Archive for January, 2022

This Middle Eastern-inspired sweet and sour recipe from Shelf Love, the new cookbook from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, is a bit labour-intensive but the results are worth it. Roast onion, garlic and potatoes until softened. Add plums, rosemary and sausages and a sauce made of cider vinegar, pomegranate molasses, sugar, water, oil, sumac, salt and pepper. Roast for about 50 minutes until the plums have broken down and everything is bubbling and sticky. Serve topped with a mixture of parsley, sumac and oil. Sumac is a tangy spice made from the dried and ground berries of the wild sumac flower. Cook’s note: I added some halloumi 15 minutes before the dish was ready to serve.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I used Free From hot Italian sausages, Allen’s apple cider vinegar and President’s Choice sumac. I used Tamam pomegranate juice concentrate molasses, which is additive-free.

This recipe uses fresh plums and rosemary

Make the vinegar-pomegranate molasses sauce

After the onions and potatoes have cooked for about 35 minutes, add the plums, rosemary and sausages and top with the sauce

Bake until cooked and bubbling

Serve topped with a mixture of parsley, oil and sumac


5 red onions, peeled and cut into 6 wedges each

2 heads garlic, cut in half widthways

3 baking potatoes, skin-on, cut into quarters lengthways

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

Salt and black pepper

1 lb, 10 oz (737 g) plums (about 10), halved and stoned (1 lb, 5 oz/595g net weight)

3 rosemary stalks, leaves picked and stems discarded

8 pork sausages

3 tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar

¼ cup (60 ml) pomegranate molasses

¼ cup (60 ml) soft brown sugar

2 tbsp (30 ml) sumac

2½ tbsp (37.5 ml) parsley, picked leaves with soft stalks attached


Heat the oven to 400 F (204 C). Put the onions, garlic, potatoes, five tablespoons (75 ml) of oil, 7 tbsp (105 ml) water, a teaspoon and a half (7.5 ml) of salt and a good grind of pepper in a large roasting tin (roughly 16 x 12 inches/40 x 30 cm). Toss together, then bake for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the vegetables have softened and started to take on some colour and the water has evaporated.

Lay the plums cut side up in the tray, add the rosemary leaves, then nestle in the sausages. In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, molasses, sugar, two tablespoons (30 ml) of water, a tablespoon and a half (22.5 ml) of sumac, two tablespoons (30 ml) of oil, half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of salt and a good grind of pepper, pour this all over the contents of the tray, then return to the oven for 40 minutes, turning the sausages once halfway, so they cook and colour evenly.

Turn up the oven to 425 F (218 C) and roast for 10 minutes more, until everything is nicely browned, the plums have broken down and the sauce is bubbling and sticky.

Toss the parsley with the remaining teaspoon and a half (7.5 ml) of sumac and remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of oil, dot all over the sausage mixture, then serve warm straight from the tray. Serves 4.

From Shelf Love by the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen

If you are trying to eat less meat, try these tacos from Half Baked Harvest’s Super Simple cookbook. Cook onion, cauliflower, garlic and peppers, add soy sauce, then remove from heat and add cilantro. Fry the halloumi until it is golden brown, then remove from heat and add sesame seeds. Put the cauliflower mixture in tacos and top with the halloumi, avocado and a yogurt-cilantro sauce. Cook’s note: I used banana peppers instead of poblanos.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Use tamari instead of soy sauce, as it is preserved with alcohol instead of sodium benzoate. Look for yogurt, halloumi and tortillas without additives or colour. Use freshly squeezed lime juice.

These vegetarian tacos contain cauliflower, peppers, onion, halloumi and cilantro

Cook onion, peppers and cauliflower and stir in cilantro

Cook the halloumi until golden brown

Make the yogurt-cilantro sauce

Spicy poblano tacos with fried sesame halloumi


Taco filling

3 tbsp (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 cups (750 ml) roughly chopped cauliflower

3 poblano peppers, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced or grated

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

3 tbsp (45 ml) low-sodium soy sauce or tamari

¼ cup (60 ml) fresh cilantro, chopped

8 oz (226 g) cubed halloumi cheese

1 tbsp (15 ml) sesame seeds

8 small flour or corn tortillas, warmed for serving

1 avocado, sliced

Yogurt sauce

1 cup (250 ml) full-fat plain Greek yogurt

1 cup (250 ml) fresh cilantro

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced (optional)

Juice of 1 lime

Kosher salt



In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower and poblano peppers and cook until the cauliflower starts to brown, 5 to 10 minutes more. Add the garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the soy sauce or tamari and cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the vegetables, about 2 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the chopped cilantro.

In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the halloumi and cook without moving it until golden, about 2 minutes per side, 4 to 5 minutes total. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sesame seeds.


In a blender or food processor, combine the yogurt, cilantro, jalapeno (if using), lime juice and a large pinch of salt. Pulse until completely smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and add more salt as needed.

To serve

Add the filling to the tortillas and top with the halloumi, avocado and yogurt sauce. Serves 4

From Half Baked Harvest’s Super Simple cookbook

To me, baked beans are the ultimate winter comfort food. This recipe from Canadian Living—based on the traditional dish served at the Zurich, Ontario bean festival—is delicious. Quick soak and cook dried white beans, combine with bacon, tomato juice, brown sugar, ketchup, salt, dry mustard and pepper and then bake low and slow for three to four hours. You can serve this as a side dish or on its own with toast and a green salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for bacon preserved with celery salt instead of nitrites. Heinz tomato juice and ketchup are additive-free, as is Keen’s dry mustard.

Soak beans and then cook until tender

Add tomato juice, ketchup, bacon, brown sugar, salt, pepper and dry mustard to cooked beans

Cook for 3-4 hours, adding bean cooking liquid if necessary


2 ½ cups (625 ml) white pea beans

¼ lb (125 g) bacon, cubed

1 ½ cups (375 ml) tomato juice

1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar

1 cup (250 ml) ketchup

1 tbsp (15 ml) salt

½ tsp (2.5 ml) dry mustard

½ tsp (2.5 ml) pepper


In large saucepan, pour 8 cups (2 L) water over beans, bring to boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand for 1 hour. Drain, discarding liquid.

In same saucepan, pour 8 cups (2 L) fresh water over beans; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain, reserving liquid.

In casserole, combine beans, bacon, tomato juice, sugar, ketchup, salt, mustard and pepper. Cover and bake in 300 F (150 C) oven for 3 to 3 ½ hours or until tender, checking every 45 minutes and stirring in reserved liquid, if necessary, to moisten beans. Serves 6.

From the Canadian Living 20th Anniversary Cookbook

This recipe from the latest Food and Drink calls for a beef strip loin roast, which is leaner and less expensive than prime rib, but which is very tender and tasty. Oven-sear the roast for 10 minutes and then top with a mixture of bread crumbs, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest and oil. Return roast to oven and cook until medium-rare or to your desired doneness. Let the roast stand for at least 10 minutes, covered, keeping in mind that the meat’s internal temperature will rise a few degrees during this time.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

For the bread crumbs, I used PC black label panko, which is additive-free. Genuine Parmesan is additive-free; look for the name stamped on the rind.

A strip loin roast is leaner and less expensive that prime rib

Combine panko, Parmesan, parsley, lemon zest, oil and pepper for the crust

Parmesan-crusted stip loin roast


4 lb (1.81 kg) beef strip loin roast, untied

Salt and freshly ground pepper

¾ cup (175 ml) panko bread crumbs

½ cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 tbsp (30 ml) minced fresh parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tbsp (15 ml)

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive or canola oil


Preheat oven to 450°F (232°C). Trim off any excess fat cap on the roast thicker than ¼ inch (5 mm). Lightly season roast all over with salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Sear roast in oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine panko, Parmesan, parsley and lemon zest in a bowl; drizzle in oil, tossing to evenly coat crumbs. Season with pepper to taste. Set a rimmed baking sheet on your work surface.

Remove roast from oven. Lower the heat to 275°F (135°C). Lift rack with roast from roasting pan and place on rimmed baking sheet; set roasting pan aside.

Press crumb coating by small handfuls over top and sides of roast, leaving cut ends bare. Scrape up any crumbs that fall onto baking sheet and press back on top of roast (if any do not adhere, discard or use on a baked vegetable side dish).

Carefully transfer roast on rack back into roasting pan. Return to oven and roast for about 2 hours or until meat thermometer reads 135°F (57°C) for medium-rare or until desired doneness (temperature will rise about 5°F/3°C upon resting).

Transfer roast to a cutting board, loosely tent with foil and let rest. Cut roast into slices to serve. Serves 6 with leftovers.

From Food and Drink

Shelf Love, the new cookbook from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, focuses on comfort food made from pantry staples, along with Yotam Ottolenghi’s signature additions, such as tasty spice blends and novel flavour pairings. This recipe uses berbere — an Ethiopian spice blend — as the basis of a paste that coats chicken pieces, carrots and chickpeas. Bake the dish for about 70 minutes and top with an orange-cilantro salsa.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. I used No Name tomato paste, Blue Menu chickpeas, Allen’s apple cider vinegar and pure honey.

Berbere is an Ethiopian spice blend

Place chicken, carrots and chickpeas in pan and cover with spice paste

Roast until chicken is done and carrots are tender

Serve the chicken with an orange-cilantro salsa

Berbere-spiced chicken, carrots and chickpeas


Berbere spice mix

8 teaspoons (40 ml) pure chile powder (ground dried red hot peppers) or 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cayenne pepper

5 teaspoons (25 ml) sweet paprika

1 tablespoon (15 ml) salt

1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground coriander

½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground ginger

3/8 teaspoon (1.9 ml) ground cardamom

3/8 teaspoon (1.9 ml) ground fenugreek

¼ teaspoon (1.25) ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon (0.63 ml) ground cloves

Chicken, carrots and chickpeas

1 onion large, peeled and roughly chopped

6 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped

1.5 oz (45 g) coriander stalks (0.9 oz/25g) and leaves (0.6 oz/20g) separated, and both roughly chopped

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) berbere spice

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) tomato paste

2.5 tbsp (22.5 ml) honey

3 tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar

6 tbsp (90 ml) olive oil

1.75 lb (800 g) carrots cut into 1.5-2-inch (4-5 cm) lengths

2 15-oz (425 g) canned chickpeas, drained

12 chicken thighs and drumsticks (6 of each)

3 oranges – 1 left whole, the others juiced, to get ½ cup/125 ml


Berbere spice mix

Mix all ingredients together. Store in airtight container. Makes 1/3 cup (82.5 ml).

Chicken, carrots and chickpeas

Heat the oven to 425 F (220 C). Put the onion, garlic, coriander stalks, berbere spice, tomato paste, honey, a tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar, four tablespoons (60 ml) of oil, 1.75 tsp (8.75 ml) salt and a good grind of pepper in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.

Scrape this into a large, roughly 13-inch x 10-inch (34-cm x 26-cm) roasting pan and add the carrots, chickpeas, chicken, orange juice and 6 oz (150 ml) water. Toss everything together to coat and combine, then arrange the thighs skin side up on top, so they’re just nestled in the mix.

Tightly cover the tray with foil, bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 40 minutes more, rotating the pan once halfway, until everything is cooked through and nicely coloured. Remove from the oven and leave to settle slightly for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, segment the whole orange and roughly chop the flesh. Put this in a medium bowl with the coriander leaves, the last two tablespoons (30 ml) each of vinegar and oil, 1/8 teaspoon (0.63 ml) of salt and a good grind of pepper and mix to combine.To serve, spoon the coriander salsa all over the top of the chicken and serve directly from the pan. Serves 6.

From Shelf Love by the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen