thick slices (I used Gala apples)
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
What you do:
  1. Butter and then flour (or spray) a 9-inch springform cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until is is light and fluffy again, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in another bowl, and on low speed mix half of it into the batter.
  4. Mix in all the buttermilk.
  5. Mix in the remainder of the dry ingredients.
  6.  Pour the batter into the springform pan, spreading it to the edges using a spatula.
  7. Arrange the apples on top of the batter, pushing them down slightly. Sprinkle the top with some turbinado sugar and a light dusting of nutmeg.
  8. Place the filled springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes (mine was done on the early side). When a toothpick is inserted into the cake it should come out with a few crumbs attached.
  9. Allow the cake to cool for a few minutes, then remove the springform ring and allow the cake to cool.
  10. When the cake has cooled completely you can store it in an airtight container for several days.

Lamb, Root Vegetable and Mushroom Stew

lamb, root vegetable and mushroom stew - trustinkim

The other day, in the middle of a bleak, grey Vancouver winter week, I needed to make something warm and comforting. And since I love lamb, this seemed the perfect thing to make. If you don’t love lamb, you could substitute beef.

I really enjoyed the variety of vegetables in this stew. Ass well, a rich broth was created using red wine and beef broth, with the lamb, vegetables and herbs adding flavour. You can use any root vegetables you wish, or just go with the ones I’ve listed in the ingredients.

I found the recipe on this site. It was posted as a pressure cooker recipe, but since I don’t have a pressure cooker, I made it using the slower stove-top method. I know that a lot of people got Instapots for Christmas this year, so this would be a suitable recipe to use that.

In the original recipe Herbes de Provence are used, but I prefer to make my own mix. One reason is that I already have all the herbs that I need to go into it, so I don’t want to buy yet another jar for my spice drawer. As well, I think lavender makes a great sachet to put in the dryer, or to keep clothing drawers smelling fresh –  but I really don’t like to eat lavender. So I made my recipe sans lavender. It has thyme, oregano, and tarragon, and there is already a spring of rosemary in the stew, so I didn’t put in more of that.

Serves at least 4 people with some bread, or on top of mashed potatoes.

What you need:

  • 1/2 kg / 1 pound lamb, cubed
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a few grinds of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh tarragon
  • 1 cup red pearl onions or 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms quartered 
  • 4 cups root vegetables cubed- I used  a little bit each of carrot, potato, parsnip, sweet potato and turnip
  • several grinds sea salt and pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Place the flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed lamb and toss until all the pieces are coated. Remove the lamb from the bowl, discarding the remainder of the flour.
  2. Heat a large French oven or pot to medium high heat and pour in the olive oil. Add the lamb to the pot, along with the shallot and garlic, cooking the lamb until it has browned all over.
  3. Pour the wine and broth into the pot with the lamb, along with the rosemary, bay leaves, thyme, oregano and tarragon. Bring to a boil and cook without a lid on for 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring from time to time. The lamb should be tender at the end of this cooking time.
  4. Before the lamb cooking time is done, prepare the vegetables. If you are using the pearl onions, blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds, snip off the root end, and pop the onions out of their skins.
  5. When the lamb is tender, add the vegetables to the pot and cook for about 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  6. Taste before adding pepper, and possibly some salt. If you used a store-bought beef broth you may not need to add salt. If you like you can garnish with a little parsley.
  7. This makes excellent leftovers, and is possibly even better when reheated.

Cinnamon Curry Roasted Chicken with Tomato Yogurt Sauce

Cinnamon Curry Roasted Chicken with Tomato Yogurt Sauce - trustinkim
This one’s a keeper! For the perfect dinner for four I added some potatoes to the roasting dish, and then served it with the most amazing date and almond spinach salad.
I was skeptical at first when I saw cinnamon in the recipe, because that’s something I’ve never had with chicken, but I’m so glad I took the risk and made this one. Paired with the yogurt sauce it is really a delicious combo.
What you need for the chicken:
  • 1 (4-pound/ 1.8 kg) roasting chicken
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head garlic cloves separated and unpeeled, plus 6 peeled cloves
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 shallots, unpeeled and quartered
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 1 cup chicken broth
What you need for the sauce:
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side up on a rack in a roasting pan. If you don’t have a rack you can place some carrots under the chicken to raise it up.
  2. Combine the cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cardamom pods in a small frying pan. Over medium heat toast the spices, swirling the spices around for about 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then grind with a mortar and pestle or in a grinder. Mix with the curry powder, cinnamon and red pepper flakes.
  3. Chop the 6 cloves of peeled garlic finely and combine it with the ginger and olive oil, then rub this mixture all over the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, then sprinkle on the spice mixture.
  4. Place the unpeeled garlic, shallot quarters, and cinnamon sticks inside the chicken cavity, then tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
  5. Place the chicken in the oven and set a timer for 30 minutes.
  6. If you are making potatoes, place them around the chicken about 20 minutes into the roasting time, and drizzle them with olive oil.
  7. At the 30 minute mark, baste the chicken with half of the broth.
  8. Roast for 20 minutes more, then baste with the remaining broth.
  9. Continue to roast the chicken for about 20 more minutes, until the juices run clear when the leg joint it pierced with a knife. If you have a meat thermometer, it should read 165F/ 74C. My chicken cooked very quickly, so I recommend checking it earlier than you think you might need to. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest while you prepare the sauce. Salt and pepper the potatoes, then place them in a serving dish. Cover to keep warm.
  10. Separate the fat from the pan juices, discarding the fat. Place the pan juices in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Reduce the heat, then whisk in the yogurt. It may curdle, so you can press the sauce through a sieve if this happens. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the tomatoes and cilantro, setting some of these aside to garnish with if you wish.
  11. Serve with the sauce on the side. When I served this people found the sauce made a very nice topping for the potatoes too.




Baby Spinach Salad with Dates, Almonds and Toasted Pita

Ottolenghi baby spinach salad with dates and almonds - trustinkim

This is SUCH a great salad! In my cookbook library is a copy of the amazing Jerusalem cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi, which contains this recipe, but I didn’t think to make it until I saw rave reviews online. So many people were commenting that this was their favourite salad, and now I know what they are talking about. It is my new favourite salad, and I can hardly wait to make it again.

I love the buttery toasted almonds and pita tossed in sumac. The onions (I used red because they are pretty) that are nicely mellowed in a vinegar marinade, along with the dates which become meltingly delicious, and their sweetness is balanced by the onion and vinegar.

I served this with the most delicious Cinnamon Curry Roast Chicken and potatoes. It was plenty of food for four people.

What you need:

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100g pitted Medjool dates (about 5), quartered lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 small pitas, roughly torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 150g baby spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Place the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl, adding a pinch of salt. Mix well with your hands, then leave to marinate for 20 minutes or more. Drain the extra vinegar
  2. In a frying pan over medium heat melt the butter and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pita and almonds, stirring to cook them for 5 to 6 minutes. The pita should become crunchy and brown. Remove the pan from the heat and toss in the sumac, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Let this cool.
  3. To prepare the salad toss the spinach with the pita in a large bowl, then add the dates and onion, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Serve right away!



Chewy Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies (or Chocolate Chip)

Butterscotch and Chocolate Chip Cookies - trustinkim

Recently I had a request to bake some chewy butterscotch oatmeal cookies, a favourite of his from childhood. Now . . . I don’t actually like butterscotch chips . . . so I made a few cookies with chocolate chips instead (smart, huh?). They were all really delicious (to different people, depending on their feelings about butterscotch chips), and my apartment smelled amazing for a few days, thanks to those butterscotch chips.

Since I have this thing against butterscotch chips I figured I should at least get the best ones I could find. Most stores sell the typical (waxy) Hershey’s, Nestles, or store brand (but if you actually like butterscotch chips I’m sure these are just fine), so I had to do quite a search for a store in Vancouver that sold some of a higher quality. I was able to find Guittard butterscotch chips at the Gourmet Warehouse. Pretty much anything you need for baking can be found there – and they do online orders too!

The original recipe is from this website. It was written as a plain oatmeal cookie recipe, so I just added the chips to it and omitted the cinnamon. I made one mistake when I was mixing my dough – I used 1/2 a cup of white sugar instead of 1/4 cup. Normally I try to use less sugar, but these were perfect this way, so I won’t mess around with the sugar amount in this version of the recipe.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, almost melted
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 & 1/2 cup quick rolled oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup butterscotch or chocolate chips
What you do:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat the butter until it is almost all melted, then pour it into a large bowl with the sugars.  Beat for 2-3 minutes, until it is nice and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla and molasses and mix just until combined.
  4. Add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, again mixing until  just combined. Mix in the chips, if you are using them.
  5. Scoop the dough using a medium cookie scoop (1 & 1/2 tablespoons) and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some room for them to spread.
  6. Bake for about 9 minutes, until the cookies are lightly browned, making a cookie that is still doughy in the middle.
  7. Leave on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. But . . . you will want to taste one while they are still warm . . .


cookie monster - trustinkim

This cookie monster stole a cookie

Green Thai Curry Chicken with Eggplant, Red Peppers and Cauliflower

green thai cury chicken - trustinkim

Your home will smell amazing while you are making this.
This is a recipe for Thai-style chicken that is cooked in a beautifully aromatic coconut curry, along with roasted vegetables. To the eggplant and red pepper I added cauliflower for my version, because I like to jam as many veggies in as possible. Feel free to substitute your favourite vegetables for any of these. I served this on jasmine rice.
This recipe was found in the cookbook Whitewater Cooks with Passion by Shelly Adams.

If you have trouble finding lemongrass that isn’t dried out or woody, here’s a product that you might be interested in. It’s lemongrass in a tube, made by Gourmet Garden. So until I can extend our summer growing season in Vancouver and grow it in my garden, I’ll be using this product. I plan to freeze portions of it so that it extends its shelf life.

What you need:

  • 1/2 cup green curry paste (but I used yellow)
  • 400 ml can of coconut milk (not light)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves (or the zest of a lime, which I used)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut in thirds and bruised (or 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste)
  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 long Japanese eggplant, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced mini cucumbers
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime

What you do:

  1. Combine the curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves and lemongrass in ovenproof baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Rub the chicken on all sides with salt, then place it in the  sauce in the baking dish with the skin facing up. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 1 hour.
  3. Prepare rice if you are using it.
  4. Remove the lid from the chicken dish and bake for 30 minutes, until the chicken skin is browned and crispy.
  5. Meanwhile, on a baking pan, toss the eggplant, cauliflower and red peppers with olive oil. Roast in the oven for the last 30 minutes with the chicken.
  6. Arrange the roasted vegetables around the chicken on a serving dish. Garnish with the cucumbers and cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over the dish and serve.

Chicken and Black Bean Chowder

black bean and chicken chowder - trustinkim

Soups, stews and chowders are the perfect winter food, although I love them all year round. Here’s an easy chowder recipe that I’ve been using as a main dish. It’s hearty enough to leave you satisfied on its own, but you could always add a slice of bread, or the tortillas that the recipe mentions.

I found the recipe on the Jamie Oliver website. The only changes I made were to use canned corn, to rinse the black beans before adding them, and serving with a dollop of yogurt. A number of people commented on the Jamie Oliver website that their soup was grey, so I think rinsing the beans first helped to avoid that.

This made quite a large batch, which was excellent for leftover lunches for several days.

What you need:

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro stems
  • olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks of celery, sliced
  • 250 g cooked chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 400 g tin of black beans, rinsed
  • 750 ml organic chicken stock  (or water and chicken bouillon)
  • 1 fresh corn on the cob or 1 can Peaches and Cream corn
  • 1 bay leaf

For serving:

  • cilantro greens
  • Plain yogurt (optional)
  • 2 corn tortillas (optional)
  • 1 lemon

What you do:

  1. If you need to cook the chicken breast, flatten it a bit first by pounding it with a mallet, rolling pin or heavy frying pan. This will help it to cook uniformly, and you won’t have dried out or raw bits. Add a little olive oil to a frying pan, then add the salted chicken breast, sprinkling on a little chili powder if you want. Let it cook a few minutes per side until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pick the cilantro leaves and set aside for garnishing. Finely slice the stalks. Peel and  chop the onion and garlic, slice the celery finely.
  3. Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saucepan and place it over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and cilantro stalks, then sauté for about 10 minutes. The vegetables should soften but not brown.
  4. Add the cumin and cayenne to the pan and fry for about a minute. Add the black beans, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut or shred the chicken breast and add it to the pot. Cut the corn kernels from the cob or use the corn from the can along with its liquid, and stir into the chowder. Allow to simmer for about 5 more minutes.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the lemon juice. Serve with optional tortillas and a dollop of yogurt, and sprinkle with the cilantro leaves.