Raspberry Swirl Mousse.

It just doesn't get better than this. My raspberry patch has finally, after years of underwhelming results, decided that it's ready to do some serious berrying. We got some bowls full! I had all these fantastic ideas about jam (we're not there yet though - maybe 3 more years) and baking and all that but it seemed like I couldn't get to the raspberries before they got eaten - how frustrating is that?

I couldn't let the season go by without doing something though. I managed to hide away 2 cups of berries in the fridge which nobody found and pillaged - yeah. They're not mad at me though. In fact, they are quite happy... because I made this

Raspberry Swirl Mousse. It's a hybrid. I kind of threw it together but it tasted great. It's actually pretty easy too.

Take two cups of raspberries and cover it with 1 1/4 cups of superfine sugar (I'll explain later)
Let it sit for about an hour (I didn't though and it didn't really matter - I gave it about 30 min)
After it's sat for a while mash it up into a chunky syrup.

Whip up two egg whites. In a separate and cold bowl whip up 1 1/2 cup whipping cream. Fold the two whipped things together. Put about 3/4 of the raspberry syrup in with the whipped things and gently swirl it in. Divide it into 4 dishes/bowls/whatever. Divide the remaining syrup on top of each mound.

Refridgerate for at least an hour (we did this but it was hard) and then enjoy.

Kid #1 downed her's in 5 seconds flat! kid #2 didn't go for 'em, though. Probably the berries, since they're not chocolate.

Garden bounty pasta

I love this time of year. It's that time when you are just beginning to get crap from your garden that you can eat. I picked my first real crop of green beans today and I have some lovely purple ones too - they are gorgeous. I used my crop in this pasta dish.

I also love this time of year because I'm not working all day. Case in point, as I'm sitting here typing this up, kid #2 who has just turned 4 is checking my heart with a toy stethoscope - that's what I love about this time of year. It means that I can eat a tidy, hot meal at lunch and stay with the lighter stuff later. I still eat light at night during the school year but the lunch time is more hit and miss. Hit and miss as to whether I'll eat lunch at all actually. I only work a 6 hour day at school and I always want to make the most of the time that I've got with the boys (who I teach). As a result, lunch might be a 10 minute affair. Definitely not long enough to take something hearty to heat up and sit and eat.
I start to get palpitations when I think about the business of fall - let's stick with the present.

Today was green bean day. I wanted to do something with the green beans that would be hearty but not just hearty, tasty too. Meaningful food. I thought of the green bean/mushroom soup/almond/casserole/side dish that my Mom used to make. I could do that. I just needed to make some cream of mushroom soup. I'm not keeping that kind of stuff in the pantry anymore. No problem, I had some chicken stock and some mushrooms and we got'er done. Turned out that it tasted way better than the canned stuff too. I also added pasta and some chard to the dish. It was really tasty.

From the garden it was the green/purple beans and my herbs. Cream, pasta, veggies, cheese on top - can't go wrong with that combo. Hot lunch here we come.

Green's n' Beans 'n Pasta in homemade Mushroom soup.
serves 6

1/2 a package of penne or rotini pasta (I used whole wheat)
4 cups of chicken or veg stock
3 cups of chopped mushrooms
1/2 onion diced small
3 - 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used dill, parsley and chive)
1/4 cup of corn starch, made into a paste
1/2 cup cream (more if needed)
salt to taste
2 1/2 cups green beans, in big pieces
1 med. bunch of chard, diced small
1/3 cup parmesan
little cheese for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Get out a large baking dish (I used a rectangular 9X13). In a large pot of boiling, salted water add the pasta and cook to the package specifications.
In a large, heated dutch oven add some oil (I used some of the fat skimmed off my chicken stock) and saute the onion and mushrooms. Give them about 5 min. and then add in the garlic. Dice the fresh herbs and add them after a few minutes. Add in the stock and let it come to a simmer for a few minutes with all the veggies. Add in the cornstarch paste and mix well (You might want to add in the cornstarch in small batches. That way it won't get too thick - cornstarch can get thick fast and if you're not careful you could have glue on your hands). Turn down the heat to low and add in the Cream. Check the taste and add salt if needed. I threw in just a dash of nutmeg and cayenne as well.

After the pasta finished, I threw the beans and chard into the hot pot with a little butter and sauteed it down a little. Adds another dimension to the flavour and ensures that the veggies are cooked through. Add the veggies and pasta to the baking dish and mix together until well incorporated. Pour the soup mixture over the top and mix well. Sprinkle with some cheese and parmesan (I poured just a little more cream over the top too). Bake for 20 min. or until just browned and bubbly (don't want it to bake for too long).
Let it rest for a few minutes when it comes out of the oven.

Summer is Frittering away.

I'm making Cheddar and Zucchini fritters and was just trying to be witty. The reality is though that summer is, in fact, slowly but surely frittering away. I'm still working at home (not at the school but still doing school work remotely) and I'm ready to be completely off for a while. Really though Wanda - 'Waaaa, poor me. I have to work longer than I want to. Waaa, I want more time off. Waaa' Get over it.

I'm lucky enough to get time off and I'm lucky enough to be able to take my kids out to do fun stuff. Today we are heading out to the movies. Fun!!! I feel a bit bad going to the movies in the summer 'cause it's so beautiful outside and we have that weather for such a short time. Meh. We're goin' to the movies. I whipped this up before we left. It was beyond easy. There was no frying, these fritters bake instead of fry. Nice. So, you don't have to stand at the stove for any length of time. If you've got some zucchini growing in your garden then this is a great way to use up some extras. Everything came together in less than 10 minutes and they tasted great.

After baking, everybody had some healthy food to eat before we went to the movie to chop off our arm and leg and give it to the theatre (and that was before we hit the concession stand).

Cheddar-Zucchini fritters
(Chatelaine Magazine)
makes about 8 but I would double the recipe in future.

2 small zucchini
1/4 cup cornstarch
dash of salt, paprika, nutmeg and cayenne
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar
2 green onions (I used garden chives and parsley)
1 egg white ( I used a whole egg)

Sauce (I didn't bother with it)

1 lemon
1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp dijon mustard (grainy especially nice)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a cookie sheet for baking.
Coarsely grate the unpeeled zucchini. Drain by putting it in a towel or paper towel and press the water out.

Place the zucchini in a bowl and add the cornstarch. I also added the salt and spices. Mix it all well, making sure that the cornstarch is evenly distributed.

Throw in the cheese and green onion and mix. Throw in the egg and mix well.
Form into paties using about 1/3 of a cup of the mixture. Press each mound down slightly. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from oven and carefully turn over then bake for another 8 min. or so. After removing from the oven, let them stand for a few minutes to firm up and cool a little. Throw together the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Serve on the side.

This curry is divine.

Sometimes you just hit the mark - I mean head on, centre, bull's eye. This curry got me right in the best place. I'd been wanting to do a Keema since last week when I got some lovely, fresh peas in my food box (I promise I'll start taking more pics of the food box when it comes - it's so much fun).

I got desperate for something quick and ended up making pea risotto. Don't get me wrong the risotto was thoroughly and comfortingly satisfying (I ate so much of it that I felt sick after - gluton!) but this was really what I had wanted to make. Imagine my joy when this week's food box brought me another bag of fresh peas. Yeah! The universe wanted me to make Keema too.
I didn't have ground beef (and to be honest, it wouldn't be made with ground beef anyway - hello... Hindu - no beef) so I made it out of lean ground pork. Maybe that's what made the difference (it was organic, from Cumbrae Farms). It could also be the fact that summer is here, I'm not working even half as much as I normally do and I'm generally just feeling relaxed and happy... Hey, might be dumb but don't underestimate the power of how you are feeling when you are cooking or baking - No jokes.
The combination of the coconut milk and the meat was divine. Just the right mix of creamy, sweet, salty and spicy. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner... wait. I said that about risotto. Ugh. It'll be big meals, what can I say.

serves about 4

1 lb minced beef, goat, pork or lamb
2 tbsp butter
1/2 a large onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1 rib of celery, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 can of coconut milk (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 - 3 tbsp of curry paste (use the heat level that you like best - I used Madras)
1 tbsp garam masala
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt

In a large pot, fry the onion in butter over medium heat. Add in the celery, peas and garlic once the onion is getting a little transparent.

After about 5 minutes throw in the minced meat and mix well. Reduce the heat a little. Allow that to cook while you mix the curry paste and spices into the coconut milk. Add the coconut milk mixture into the meat mixture. Allow the liquid to cook down for about 15 min or so. That way it won't be too soupy when it's done. Once things cook down, check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve over rice or with Naan (yum).

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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