Monday, July 26, 2010


Wow, it's been so long since I've posted!  I have a good excuse though, I'm pregnant!  With all the joy and excitement there is also lots of nausea and fatigue, so I've been taking it easy with the extra responsibilities. That's not to say that I haven't still been cooking, I just haven't had the energy to tell you all about it.  But tonight I feel like I can, so here it is.  Awesome homemade bagels that I just had to make after a really bad bagel I ate yesterday at a little cafe in the city.  It made me crave the real deal, the delicious chewy real Montreal style bagel.  Then I realized I should probably make supper, especially since Scott's brother in law Brad and nephew were going to be popping in around dinner time.  Luckily I had some ground lamb in the freezer.  Now today was a very hot summer day, and shepherd's pie is definitely not a hot summer day kinda meal.  But hey, that's what I felt like making.  Are you going to argue with a cranky, hot pregnant woman?
adapted from Home Baking by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid
Makes 20

3 tsp local honey
1 cup lukewarm honey
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 large organic egg
1 Tbsp organic oil
2 tsp sea salt
About 1-2 cups organic whole wheat flour
3 cups organic unbleached flour

For the topping
3 Tbsp local honey
About 1 cup organic hulled sesame seeds and or black poppy seeds

Method:  In a medium bowl dissolve the honey in the lukewarm water, then stir in the yeast.  In another small bowl, combine the egg with the warm water, oil, and salt.  Set aside.
     Add 1 cup of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir in.  Add the egg mix and then 2 more cups of flour and stir.  Add the rest of the flour in and blend.  The dough will be quite stiff.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead it for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
     Place the dough in a lightly floured bowl and cover with a large lid.  Let rise for 1-2 hours, until the dough is soft and has doubled in volume.  Gently punch the dough down, cover and let rise again for 1 hour.
     Preheat the oven to 450*.  Bring 8 cups of water to a boil.  Meanwhile, cut the dough into quarters and then work with one piece at a time, leaving the others covered in the bowl.  Cut the piece of dough into 5-6 pieces.  Roll each small piece out under your hands into a skinny rope 10-12 inches long.  Press on the dough and roll it back and forth.  Lay the dough rope over one hand, with one end lying across your palm and the other hanging down.  Wrap this other end around your hand so that the ends overlap by an inch.  Pinch the overlapping ends together, then, with your hand still in the dough loop, place your hand palm down on your work surface.  Press down slightly as your roll the seam under your palm to encourage it to stick together.  Place the bagel on a baking sheet and cover with a cotton cloth and let stand for 10-15 minutes.  Continue with the rest of the dough.
     Add the honey and stir to dissolve.  Place a parchment lined baking sheet by your side.  Put the poppy or sesame seeds in a plate.
     Gently slide 4 bagels into the boiling water.  Use the back of a slotted spoon to gently press them down into the water and let boil for 45 seconds.  Use the spoon to to remove them one by one and lay them in the seeds.  Roll each bagel in the seeds, coating both sides.  Place them on the baking sheet.  When the sheet is full bake them in the oven for 8 minutes, then turn over and bake another 5-7 minutes. Repeat until all bagels are done.


For the topping:
1 1/2 pounds organic potatoes, cut into small pieces
3 organic parsnips, peeled and cut into pieces
1 cup organic yogurt
1/4 cup organic salted butter
1/4 cup organic milk

1 Tbsp e.v olive oil
1 large organic onion, chopped
3 organic celery stalks, chopped
2 organic carrots, chopped
2 cloves organic garlic, minced
1 pound organic ground lamb
2 cups organic lentils, cooked
sea salt and pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp organic cumin powder
1 tsp organic chili powder
2 1/2  Tbsp organic cornstarch
1 1/2 cups organic peas

Method:  Preheat oven to 425*.  Make the topping by placing the potatoes and parsnips in a medium saucepan, cover with water by 2 inches, and bring to a simmer.  Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain, reserving 2 cups cooking liquid.  Mash the potatoes and stir in yogurt, butter and milk.  Season with sea salt and pepper.
Filling: Heat oil a in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Cook onion, celery, carrots, garlic, stirring, until tender, 10-12 minutes.
     Add the lamb, cook, breaking up any large pieces for 5 minutes.  Stir in the 1 1/2 tsp salt, and the other spices.  Season with pepper.  Stir in the cooked lentils.  Whisk together the cornstarch and reserved cooking liquid; add to the meat.  Boil for 1 minute then add the peas.  Transfer to a large baking dish, then top with the potatoes.  Bake until bubbling and the top is browned, about 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Scott was at it again, this time trying out the automatic spit my dad gave him after our wedding.  He had this vision of roasting some chickens over the coals and so was eager to make supper for us this evening.  Scott spent the afternoon rigging up three levelled wooden supports to rest the spit on.  I was quite impressed.  I was so hungry watching them cook, I could hardly wait for them to be done.  We used the cast iron skewers my mother sent me from Ontario to grill some boiled potatoes, zucchini and mushrooms.  The delicious fresh cucumbers I picked up at the farmer's market this Saturday tasted yummy in a garden fresh salad with feta cheese.  Summer doesn't get any better than this.