Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

Several months ago my good friend Mia and her husband Branden moved to Texas. We decided it was best for me to come for a visit and experience Mia’s new found love – the city of Austin. I must say I have never been to a city quite a friendly as Austin. The people are warm and engaging, the food is amazing, the weather (in October mind you) is a perfect sunny day everyday. So far, I’m sold! Like myself, Mia has a love of the kitchen and impressing her guests with culinary delights whenever possible. She swears by anything Martha Stewart has put her name to and after flipping the pages of her latest publication we decided it was in our best interest to give this recipe a go. It’s a tad on the timely side, but well worth the wait. A great meal for an evening dinner party in the future chilly months ahead.

This recipe is copied from Martha Stewarts website here and I have added a few extra points* and my own pictures. (My drinking buddy below ;))

Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

For The Filling
4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups)
2 rosemary sprigs
1 pound cipollini onions, peeled

For The Topping
6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

*To remove the peel on the small cipollini  onions, cut off both ends and lightly score down the side. Place in a sieve and dip into boiling water for up to 30 seconds. Let them cool a few minutes and then carefully remove the skin. Set aside.*

Make the filling:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

Return meat to Dutch oven. Add stout and rosemary.

Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove Dutch oven from oven, and add cipollini onions. Braise until meat is tender and onions are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight mini (1-cup) pie plates, or transfer to a 12-inch (8-cup) gratin dish.

Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandoline). *Mia and I only used 3 potatoes, so I recommend only cutting up three and then more if you need to.* Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes for mini potpies (1 hour for large potpie).

Serve with a fresh salad and a chunk of French bread to soak up all the gravy!



Filed under Meats

Bruschetta Martini – TGIF

A few weekends ago – after a bottle of wine – a new friend and I dipped into her 40 of Vodka. We were discussing martinis and flavours we’d love to see in one and the Bruschetta was born. Maybe it’s been done before…  if it has I’ve never seen or tasted it. So we made one. It was awesome!! Seriously. If you like a savory or dirty martini give this baby a go…


3 small cherry tomatoes
3 basil leaves
red onion (optional)
2 ounces of Vodka
balsamic vinegar reduction
tomato and basil for garnish

I didn’t have the balsamic reduction so I used regular balsamic vinegar and rimmed it with salt. I do prefer the reduction with no salt.

Chop tomatoes and basil and onion (only if you like a little heat) and vodka and place in your shaker with lots ice. Shake it WELL. The shaking will muddle up the basil and tomatoes – giving the drink the Bruschetta flavour.  Rim glass with vinegar and salt or just balsamic reduction.

Pour into martini glass and garnish with tomato and basil.

Drink and enjoy! Yum!


Filed under Drinks

Hungarian Beef Paprikash

This is a super inexpensive meal, which is good as cash is a tad tight right now in our house (and apparently in a LOT of other homes as well) . Stewing beef costs next to nothing and same goes for potatoes and onions. If you are watching the waistline use a fat free sour cream. The creaminess is what makes this dish memorable. This recipe is easily doubled if you have a larger family. If you’re not a fan of potatoes, you can use rice or a broad type of pasta noodle. You could easily veganize this by substituting the beef with chopped portobello mushrooms and use a vegan sour cream… yum!

Hungarian Beef Paprikash


.5 kg or 1 lb stewing beef
1 large diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 or 2 chopped bell peppers (your choice of colour)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (sweet kind)
salt to taste
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth or water
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup sour cream

Finely chop your onion and saute in the oil until softened. This is important – REMOVE* the pot from the heat and add the paprika.

*I recently learned that Hungarians remove the pot from heat before they add paprika. It allows the flavor in the spice to come out without getting burnt.

Stir briefly (1 minute) and then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the broth/water. Return to heat.

Let this bubble a bit and then add the garlic and meat and salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon? more if you like da salt). Cook at medium heat and stir often to avoid sticking. Add more liquid if needed. Toss in the chopped bell pepper.

Combine part of the sour cream with the flour and mix well getting out all of the lumps – add to the rest of the sour cream and mix again. Add this to the sauce and let it simmer. Add remaining broth if it becomes too thick (like it a tad more runny so I add all the broth).

Serve over boiled potatoes, rice or a broad pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley and more sour cream if you like it extra creamy! ps. the leftovers are awesome…


Filed under Hungarian, Meats

Vegan Bacon – Coconut Bacon

I did not invent this but I just discovered it and it’s freaking AWESOME.

i just made a BLT sandwich with it and I can’t stop eating it off the cooking pan.

I found the recipe here and if you are a vegetarian or vegan definitely give this one a go. SO GOOD.

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Filed under Sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian

Sugar Free, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pudding Pie – SCD

Due to the fact that Vancouver switched off summer last week and turned on Autumn, I’ve started hunting the shelves of the store for pumpkin pie to no avail. I mean you can already get a Halloween costume and fruit cake so why not pumpkin pie? And no, I don’t have a Costco card. As I’ve mentioned before my father struggles with some serious health issues when it comes to what he’s able to eat (see previous post) and year after year my dad sits there at the Thanksgiving table watching as we all down our big slices of pumpkin pie. Sadly I watch him eat a bowl of plain yogurt and fruit and I must admit I’ve snuck him the odd bite or two when mum’s not looking.

My SCD carrot cake seems to be a big success when I see how many hits that recipe gets every day. I decided that I would try a decadent pumpkin pie for those of you out there struggling with SCD who are looking for something tasty in this upcoming season. This pie has a thick pudding like filling and a crispy almond crust. Enjoy!

Sugar Free, Gluten Free Pumpkin Pudding Pie – SCD


3/4 cup almond flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1 can of organic pumpkin puree
1/2 orange zest
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter softened
1 egg
1/2 cup honey or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Blend butter till smooth and creamy. Add honey and egg to butter and blend well.

Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl. In three parts SIFT in the mixture, blending in just till incorporated.

Add zucchini and pumpkin. This cake has a long bake time as it is quite dense. Put into a well greased 8 inch square pan, or grease round 9 inch cake pan. Bake 350 F for 45 to 60 min. Just keep checking as you don’t want it to go too dark on top. 55 minutes has worked for me.

After cake has cooled, with a fork and clean hands begin to break apart the cake into small crumbs. Mix it all around so the consistency is even. Set aside.

Gluten Free SCD Pie Crust


2 cups almond flour
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat you oven to 350 degrees.
Light mix egg, vanilla and honey. Add almond flour and then the melted butter.

Place into a pie plate and evenly press the crust around. Get it as even as possible and don’t spread it too thin on the upper crust as it will burn.

Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and let crust cool for 10 minutes.

Scoop pumpkin mix into the crust and softly spread it around and then press it down firmly with the backside of a spoon.

And that’s it! you could preheat it in the oven for 10-15 minutes covered with foil just before eating… I drizzled mine slice with a little honey. Delicious!

PS. This is my new cooking sidekick Jonah. She’s just over 5 months old now and loves watching me cook!


Filed under Desserts, SCD Gluten & Sugar Free

Banana Tarte

I had my old pal Chris over the other night and I decided to try this recipe out for dessert. It is originally from Jamie Oliver (whom I love) but I halved the recipe an added a little nutmeg. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I am new to using puff pastry (the frozen stuff from the store) but it is SO EASY to use. Do NOT be afraid. Make this… it’s so easy and tastes amazing.

Banana Tarte


5 tablespoons of sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
3 bananas sliced
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 pack of Tenderflake puff pastry (around 200g)
1/2 orange zest
flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
IF you remember – take puff pastry out and let it thaw well in advance. You also want to keep it cold. I have had great success with popping it in the microwave on defrost for like 15 seconds (maybe more depending on your microwave) and then popping it back into the freezer to firm up again before rolling it out).

On medium heat in a cast iron skillet melt butter and add sugar.

Let it sit until it goes golden brown and caramelized (5 mins and I gently stirred mine every minute).

Once done remove from heat, arrange sliced bananas and sprinkle with spices and orange zest.

Roll out cold puff pastry on a floured surface. Make it as round as you can and around an inch bigger than the pan. Lay over top and then tuck in edges. Try to get a bit of them under the bananas. Poke a few holes in the top and slide into the over for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and as SOON as possible grab a big enough plate, place over the top (with oven mits on) and flip the tarte onto the plate. If it sticks a bit you may have waited to long. Just pry off the bananas and rearange them back onto the tarte.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and another glass of whatever it is your having…


Filed under Desserts, Vegetarian

Dalyn’s Tomato Ragu – aka “Awesome Sauce”

Dalyn’s Tomato Ragu – aka “Awesome Sauce”

The best way to make your house smell amazing is NOT to hose it down with Febreze or incense… but put a crap load of olive oil into a pot on the stove and put the following ingredients into said pot. Anyone who can smell will walk into your house (like my good friend Lizz) and say “oh my god – it smells amazing in here! What IS that?” Here’s how to make that happen… But this recipe is NOT for the faint of heart. It takes an afternoon of dedication to make this one happen… are you up for it?

Dalyn’s Tomato Ragu – aka “Awesome Sauce”

3 pounds of tomatoes (i had 14 medium sized ones)
1 large onion
3 large carrots
3 celery stalks
10 cloves of garlic (yes 10)
1 cup shredded zucchini (optional)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 – 4 teaspoons kosher salt (more to taste)
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
5 sprigs of fresh basil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups white wine
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (store bought is fine)

In your food processor place the blade AND the grater on top. Throw in onion, carrots, celery, garlic (zucchini if you have it).

In a large pot or Dutch oven, line the bottom of the pot with at least 1/4 – 1/2  inch of olive oil (more is better). Rise to medium heat. When hot throw in the veggie puree, add 2 teaspoons of salt and saute for around 15 – 20 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar. Add thyme, oregano, pepper. Saute for 10 more minutes. Add white wine. Degalze for 10+ minutes.

Put a big pot of water on to boil. Core the tomatoes and score the bottoms (see pic) and place into boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds.

Remove and let cool. When cool enough – peel and puree in food processor…If you have a food mill or something that can remove the seeds – do it – if you don’t have one it’s ok.

Add tomato puree to pot and then add sugar and Parmesan cheese . Keep stirring and continue to simmer on low for around 2 hours. YES 2 HOURS. This is how you get an amazing tasting sauce…. the flavours come together amazingly. Oh and you have to go stir it every 15 minutes…
my friend called it ‘Awesome Sauce” (see her licking the bowl picture).
Takes a long time recipe – but SO WORTH IT.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian