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29 Dec


  • 250g bowtie pasta, slighly under cooked; save 1 cup of the pasta water
  • 150g pancetta, cubed
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, siced
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, grated (more for garnishing if desired)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of freshly cracked pepper
  • sea salt
  1. In a pan, heat the olive oil. Once hot, add pancetta.
  2. Cook pancetta until crisp. SUGGESTION-a: a large amount of oil will render out of the pancetta. Push the pancetta to one side of the pan, tip the pan so the oil collects onto the other side of the pan. Use a couple of paper towels to soak up this oil. See diagram.IMG_0257
  3. Add mushrooms, garlic and pepper, and a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water, and a tiny sprinkling of salt. Be sparing with the salt as the pancetta and parmesan are quite salty.
  4. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the pasta and combine.
  5. Remove pan from heat. SUGGESTION-b: place the pan onto two trivets such that there is a gap between the pan and the counter top. See diagram. IMG_0260
  6. Add the remaining pasta water, and then sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top of the pasta.
  7. Add eggs while the pasta is still warm (but not being directly heated). This will prevent the eggs from scrambling. By applying suggestion-b and adding the parmesan cheese, this circulates and cools down the heat of the pan, helping to further reduce the eggs from scrambling.
  8. Stir well. Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desired.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.


Creamy Chardonnay Sauce with Mushrooms, Bacon and Brie

8 May

Bowtie pasta in a creamy Chardonnay sauce with bacon, mushrooms and topped with slices of brie cheese.

  • 150g bowtie pasta, cook as directed
  • about 10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 slices  bacon, trim fat, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup chardonnay 
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup skim milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp paprika 
  • 2 to 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 sprigs of green onion, diced (this is mostly for colour)
  • 8 thin slices of brie or camembert

Bacon and onion sauteing.

In a large pot, add in the bacon. Once some of the fat had been rendered, add in the onions. (Remember to trim the bacon before cooking it. You only want a little bit of fat.)  If the bacon sticks to the bottom of the pot, add a few tablespoons of the chardonnay. Cook until the onions are soft, then add in the mushrooms. Mix well and add in the salt, pepper and paprika. Combine well and then add in the remaining chardonnay. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the mushrooms are soft (about 5 to 7 minutes).

Mushrooms, bacon and onions sauteing.

Mushrooms, bacon and onions after sauteing for about 5 minutes.

Creamy chardonnay sauce with bacon and mushrooms.

On a medium low heat, gradually add in the flour (start with 2 tbsps and add more if needed) and mix. The sauce should thicken momentarily.  If the sauce appears watery, add in a little bit more flour. Once the sauce is to an ideal consistency, add in the milk (start with 1/2 cup and add more if the sauce appears too thick) and green onions.  When the sauce begins to bubble, add in the pasta. Thoroughly combine so that each pasta is coated with the sauce.  Dish the pasta onto a serving dish and place a few slices of the brie onto the pasta. By the time you walk from the kitchen to the dinner table, the brie should be slightly melted.

Eat immediately. Serves two. Pair this dish with the same chardonnay used to make the sauce, if so desired.

This recipe was inspired by one I ate at Marbles which had cheese tortellini in a chardonnay cream sauce with mushrooms and garnished with grilled asparagus and slices of camembert. This was such a perfect combination that I had to try a home made version. I added the bacon on impulse but feel free to omit and make it vegetarian friendly. (Sorry there is no picture  of Marbles’ version because I forgot my camera.)

Pork Patties (Gravy Optional)

28 Feb

Homemade pork patties with sauce.

The following recipe is inspired by Canadian Living Magazine’s “Retro Pork Patties with Groovy Gravy”.

  • 1 lb lean ground pork
  • 1/3 cup dill pickles (about 2 medium-size pickles), finely chopped
  • 4 sprigs green onion, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • fresh oregano leaves (3 sprigs), remove leaves from stem, discard stem
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 10 graham crackers, finely crushed
  • 6 tbsps worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsps dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsps vinegar (white, malt, red or cider vinegar is good)
  • 3 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsps cornstarch mixed with a splash of water or chicken broth
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or beef broth

Garlic, green onion, fresh oregano, onion and dill pickles. These will eventually end up in the pork patties. First they need to be peeled, cleaned and chopped.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground pork, egg, green onions, half the amount of garlic, pickles, graham cracker, milk, half the amount of onions, salt, pepper, oregano leaves, mustard and half (3 tbsps) the worcestershire sauce.  Combine well. Form 2 inch diameter patties with thickness about 1/2 inch.

The pork patties just placed onto a hot pan.

Heat a large pan on high. Add in the oil, then patties.  Cook on each side until golden brown (about 2 minutes each side). Remove patties which are NOT fully cooked. They will be returned to the pan soon though so don’t take them far. [ SIDE NOTE: the patties are just as good without the gravy; so you can finish pan frying the patties (turn down to a medium heat) or place the patties in a preheated 350 degree oven for about ten minutes (depending on the size of each patty).  Without the sauce, the pork patties make ideal hamburger patties. ]

Just flipped patties.

In the same pan, add in the remaining garlic and onions as well as the butter. Turn down heat to medium and cook until the onions are soft (about 5 minutes). Once ready, add in the sugar, vinegar, remaining worcestershire (3 tbsps), broth and cornstarch. As the sauce heats, it will thicken and bubble. When this happens, return the patties to the pan and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes so that the patties are thoroughly cooked.  Serve with rice or mash potatoes.

Patties simmering in a homemade gravy sauce.

Chicken Balls

24 Nov

Chicken Balls

  • 1 lb extra lean ground chicken (ground pork also works well)
  • 1/4 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 slice of bread soaked in milk for about 5 minutes; afterwards, drain excess milk and then mash the bread
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1 tsp each)

Combine all the above ingredients together.  (The bread and milk mixture seems a little odd in this recipe but it’s what makes the chicken balls moist and tender.) Form balls about one inch in diameter. Try to make each chicken ball the same size so that they all cook at the same time. An easy and fast way to form the ball shape is to use the palm of your hands and roll in a circular motion.

Heat a pan on high, then add in enough extra virgin olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken balls into the pan. After about two minutes (or the bottoms of the chicken balls are golden brown), turn the chicken balls over and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken balls to an oven-safe baking dish. Place in a preheated oven at 400°C and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes.  Cool for a few minutes before serving.

This recipe makes about two dozen chicken balls.

Homemade Wontons

22 Aug

Wonton Soup


  • 1 lb of lean ground pork
  • 4 to 5 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked with 1.5 cups water for 3 hours, then drained and finely diced)
  • 2 sprigs of green onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of cabbage, boiled and then finely shredded (optional)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp of soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1 tbsp of fish sauce (optional)
  • 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper

Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix well.


Before assembling the wontons, have a small bowl of water ready.  The water will be used to seal the wontons together.
Wonton Preparation

Wonton Preparation

Also, line a baking sheet with plastic wrap or parchment paper for the wontons once they have been assembled.

Wonton Preparation

Folding the Wontons

Wonton wrappers are now readily available at most grocery stores and have about 50 to 60 wonton sheets in each pack. They usually come in a square shape but are also sometimes available in a circle shape.

Step One

Take your wonton wrapper and place about 2.5 tbsp of the filling in the center of the square wonton wrap.  Using a brush or fingers, wet two adjacent edges of the wrapper and fold into a triangle (see Step One).  Press down firmly to ensure that a seal has formed around the filling.

Step Two

Fold the tip of the triangle up and indent the bottom of the wonton where the filling is (see Step Two).

Step Three

Brush a bit of water on one of the wonton corners, bring the other corner onto the top of the moistened corner and press down firmly to seal the two corners together (see Step Three).

Place the wonton onto the baking sheet and once the tray is full freeze them for two hours before storing in the freezer.

Wonton Soup

  • 10 (frozen) wontons
  • 3 to 4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 sprig of green onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime

Frozen wontons require 8 to 10 minutes of cooking time in a boiling pot of (generously) salted water. Once the wontons are cooked, transfer them to a boiling pot of chicken broth and add in the green onions. Remove from the heat, add a generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and serve immediately.