Irish Beef Stew

Irish Beef Stew - Candy Coated Culinista

Irish Beef Stew – Candy Coated Culinista

Stewing beef was on sale and I decided to pick some up; so I googled what I could make with this cut of meat. The few options that popped out at me were kabobs, beef pot pie and beef stew. It was a coldish day so I said “beef stew it is”.

Stew, (My idea of a stew) has all the ingredients cooked in a liquid and is served in the reduced gravy. However, an Irish stew is the same method but has more broth which I have come to learn looks a lot like West Indian soup my mom used to make, except there are no dumplings or sweet potatoes.

Yield/Serving: 10-12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour & 35 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 pounds (908g) of stewing beef
• 1 tsp season salt
• 1 tsp paprika
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 cups celery, chopped
• 5 cloves of garlic, minced
• 4 ¾ cups beef broth
• 2 tsp herbs de Provence
• 4 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 5 bay leaves
• 1 tsp sugar
• ½ tsp of salt
• ½ tsp of black pepper
• 1.5 lb (680g) mini red or yellow skinned potatoes, halved
• 3 large carrots, chopped
• 2 tbsp cornstarch
• 1 can peas
• Corn kernels from 4 ears of fresh corn
• 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

1. Sprinkle season salt and paprika onto beef and place into a large pot turning until all sides are just cooked with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Split the beef into two to ensure there is no overcrowding. Set aside.
2. Add onions, celery and garlic to same pot and add 2 tbsp olive oil and ¼ cup beef broth and cook. Stir vegetables until they begin to soften (about 5 minutes).
3. Put beef back to pot and add herbs de Provence, beef broth, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, bay leaves, sugar, salt & pepper and stir.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 1 hour & 10 minutes.
5. Now stir in potatoes and carrots and cover and simmer for another 20 minutes and add cornstarch in equal amounts of water until smooth and then add to the pot until stew has thickened.
6. Add the peas and corn kernels in the last 5 minutes are and add parsley right before serving.

• A trick for cutting kernels fresh corn off the cob is to place the cob in the centre of a Bundt pan. This way the cob sits nicely in the middle of the pan and when you’re slicing downwards it will fall into the pan and create less mess. Please Note: Be careful please.
• Serve with biscuits homemade or Pillsbury.
• Freeze half a pot and save for a blustery winter’s day.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C said it was tasty and needed less parsley or more finely chopped. He loved the tenderness of the beef and the crunch of the carrots. He also said I wish it was “more or an Irish stew” says the Irish man, so I adjusted this recipe to finely chop the parsley and add more broth per the review. If you want a conventional stew subtract two cups of broth and 2 less tbsp. of tomato paste.

My thoughts
This is a labour of love. I have never cooked something that took this long besides a whole turkey for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It turned out great for my first try making any type of soup and there were plenty of leftovers and I froze some also.

I served my stew with Pillsbury biscuits. You can also make your own if you have a favourite recipe. I will attempt to make my own next time as I didn’t want to take on too much my first time out with this recipe.

Homemade BBQ Sauce & Apple Coleslaw

Homemade BBQ Sauce & Apple Coleslaw - Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade BBQ Sauce & Apple Coleslaw – Candy Coated Culinista

Homemade BBQ Sauce & Apple Coleslaw – Candy Coated Culinista[/caption]

Yesterday was Victoria Day and that means BBQ season is officially here. Mr. C. enjoys barbequing like all men and I said let’s get out the grill and have a mini BBQ. I suggested we make cheddar Smokie hot dogs (pork sausage filled with cheese pieces scattered throughout) with coleslaw. I also did another recipe for the Chatelaine Cooking Club, and since it is the Victoria Day weekend BBQ sauce was on the menu. I can’t wait to see how this tastes.

After I uploaded my post I found out I was chossen again for the chatelaine cooking clubs pics. I also got retweeted saying “Per Combo!” from them; which was really cool. See the link.

From Chatelaine

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Yield/Serving: 500 ml
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 tsp vegetable oil
• ¼ cup pureed onion, about ½ small onion
• 1 cup ketchup
• 1 cup tomato sauce
• 3 tbsp brown sugar
• 1 ½ tsp hoisin sauce
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ tsp smoked paprika
• ¼ tsp hot-red-pepper flakes

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium. Add oil, then onion
2. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 min.
3. Add ketchup, tomato sauce, brown sugar, hoisin, garlic powder, Worcestershire, paprika and pepper flakes.
4. Continue stirring frequently, to keep sauce from splattering, until flavours develop, 5 to 8 min.
5. Ladle into a mason jar. Let cool to room temperature, about 30 min. Wipe rims clean, then twist lids on tightly.
6. Keep refrigerated.

• Puree onion with a food processor, scraping onion down sides as necessary.

Apple Coleslaw

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 medium cabbage, finely shredded
• 2 large carrots, julienned
• 1 stalk green onions, thinly sliced
• 4 apples, peeled, cored and julienned
• ¼ cup cider vinegar
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• 1 tbsp mustard
• 1/3 cup honey
• 2tsp kosher salt
• 1 tsp ground black pepper

1. Prepare the cabbage, carrots, green onions and apples and put into a large bowl.
2. Add all the remaining ingredients and incorporate until well blended.
3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Mix once or twice in that time to blend dressing again.

• It tastes better on the second day when the ingredients have time to marry.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
These were quick and fast recipes and when you’re grilling you need that. The BBQ sauce was tangy sweet and spicy the perfect combination. I can’t wait to use the BBQ sauce on ribs or chicken. The coleslaw was very flavourful and accompanied the Cheddar Smokies well.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Tomato Salsa

Grilled Lamb Chops with Tomato Salsa -Candy Coated Culinista

Grilled Lamb Chops with Tomato Salsa -Candy Coated Culinista

Friday May 17th is Food Revolution Day. For those of you that don’t know this is Jamie Oliver’s brain child. It is a campaign to get people better connected to their food so they can live longer and healthier lives. Learning essential cooking skills will make people more aware of what they are eating and want to cook for themselves instead of eating pre-packed food, which in turn will help fight the growing obesity rate. To celebrate the day I made one of my favourite dishes from Jamie Oliver.

I altered the recipe a bit as I made this at the last minute. I roasted the baby potatoes and aromatics. Please give the recipe below a try, his picture is mouth-watering.

From Jamie Oliver

For more info go to

Yield/Serving: 2

Difficulty level is: Medium

• 4 – 4oz lamb loin chops
• 2 ripe tomatoes
• 12 oz potatoes
• 6 oz French beans
• 4 Scallions
• 1 small bunch of basil
• 1 lemon
• 1 tbsp milk
• White wine vinegar
• Extra virgin olive oil
• Olive oil
• Sea salt
• Black pepper

1. Half fill the medium saucepan with cold salted water and place on a high heat. Peel the potatoes, cut any larger ones in half and drop into the pan.
2. When the water boils, reduce to a medium heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
3. Meanwhile lay the lamb chops on a piece of parchment paper, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and finely grate over the zest of the lemon. Squeeze over a little bit of juice and drizzle with a little olive oil.
4. Cover the chops with the parchment paper and bash them with the base of a saucepan until flattened to just under ½ inch thick and seasoning is well stuck.
5. Thinly slice the scallions. Halve the tomatoes, squeeze out and discard the seeds then finely chop with the scallions and basil (stalks and all), mixing as you go.
6. When you’ve got a good salsa consistency, add a splash of vinegar, a lug of extra virgin olive oil and pinch of salt and pepper then chop and mix a few more times before scraping into a small bowl.
7. Make your table look respectable – get the flatware, salt and pepper and drinks laid out nicely. Clean your cutting board and knife.
8. When the potatoes are done, drain them in a colander and leave to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Add the milk to the empty pan, tip the potatoes back in and mash until smooth and creamy.
9. Have a taste and season with salt and pepper, then cover with a lid to keep war. Fill and boil the kettle.
10. Place a grill pan on a high heat. Fill the small saucepan with boiling water, add a pinch of salt and place on high heat.
11. Trim the green beans, and once the water is boiling, drop them into pan. Cook the green beans for about 4 minutes, or until just cooked through but not squeaky.
12. Meanwhile cook the lamb chops on the hot grill pan for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and done to your liking. You may need to do this is batches.
13. When the beans are done, drain the colander and divide between your plates along with the potatoes. Add two hot delicious chops to each plate, drizzle the salsa over the top and serve.

Please Enjoy

Review & Thoughts
Mr. C. and I enjoyed this recipe a lot. He even mentioned it to someone in passing because he liked this recipe so much. This is a great date night dish as it is a little fanciful, but also has a homey feel too.

Chocolate Diablo Cookies

Chocolate Diablo Cookies - Candy Coated Culinista

Chocolate Diablo Cookies – Candy Coated Culinista

I had a “Tex-Mex” themed party to attend, so I started to think of what I could make. My 7 layer beef taco dip; nah someone will definitely be making that. My mango-bean salad; this is a favourite of mine and very south-western in style, but not everyone like mangoes. My chicken black bean salad; this is more along the lines of what I want or maybe my vegan spicy Mexican hot chocolate cookies? I didn’t think I had that many Mexican options in my candy coated culinista repertoire, but I did “Thank you Bobby Flay”. Then I thought of course I’m going to bake, there will probably not be any Mexican inspired desserts. Decisions, decisions what is a culinista to do? So I said maybe I can make a non vegan version of the spicy Mexican hot chocolate cookie, and then I remembered that my favorite food truck I have never visited on Vancouver Island had a recipe that was perfect.

I made these a second time just a little over a week ago. I was reading Chatelaine Magazine while waiting for my gym class to start and was checking out the recipes of course. They have a “Chatelaine Cooking Club” and the recipe was going to be the Chocolate Diablo Cookies. To me this was a sign and I remade them and captured a better picture to submit. I was so nervous because this was the first time I put something out there into the “world”. To this point my Blog was sitting pretty much ready to go, but with no posts or content uploaded, it was just sitting on my computer collecting dust. Friday morning I checked and to my surprise I saw my cookie picture. I was so proud of myself, I couldn’t believe it! It made my day and gave me the push to get my blog rolling. Link to my chocolate Diablo cookies on Chatelaine:

From: The Tacofino food truck recipe. (Food Network Canada)

Yield/Serving: Makes about 12 BIG cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 11 minutes
Difficulty level is: Medium

Mix dry ingredients:

• 1 ½ cups sifted all purpose flour
• 1 cup sifted cocoa powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot!)
• 1 cup chocolate chips or chunks

Whisk together the wet:
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 1 cup white sugar
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 2 eggs
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed ginger juice or fresh grated ginger root

Sprinkle to the top:
• 1 tsp Kosher salt or granulated sugar

1. Mix all the dry ingredients together. (Flour, cocoa powder,baking soda,cinnamon, cayenne powder, chocolate chips)
2. Whisk together all the wet ingredients. (sugars, canola oil, eggs, vanilla extract and ginger)
3. Combine until well incorporated.
4. On a greased cookie sheet press fist size cookie dough balls out and sprinkle with kosher salt and sugar.
5. Bake at 375° for approximately 11 minutes or until the cookies start to crack. (They should be nice and fudgy in the middle!) This recipe should make 12 BIG cookies.

•It was really hard to roll the dough so I wrapped it in plastic wrap and placed in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour, so it could firm up and then it was easier to make into cookies.
•I altered the recipe a touch on my first attempt. I added more cayenne pepper and ginger as this was for a Mexican theme night. I also changed the types of sugars I used turbinado & golden brown sugar and used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate and milk chocolate to have a little more contrast. I sprinkled salt on top with the sugar to have a sweet and salty taste.
•Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and forgo greasing the sheet. I find the cookies turn out less burnt on the bottoms and don’t spread out as much it you line with parchment paper.
•Update June 29th 2013 – I just finished making a batch using ginger juice instead of the freshly grated ginger and the bottoms were burned and the inside was still wet(raw). I believe the Ginger juice is too wet for the mixture so please grate the ginger yourself. It is a workout but this was my 5th time making these cookies and this was my first Lemony Letdown. (my cookies went from the oven right to the trash)

Please Enjoy


“Whooo spicy!!!, but so delicious, I can’t stop eating it!! lol. Lol I love it! And I love the salty…sweet and salty is like my favourite!”

“The cookie was excellent! I loved the lil kick it had. Just yummy! I enjoyed it and finished it before I left the parking lot hehe.”

“Ok, so first bite there was the realization that the crystals weren’t sugar but salt. Then the ginger kicks in with a shock. Second bite was more enjoyable and wasn’t as hot/spicy. Then it became addicting. I would say that one cookie is quite satisfying because the cookie is thick. The second cookie I decided to heat it for a few seconds. That made it really nice because you get the melted chocolate. The only thing I was picky about was seeing the ginger root hairs; I think that’s what they were. But that’s just my pickiness lol. Great cookie and great job! Keep em coming.”

“Your cookie was ammmmazing!! Thank you! I like the” kick” lol.”

“I had the leftovers for breakfast this morning and they still tasted great.”

One friend said she did like it until the spicy back notes hit her. She had finished devouring the first half and then said “yes it’s a little spicy”. Then whamm it hit her and she said “why did you make this cookie hot?” I had told her it was spicy and I guess she didn’t believe me. So her review was its great just take out the spices. I promised her I will make here a Vanilla Angel cookie. So stay tuned.

I also now have to make these again for the friend’s party I went to. I had made 24 BIG cookies which was more like 48 cookies because they were that large. She took the leftovers to work and they all enjoyed them and loved the idea of a spicy cookie and said they need them next year please. I have been given my notice and I await my call.

My Thoughts

A great recipe and I was so excited to make this. It took more time to make then I thought but that didn’t bother me. When I had my dough combined it was hard to form the cookies as everything was sticking to my hands, so I chilled it in the fridge to make the dough less sticky. This cookie has a serious kick, and it hits you after. As you’re eating you feel it a little bit dancing on your tongue but after a few more bites or when you have stopped then the spice hits you.

This was my first batch up recipe. The original recipe was for 12 big cookies. I made 30 big cookies as I had a party and had lots of testers in mind. This was a relatively simple batch up as it was only 3 times larger; but just the same be careful when you batch up. As I’ve learned from recipe to riches, aspect of a recipe change and some ingredients get more powerful and some shine less when you batch up.

The chocolate Diablo cookie wasn’t that spicy for me; but I’m a big fan of ginger so maybe that is why it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. Other spices I stay away from but Ginger I love.

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