Roast Pork or Chicken with crispy shallots and garlic

This Thai inspired recipe was originally written using roast pork , which is fine if you just happen to have grilled or sauteed pork left over, I changed it as it is so easy to find roast chicken in almost every supermarket, and it still tastes really great. You will need Thai Salad dressing , which is posted seperately.

Serves 6

Gourmet magazine

1 cup peanut oil ,for deep frying

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots ( about 2 large)

1/2 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 9 cloves)

1 lb left over roast pork or chicken , sliced very thin

1 1/4 cup coarsely shredded carrot

4 plum tomatoes , seeded and cut into strips

Green part of 5 scallions, halved lengthwise , and cut cross wise into 2 inch pieces

1 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup fresh coriander leaves, washed well ,spun dry and torn

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, washed well , spun dry and torn

2 heads boston lettuce, washed well and spun dry

1 recipe Thai Salad dressing

Garnish , dry roasted peanuts , chopped

In an 8 inch skillet heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and fry shallots until golden criso, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer  with a slotted spoon to drain. Fry garlic in 2 batches until deep golden and crisp , transfer with a slotted spoon as fried shallots.

In a large bowl toss together pork ,carrot , tomato ,scallions , onion , coriander and mint. Add 1/2 cup dressing and toss.

Line a platter with lettuce and arrange pork mixture on top. Sprinkle with fried shallots and garlic and garnish with peanuts. Serve remaining dress on the side.


Grand Marnier Chocolate Creme Brulee

Chocolate and orange a symphony of flavor. This is one of the smoothest , creamiest desserts ever , and really so easy to make. This is super any day but especially on the day we celebrate love.


Serves 8

4 oz fine quality bittersweet chocolate

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1 whole large egg

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 3/4 cup milk

2 tbs Grand Marnier

1 tsp freshly grated orange zest

1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or raw sugar ( I use Raw sugar)

Preheat oven to 325*F

Put chocolate in a small metal bowl. In a heavy saucepan heat 1/2 cup cream over moderately high heat until it just comes a boil and pour over chocolate. Let chocolate stand until softened and whisk mixture until smooth.

in a bowl whisk together yolks, whole egg and granulated sugar and whisk in chocolate mixture. In pan heat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream and milk until mixture just comes to a boil. Add milk mixture to egg mixture in a stream , whisking , and whisk in Grand Marnier and zest. Skim off any froth.

Divide custard among eight 1/2 cup flame proof ramekins set in a roasting pan and add enough water to pan to reach half way up sides of ramekins. Bake custards in middle of oven until they are just set but still tremble slightly, about 40 minutes. Remove ramekins from pan and cool custards. Chill custards , covered loosely with plastic wrap, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Set broiler rack so that custards will be 2 to 3 inches from heat and preheat broiler.

Sift brown sugar evenly over custards and broil custards until sugar is melted and caramelized, about 2 minutes ( or use raw sugar ). Chill custards 20 minutes.

Stir fried shrimp with crispy basil

Crispy Basil turns your dish from ordinary to professional looking. It is a very simple process but requires bone dry basil for deep frying or you will have a kitchen splattered with oil. This recipe calls for spicy Thai rec curry paste , home made or store bought, I use Mae Ploy brand , it is consistently great.

Source Gourmet

Serves 4


Several cups peanut oil for deep frying

1 cup firmly packed Thai basil leaves , washed , spun dry and patted very dry

2 tbs peanut oil

1 lb large shrimp , shelled , leaving tail and first shell section intact and deveined

1 small onion , halved lengthwise and sliced thin5 tsp Thai red curry paste

1 red bell pepper , cut into thin strips

1 medium vine ripened tomato , seeded and chopped

2 tbs Asian fish sauce

1 1/2 tsp palm sugar or firmly packed light brown sugar

Make crispy basil

In a large saucepan at least 4 inches deep heat 1 inch oil over moderately high heat to 350*F. Working in small batches, briefly fry small handfuls of basil until translucent  and crisp , 5 to 15 seconds. Transfer basil with a slotted spoon as fried to paper towels to drain.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot and add 2 tsp oil. Heat oil ,swirling to coat wok, until it begins to smoke and stir fry shrimp until pink and just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer shrimp with slotted spoon to a bowl.

Add remaining 4 tsp oil to wok and heat until hot but not smoking.Add onion and curry paste and stir fry for 1 1/2 minutes. Add bell pepper and stirfry until almost tender 2 to 3 minutes. Add shrimp and tomato and stir fry 1 minute. Add fish sauce and sugar and stir fry 30 seconds , or until combined well.

Remove wok or skillet from heat and add one third crispy basil to shrimp mixture , tossing to combine well. Transfer mixture to a platter and garnish with remaining crispy basil.

Raspberry Jam Tart with Almond crumble

In Malta we used to prepare Jam Tarts during the holidays ,a very fond memory of cooking with my sweet mom in her kitchen . Sadly ,years ago when I moved into my home ,we had a terrible storm and some of my most treasured recipes were destroyed. Luckily ,I found a similar recipe in Gourmet magazine . The pastry ,however contains 2 tbs of beaten egg. I have substituted this with a tbs of apple sauce, it works very well. This tart is great prepared a day ahead ,cooled ,refridgerated and brought back to room temperature before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 8

2 cups sliced almonds

2/3 cups sugar

1  1/4 sticks (  1/2 cup  or 8 oz plus 2 tbs ) cold unsalted butter ,cut into pieces.

1  1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 tbs beaten egg OR 1 tbs apple sauce

1 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 400*F

Reserve 1/4 cup almods in a bowl for topping . Finely grind remaining 1  3/4 cups nut with sugar in a food processor.

Add butter , flour and salt then process until mixture resembles sand.

Add 1 cup flour to reserved almonds. Add beaten egg or apple sauce to remaining flour mixture and pulse until mixture begins to clump together.

Transfer mixture from processor to a 9 by 1 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press mixture with floured  fingers onto bottom and up side of pan and bake in middle of oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile , stir raspberry jam to loosen. Rub reserved almond mixture in bowl between your palms to form clumps.

Remove tart shell from oven and spread jam over bottom. Sprinkle almond mixture over jam and bake tart 15 minutes. Cool tart in pan on rack. Loosen side of pan with a knife then remove it.

Chocolate pecan Toffee Squares (EGGLESS)

I love bar cookies for gift giving ,entertaining or just a square with my afternoon tea. Growing up in the mediterrean ,on a island long influenced by the British,High tea was the fashion, Our home economics class even hosted a coffee morning fund raiser with great success, this was the type of pastry we prepared. to save time ,I prepare bar cookies ,when time permits,allow them to cool fully then wrap well in plastic and a freezer bag and free till needed. Just defrost ,warm in the oven and serve.



1 cup sifted all purpose flour

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup cold unsalted butter,cut into bits


1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons dark corn syrup

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup light cream

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 oz semisweet chocolate ,chopped coarse

Preheat oven to 350*F.

In a bowl combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8 inch square baking pan . Bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

In a heavy saucepan melt the butter, add the dark corn syrup and the brown sugar, and bring the mixture to a boil over moderate heat,stirring with a wooden spoon. Boil the mixture stirring ocassionally until the mixture registers 260*F on a candy thermometer.. Remove the pan from heat and add the pecans and cream, stirring gently.Return the pan to heat , bring to boil and cook to 240*F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat ,stir in the chocolate and vanilla,stir till chocolate melts.

Pour topping into shortbread base,spread with knife.Allow to cool completely ,for about 2 hours ,before cutting into 2 inch squares.

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

This super recipe from Gourmet uses Flakey pie pastry,which is home made!!!! If you have the time ,it really is superb ,but ,I use store bought pie shells ,for convienience, and it works very well,just be sure to chill it well prior to baking. This pie combines two great flavors making it a two in one ,pumpkin pecan pie, and yes, it can be made a day in advance,freeing you up on the day of to tackle other dishes.

Makes one 9 inch pie.

1 premade pie shell or Flakey pastry


3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar

1 large egg,beaten lightly

2 tablespoons sour cream

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs,beaten lightly

3 tablespoons unsalted butter,melted and cooled

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

11/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

11/3 cups pecans

Preheat oven to 425*F

Chill store bought pastry in pie plate well.

In a small bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree,brown sugar ,egg ,sour cream ,nutmeg and cinnamon, until smooth.

In a small bowl combine well the corn syrup ,brown sugar, eggs ,butter ,vanilla, zest ,lemon juice,and salt and stir in the pecans.

Spread the pumpkin mixture evenly in the chilled pie shell and carefully spoon the pecan mixture over it.Bake the pie in the upper third of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350*F and bake a furthur 20-30 minutes or until the filling is puffed slightly (the center will appear to be not quiet set). Let the pie cool on a rack.

The pie may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered loosely and chilled. Reheat in a preheated 350* oven for 10-15 minutes.