Monday, October 14, 2013

Homemade Dark Chocolate Nutella. Yum!

Mmmm nutella... That's about all that I can say.

Before going dairy-free, I really only ever ate Nutella when we would make crêpes.  Which was maybe only twice a year.  But now that I can't actually have Nutella, there is something that makes it that much more exciting to have found a Nutella that I can eat.  Belgian hazelnut chocolates have always been my favourite, and this is as close as you can get without flying to Belgium.

This recipe was sent to me by a dear friend of mine in France.  I basically sat back and let her do all of the work, testing multiple variations of homemade Nutella until she found one that she felt was up to par.  That's where I stepped in and decided to make some myself.  The original recipe can be found here.

Jérôme took the kids outside this weekend to splash in the water on the street as he emptied the pool.

Superman rocking a bathing suit
and rain boots

And to dig for endless worms:

And play some street hockey:

And ball:

Just like two years ago, it was warm enough to be out in short sleeves and much too nice to be cleaning up the leaves. 

The kids had a blast and stayed outside for hours.  Leaving me all alone inside for a short while to whip up some delicious Nutella.  Poor Chloé loves this so much that she pretty much has a temper tantrum every time that I put it away.  But if I just let her go at it, I think she'd eat the entire jar in one sitting.  Right off of the spoon!  It truly is that good.

150g whole hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate
1/2 C icing sugar (or a bit less if you find Nutella too sweet)
1 tbsp. cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. hazelnut oil (or other flavourless oil - I used canola)

1.  Roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit for 8 minutes or until they are fragrant.  Alternatively, you can roast them for a couple of minutes in a pan. 

2.  Peel the skin off of the hazelnuts.  (The original blogger, Lucie, said she got blisters on her fingers doing this, but the skins slipped right off of mine). Don't fret if some of the skins stay on ;)

3.  In a food processor, mix the hazelnuts until you obtain a purée with a texture similar to peanut butter.

Lucie mentioned that this took a lot of patience.  She processed her hazelnuts in the food processor for approximately 20 minutes and then used a mortar and pestle to finish the job off.  I used my brand new VITAMIX!!!! and mine was like peanut butter within a few short minutes.

4.  Melt the chocolate mixed with a bit of soy milk on the stove, stirring constantly.  We used some of that delicious dark chocolate we brought home from France for this :)))

5.  Add the remaining ingredients and process in the food processor.  Add more soy milk, if desired, until you have reached the consistency you want.

Enjoy!!  Keep in the fridge, due to the added milk and just take out a few minutes before you want to eat it so that it is easier to spread.  That is, if you don't just eat it right off the spoon ;)  

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Homemade Dairy-Free Strawberry Ice Cream

My kids are obsessed with ice cream these days.  Which is kind of funny, given that they can't actually eat real ice cream, due to their dairy sensitivities.  It all started a few weeks back, when I found these gluten-free ice cream cones (note: although we all like the sugar cones, none of us much cared for the gf cups, which just had an odd cardboard-like texture...).  I picked up a box of these cones alongside a carton of coconut ice cream as a treat for the kids when I discovered the cones.  A few weeks prior, Logan had been on the verge of tears, telling me about how all of the kids in daycare had gotten an ice cream cone while he had had a popsicle instead.

Little did I know that this was going to start a mad obsession with ice cream...  So we have been making various sorts of homemade "ice creams" lately.  Hopefully, I will get a chance to post a few more before summer is out.  Esspecially the particularly delicious mango version we made last week.

Our latest creation was based on an ice cream that Jérôme's grandmother used to make for him as a child.  She would crush fresh-picked strawberries with a fork, then add some crême fraîche and sugar and then freeze until ready.

Since we are dairy-free, we used a soy cream substitute:

And I puréed the strawberries in the KitchenAid, since my kids are so particular with textures.  


This recipe only takes minutes to make and is delicious.  The kids have enjoyed it several times this week.  As have I.  Our neighbour's one year old son also got to enjoy a cone with us.     

3 pints fresh picked strawberries
1 carton Belsoy cooking cream or equivalent amount of crême fraîche or cream
1/2 C sugar, or to taste

1.  Mix all ingredients in the food processor.  For a more textured ice cream, crush strawberries with a fork and then mix in remaining ingredients.

 2.  Place ingredients in an ice cream maker, or freeze until ready to serve.

Difficulty level: easy

Monday, April 22, 2013

Brazilian Chicken Stroganoff

Oh my, blogging has taken a back seat in my oh-so crazy life... I have so much to share about life, but no time to sit here and do it.  Instead, a quick recipe...

Had I ever come across this recipe on my own I would never have made it.  Ever.  The idea of mixing chicken in ketchup and mustard and then throwing in some mushrooms...???  Well, it sounds just plain disgusting to me. 

Don't stop reading this post just yet.  I swear this recipe is actually kind of tasty.  And pretty effortless to prepare.  Perfect for my crazy life.

Jerome's cousin had been here staying with us for a couple of weeks in March.  She made this recipe for us the last time she came to visit, just before Chloé was born.  I ate it before I knew what was in it.  I probably would not have been eager to taste it, had I know how it is made.  But it's actually surprisingly tasty.  As an added bonus, both Logan and Chloé have taken to occasionally eating it. At first, we had to wash the sauce off, but now they'll even sometimes eat it with the sauce.  As long as we pick out all of the mushrooms beforehand.  Wouldn't want to accidentally eat a vegetable... ;) 

The recipe below is for a relatively big batch because I wanted to be able to put some into the freezer.  But you can easily half the recipe, if you just want to make enough for a couple of meals.

Now, I don't actually like mustard. So don't let the inclusion of mustard on the ingredients list turn you away if you're not a fan of mustard.  This doesn't actually taste like either mustard or ketchup. Just a little tangy.
2 onions, chopped
2 kg. chicken, cubed
just less than 1 1/2 C ketchup
2/3 C mustard (we used Dijon, but you can use anything)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 packages of fresh mushrooms or 4 cans of mushrooms
cream (optional)

1.  Cook the onions in a pot in a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes, until translucent.

2.  Add the chicken to the pot and cook until the chicken is cooked and the juice that the chicken has rendered has reduced completely.  

3.  Add the ketchup, mustard, salt and mushrooms.  Continue to cook for 20-30 minutes, long enough for the chicken to become tender.


4.  Optionally, you can add some cream at the end of cooking.

In Brazil, they serve this with something equivalent to hickory sticks and rice.  Even if I could eat gluten, serving this with hickory sticks just sounds too weird for me.  I served it with quinoa and veggies ;)

Makes 8-10 servings.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Cider and Calvados Roasted Duck with Roasted Cider Apples

I posted awhile back on my facebook that I was looking for suggestions on what to do with a duck.  And although somebody suggested putting it in my bathtub to swim, it was way too late for this little guy. 

I'm quite in love with confit de canard and we always bring some back with us from France.  But I've never cooked duck at all myself.  In fact, although I love confit de canard, I was pretty convinced that I wouldn't even like duck any other way.  Can't even tell you why.

The suggestions I got off of facebook sounded great, and I have them on a mental "to cook" list.  But my husband found this recipe here on the Papilles and Pupilles blog and he wanted me to try it.  And it was absolutely delicious.  Better than I could have imagined.  I don't know how much of it was the recipe and how much of it was the quality of the duck (we got a Brome Lake duck from the grocery store - click here to see if they sell one in your area).  The taste and texture of the meat was beyond fantastic.  It reminded me of confit de canard, in fact.  We were all super surprised at how well this turned out. 

For the Calvados (apple brandy), we used Michel Jeaudoin's apple brandy.  My husband just happens to really like this, so we had some on hand. 

I didn't bother making the stuffing, so the whole recipe didn't take very long to make, cooking time aside.  The best part of this recipe is that, when we served leftovers on the second night, the kids couldn't stop eating it, even though they wouldn't even look at it the first night.  Neither of them eat very many meats, but they gobbled up the portion we had set aside for Jérôme's lunch the next day between the two of them.  So I will definitely be making this again.

We enjoyed this as our last dinner with Isabelle, Jérôme's cousin, who stayed with us, in a whirlwind of mad chaos, for two weeks.  It was more than wonderful to have an extra set of hands and a fresh batch of patience around.  Tatsabelle (as Logan so fondly called his Tata (Auntie) Isabelle), we already miss you dearly.  Every time Logan wakes up, he asks me "where's my Tata?".  And every time a plane flies overhead, he gets all excited and tells me "Tata's coming back in the plane".  Thanks so much for all of your help and support over the past two weeks :)  You are welcome to move in, any time.


For the stuffing:

2 apples
1 tbsp. Calvados
duck gizzard and liver (or two slices of prosciutto)
4 walnuts
1 small onion

1.  Peel two apples.  Cut the duck gizzard and liver into pieces.  Peel and dice the onion.  Cook the onion in 15 g of butter until they become translucent. Add the apples and cook for approximately 10 minutes.  Add 1 tbsp. of Calvados and cook for another 5 minutes.  Transfer into a bowl and add the gizzard and liver, along with the coarsely chopped walnuts.
For the duck: 

1 duck
2 tbsp. Calvados (apple brandy)
50g of butter 

1.  Spread 50g of butter over the duck (I didn't bother doing this).  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit and cook the duck one hour per kilogram.  Cover the duck with aluminum foil during the last hour of cooking.  Regularly baste with juices as the duck cooks.

2.  Once cooked, pour 2 tbsp of Calvados over the duck.  Cover with aluminum foil and put back into the oven at 300 degrees Farenheit for 10 minutes.

For the roasted apples:

25g of butter (I just put in a spoonful)
1 kg. of apples
1 C cider 

1.  While the duck is cooking, peel and core the apples and cut into quarters.  Place into a pan and brown them in 25g of butter.  Pour 1/2 C of cider over the apples.  Cook for approximately 10 minutes.  If there is not enough liquid, add another 1/2 C of cider.


2.  Carve the duck and place on a serving platter along with the apples.


Serves 6.

Difficulty level: easy