Archive for December, 2020

If you are looking for something different for dinner on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, consider this whole roasted sea bass from Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi. Make a quick sauce and spread cabbage leaves and scallions on a baking sheet. Place the fish on top and sprinkle with ginger. Cover with foil and roast for about 40 minutes. Sprinkle scallions and chili pepper over the fish, pour hot oil over to crisp the skin and serve with the vegetables and sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use Imagine Organic chicken stock, tamari instead of soy sauce, Foreman pure sesame oil and Mitsukan mirin rice wine.

Make the sauce

Spread red cabbage leaves and scallions on a baking sheet

Place fish on baking sheet and sprinkle with ginger

Roast fish and then top with hot oil, scallions and chili pepper

Serve with the sauce and garnish with cilantro


For the sauce

7 tbsp (100 ml) chicken stock

2 tbsp (30 ml) sesame oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry instead)

3½ tbsp (52.5 ml) light soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar

For the fish

1 whole sea bass (about 2 lbs/1 kg and 18 inches/45 cm long), scaled, gutted and rinsed

Coarse sea salt

10 scallions, trimmed

1 small medium white cabbage, cut in half, core cut out, and leaves separated one by one

1 ½ -inch (3.5 cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and julienned

1 red chili deseeded and julienned

5 tbsp (75 ml) canola or peanut oil

½ cup (10 g) coriander leaves


Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C)

Put all the sauce ingredients in a small pan, put on a high heat and, once boiling, cook for a minute, swirling the pan slightly so the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Cut five ¼-inch (0.5 cm) deep and 3 ¼-inch (8-cm) long diagonal slits on both sides of the fish. Sprinkle a teaspoon (5 ml) of salt evenly over one side of the fish and rub in; repeat on the other side with another teaspoon (5 ml) of salt.

Cut eight of the scallions into 2-inch (5-cm) lengths and set aside in a small bowl; finely slice the remaining two onions and set those aside in a separate bowl.

Line a large, high-sided 12-inch x 15-inch (30-cm x 40-cm) baking tray with baking parchment and spread the cabbage and larger scallion pieces on top. Lay the fish diagonally in the tray (this helps give it a bit of extra room), then sprinkle over the ginger. Pour the sauce over the fish and cover the tray tightly with foil.

Roast for 40 minutes, basting twice, until the fish is cooked through. To make sure it’s done, gently insert a knife into one of the slits and check that the flesh comes away from the bones and is no longer transparent. Sprinkle over the reserved finely sliced scallions and the chili, and set aside.

Pour the oil into a small pan and place on a high heat for about two minutes, until it starts to smoke. Very carefully pour this evenly over the fish, so that it starts to crisp the skin and vegetables.

You can serve the fish at the table in its baking tray, or arrange the cabbage leaves and chunks of scallions on a larger platter – you’ll need to pull them out from under the fish – and carefully lift out the fish to sit on top. Pour over the cooking sauce and serve at once, with coriander scattered on top. Serves 4.

From Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi

If you are craving some lighter fare during the holiday season, try this recipe from Dinner Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey. Make a quick sauce, bake the salmon and boil the edamame and noodles. Top the noodles with sauce, salmon, edamame, more sauce and sesame seeds.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce and check the sesame oil and ramen noodles for additives. I use Marukan rice vinegar.

Scallion-ginger salmon noodles


¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh ginger

3 cloves garlic, minced

¾ cup (180 ml) sliced scallions

2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce

1 tsp (5 ml) rice of white wine vinegar

½ tsp (2.5 ml) toasted sesame oil

1 lb (454 g) skinless salmon fillets

1/8 tsp (0.6 ml) salt

4 packages ramen noodles (discard seasoning packets)

1 cup (250 ml) shelled edamame

Sesame seeds


Preheat the oven to 425 F (218 C).

Heat the canola oil in  small pan over high. Once it’s very hot, add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Reserve.

Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the salmon on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 15 minutes or until salmon is just cooked through. Remove from the oven and let it rest, covered, for about 5 minutes.

Cook the edamame boiling salted water until tender. Remove from the water and add the ramen noodles to the boiling water. Cook until the noodles are tender.

Divide the noodles and edamame among four bowls and toss each portion with a tablespoon (15 ml) of the sauce. Flake the salmon into large pieces and divide among the bowls. Drizzle with the remaining sauce and top with sesame seeds. Serves 4.

From Dinner Uncomplicated by Claire Tansey

This cake from Food and Drink is a perfect dessert for brunch or a casual holiday dinner. And it can be made ahead, which is a bonus at this time of year. Spread melted butter, honey and brown sugar over the bottom of a cake pan and sprinkle cranberries over. Make the cake batter and smooth over the cranberries. Bake, let the cake rest for five minutes, invert it onto a plate and either serve right away or refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving with whipped cream or ice cream. You can also freeze the cake.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the butter contains only cream and has no colour added. Check the ground spices for colour and anti-caking agents. Use natural vanilla extract.

Placed melted butter, honey and brown sugar in bottom of pan and top with berries

Make cake batter

Spread batter over berries

Let baked cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting onto plate

Festive upside-down cake


3 tbsp (45 ml) melted butter, divided

2 tbsp (30 ml) brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) honey

2 cups (500 ml) fresh cranberries

1½ cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour

2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder

2 tsp (10 ml) ground ginger

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

½ cup (125 ml) room-temperature butter

¾ cup (175 ml) granulated sugar

3 eggs

½ tsp (2 ml) vanilla

1/3 cup (80 ml) milk

Whipped cream or ice cream


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

Use 1 tbsp (15 ml) melted butter to coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan. Whisk remaining 2 tbsp (30 ml) melted butter, brown sugar and honey together. Spread over pan bottom as best you can. It won’t completely cover. Scatter cranberries over sugar mixture so the entire bottom is covered. There should be a single layer of berries with no gaps, so you may have to add a few more or remove some. Gently press down.

In a medium-size bowl, using a fork, stir flour with baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high, beat ½ cup (125 ml) room-temperature butter until creamy. Gradually beat in granulated sugar, then beat for 2 minutes. Add eggs and beat 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in vanilla.

Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in one-third of flour mixture, then half of milk. Repeat additions, ending with flour mixture, beating each time just until blended. Spoon over berries. Gently smooth batter to cover berries.

Bake in centre of oven until cake edge begins to pull away from side of pan and cake springs back when lightly touched in centre, from 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around outside edge of cake. Invert onto a large cake plate. If making more than 1 day ahead, cover with a tent of foil, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving, topped with whipped cream. Serves 12.

From Food and Drink

If you’re looking for a hearty lunch after bringing home the perfect holiday tree, look no further than this delicious soup from Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten. It has all the flavours of a savoury chicken pot pie in a hearty soup — comfort in a bowl. The recipe calls for puff pastry croutons; I didn’t make them and the soup was still fantastic. I omitted the sherry and used fresh instead of frozen pearl onions. Adding a Parmesan cheese rind adds terrific flavour – I keep them in the freezer and use to enhance soups and tomato sauce.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Sherry often contains sulfites. I used Imagine Organic chicken stock. Genuine Parmesan cheese is additive-free.

Chicken pot pie soup



3 chicken breasts, skin on, bone in (2½-3 lb/1.13-1.36 kg total)

Olive oil

4 tsp (20 ml) kosher salt, plus more to taste

1½ tsp (7.5 ml) freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

6 tbsp (90 ml) unsalted butter

5 cups (1.25 L) chopped leeks, white and green parts (3)

4 cups (1 L) chopped fennel, tops and cores removed (2 bulbs)

3 cups (½-inch/1.25-cm) diced carrots (5 medium)

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced garlic (3 cloves)

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh tarragon

¼ cup (60 ml) cornstarch

¾ cup (185 ml) cream sherry, divided

7 cups (1.75 L) chicken stock, preferably homemade

1 (2 x 3-inch/5 x 7.6-cm) Italian Parmesan cheese rind

1 (10-oz/285 g) box frozen peas

1 cup (250 ml) frozen whole pearl onions

¼ cup (60 ml) minced fresh parsley

Puff pastry croutons

½ (17.3-oz/490 g) pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed

Flour, for dusting

1 extra-large egg, beaten

1 tbsp (15 ml) heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Puff pastry croutons

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Lightly dust a board and rolling pin with all-purpose flour. Unfold puff pastry. Lightly dust with flour and lightly roll to smooth out folds. Use star-shaped or fluted round cookie cutters to cut out 12 stars or rounds; place on prepared pan. Combine and cream; brush over tops of stars or rounds. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 8–10 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.


Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

Place chicken, skin side up, on a sheet pan. Rub with oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast 35 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 130°–140°F (54°-60°C). Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard skin and bones. Cut chicken into a 1-inch (2.54-cm) dice; set aside.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium.

Add leeks, fennel and carrots; sauté over medium-high 10 minutes or until leeks are tender but not browned. Stir in garlic and tarragon; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Add ½ cup (125 ml) sherry, stock, 4 tsp (20 ml) salt, 1½ tsp (7.5 ml) pepper and Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes.

Add chicken, peas and onions. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Off the heat, remove Parmesan rind; add remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) sherry and parsley. Serve hot in large shallow bowls topped with 2 puff pastry croutons. Serves 6.

From Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten