Monday, 11 May 2020

Sardine Toast

So you have run out of fresh things to eat. Likely because its a day or two before shopping day! So here is a great "pantry meal." I added fresh parsley from the garden.

Ingredients: For 2 pieces of Sardine Toast

Sourdough bread for toast (2 pieces per tin of sardines)
1 tin of sardines - in oil and you can use the Lemon Sauce or plane
1 1/2 - 2 eggs, medium hard sliced
2-3 table spoons of pesto, make your own or I used Costco's Kirkland brand
Lemon zest - from 1/2 lemon
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Dijon mustard
Fresh Parsley cut up - a few sprigs
Sliced tomatoes - I used 2-4 small grape tomatoes


Make 2 medium hard boiled eggs. Takes about 15 minutes. I use an acrylic egg timer (Egg Perfect egg timer) that works extremely well especially well for soft boiled eggs. When it has reached time remove from heat and run cold water into the pot to cool the eggs and prevent further cooking. Peel the eggs now. Slice into 3/8" or 1cm slices.

Zest 1/2 lemon into small bowl. Cut 1/2 lemon to juice later. Slice tomatoes.

Put bread in toaster. I figure you got his part. Depends on your toaster but lightly brown.

While toast is toasting: heat a cast iron frying pan on low-medium, or whatever you have. Add some olive oil to warm and then add pesto.

Open tin of sardines and place in the warmed pesto on the stove and heat them up. Turn periodically and cover with pesto. When the toast is almost ready add lemon zest to pesto and sardines. Add the lemon juice now too. Continue to warm for 1-2 minutes.

When toast is ready lather with Dijon mustard. Be liberal as it will help to take some of the fishy taste out.

Place sardines on toast Splitting them up between the 2 pieces of toast. Cover with the remaining pesto.

Place sliced tomatoes and sliced eggs on top. Top with salt and pepper and cut up some fresh parsley.

Yum it up!

This is a very filling meal. If you eat 2 sardine toasts at 3 pm you won't require dinner later.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Tipsy Rabbit Stew

Fall and Winter are perfect times for stew dishes. This holiday season you may want to try something outside of your normal comfort zone. If so then this ones for you!

Sometimes you just want something different. Rabbit brings different images to mind for people. It has more flavour than chicken and is almost all dark meat. The farmed rabbit isn't gamey or oily in this recipe. This recipe is tasty and the meat is tender. Left-overs, if you have them, are great too.

Serves 4
25-30 minutes preparation time
10-15 minutes to brown rabbit
2 hours in oven


50 - 100ml brandy
150g or 1/3 pound pitted prunes
50g soft brown sugar
1 rabbit jointed
3 celery stocks chopped
4 seasonal carrots chopped
1 parsnip peeled and chopped
1 onion diced
10-12 small new potatoes quartered
2 cloves garlic
Plain flour for dusting (about 1/3 cup)
1Tbsp grape seed oil (or vegetable oil)
3 slices (rashers) smoked bacon sliced into thin strips
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
200ml red wine (best you can afford- I used Church and State, Lost Inhibitions red)
300ml chicken stock


Heat the oven to 325 degrees

Place the prunes in a glass container with the brandy and brown sugar. Stir and set aside until needed.

Joint the rabbit.  Jamie Oliver - Joint a rabbit  Or have the butcher cut it into 8 pieces for you, they can do this with a frozen rabbit and a band saw. I jointed my own after it thawed out. Very easy to do- easier than carving the Thanksgiving turkey that's for sure!

Dust the rabbit in the flour.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof dish (Le Creuset cast iron pot) and brown the rabbit all over until golden. You may need to do several batches and add extra oil too. Set rabbit aside when done.

Add the bacon, vegetables (not the potatoes yet), garlic and herbs to the pot and fry for about 5 minutes until they start to colour.

Add the red wine and scrap all the "goodness" from the bottom of the pot. Pour in the chicken stock and place the rabbit into the pot with the tipsy prunes. Cover and cook for 2 hours (adding the potatoes 20 minutes from stat time, too early and they will get mushy :(

After 20 minutes add the potatoes, continue cooking until the 2 hour mark has reached. Stirring occasionally (about every 30 minutes) until the rabbit is very tender.

While waiting to eat: 

Oysters and crackers to nibble on while the stew cooks and chess to pass the time.

Finish off that bottle of red you opened. (teehee)

Plate and serve. Now you can have a glass of the red you opened.

There will be little bones so do be careful and remember to chew your food.

This recipe is mostly from Slow-cooked rabbit stew. After following this recipe my lovely wife made the suggestion to add more veggies to make it like a real stew. We were very happy with this method versus rice. It will be one of our go-to's from now on.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Duck Breast with rhubarb port reduction and chilli chocolate sauce

 This recipe was inspired by one of the best meals I had in Valencia Spain at Refugio. Not only was it a fantastic meal; but, everyone else was having fish and I had a whole bottle of Pinot Noir to myself!


2 Duck breasts
Vegetables (your choice)
olive oil
Thyme leaves flakes
Rosemary leaves flakes

 Chocolate Sauce:

1 bar dark chocolate (orange flavoured or plain) broken into small chunks
Two red chilli - sliced length wise and de-seeded (you can use chilli flakes instead)
1 Tsp to 1 Tbsp olive oil (or use chilli oil to do both these in one step)
Dash of salt

Rhubarb Sauce:

3 sticks rhubarb coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150ml) red port
2/3 cup (150ml) chicken stock
1/8 cup fine sugar (icing sugar, caster sugar) depending on tartness of the rhubarb


Rhubarb sauce:

In a medium pot put the rhubarb and sugar and heat for about 5 minutes on low-medium heat;

Add the port and bring to a boil for 2 minutes;

Add the chicken stock and continue to cook to reduce for about 10-15 minutes until the mixture resembles a sauce.


Preheat the oven to 350;

Score the fat side of the duck breast in a nice diamond pattern making certain not to cut all the way through into the meat

Put the duck breasts skin side down in a frying pan on medium-high heat for about 1 1/2-2 1/2 minutes or until the skin has turned a light golden brown. Place in oven for 8-12 minutes. Make sure the skin does not become too dark. It is easy to over cook duck because we are use to cooking other meats and the colour is very dark, so set a timer. I have found the timing is close to the 8-9 minute mark for the breasts I buy.

Remove the duck and place on the cutting board tented with tin foil for 4-5 minutes. Do IT! it makes a huge difference to how juicy the duck will become.

Chocolate sauce:

You will need a pot that you can put water into and a metal bowl (it could be glass) to float on the water. It is important that the bowl sides do not touch the pot as this will heat the metal too much.

Heat the water. Place the chocolate, chillies and oil into the bowl and place on the hot water. Allow the chocolate to melt and stir gently to get all the chocolate to melt. The oil help keep the mixture in a liquid state and to prevent it from hardening, avoid heating and cooking the sauce for too long a time. This will take 5-8 minutes so start it around the time the duck is in the oven.


You can choose many different veggies to accompany this dish. I often like saut├ęd spinach in butter but here I picked carrots, zucchini and potatoes.
Heat BBQ to medium-high heat. Oil grill just before putting veggies on grill with grape seed oil or your favourite high heat oil.
Boil potatoes: Place potatoes in a pot and cover over by an inch with cold water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Check with a thin knife--it should go in without resistance. If not ready then keep checking every minute.

Drain and then coat with olive oil and seasoning.

Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices length wise.

 Place zucchini slices and carrots in a bowl and coat with olive oil and seasoning--thyme and rosemary is nice.
Grill zucchini and carrots on BBQ about 2 minutes a side until there are grill marks. The zucchini overcooks super fast so be watchful.

Roll zucchini up and place on edge for a beautiful look.

Pour the wine and arrange the duck and veggies on a warmed plate. Enjoy the silence as everyone starts to eat!

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Watermelon, tomato and basil soup-salad

I've been thinking about making this dish for years now. While in Spain four of us lunched in Bilbao along the canal close to the Guggenheim Museum. Always wanting to try something different and interesting sounding I ordered a watermelon-tomato-basil salad. Much to my surprise there where squares of tomato and watermelon in a green liquid. I didn't know what the heck was going on. It took a moment  to realize it was what I ordered. Just not what was my preconceived idea of what I ordered! This is a soup-salad! Stretch the bounds of your imagination, lol.

My version is different slightly from the original that I had in Spain, well, because it was years ago and I didn't take notes. Plus the lunchtime wine makes it a little foggy in the memory banks.


2-3 Tomatoes
2 cups fresh Basil
1/2 peeled English long Cucumber
Goat or feta cheese
Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup (approx.) Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lemon juiced
Mint leaves


1. Blend basil, cucumber and lemon juice in olive oil with a dash salt. Chill in refrigerator.

2. Cut tomatoes so you don't have any skin and watermelon into cubes (smallish). Alternatively, you can blanch and peel the tomatoes and make larger pieces. Wait to put tomato and watermelon onto plate until you pour in the basil because it will look cleaner.

3. Place in shallow bowl and pour a small amount of basil in bottom of bowl

4. Crumble cheese around and on cubes

5. Sprinkle mint leaves

6. Drizzle balsamic over top

7. Serve immediately while basil "soup" is cold

This is a great summertime dish that is fun and refreshing. Serve it with some Prosecco Frissante - Villa Teresa Organic to make a fancy dinner party or with soda water made from a Sodastream for lunches and for the kids.

Alternative options:

Instead of cheese, mint and balsamic use curly lettuce, a few bean sprouts and small slices of kalamata olives on top of the watermelon and tomato pieces.