Guilt-Free Roast Pork and Pear Salad

Perfect Pork and Pear Salad

Guilt-Free Pork and Pear Salad

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One of the real joys of live-streaming cooking is answering viewer challenges. Experimenting and researching food combinations I’d not previously considered has taught me a great deal about how food and the human body works. I get to play .. and learn in the process. Were it not for one such challenge, I may just have saved my German Volkhorn bread for toast .. and Leberwurst and Walnußkase .. anyway (*cough*) I’d never have discovered this gem. The Pork is nice, especially with roasted pears, but the stuffing is a whole ‘nother level of bliss. Rich, nutty and satisfying, without blowing my blood sugar through the roof. Definitely try this at home 🙂

“Old Reliable” Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

Cookies and Milk, the ultimate comfort food

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Over the years, I have trialed dozens of recipes for Choc Chip Cookies with varying success.  Most of them are too sweet, many are finicky and unreliable recipes, others too chunky or just the wrong proportion of cookie to “bits”. This is the one I come back to. It produces cookies with a nice crunchy texture that will survive a dunk in fresh milk. The subtle vanilla-peanut flavours are perfect with cocoa or fresh coffee too. What’s not to love?

Of course we all know the true joy of cookies lies in their childhood associations. The smell of them baking, filling the house with delicious smells and anticipation. The guilty pleasure of eating the dough or burning tongue and fingers because we were unable to resist them fresh from the oven. They featured on the menus of tea parties, picnics with friends and solitary midnight snacks. Most of all they eased the pain of skinned knees and broken hearts. I have vivid memories of a sympathetic Dad sharing cookies, cuddles and the odd hanky on these occasions. That makes them the ultimate comfort food for me. On the anniversary of his death, I am feeling the need for a little comfort, so I shall put some Bach on the stereo and whip up a batch to share with the Junior Sorority.

Berry Nutty Tart

It's as good for you as it looks and tastes

It’s as good for you as it looks and tastes

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Fifteen years ago I came home to find Beloved curled in a fetal position in our shower, moaning in pain. It was not the first time I had seen him thus during the previous year, not even the twentieth time, but this was the worst and I was scared. When I managed to help him to a sitting position I went from scared to horrified at the realisation that his Doctors had got it terribly, terribly wrong. An incipient stomach ulcer doesn’t turn the whites of your eyes a pale, dirty yellow. I grabbed his dressing gown with one hand and his ear with the other. I am not talking figuratively here .. I mean I literally grabbed his ear and “helped” him to the car against his protests that he wasn’t that bad. A few traffic-law-violating minutes later I marched him .. by the ear .. up to the the Triage Nurse in the local ER. She took one look at his eyes and hit the Big Red Button. Hours later he was in surgery to remove the necrotic remains of his Gall Bladder and a sizable chunk of his liver. Don’t be too hard on the man. This was late Friday afternoon and he was due to start his shiny new job on Monday morning. I was very pregnant with Angel at the time, so I had just had to resign my job. Money was tight and the new, well paid job was something we desperately needed. However, had he not sought help when he did, he’d have been dead by Monday. It was a very sobering thought.

Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Scrolls

Warm Cinnamon Pecan Scroll with honey Icecream .. bliss

Warm Cinnamon Pecan Scroll with honey icecream .. bliss

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For decades I convinced myself that I couldn’t bake with yeast. That it was complicated and best left to “professionals”. I gazed with lustful eyes at the soft, delicate baked goods of others and passed over their recipes when searching for something new to try. The New Year brought with it the resolve to branch out, venture into unexplored fields and learn new skills. I took down neglected recipe books, blew the dust from their virginal pages  .. and found this treasure. I am already plotting decadent variations using Apple Berry Jam 🙂

Turkey Like a Boss

Turkey Like a Boss. Perfect, succulent meat

Turkey Like a Boss. Perfect, succulent meat

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This is it. This is the Big One. My signature dish. A Totally-Showing-Off party piece. Ever looked in dismay at a dry piece of baked turkey and thought it as appetising as shoe leather? I’ve had so many disappointing results, especially with turkey breast. I consigned turkey to casseroles until a very elderly, very sympathetic client of mine listened to my plaintive heartbreak following one such disaster and gave me the following advice; “When cooking turkey breast, wrap it in streaky bacon and foil, cook it slowly in it’s own juices then crisp the bacon up quickly once the meat is cooked.” The fats from the streaky bacon not only flavour the meat, they lend it much needed moisture. She also suggested the brandied prunes in the stuffing for a little extra decadence. The result is melt-in-the-mouth tender meat with a gorgeous, crispy bacon “crackling” and sweet, delicate stuffing.