Thursday, March 8, 2012


In Regina, I have to settle for  Pacific Fresh Fish which,
considering that they are about 7700 km from 
Barcelona, is pretty good.
I do like Spanish food. I make a mean Paella and a couple of other Spanish dishes but what I need to do now is to go to Spain, do some research even if I do put on a few pounds doing it.
I made this the other night and it was great.
Zarzuela takes it's name from the Spanish word for a type of musical theatre or operetta because of the wild variety which makes it up.   
It is sort of Spain's answer to bouillabaisse.
You can use all kinds of seafood so feel free to mix and match. 
It is simple but concise. Outside of the seafood, don't mess with the process too much and it will turn out very well.


A large pinch of saffron threads
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange) seeded then chopped into small pieces
1 500 ml can of chopped tomatoes (I use the ones mixed with garlic and olive oil)
1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika
1 1/2 cup fish stock. (In a pinch you could use chicken stock)
1 cup blanched almonds toasted, then finely ground
Salt and pepper
1 dozen mussels
1 dozen clams
1 lb white-fish (cod, haddock or some other) cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
1 dozen large raw shrimp
3 small squid cut unto small pieces
1 dozen bay scallops
1 loaf of crusty bread (For those in Regina I recommend Orange Boot Bakery)

Put the saffron is a small bowl and add a few Tbsp of boiling water. Let it sit.

Take a large pan with high sides and turn the heat up to medium high. Add a good glug of olive oil the put in the onions and reduce the heat to medium and when they are translucent, careful not to burn them, add the garlic, thyme, peppers and the bay leaves. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Until the red peppers are soft.

Meanwhile which put 3/4 of the tomatoes in a blender and purée them.

Add the tomatoes, the paprika and simmer for 5 minutes or so.

Add the fish stock and the saffron then the almonds to the pot and bring it to a boil stirring often.

Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5 or 10 minutes.

Stir in the white-fish then add all the other seafood.

Cover the pot and let it simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

Check to make sure the seafood is cooked.

Throw away any of the shellfish that didn't open.

Serve with lots of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.

You could serve a salad or a plate of olives on the side.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Spinach Quiche

Quiche is much and unfairly maligned. Real mean don't eat it etcetera, blah, blah, blah. 
I think I ate quite a bit of bad quiche and I confess I went off it for a while but I had never cooked it so, decided recently to give it another try. 
It turned out to be a case of, "If you want it done right do it yourself."

First, I don't do pastry so I bought pre-made pie crust. You could make the dish right in the pan the crusts come in but, I had a lovely ceramic quiche dish in the cupboard, so I used that.  The pastry stuck so I went out and bought a couple of non stick quiche pans after that.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the empty pie shell for 10 or 15 minutes - just so it starts to brown.

Take it out of the oven

So let's get right to the filling


1 cup grated swiss cheese
3/4 cup of cooked, drained and chopped spinach
6 strips of bacon cooked and crumbled
4 or 5 eggs
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard

Mix up the first three ingredients and spread them evenly onto the pie shell

Mix up the rest of the ingredients and carefully pour them over the filling ingredients.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 50 minutes or until a knife inserted near the centre come out clean.

When it is done take it out and let it stand for 10 minutes before cutting it into serving pieces.

Quiche is as flexible as pizza.  The combinations are endless. Mix and match ingredients and try different cheeses.

Merguez Sausage with Fennel & Couscous

I don't that often see merguez sausage so, when there they were in a cheese store this week, I picked up half a dozen. This couscous dish, while it may not be authentic, is tasty
Lots of room to improvise here so be creative.

·        1 or 2 tablespoon olive oil
·        1 teaspoon cumin seeds
·        2 bay leaves
·        2 large diced shallots
·        1 teaspoon dried oregano
·        8½ ounces Merguez sausage, cut into 1-inch-long pieces
·        1 fresh fennel bulb finely chopped (discarding green stalky tops)
·        ½ teaspoon harissa paste, or cayenne pepper or sambal sauce
·        2 cups chicken stock, heated
·        ½ cup yellow raisins
·        ½ cup chopped fresh dill, less if using dried
·        1 cup couscous

Heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the cumin seeds and bay leaves; stir, and then add the shallots. Stir-fry for 2 minutes and add the oregano. Stir for a minute
Then add the sausage and stir-fry for an additional 5 minutes on medium-high heat, they should be well browned..
Add the fennel and harissa. Stir and fry for an additional 2 minutes, add the stock. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Add the raisins and chopped dill and stir.
 Pour in the couscous, stir well, and turn off the heat.
Cover the pot immediately and let the dish steam for 15 to 20 minutes.
 Fluff the couscous and serve.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Rabbit with Olives

This is a recipe adapted from one of my brother's.
We had it with some nice red wine on a cold Montreal evening in February.

1 rabbit cut into medium sized pieces (boned if you have the patience)
1 glug of olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
3 or 4 cloves of garlic chopped
about 15 assorted olives sliced
1 cup of carrots sliced into rounds
1 cup mushrooms
2 bay leaves
salt  &  pepper
1 cup red wine (you can substitute white wine)
1 cup chicken stock

Heat olive oil in a large skillet
Add  onions and olives and cook until the onion is translucent
Add the rabbit, the garlic and the spices
When the rabbit has browned pour in the wine and the stock, you can use a bit more than the recipe calls for depending on the size of the rabbit
Add the carrots and mushrooms
Bring it to a boil then, after about 5 minutes reduce the heat to a simmer,
Simmer it all for 50 minutes or so. A bit longer if you like. Until the meat is very temder
Near the end use a small bit of flour and water to thicken
serve over rice or pasta

*I found that the rabbits in Western Canada tend to be a bit largee that those I saw in Montreal's Atwater Market or in the Byward Market in Ottawa so be flexible.

* A large rabbit will serve six

* if you don't have rabbit, you can substitute chicken