Tomato bisque

B0379C0F-0775-48B9-8500-015137C2766BWith the days growing shorter, and the temperature dropping, i felt the need to make some soup.

This recipe was loosely based on several recipes but really, I just made it up as I went along and took note of it along the way.

Makes about 6 generous servings


  • 5 large tomatoes
  • 2 bottles of strained tomatoes (I got mine from Farm Boy)
  • 1 small can of herb/garlic tomato paste
  • 3 spanish onions
  • 5 cups of vegetable stock
  • 6 stalks celery
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp of garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp sea salt


  • remove skin/core tomatoes and give them a rough chop and set aside
  • chop celery, garlic, basil. set aside
  • heat up french oven on stove top to medium-high heat
  • dice onions and then drop onions and 1/4 cup of butter into french oven.
  • Stir onions until they are cooked (do not brown).
  • Once onions are done, add garlic and celery and remaining butter
  • Stir for 5ish minutes until everything is thoroughly cooked
  • Add tomatoes, strained tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and olive oil
  • Stir well and then add vegetable stock and white wine vinegar
  • Add in spices and season as needed with additional salt/pepper until your taste preference is achieved
  • Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • add parmesan cheese and stir well
  • Hit with an immersion blender, or if no immersion blender, take out in batches and run through blender until desired consistency is achieved.
  • Serve with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkled parsley and of course, a really good grilled cheese (pictured is a sourdough with monterey jack and havarti)


Scotch Pies

I love scotch pies.  If I could eat nothing but scotch pies, I would.  I’ve always wanted to try and make my own scotch pies but have been daunted at the thought.

After yet another episode of Great British Bake Off (the pies episode) I decided to try it.  I ended up using ‘a little bit of this and a little bit of that’ approach of various recipes to create my pies.

Now that i’ve had a go at it, things I would change:  I would add panko breadcrumbs to the meat to give it a better texture.  I would use lamb/pork or just pork for taste. I would roll out the dough to a much thinner consistency for the pie casings/lids

As Mary would say:


They were delicious, but I just feel like these slight amendments may help the next time…

Ingredients for the filling:
1/2 lb minced lamb
1/2 lb minced beef
1 shallot, diced
2 tsp all spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 cup of gravy

Ingredients for the hot water pastry:
4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup of lard
3/4 cup of water
Pinch of salt
Milk for glazing


  • Run minced lamb, beef, shallot and spices through grinder.  Put in fridge to keep cool while making the pastry.
  • Make gravy with your favourite mix.  Set aside to cool
  • Preheat oven to 275F.  Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a warm bowl (place bowl in oven as it preheats). Make a well in the centre of the flour.
  • Melt the lard in the water and, when it is JUST bubbling, remove from heat and add to the flour and mix thoroughly.
  • Take a small amount of dough and form into a ball (about the size of a baseball) and keep the rest warm while making each pie.
  • Roll out ball of dough so that it is thin (approx. 2 cm thick) and lay over your form to hold casing. Make sure there are no cracks in the pastry. As the pastry cools, remove the form and continue until you have 6 pies with enough leftover dough to make the lids.
  • Fill the cases with the meat and add a dollop of gravy  on top to keep the meat moist while it bakes.
  • Roll the remaining pastry and use the form to cut the lids.
  • Wet the edges of the lids, place over the meat and press down lightly over the filling. Pinch the edges and trim. Cut a small hole or vent in the centre of the lid (to allow the steam to escape).
  • Glaze with milk and bake for 50 minutes at 275F.

    Serve with gravy, or brown sauce, or whatever you want…    Store in air-tight container in fridge for up to 2 days, or freeze for future deliciousness.  When re-heating, remember to cook thoroughly.

Here are the recipes that I used for inspiration for my scotch pies:
BBC, Canadian LivingRampant Scotland,


Homemade Mac and Cheese

Pasta? Good.  Cheese? Good.  Together? Delicious.

I was looking for an easy-ish recipe to make some lunches for the week and stumbled across this one at

The original recipe seemed a little too bland, so I added some of my own ideas to kick it up a notch and bring it to flavour town (apparently I’ve been watching too much Guy Fieri lately…)

Anywho, here’s the recipe –

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of elbow macaroni
  • 2 1/4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar (put 1/4 cup to the side for topping)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh parmesan, shredded
  • 2 1/2 cups of skim milk
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of flour
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp of yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp of sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2-3 drops of hot sauce (or as much as you’d like)


  • Cook macaroni according to the package directions to al dente. Drain and put to the side.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in enough flour to make a roux. Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. (there are no pictures of the roux, as I was stirring constantly… )
  • Stir in sour cream and cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Add hot sauce, mustard, salt/pepper/garlic and paprika.
  • Put drained macaroni in large casserole dish, and pour sauce over macaroni. Stir well.  (Don’t worry if sauce seems a little runny.  The starch from the pasta will help it set while it cooks)
  • Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese (approx. 1/4 cup)
  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes
  • Serve (or place in tupperware for future deliciousness)

Side note: It always helps to have a helper in the kitchen too.  Fergie presided over the kitchen this afternoon…


Original recipe can be found here