Darlene Foster's Blog

Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

I enjoy cooking and baking, and I especially love trying new recipes. During the nine weeks of lockdown here in Spain, I’ve had plenty of time to go through my cookbooks and try recipes I haven’t made before. Needless to say, we’ve been eating very well. I’ve collected cookbooks since I was very young and have a wonderful assortment. Some have been gifts and others I have bought myself. I managed a chain of kitchen stores in the 1980s where we sold cookbooks, so I was privy to some of the best. I was thinking about my special cookbooks and why I like them so much. So I decided to share my favourite six with you.

Why do I keep going back to these six?

Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East & North Africa by Habeeb Salloum is my go-to cookbook. I use this one most of all. I visited the United Arab Emirates twenty years ago and fell in love with the food. When I returned from my trip, I looked for recipes from that part of the world. A friend worked in a bookstore and recommended this one. In fact, she bought it with her employee discount so it didn’t cost me as much. She has since passed away, so every time I use it I think of her and my amazing trip. The recipes are easy to follow and each one has a short explanation or story attached, which I love. As an aside, a few years ago one of my short stories was included in an anthology in which Habeeb Salloum was also featured. How cool is that!

The Vegetable Market Cookbook, Classic Recipes From Around the World by Robert Budwig, was given to me as a gift from a special cousin who knew I was a vegetarian and that I liked international recipes. The book is divided into Italian, French, Moroccan, Thai, Indian, Mexican & Guatemalan, and Californian recipes. The dishes are made from fresh fruits and vegetables you would buy at the market. Everything I’ve made from this book has been delicious and the drawings inside are delightful. This recipe book is a pleasure to sit and read over and over.

The Lighthearted Cookbook, by Anne Lindsay, is endorsed by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. This was a book we sold in the kitchen stores. The recipes are low fat and heart-healthy, and also delicious. My hubby’s favourite stew comes from this book, which has a great assortment of meat, vegetable, dessert, and baked goods recipes. This one is used a lot in our house and has the stains to prove it!

New Recipes from Moosewood Restaurant, by The Moosewood Collective is another cookbook we sold in the kitchen stores and was very popular. In the early 1980s, vegetarianism was just starting to get popular and many people didn´t know how to make a veggie meal interesting. This cookbook proves that vegetables do not have to be boring. It has been updated many times since I bought this one. I love the whimsical photographs interspersed throughout. I have often given this book as a gift. It makes a perfect bridal shower or housewarming gift.

Company´s Coming series of cookbooks by Jean Paré were best sellers in my kitchen stores. I couldn’t keep them on the shelves. And no wonder; they are filled with simple, easy to make recipes using ingredients readily available. I have a number of these cookbooks, but the one I use the most is Muffins and More. So much so it is almost falling apart. When we feel a need for a snack, I whip up a batch of muffins, a loaf, or a coffee cake from this gem of a recipe book. It never disappoints. Because I sold her books in the stores I managed, I was invited to a reception celebrating the sale of 1 million books, where I got to meet this lovely lady who turned her down-home recipes into an empire! She has since sold over 30 million copies and she is as down to earth as her cookbooks!

The George Bernard Shaw Vegetarian Cookbook by Alice Laden & R. J. Minney was a gift from a dear friend who picked it up for me when she visited The Shaw Festival in Stratford, Ontario. I love this little book compiled by GBS’s cook/housekeeper who ensured the great playwright always had tasty vegetarian meals. GBS became a vegetarian at age twenty-five and remained extremely healthy until he passed away at age ninety-four. I often make the Nut and Rice Roast from this book for my Christmas dinner.

There is no love sincerer than the love of good food. – George Bernard Shaw

Of course, I have many other cookbooks, recipes clipped out of magazines and newspapers, some from my mother, and others scribbled on bits of paper.

I would love to hear about your favourite cookbooks.

Today is my birthday and what better way to celebrate than sharing this article featuring Amanda talking about her adventures and sharing a couple of recipes! Check out this amazing blog where you will discover great recipes and interesting articles.

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Meet Amanda from the Amanda Travels series who talks about her travels and shares favorite recipes.

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HI! Amanda here.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Esme. You probably already know that I love traveling to interesting places. My curiosity gets me into trouble sometimes but I always meet interesting people and learn fascinating new things. What you maybe didn’t know is that I enjoy collecting recipes from the places I visit.

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I love my blogging community. Everyone is so supportive and I am delighted when I´m featured on their blogs.

Robbie Cheadle and her son Michael have been reading the Amanda Travels books and recently wrote a wonderful review on Robbie’s blog. This is what she had to say about Amanda in Arabia – the Perfume Flask

The story was sufficiently fast-paced to keep him interested and he wanted to read every night [instead of his usual practice of procrastinating for as long as possible before getting down to his reading]. I enjoyed the book too and thought the language was pitched at the right level for a middle school reader. 

You can read the rest of the review here

https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/2017/09/23/book-reviews-the-amanda-travels-series/

Please check out her blog. Robbie and her son not only write exciting children’s books featuring Sir Chocolate, they create the most amazing things out of fondant. The series of books about Sir Chocolate and his friends are also cookbooks. Each book includes a children’s story written in poetry form about the world of Sir Chocolate and five recipes that children can make with adult supervision. How cool is that?

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Fishing boy cake created by Robbie Cheadle. Love those fondant cows!

My good blogging friend, Sally Cronin is running a feature on her blog called The Ultimate Bucket List and invited us to share two things on our personal bucket list. If you want to know what mine are read on.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/smorgasbord-sunday-interview-the-ultimate-bucket-list-meeting-other-writers-by-darlene-foster/

Sally has also asked us to share posts from our archives. I decided to share one of mine from three years ago that features inspiration for my most recent book, Amanda in New Mexico-Ghosts in the Wind.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/11/08/smorgasbord-reblog-posts-from-your-archives-ghost-hotel-by-darlene-foster/

Sally, a talented writer herself, works tirelessly at promoting other writers. She is like the Fairy Godmother of Writers and we all appreciate everything she does. Check out her blog Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life if you haven’t already. There is something for everyone.

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The Fairy Godmother of writers and bloggers

 

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Check out this and Sally´s other amazing books https://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Thank you to everyone who reads, likes, shares and comments on my posts. It makes my day!!

Check out one of my favourite recipes on Sally´s blog.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Darlene Foster very kindly sent in this dessert which she and her family enjoy. If you have a recipe that you would like to share then contact me via the link at the end of the post.

I enjoy making desserts from scratch. We don´t often have dessert but when we do, it has to be homemade. I love this one from a recipe book I was given as a gift. It is always a hit with hubby and guests. Everyone loves a bit of chocolate! The pure Valor chocolate is great but any chocolate will do. It is a perfect recipe for those who require gluton or lactose free desserts. The dolop of whipped cream is optional. I often serve it with a couple of strawberries on the side.

AUSTRALIAN APPLE CHOCOLATE CAKE
from Green Feasts by Richard Cawley

4 eggs separated
115 g/4 oz sugar
115g/4oz plain chocolate…

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My favourite day in Provence was when we attended a cooking class in Vaison la Romaine. Cuisine de Provence is run by the lovely Barbara Schurenberg at her picturesque country home. The grounds are postcard perfect. They include an olive grove, where the olives are harvested and pressed into olive oil used in all her cooking. There is also a substantial herb garden.

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DSCN5164Our class of four learned to make typical Provencal dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Barbara was an excellent instructor using a hands-on style of teaching, giving each of us an opportunity to practice what we learned. At the end of the lesson, we  sat down to a feast of our efforts and a glass of local wine, served on the terrace. We left with tummies full, a file of recipes and smiles on our faces.

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We started by picking herbs from the garden and then learned how to chop them very fine to make our own Herbs de Provence.

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We made Tapenade with green and black olives. The secret ingredient – two anchovy fillets. Oh dear, I guess it is not a secret anymore. It was excellent served on a fresh baguette!

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We also made Verrine Melon Glace. Very refreshing on a hot day. Provence’s answer to Gazpacho and so easy to make.

DSCN5178Here I am making Mini Onion Tarte Tatins, covering the mixture with puff pastry. It was two French sisters, Carolina and Stephine Tatin, who created the upside down tarte by accident, in their hotel during the 1880s.

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The finished tatins straight out of the oven. A great hors-d’oeuvre to delight your guests.

DSCN5187My favourite was the Petites Quiches Provencales made with sweet grape tomatoes straight from the garden. I have made this crustless quiche since I came home and am proud to say it turned out well. This will be a regular at my house now.

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Sauteing the vegetables for  the Tarte Provencale. Am I having fun or what?

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The finished Tarte Provencale, soooo tasty. This and a salad is all I need for a summer meal.

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Our excellent instructor, Barbara, with the Apricot Galette ready for the oven. Barbara is mentioned in Rick Steves’ Provence and the French Riviera.

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The Apricot Galette ready to eat. A perfect dessert.

DSCN5193We finished off the meal with a cup of espresso.

It was a marvellous day, one I will never forget. Especially every time I make one of the delicious recipes at home. Hubby is looking forward to the Apricot Galette and the Poulet Provencal, which I plan to make very soon.

DSCN5183 (2)Note the perfect quote on the wall in Barbara’s kitchen.

You could also say, “You are only as good as the last book you wrote!”

If you are ever in the area, I suggest you consider taking a class with Barbara at  Cuisine de Provence. She has a variety of recipes and changes what she teaches daily. My friend has taken three classes already and each one was unique. Check out her website here.

Have you ever taken a cooking class while visiting another location?

As February comes to an end, the weather seems to be chilly everywhere. So I thought I would share a delicious and nutritious soup recipe I discovered in the Vancouver Sun recently. Enjoy!!

Curried Quinoa and Yam Soup

2 tablespoons (30 mL) vegetable oil
½ medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons (10 mL) finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon (5 mL) mild or medium curry powder
4 ½ cups (1.1 litre) chicken or vegetable stock
1/3 cup (80 mL) quinoa
1 14-once (397-gram) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon (15 mL) brown sugar
1 medium yam (about 10 onces/275 grams) peeled and cut into 1/2 –inch (1 cm) cubes
Salt to taste
¼ cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro or sliced green onion

• Place the oil in a large pot set over medium heat
• Add onion, ginger and garlic, and cook 2 minutes
• Mix in the curry powder and cook 30 seconds more
• Add the stock, quinoa, tomatoes and sugar and bring to simmer
• Simmer five minutes and then add the yam
• Simmer 10 -13 minutes more, or until quinoa and yams are tender
• Season with salt
• Stir in cilantro or green onion and serve

Makes 6 – 1 cup (250 mL) servings

Note: quinoa is sold at health food stores but I have recently found it in Safeway as well


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