here and there

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sesame Lime Ginger Beer Can Chicken

Last year, Maple Leaf had a Sesame, Lime, Ginger Roasted Chicken recipe on the packaging.  However, this year it has a different recipe on the bags of whole chicken. Lucky I had copied the recipe down after using it for  Beer Can Chicken as the rub is a keeper.


  • 1 T of sesame seed oil, lime juice, grated fresh ginger 
  • 2 T soya sauce
  • minced garlic
  • 1 -2 tsp of 5 Spice Powder 
  • chili flakes
  • honey(opt)
Rub the mixture on to the chicken and let marinade until ready to BBQ. 

For the roasted chicken, the recipe uses lime and 4 cloves of garlic that are inserted into the cavity of the chicken

  I followed this recipe for the Beer Can Chicken that is cooked on the BBQ.  I chopped up a lime leaf from my Lime tree and minced garlic which were placed into a 2/3 full beer can.  My hubby drinks the rest! The cavity of the chicken was pulled over the beer can that had been placed into the beer can stand.  

The chicken does cook quickly and does need to be watched closely so it doesn't burn. 

The chicken is super moist and delicious. The recipe does draw from the classical Chinese combinations of the five flavors;  sweet, sour, salty, heat and bitter.

The Five Spice Powder is found in Asian Supermarket and Superstore.  The five main spices are Star Anise, Fennel, Cloves, Cinnamon and Szechaun peppercorns. One could always make one's own by grinding one tsp of each in a coffee grinder. 

    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    Wedding in Ukraine

    A distant cousin who lives in Kyvi posted these pictures of a wedding she attended in Khmelnytskyi which is located in the Western part of Ukraine and crossed by one of the longest rivers in Ukraine.

    This recent wedding in Ukraine is filled with Ukrainian color, traditions, customs and food!

    The pictures taken by my cousin beautifully showcase this wedding.  

    Braided bread called Koroval has remained part of the wedding tradition in Ukraine. I have only seen one  Koroval in Calgary at a family wedding, which was mainly covered with tiny birds.   The Braided bread has symbolic meaning and is covered in flowers, pinecones, birds.  

    This is a picture of a Koroval made for my Cousin's son wedding in 2003. In this case the little birds are made separately from the baked braided bread.

    These beautiful breads were placed on the head table and some were used to decorate the Wedding cake table. According to my cousin, "there used to be no cakes in the old times and this Art Bread used to be the main dessert".

    Tables lavishly set for 350 guests!  

    Colorful Ukrainian dancers greeted the guests!

    Grilled sardines and crawfish!  According to Wikipedia, iUkraine, crayfish (раки, sing. рак) are a traditional seasonal appetizer that is used as an accompaniment to beer and liquor. 

    The whole suckling pig that appears to be on each of the tables brought back memories of one of my cousin telling me that weddings in Canada were always held in the fall, after harvest, when a pig would be butchered and a jug of moonshine was available!  

    Pickled mushroom, cold cuts, salad and holodet's made out of pork.  I am familiar with Hushka, (Studinetz) a jellied dish that I have make out of pork shoulder and pork hocks. The pig is served as whole but is cut on the request. 

    Plates of Stuffed Bell Peppers, Shashlik (Pork Kebabs), Cabbage Rolls (Holopchi), assortment of breads.  Where did one start? 

    Check out this Dessert Table!

    Friday, August 28, 2015

    Rhubarb Dream Squares

    Rhubarb Dream Square sounds as good as it is! Not to mention that it is a very pretty looking dessert; squares or bars as my sister calls them, dainties! 

    The buttery crust goes well with the tart rhubarb!

    Rhubarb Dream Square

    Bottom Layer 
      • 2 cups flour
      • 2/3 cups sugar
      • 1 cup butter
      1. Mix  flour and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter to make coarse crumbs with a pastry blender or with 2 forks. Press into a 9x13 in baking pan. 
      2. Bake crust at 350 for 15 minutes. 

      • 4 eggs, beaten
      • 4 cups rhubarb, chopped
      • 1 1/4 cups sugar
      • 1/4 cup flour

      1. Combine eggs, sugar, flour and mix well. Fold in rhubarb.
      2. Pour into baked crust and bake @ 350 for 45-55 minutes.

      The recipe I had followed was from Mennonite Girls can Cook.  Although I did look at a few different recipes for Rhubarb bars.

      After baking a successful sponge cake, I was armed with confidence to make this dessert, only to have a flop! 

      Here are my comments with Charlotte!  

      I just pulled out this dessert out of the oven.. I had a meringue like thin crust form on top, which cracked while being cut. I guess, I had over beaten the batter. What do you think?
      I had wondered if this dessert could be frozen. I also would decrease the 2 cups of sugar as the dessert is way too sweet even with the four cups of Rhubarb. I am going to try again, but will wait to hear if I had over beaten the batter and if it can be successful frozen. 

      1. Hi Marilyn, thanks for the questions and I will try to answer best I can. I am curious, did you put crumbs on top and then you still got a thin layer of meringue like topping? I didn't think that when eggs were beaten into a batter with flour that it could do that, or at the very least it has not been my experience. If that is the way yours turned out and you still enjoyed eating it I think that would be just fine. Can you freeze this dessert, yes, even if you get a thin like meringue crust on it. My recommendation would be to thaw it uncovered, that way the crumbs don't get soggy. I hope this helps. 

    1. Thanks for the reply, I did do another pan of the same square recipe that same day. And it turned out lovely.. I did beat the eggs but only for a few minutes, and then add the rest. The batter was not as airy and fluffy as the first try and the mixture covered the rhubarb and the rhubarb could be seen when spread out, where I couldn't see the four cups of the fruit in the first batter! I couldn't cut the first dessert without the meringue smashing, but it went to a fence building bee and quickly disappeared. Lol.. I also reduced the sugar to 1 1/4 -1 1/2 cups and it was still plenty sweet.. I was able to cut the pan into small serving pieces, I think about 36

    The Rhubarb Dream Squares were a hit. In fact one of the ladies said I made her day with a rhubarb dessert. This dessert freezes well in a tupperware container in cut bars. The frozen bars are also delicious eaten frozen!

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Okonomiyaki, Japanese Pizza

    According to Just One Cookbook, Okonomi means “what you like” and yaki means “grilled.” and that is exactly what I did, add what I like or have on hand.  

    Today, I used cabbage, red and green, along with red onions and shrimp. 

    Grate or julienne very fine shreds of the vegetables.  Add grated ginger and minced garlic to the mix
     Don't worry about measures, if you do, then check out the link above.

    I used 3 eggs, about 2/3 cup of flour along with a 1/2 tsp of baking powder. Mix well and fry in a cast iron pan

    I usually garnish with some sour cream or plain yogurt, but this time decided to dress it with strip of nori, a light drizzle of sesame seed oil, pickled ginger, garlic chilli sauce and mayo that had been diluted in rice vinegar.


     My soon to be four granddaughter refuses to eat any form of vegetables.  The last time, I mixed onions, zucchini and cabbage! 

    Added a slice of provolone cheese, Squash blossom and scoop of vegetarian sauce

    And Yes, the Princess did gobble it down!

    Saturday, August 22, 2015

    Dark Fruit cake- Heritage recipe

    This recipe was given to me by my husband's aunts.  
    This recipe was passed down to them and was made by the two sisters in early fall for Christmas. My husband remember the cake being given to his mom every Christmas in a large cookie tin. The recipe would have come from Ireland in 1846!

    When I first made this cake, it brought back memories of my grandmother serving this dark black cake with white marzipan covering at Christmas.  As a little kid, I loved the little flowers made out of the almond half to decorate the cake.

    I first made this cake as a young wife and I remember my husband telling me that his mom never made it and that it was until later that she learned that one has to dredge the fruit with flour so that the fruit doesn't sink to the bottom. 

    Although the recipe doesn't tell you to wash the fruit, my mom always did and once you do you realize how disgusting the rinse water is. 

     I lost count of the number of times I washed the fruit but it certainly was more than five washing before it rinsed clean.. it also helps soften the raisins.  

    I did use some of my husband's Appleton Estate Jamaican rum and let marinade overnight

    Yesterday was a perfect day to steam the cakes for 8 hours. Cool, rainy all day!

    I made up only half of the cake recipe and as I was mixing this cake up, I wondered how did my husband's aunts managed as I ended up using 3 large pots to steam the three cakes.  The first time I made half of the recipe and the yield was 9" springform pan and a large loaf pan, this time the yield was 9"springform  pan, 8"circular cake pan and 8" soufflé dish.  I probably used a more accurate measure this time as I didn't have a scale the first time I made the cake.   

    I also bought fresh spices for the cake and raisins at 11 dollars at Bulk Barn.
    The cost of the mixed peel was 6 dollars.

    The cost of this cake is still very reasonable around 9 to 10 dollars per cake. 

    Dark Fruit Cake

    • 1lb butter
    • 1lb Brown sugar (2 2/3c )
    • 1 1/4 lb flour ( 5 5/8 c)
    • 14 eggs
    • 1 c Molasses
    • 1 c Strawberry preserve
    • 1/1/2 oz Vanilla Extract
    • 2 whole nutmeg grated
    • 1 tsp each of cloves, cinnamon,allspice, ginger
    • 4 lb seedless raisins 
    • 4 lb seeded raisins

    I soaked the fruit in 2/3 cup of rum, something that was not done in the original recipe
    I let the fruit marinade overnight, but this certainly can be done longer.

    Dredge the fruit in some of the flour, just to coat.

    Cream the butter, add in the sugar and mix well.
    Add in the molasses, Mix.
    Add the spices and beaten eggs and Mix
    Add the preserve and vanilla , Mix

    Fold in the fruit into prepared pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Cover the cakes with foil.  Place the cakes on a rack above the water to steam. 
    Steam for 8 hours, checking the water level regularly.

    Then put into oven for an hour at 225

    Cool thoroughly, wrap in foil

    I added rum to the top of the cake before wrapping. 

    Here is the recipe that was sent to me which my husband and I first made in 1981 and again for my daughter wedding this fall.. My grandmother also made a similar recipe which I loved as it was so dark with this wonderful white icing or Marzipan.  I remember the cake which was so dark with this beautiful white icing.. As a Kid I loved the little flowers made from Almond half that  decorated the cake.