Radiccio-Freshwater Shrimp Wraps with Ponzu-Fried Onion Sauce

Radiccio-Fresh Water Shrimp Wraps with Ponzu & Fried Onion Dipping Sauce
Time: 30 minutes (approx.)
Effort: Easy (but you need to have patience!)
Serves: 2 (makes 4 wraps each)

8 radiccio leaves
8 freshwater shrimp with tails on (sold at most Asian grocery stores - usually in the freezer section) (See photo below)
1/4 of an 8 oz cream cheese package, chilled and cut into 8 strips
8 sprigs of Mache salad leaves
8 sprigs of watercress
1 oz Wasabi (premixed)
1 sheet of Nori (seaweed) cut into 8 strips
Warm water
1/2 cup Ponzu sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Oriental fried onions

  1. Combine the Ponzu sauce with the lemon juice and fried onions. Refrigerate.
  2. Place all your ingredients in small bowls or on plates to get ready to wrap. 
  3. Lay one radiccio leaf on a board and place one shrimp in the middle with the tail hanging out at the rounded end of the leaf. 
  4. Place one cream cheese strio over the shrimp.
  5. Add a sprig of Mache salad and a sprig of watercress. 
  6. Spread a little wasabi over the top.
  7. Roll up the radiccio leaf starting at one of the edges making sure it's tightly rolled.
  8. Quickly run a strip of Nori through warm tap water then wrap it around the middle of your roll. 
  9. Set aside and repeat with the rest of the radiccio and ingredients.
Lay the rolls on decorative plates or a serving platter and serve with the Ponzu-onion sauce. 

Prosciutto & Sun Dried Tomato Rice Paper Rolls with Coriander Mayonnaise

Prosciutto Sun Dried Tomato Rice Rolls with Coriander Mayonnaise (and Salad)
Time: 20 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4

4 rice paper rounds
2 cups hot water (to dip the rice paper into)
4 slices ultra-thin Prosciutto
8 sun dried tomato rounds - oil packed
1/2 English cucumber (seedless) - cut into thin strips
4 Romaine lettuce leaves, stem trimmed off
1/2 cup home made Mayonnaise (or bottled if you wish)
2 spring onions, chopped 
1 tsp lemon juice
1 - 2 tsp ground Coriander
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine mayonnaise, spring onions, Coriander, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate.
Fill a large bowl with the hot water. Lay the rest of the ingredients (Prosciutto, lettuce, cucumber & sun dried tomatoes) on a plate or large board - because you'll have to wrap quickly! Lay a damp dish cloth on your board - to roll the wraps on. Using both your hands dip one rice paper wrap in the hot water to soften it. Lay it flat on the towel then layer with Prosciutto, lettuce, a couple cucumber strips and 2 sun dried tomatoes. With the wrap end facing you, roll up one end, then the two sides, then tightly roll up the wrap pressing firmly but gently at the end to seal it. (There are many videos online that can show you how to wrap rice paper if you are not sure). 
Serve with the chilled mayonnaise and your favorite salad. 
Tip: They can be served whole, or sliced in half. A nice variation to the Oriental style wraps and also great as an hors d'oeuvre.

Chicken in Yogurt Sauce (Middle-Eastern Style)

I must remember to take pictures of my dishes.... !

Time: 25 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4

4 chicken thighs, skinned and boned 
2 shallots, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
A little warm water
2 tbsp ground Coriander
1 tsp Coriander seeds
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup Greek or any plain yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until very hot. Add the shallots and garlic and saute quickly until golden. Reduce the heat a little and add the chicken. Saute until browned on all sides. Reduce the heat to medium/high, add the coriander, salt & pepper, lemon juice and a little warm water (about 2 tbsps) - stir to coat the chicken with the spices and to deglaze the pan. Simmer on medium until the chicken is well cooked. (About 10 minutes). When ready to serve, warm up the yogurt and mix into the chicken. This dish is delicious as it is served with either Pita bread or Basmati rice. 

Red Pepper & Eggplant Sauce

This is a recipe that resembles a sauce I ate while travelling in Croatia, that is served with grilled meats or fish. It was so delicious that I decided to try and replicate it ! It's even great spread on toasted French Baguette. To some, it may resemble the Serbian sauce called Ajvar Sauce. 
Ingredients for Red Pepper & Eggplant Sauce
Time: 1 hour (or more)
Effort: Easy
Yield: 4 medium sized Mason jars

8 large red peppers
2 medium sized eggplants
3/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
Garlic powder to taste
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Turn oven on to 500oF. 
Line the oven racks with silver foil, place the red peppers in the oven and bake until the skins are crinkly and browned on all sides. (You'll have to turn them several times). Set them aside in the kitchen sink or in a large bowl, while you bake the eggplants. Cut the eggplants in thick slices, leaving skin on. Place them on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, and bake until they are tender when pricked with a fork. Remove from oven and set aside. Peel the peppers by pulling the crinkled skin off. Cut the tops and remove the seeds. (A few leftover seeds are ok). Place them in a large bowl, then remove the skin from the eggplant slices and add them to the peppers. Using your hands, mix them together so that the eggplant falls apart. Place half the mixture in a food processor, add half the vinegar and half the olive oil and blend. It should be a little chunky and not pureed ! Add salt and garlic powder to taste. You may add some red pepper flakes if you want it spicy. (I made half the mixture spicy, and half not). Pour into Mason jars and set aside to cool. Repeat with rest of the mixture. 
Note: Refrigerate once cooled. The jars should keep for approximately 3-4 weeks or longer if unopened.

Great music to listen to whilst cooking !

Cafe Cody, from Spain.... Cafe Cody

Available online or through TuneIn Radio that you can download on your iPhone or Android - download through APPS or choose any radio station at TuneIn Radio

While I'm cooking, I also love listening to Brazilian jazz, Opera and some Rock'n Roll (Tina Turner...etc.)

What's your favorite(s) music to listen to while cooking ?

Red Pepper & Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps

Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Parmesan Crisps
Time: 1 hour (approximately, maybe less)
Effort: Medium
Serves: 4

4 large red peppers
4 medium sized ripe red tomatoes
1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (red)
Water as needed
Salt & pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 sprigs of fresh curley parsley for garnish

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. While boiling, add the red peppers and let boil for about 10 minutes - keep turning them so that all sides will have been in the boiling water. Remove them into a bowl. Meantime, add the tomatoes into the boiling water, then turn the burner off but leave them in the water. Peel the skins off the red peppers (they should come off easily) and cut the stem off, remove the seeds and membranes. Place them in a bowl. Remove the tomatoes from the water and peel them (again, the skin should just slip off). Cut the tops off and cube them. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and puree, then turn the mixture into a meshed sieve over a large bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, force the tomato puree through the sieve so that all you are left with is a dry pulp. Set aside. Place the red peppers in the food processor and puree. Turn the puree into the sieve and repeat as you did with the tomatoes. Pour the whole mixture into a medium saucepan and add the Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a little water if you find it too thick. Do not over-thin it! Simmer on medium/low heat until ready to serve.

Heat oven to 450oF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle 1/4 of the parmesan onto the sheet - approx. 4" long by 3/4" wide. Repeat with the rest of the cheese allowing enough space in between. Bake until bubbly and slightly browned. (Watch closely as they will brown very quickly!) Remove from oven and cool. Using a cake spatula, gently remove them - careful as they are brittle! 

Serve the soup hot or cold with a Parmesan crisp and decorate with a sprig of parsley.

Pork "Vindalloo" - my way!

Pork "Vindalloo" - My Way!
(This is a very, very simple version of the original Vindalloo recipe - not all the usual ingredients are included, so not sure it can be called Vindalloo, but I called it that anyway! I also did not realise until after I had made it, that this delicious Indian dish originated from Goa, an old Portuguese colony. What a coincidence!)

Time: 45 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4

1 lb boneless pork loin or tenderloin cut into 1" cubes
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 cup water
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar 
2 teaspoons salt 
1 tsp brown sugar 
1-inch cube fresh ginger, chopped 
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 tbsp ground coriander 
1 tsp turmeric 

2 tsps whole cumin seeds 
3 dried red chilies 
1 tsp black peppercorns  

4 mint leaves for decoration

Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot. Add the pork cubes and brown on each side, then remove them onto a plate. Add the onions into the remaining oil and saute until golden. Add the pork, tomato, vinegar, water and the rest of the ingredients. Cover and simmer on medium until the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened. Don't forget to stir from time to time ! Serve on a bed of basmati rice and decorate with mint leaves.

Shrimp, Scallop & Corn Stew served in Bread Bowls

Shrimp, Scallops & Corn in Bread Bowls
Time: 20 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 2

10 large Sea scallops
10 raw Tiger shrimp
1 tbsp Olive oil & 1 tbsp Butter
2 Shallots, minced
1 cup whole kernel corn, frozen
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 oz fresh tarragon, chopped plus a couple of leaves for decoration
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2 round bread loaves (in French they're called a "Miche")
2 tbsp melted butter

Heat oven to 350oF. Cut the top off each bread loaf (don't cut the loaf in half - just the top!) and using a paring knife and your fingers, scoop out the inside dough - nice enough so you can cut a few pieces into squares. Set the loaves and their tops on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut some of the dough into squares to make croutons. Brush the tops and sides of the loaves along with the croutons with the melted butter and set aside. 

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet until very hot. Add the scallops 5 at a time and quickly sear them (approx. 1 minute on each side) and remove them onto a plate. Repeat with the rest of the scallops and then proceed in the same manner with the shrimp. Reduce the heat to medium and add the minced shallots. Saute until transparent, then add the lemon juice and deglaze the skillet using a metal spoon. Place the bread loaves in the oven. Add the cream, salt and pepper and tarragon. Stir frequently until it starts to simmer, then add the corn. Simmer again until the corn is cooked but still crunchy. Add the shrimp and scallops and simmer lightly. 

Remove the loaves from the oven and place on dinner plates. Scoop enough of the Shrimp/scallop stew into each of them, place a couple of croutons on top and decorate with a couple of tarragon leaves. Place the tops on each loaf and serve. 

Serve with a green salad or your favorite vegetables. A warm and hearty dish !

Great Foodie Blogs for you to follow....

Giangi's Kitchen

Snippet "I am a working mom, a wife, and a passionate cook. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn how to cook. With no idea of where to start, and having to follow my grandmother, mother and father’s foot steps in the kitchen..." Read more at
http://giangiskitchen.com  and check out her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Giangis-Kitchen/184794488203026

Great recipes and lots of fun reading !

Happy Cooking!
Lynn Daniella

Quinoa & Bulgur Wheat Pilaf with Toasted Flax Seeds

Time: 25 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4

1/2 cup Quinoa

1/2 cup Bulgur Wheat
1/4 cup toasted Flax seeds
1 cup warm water to soak the bulgur wheat
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped red & yellow peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 knorr beef or chicken cube

Soak bulgur wheat in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water to a boil. Add the quinoa, bulgur wheat, flax seeds, peppers, celery and beef or chicken cube and simmer uncovered for approximately 30 minutes or until all the water has evaporated. Serve hot alongside your favorite meat or vegetarian dish or turn it into a salad once chilled - you may add a little lemon juice, olive oil and some black beans to make it even healthier!

Cheesecake with Blueberry Glaze

(No picture, sorry!)

Time: 5 hours ( 1 hour prep, 4 hours chilling)
Effort: Easy
Serves: 8

3 pkgs of cream cheese (about 8 ozs each) at room temperature
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar (I use cane sugar)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
15 honey graham crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup blueberry jam
2 tbsp orange juice

Crush the graham crackers in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. Mix in the melted butter and pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9" springform pan. Set aside.

Heat oven to 350o. Place the cream cheese and sugar in a food processor and blend adding the cream slowly until incorporated and smoothe. Add the yogurt and blend again. Transfer to a large bowl and add the eggs, one by one, beating constantly. Add the vanilla essence. Pour the mixture into the baking pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes or until set. Remove from oven and place in fridge to chill.

Once the cheesecake has chilled, remove it from the springform pan onto a serving plate.
Melt the blueberry jam with the orange juice, either in a small saucepan on medium heat or in the microwave. Spread the melted jam over the cake allowing some of it to spill over the sides and chill again until you're ready to serve.

Chicken Liver Mousse with Pistachios and Port Jelly

(No picture, sorry!)

Time: Preparation 45 minutes, Chilling: Minimum 4 hours
Effort: Medium to difficult
Serves: 6-8

2 lbs chicken livers, membranes removed and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp duck fat
2 shallots finely chopped
1 cup Tawny Port 
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

Port Jelly
1 cup Beef broth
1 cup Tawny Port
2 packets powdered gelatin

In a large skillet melt the duck fat and saute the shallots until transparent. Add the chicken livers and saute on medium until the outsides are cooked. Add the port, and simmer for a few minutes until most of the port has evaporated. Remove from heat. Turn the mixture along with the melted butter into a food processor and blend, adding the cream slowly and salt and pepper until it forms a mousse or puree. (Here you can add a little more port if you like but not too much!). Turn the mousse into a sieve over a medium sized bowl; using the back of a large spoon press firmly several times in order to sieve out any larger pieces so that in the end you will have a very smoothe mousse. Blend in the pistachios. Line a medium sized loaf pan with parchment paper and add the mousse, spreading it evenly. Cover with parchment and cool in the fridge while you make the port jelly. 
Port Jelly:
In a medium saucepan heat the beef broth with the port until boiling. remove from heat. Using 2-3 tbsp of this broth, soften the gelatin in a cup or small bowl. Add the gelatin mixture to the rest of the broth, stirring frequently until all the gelatin has dissolved. Chill to room temperature (you can cheat and chill in the fridge, but be careful as it will become jelly quite fast!) and pour over the chicken liver mousse. Return to fridge and chill for at least 4 hours or until the jelly has solidified. (You can chill overnight if you wish). 
Flip the mold onto a plate and gently peel off the parchment paper. Serve in slices garnished with baby arugula leaves. 

Sauteed Chicken Breasts and Baby Zucchini in Chanterelle Mushroom Sauce

Time: 25 minutes
Effort: Easy
Serves: 2

2 chicken breasts cubed and skinned
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thin
8 baby zucchini
1 cup fresh Chanterelle mushrooms, cut in half cross-wise
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup Vermouth
Salt & fresh black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet until very hot. Add the shallots and saute quickly until slightly browned, then add the chicken cubes. Saute again until all sides of the chicken are browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the zucchini and mushrooms. Pour in the vermouth and stir to deglaze the pan, then add the cream, salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer until the chicken and zucchini are tender. Serve immediately. (Shown here served with Bulgur Wheat Pilaf).

Baked Basmati Rice, Swiss Chard and Zucchini Flowers

Time: 1 hour (approx)
Effort: Easy
Serves: 4

1 cup Basmati Rice
2 cups water to soak rice
2 cups water to cook rice
4-5 large zucchini flowers
4 large leaves of Swiss Chard, washed & stems cut off
1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
1 tbsp butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Soak rice in water for approximately 30 minutes, then strain. Bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil and add rice, reducing heat to medium. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. While rice is cooking, heat oven to 425o. Wash the zucchini flowers and swiss chard leaves, cutting off the stems. Grease a large round or square baking dish (I prefer to use glass or ceramic instead of stainless steel) with the 1 tbsp butter. 
Line the baking dish with the swiss chard leaves so that part of them are hanging over the edge. Spread the rice over the swiss chard and pat it down with you palms, then close the leaves over the rice pressing down firmly. Lay the zucchini flowers over the top and sprinkle with grated cheese, salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is browned and crisp.

Great served with your favorite meat or fish dish, or on its own with a salad ! 

Pantry Essentials: What's in mine ?

Here is a list of what's in MY pantry:
These are the items I keep stocked at all times. Of course I always add new and different items, depending on what I'm cooking or in the mood for. I love trying all sorts of different condiments from anywhere in the world, so if you have any suggestions that are not on this list I'd love to hear from you !

Oils & Vinegars

  • Portuguese Olive Oil
  • Italian Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Toasted Sesame Oil
  • Black Truffle Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar (Red & White)
  • White Wine Vinegar (Portuguese)
  • Rice Vinegar
Liquid Condiments

  • Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Tamari Sauce
  • Bovril - Beef & Chicken Stock
  • Mirin
  • Ponzu Lemon Sauce
  • Ponzu Lime Sauce
  • Piri-piri (Portuguese chili sauce)
Dried Herbs & Spices

  • Sea Salt (Coarse & fine)
  • Rock Salt
  • Black Peppercorns & Mill
  • White Pepper powder
  • Knorr Beef Cubes
  • BBQ Seasoning in a Mill
  • Greek Seasoning in a Mill
  • Garlic Powder
  • Curry Powder
  • Tandoori Powder
  • Raita Powder
  • HERBS: Thyme, Basil, Oregano, Cumin Seeds, Cumin Powder, Toasted Sesame Seeds, Ginger, Paprika (sweet Hungarian), Mint, Spanish Saffron, Chervil, Marjoram, All-spice, Chinese Five-spice, Herbes de Province, Fines Herbes, Turmeric, Sage, Rosemary, Celery Seeds, Nutmeg (whole and ground), Savory, Chili flakes & whole.
Baking, Pasta etc. 
(I rarely use canned goods)

  • Cane Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • All purpose flour
  • Rice flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Dark Chocolate Bars
  • Gelatin
  • Pasta: Spaghetini, Fusili, Spinach Fetucini, & more
  • Canned Italian Tomatoes (whole)
  • Canned Cherry Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Lots of Olives of different kinds !
  • Baby Corn
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Tuna in water
  • Sardines in olive oil