Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Monday, 30 January 2012

Cashew Nut Stir Fry for Meatless Monday



One of the best ways to cook fresh vegetables is lightly, serving them while they are still fairly crisp - and one of the easiest ways to do this is in a stir fry. We are still trying to eat less meat, so I decided to incorporate our favourite nuts in this recipe, both for reasons of nutrition and taste.

I’ve listed ingredients for two to three people, but the quantities are very generous and you can easily increase or decrease quantities as required. You can use any vegetable oil instead of sesame oil if you prefer, but it really is worth using the sesame oil for its wonderful flavour.

about 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
2 to 3 “nests” of medium noodles
1 red onion, thinly sliced 
1 generous handful of white mushrooms, sliced (optional)
2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 yellow or green pepper, sliced in thin strips
1 cup zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut in half moons 
a handful of green beans
4 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
5 tablespoons of soy sauce (I use a low-sodium variety)
a generous handful of roasted cashew nuts

Cook the noodles in boiling water according to package directions. When cooked, drain and toss in about 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Set aside.

Heat the rest of the sesame oil in a large frying pan or wok until it is nearly smoking. Add the onions and mushrooms and stir fry for a couple seconds. Then add the carrots and peppers. Stir fry for a few minutes. Add the zucchini and green beans, and continue to stir fry until all the vegetables are tender crisp (about five minutes). 

Stir together the sweet chilli sauce and the soy sauce and add to the stir fry, tossing to coat the vegetables. Add the cashews to the pan, stirring to coat with the sauce and heat through. 

Serve the stir fried vegetables and cashews over the noodles.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Gallery of Favorites with The 21st Century Housewife

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. 

The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too. 

To read more, and share your favorite posts, please click here...

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Marvellous Muffins

I made some bran muffins for breakfast this morning, and I was reminded of what a quick and easy treat they are.  Perfect for a light first meal of the day, they make a great snack later on as well. Here are a few of my favourite homemade muffins.

Bran Muffins

Carrot Walnut Bran Muffins
My Mom’s Jam Muffins
Another wonderful resource for great muffin recipes is Lisa of Happy in Dole Valley, who for a whole year baked a different muffin every Monday with her daughter. You can see links to all 52 recipes by clicking here






Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Easy Chicken and Vegetable Pasta



This easy and frugal dish is an all-round crowd pleaser. Kids love the creamy mild sauce in this dish and grownups like the ‘comfort food’ factor. It’s a fantastic way to use up leftover chicken, and it couldn’t be easier to put together. 

Mustard adds a great little zing to this dish, but adjust the amount to your taste. I love to use wholegrain Dijon mustard in this recipe because of its mildness and depth of flavour. Don’t worry if you haven’t got /don’t want to use sherry or Madeira; it does add flavour but it is far from indispensable in this dish. There is nothing to stop you using penne or bow tie pasta (or any other pasta shape you like) instead of macaroni. In fact it is a great way to use up ends of pasta, finishing off all those annoying little bags with just a little bit in them!

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to Hearth and Soul, the blog hop for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome. 
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes and posts last week. To read more, and share your recipes, please click here...

Monday, 23 January 2012

Tofu Stir Fry with Hoisin Sauce for Meatless Monday on Chinese New Year



Celebrated by billions of people all around the world, today is the most important of all Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year. I have fond memories of watching the wonderful New Year parades from Macy’s seventh floor window over looking Union Square in San Francisco. The colour and joyful noise of the celebrations echo through the streets and it really is a sight like nothing I had ever seen before. 
The Chinese calendar is based on a complex calendar system that uses both lunar and solar cycles. This means Chinese New Year falls on different dates every year, sometime between January 21 and February 21 of the Gregorian calendar. Each year is associated with one of twelve animals in the Chinese zodiac. It’s the Year of the Dragon this time. I don’t follow horoscopes, but it’s fun to find out what animal you are. (I’m a snake, my husband is a horse and our son is a rooster.)
When we are at home, I like to make some sort of a stir fry dish for dinner on Chinese New Year. As it’s also Meatless Monday today, I am going to re-post a recipe that was very well received by readers back in 2010. I have to confess I’m not a huge fan of tofu, but I like it in this stir fry. Of course you can always leave out the tofu and just use vegetables. That is the beauty of stir fry, you can use so many different vegetables you really won’t miss the meat, whether you use tofu or not. Another way to mimic the texture of meat is to include mushrooms in your stir fry.
To read more, please click here...

Friday, 20 January 2012

Gallery of Favorites with The 21st Century Housewife

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. 

The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.

To read more, and share your posts, please click here...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lunch with the Glitterati at Sardi's, New York City



Okay, there weren’t any actual glitterati there the day we ate at Sardi’s, one of  Broadway’s premier restaurants, but it was still very cool to eat in a place I had heard so much about. For over 90 years, Sardi’s has been the toast of Broadway, and it has witnessed more stars than most people will in a lifetime, as the caricatures on the walls attest. Originally drawn by a Russian refugee who worked in return for food, Sardi’s caricatures have become iconic, and having your picture on the wall there is definitely a sign you have arrived. For many years, this was the place where the nominations for the coveted Tony awards were announced and it has been the location of more opening night parties than anyone could count. Sardi’s has also appeared in many films and television shows, including The King of Comedy, Frost/Nixon and The Producers and the popular television series Mad Men and Glee.

We were just leaving the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition at Discovery Times Square, and suddenly realized we were virtually next door to a place I had wanted to eat for years. 


Stepping in under the awning and through the dark wooden doors, we received a warm welcome from the well-dressed staff.  I felt a bit like I had stepped back in time as I took in the  paneled walls and warm red décor.


The menu literally had something for everyone (although I did not notice a lot of vegetarian options). I ordered a Reuben sandwich, and must admit I was a bit surprised by the sheer amount of meat layered on the crusty bread. It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but it did taste good.


I really ought to have ordered a Club sandwich as my husband did. It was a real classic, and absolutely delicious. 


Our son enjoyed his hamburger as well.


This service was excellent, and considering we were literally just off Broadway, I thought the prices were quite good value for money too. 

On this visit to Sardi’s it was the atmosphere, more than the food, that impressed me. I took a few sneaky photographs upstairs on my way to the ladies’ room (labeled ‘Dolls’ in an homage to days gone by).


I will definitely go back, as there were lots of things on the menu I would have been very pleased to try, and I'd love to see what the atmosphere is like in the evening. If you find yourself at 234 West 44th Street just off Broadway, I urge you to visit this iconic venue and enjoy their food and hospitality. If you enjoy a retro vibe and a bit of Broadway glamour, Sardi's is definitely a great place to eat!



Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Let's Do Brunch


Welcome to Let’s Do Brunch, the recipe exchange for breakfast, lunch and brunch recipes. Anything that you could serve for breakfast, lunch or brunch, or at a brunch buffet is very welcome here, as are desserts and sweet treats. 

This will be my last week co-hosting Let’s Do Brunch. I have really enjoyed working with Chaya and I am grateful for the opportunity she offered me to share in this wonderful blog hop, but there is so much happening this year I am now having to pick and choose my projects due to time pressures. It’s an exciting year here - the tenth anniversary of The 21st Century Housewife - and I’m struggling to fit everything in! 

I will still be co-hosting the Hearth and Soul Hop, as well as the weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites, and I do hope you will also share posts with my co-hosts and I there, as well as continuing to share your brunch recipes with Chaya. 

To read more, and share your recipes, please click here...

Favourite Bread Machine Recipes

On Monday I shared my Olive Oil and Polenta Bread, as well as my thoughts on bread machines and how much I love using mine. I’ve shared a number of bread machine recipes on The 21st Century Housewife over the years. Here is a collection of my favourites. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my family and I do, and that they encourage you to dust off your bread machine and get baking!

Orange and Raisin Bread

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to Hearth and Soul, the blog hop for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome. 
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes and posts last week. To read more, and share your posts, please click here..

Monday, 16 January 2012

Homemade Olive Oil and Polenta Bread for Meatless Monday



I wish I could be the kind of person who made bread from scratch all the time, but like most modern women, my family’s lifestyle makes that pretty much impossible. So once in a while I bake scratch bread the old fashioned way, and the rest of the time, I use a bread machine. The beauty of a bread machine is that it makes it possible for you to have fresh bread literally every day. It also means you know exactly what is going into your bread - right down to the kind of flour and how much salt. (Although don’t be tempted to leave the salt out entirely as the yeast needs it to work!) It also means you are not popping to the shops ‘just for a loaf of bread’ every two minutes. Although that might not seem like an onerous task, particularly if the shop is nearby, I always find that I buy a lot more than a loaf of bread when I am there and end up spending a lot more than I intended. If I can avoid the trip to the shop, it can save me a lot of money!

One of the things that helped me to really love my bread machine is a book by Sonia Allison called The Complete Bread Machine Cookbook. It was published ten years ago, so can be hard to get hold of, but it’s well worth buying if you can find a copy.  

It’s Sonia’s technique for putting the ingredients in the bread machine that really works for me, and gives fabulous results. She recommends putting the liquid and any oil in the bread container first, then adding half the flour ingredients, then the salt, sugar and milk powder (if using), adding the rest of the flour and then mounding the yeast on top. This prevents the yeast from getting wet too soon and gives much better results. I highly recommend this method.

This is one of the breads I make most often. The polenta (cornmeal) gives the bread a wonderful texture and flavour, so it's good for sandwiches, toast, or warmed alongside a nice bowl of pasta. 

2¾ cups strong white bread flour (organic if possible)
¼ cup cornmeal
1¼ cups water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I’ve also used ordinary olive oil)
2 teaspoons salt (I use 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon white sugar
2 tablespoons dried milk powder
1½ teaspoons instant or fast-acting dried yeast (I’ve used up to 2 teaspoons at times)

Mix together the flour and polenta. Pour the water into the breadmaker bucket, then add the oil, and half the flour and polenta mixture. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar and dried milk. Cover with the remaining flour mixture and mound the yeast into the centre.

Fit the bucket into the breadmaker and set to the programme recommended in the manual (usually basic white or No 1). 

When the programme has finished, gently shake the loaf out of the bucket on to a wire cooling rack and stand right way up. Leave for at least an hour before cutting and/or removing paddle if necessary. 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

The Gallery of Favorites with The 21st Century Housewife 12 January

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. We are posting the Gallery a bit early this week as I will be travelling tomorrow morning, and we also thought it might be helpful with the upcoming holiday weekend in the US. 

The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


To read more, and to share your posts, please click here...

Le Train Bleu



One of the things I love about shopping in New York City is all the wonderful places you can go for lunch. Take Bloomingdales, for instance. Simply climb the stairs from Kitchenware on the fifth floor right up to the sixth, and you are in a different world.


Le Train Bleu is a lovely restaurant built as a railway car on the top floor of Bloomingdales. It looks just like a vintage train car.




There is a wonderful view of the city, and it really is a lovely place to have a bite to eat and take a quick break from a hard day's shopping. 




Despite the very relaxed atmosphere, the service is wonderful, and the food is even better. Torn between the Salade Nicoise and the Turkey Waldorf Wrap, I chose the turkey on the advice of the waitress. It was very good advice.



Our son enjoyed the signature burger without the signature blue cheese. He was totally prepared to have a cheese-less burger, but they were very nice about it and offered him two alternative cheeses instead. He said it was one of the nicest burgers he had in NYC, and that is a compliment indeed! 

My husband was on a bit of a crab cake kick while we were in New York, and ordered them at every opportunity. He thoroughly enjoyed the version he tried at Le Train Bleu. 


Considering where we were, the prices seemed very competitive, and we thoroughly enjoyed every bite of our food. It was a fun atmosphere to eat in as well. I would definitely go back, and if you find yourself tired, hungry and a bit shopped out in Bloomingdales on 59th Street in New York City, you should definitely head straight to the top, and visit the very quaint  and enjoyable Le Train Bleu. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Let's Do Brunch with The 21st Century Housewife



Welcome to Let’s Do Brunch, the recipe exchange for breakfast, lunch and brunch recipes. Meals are pretty flexible these days, so there aren’t many recipes that won’t fit into these categories. Anything that you could serve for breakfast, lunch or brunch, or at a brunch buffet is very welcome here, as are desserts and sweet treats. 
Thank you to everyone who contributed last week. My co-host, Chaya of My Sweet and Savory and I always look forward to visiting your posts and trying out the wonderful new ideas you share. I really enjoyed all the recipes that were linked up last week. 

To read more, please click here...

Beef and Beer Stew



Beef and Ale stew is a very popular British dish, particularly in the winter months. We also encase the stew in pastry and call it Beef and Ale pie. While I always enjoy a good old fashioned Beef and Ale anything, when I first came to England twenty years ago I did find ale a little hard to swallow. Ale refers to dark beers, and also to stouts and ‘bitters’, many of which are an acquired taste. So back in the day, I decided to play with the traditional recipe to make it more friendly to my Canadian palate. I replaced the stronger flavours of ale with lager (which would simply be known as ‘beer’ in North America) and added more vegetables and lighter flavours to the dish. Little did I know I was creating a family favourite, by far one of the most requested dishes in our house, and also the one that is most looked forward to. 

To read more, please click here...


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to Hearth and Soul, the blog hop for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive and loving light are also welcome. To read more about our mission and the rules for linking, please click here. We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop

To read more, see last week's featured posts, and share your recipes, please click here...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese



My family and I are looking for ways to eat less meat, and one of the things I have been working on is re-vamping some of my classic recipes that use mince beef with a product called Quorn. The main ingredient in meat free Quorn is mycoprotein, a lower fat source of protein. It contains no cholesterol, but is a good source of fibre and essential amino acids. It’s one of those proteins that takes on the flavour of the foods you cook it with, so it works really well in dishes like Spaghetti Bolognese, Shepherd’s Pie, Chilli and Lasagna.

Quorn does have a slightly different texture to ground beef, and it was that which gave its presence away when I made Spaghetti Bolognese with it for the first time recently. I didn’t mention to my family that I had replaced the meat with Quorn, and they didn’t really notice at first. However, eventually I had to confess that the ‘something different’ they noticed about the recipe was the absence of meat, and by virtue of that, the presence of Quorn. They did agree was that the taste of the dish was still excellent, although they were a little thrown by the texture. They soon got over it though, and all the plates that went back to the kitchen were clean!

Since then I’ve also made Shepherd’s Pie with Quorn and once again, the result was very similar. The taste was almost identical to the normal meaty recipe, but the texture does give the game away a bit.

I’m not going to stop making our favourite recipes with meat, but from time to time, I will use Quorn in order to help us reduce the amount of meat in our diet. If you would like to try using Quorn, or other meat substitute in Spaghetti Bolognese, try this recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red peper, finely chopped (optional)
1 - 350 gram (12 ounce) package Quorn mince mince
3 to 4 cups of homemade tomato sauce or jarred passsata (sieved tomatoes), organic if possible
1 vegetable tock cube
1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup basil pesto
1 pound spaghetti
freshly grated vegetarian style Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the onion until it begins to soften and become translucent. Add the red pepper, if using, and sauté for a few minutes more.

Crumble the stock cube over the onion and stir through. Add the tomato sauce or passata, oregano and bay leaf. Stir through, reduce the heat, and simmer for at ten minutes.

Remove the bay leaf, and stir in the pesto. Add the Quorn mince and stir though. Cover and simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Taste for seasoning and add salt and/or pepper if you feel the sauce needs it. Leave the sauce to simmer while you cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water according to package directions.

Drain the spaghetti and serve with the sauce. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese, if using.

Friday, 6 January 2012

The Gallery of Favorites 6 January

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


To read more, and share your posts, please click here...