Coconut Thai Cream Soup

Coconut Thai Cream Soup - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Thai Cream Soup – Candy Coated Culinista

I received a request to find a “nice and easy coconut Thai cream soup”. I thought this would be an easy recipe to find as I had just bought a book called Coconut 24/7 (perfect timing or what); only to find that there wasn’t a recipe for coconut cream Thai soup or anything remotely near this. I perused ten coconut soup recipes and after researching what makes a dish Thai, what are the typical components, ingredients and flavourings I put this recipe together. Now when I think “nice and easy” I have a few criteria: One- The ingredients must be in my at local grocer, as I am not venturing to the Asian market for lemongrass and Kaffir Lime leaves and even Palm sugar and coconut sugar. Yes I realize that these are what some would say are staple ingredients required, but I just can’t trek myself out when it’s -12 out and -21 with the wind chill; my fingers and toes mean more to me today. Two- When I say “nice and easy” it doesn’t mean I didn’t put any work into it and it took 10 minutes to make with no effort. Let’s face it everything takes a little effort unless you’re boiling an egg and making some toast; but see effort was required there also to some extent, but I digress. Three- It must take me no more than 30-60 minutes from prep to the table. If I can get a recipe complete in that time frame and the flavours are well married I deem it a success; especially with soup when those ingredients need time to grow. To keep the taste and feel true to Thai cuisine this recipe will have to require some essentials which some may deem not so “nice and easy”; but I’ll let you be the judge of that. To me this recipe is keeping the Thai feeling true but without all those hard to source ingredients. To me that is C. C.’s “nice & easy”.

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 40 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2 cans coconut milk
• 3 shallots, minced
• 8 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tbsp ginger, minced
• Handful of cilantro, including stems
• 2 tbsp chillies, chopped
• ½ tsp golden brown sugar
• Lime zest
• Juice from one lime
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• Salt
• Black pepper
• Water from one Coconut
• 1 coconut, set water aside and get out flesh
• Coconut water, from coconut
• Coconut water, from can
• Package of Enoki mushrooms, (or button mushrooms)
• A handful of bean sprouts
• Coconut meat (leave some behind for garnish)
• 60g Spinach vermicelli rice noodles
• Cilantro leaves, for garnish
• 2 green onions, thinly sliced
• Fresh lime slices, for garnish

1. In a medium saucepan, pour in coconut milk and simmer on low-medium heat.
2. Add shallots, garlic, ginger, cilantro, chillies and sugar, lime zest, lime juice, cayenne pepper, salt & black pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Strain soup into another saucepan using a sieve and discard all the solids.
4. Add in coconut water from coconut and the can, mushrooms, bean sprouts, coconut meat and noodles, then continue to simmer for 2 – 5 minutes.
5. Garnish with cilantro leaves, green onion, coconut meat and lime.

• If you just want a broth, serve as is after you strain out the solids.
• I found it hard to eat the noodles, even though it tasted good. If you have a proper Thai spoon (wide porcelain spoon) it will make eating this so much easier.
• I found the Enoki mushrooms alongside all the other mushrooms at Metro, but button mushrooms will work just as well. I just wanted a unique eye-catching vegetable. (This was the second time I saw these mushroom. A cute anecdote that night for the appetizer round of Chopped Canada Enoki mushrooms was in the first basket and I couldn’t help but say I’m on the right path.)
• Cracking the coconut was a task. Skip if you’re not in the mood to crack open and extract the meat. I first tried to bake it at 375° for 10 minutes to get it to crack and that didn’t work; even though I read that this was a good way to crack it. I finally had to bring in the big guns (Mr. C.) and problem solved. I just needed that initial break and then I was good to go, smashing away the rest of it. Wash and place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag and that way you save the coconut water for the soup.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I have never had a Thai dish before ever. The Asian foods I consume are Chinese, Japanese and just a little to the east Filipino cuisine. This was my first foray into Thai food and I deem this a success. I could taste the sweet, salty, spicy and sour flavours all the while still getting that coconut flavour.

Meatloaf with Awesomesauce

Meatloaf with Awesomesauce - Candy Coated Culinista

Meatloaf with Awesomesauce – Candy Coated Culinista

The only time I have ever had meatloaf was from the Stouffers microwave dinners. I gladly ate them when in a bind because they were good; but then I found this recipe. Now I can say I enjoy homemade meatloaf proudly. Mr. C. was also not a huge fan of meatloaf and as he puts it “They always seem to be dry” but he loved this recipe and it has become one of his favourite dishes. I have made this a half-dozen times or so now and my ingredients have strayed from the original but that’s the way I am, I have to put my stamp on a recipe.

Altered from: Nadia G’s book ‘Cooking for Trouble’

Warning: You will have leftovers! That’s a good thing here, trust me.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 2lb ground beef
• 1 egg
• 1 yellow onion, coarsely grated
• 1 potato, finely chopped
• 1 cup Hunt’s tomato paste
• ½ cup dry Italian breadcrumbs
• 1 ½ tsp. sea salt
• ½ tsp black pepper to taste
• ½ tsp paprika
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• ½ tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp basil, finely chopped
• 1 tsp parsley, finely chopped
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 2 tbsp. prepared mustard
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 2 tbsp plain balsamic vinegar
• 5 dashes of Frank’s red hot sauce
• 1 cup water

1. Combine ground beef, egg, onion, and potato, ½ cup of Hunt’s tomato paste, breadcrumbs, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, basil and parsley.
2. Grease a loaf style baking pan with butter. Form the beef mixture into a loaf and put in pan.
1. In a bowl combine ½ cup of Hunt’s tomato paste, mustard, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and water.
2. Whisk and set aside.

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Baste meatloaf with awesomesauce and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
3. Continue basting every 15 minutes until the meatloaf is cooked.
4. Once it is cooked let it rest for 5 minutes and then remove, slice it up and serve.

• Do not slack on the basting portion. It will be well worth it to have a juicy loaf.
• Serve with zucchini roasted in a dash of extra virgin olive oil, coarse sea salt and black pepper.
• Serve with some gravy. My gravy consisted of: the meatloaf drippings, 2 tbsp flour, sliced cremini mushrooms, grape tomatoes sliced, leftover awesomesauce and water. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until gravy has thickened up.

Cheesy Garlic Potato Mash

A great accompaniment to my version of Meatloaf with Awesonsauce

• 6 Yukon gold potatoes, washed
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1/3 cup milk
• 2 tbsp unsalted butter
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 1/3 cup mozzarella, grated
• 1/3 cup mild cheddar cheese, grated

1. Add salt and a little vegetable oil to a large saucepan with water and put to boil.
2. In a small saucepan place milk, butter and garlic to simmer.
3. Slice potatoes into even pieces and place in pot once water has boiled and cook until tender.
4. Once potatoes are cooked drain and mash.
5. Add in the garlic infused milk and cheese and mash until smooth.

Please Enjoy

Mr. C. loves this recipe. He always wants more but does not go back because he is full, even though he really, really wants to! So he’ll just pick at the some of the ingredients left out before I pack the leftovers up and parcel out them out for work and dinner the next day. “Absolutely amazing babe” “What’s in those potatoes, yum” “That was great, I can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow”.

My Thoughts
This was the first recipe I made from Nadia G’s cookbook and I absolutely love this dish. It has turned me off buying any pre-packaged meatloaf and I will always make my own from now on. The meatloaf has a nice crust on it and we always want seconds when we know we shouldn’t. Don’t forget to baste; much like a turkey it may seem tedious but it’s worth the effort. This is a comfort food meal that I enjoy making all year round, but when there is a nip it the air it taste so much better.

Baked Doughnuts

Baked Doughnuts - Candy Coated Culinista

Baked Doughnuts – Candy Coated Culinista

Here’s a healthy version of doughnuts I made for the cooking club.

From Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 28 doughnuts & 28 holes
Prep Time: 40 min.
Cook Time: 3 hr & 15 min.
Difficulty level is: easy, but with lots of waiting for yeast to rise time

• 1 cup 2% milk
• 8g quick-rise yeast
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/3 tsp salt
• 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• ¼ cup water
• 1 tsp extract
• 2 tbsp sprinkles

1. Using a microwave safe bowl warm milk for about 1 minute.
2. Pour milk into an electric mixer, with the dough hook attachment and add yeast and stir.
3. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes.
4. Spray a medium bowl with cooking spray and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper and also spray with cooking spray.
5. Add the sugar, butter, egg, vanilla and salt to the yeast.
6. Beat at medium speed until well combined.
7. Slowly add the flour and increase the speed to medium-high, until the dough forms into a bal and pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 7 min.
8. Once to is formed place in the oiled bowl and spray more cooking spray on top and cover with a damp tea towel.
9. Let dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size, about an hour.
10. On a floured surface roll out the dough to ½” thickness.
11. Using a cookie cutter, cut into 28 shapes and then use a smaller cookie cutter and cut out the centre to make your holes.
12. Transfer doughnuts and holes to the prepared baking sheets and cover one again with a damp tea towel and allow to double its size, about 45 minutes.
13. In a small bowl mix whisk together confectioner’s sugar and water and set aside.
14. Pre heat over to 350°F and bake the first tray in the centre of the oven until golden brown, about 10 min.
15. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 10 min.
16. Place the second tray in the centre of the oven until golden brown, about 10 min.
17. Stir the icing mixture and then dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze.
18. Decorate with sprinkle, immediately.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
These tasted pretty good; but I would probably lessen the cook time as the bottoms were a little too golden brown for my liking. I also only used 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar versus the 3 in the recipe as that seemed like too much sweetness going on with the sprinkles. I like the fact that they are healthier but sometimes I want my sweets to be fattening and unhealthy. That way it’s a truly a real treat

Sochi Olympic Inspired Borscht

Sochi Olympics Inspired Borscht - Candy Coated Culinista

Sochi Olympics Inspired Borscht – Candy Coated Culinista

It’s Olympics time and I’m an Olympic nut; I just love seeing people get a chance at their dreams. It’s awe-inspiring, the countless hours of practice, gruelling schedules, physical and mental pain, injuries and rehab. They do all to make it to the big event where they can show the world, their country and themselves what you’re made of. They do this because they love it and they can’t see their lives without this sport. These athletes aren’t making the huge amount of cash like professional sports players do, so you know it’s about the love and passion they have. In these two weeks I get some of my poorest sleep; i’m up early going to sleep late, watching 3 stations to keep up to date on who’s wining what just so I can cheer Canada on all the way. Sure I have my favourites from other countries that I follow and love, but nothing gets between me and my Canadian pride. As soon as the Olympics started I knew I had to make something Russian. Lucky for me my mother in-law is Russian, so I asked to borrow a Russian cookbook and I went searching for Borscht one of the most popular Russian dishes.

Adapted from Classic Russian Cuisine

Yield/Serving: 6-8
Difficulty level is: Medium

• Vegetable oil
• 2 ½ pounds chicken legs with bones
• 6 cups water
• 1 bunch parsley, chopped
• 1 bunch dill, chopped
• Salt, to taste
• Pepper, to taste
• 3 medium beets, peeled, halved and sliced
• 1 cup white vinegar
• 1 medium onion, julienned
• 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 2 medium red skinned potatoes, cubed
• ¾ pound red cabbage, sliced
• Handful of parsley, chopped
• Handful of dill, chopped
• 2 tbsp, sour cream

1. Sear chicken in a large frying pan with vegetable oil and set aside.
2. Make a broth with water and the parsley, dill, salt, pepper and chicken and simmer for 1 hour.
3. Over medium heat place beets in a saucepan of vinegar and steam until vinegar is almost evaporated and turn off heat.
4. After the broth has been simmering for 1 hour, strain out the chicken, parsley and dill and place back on heat.
5. Shred chicken and add in the beets along with the leftover vinegar if any is remaining, onions, tomatoes, tomato paste, potatoes, cabbage and continue to cook for 30 minutes.
6. In the last five minutes add in the chopped dill and parsley.
7. Serve with a huge dollop of sour cream.

• This was my fast version of this recipe as I made this on a weeknight and had little time. Increase the simmering time to let the ingredients marry more.
• This tasted better the next as the ingredients had more time to marry.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I’m not sure if I am a fan of borscht yet. I eat all of these ingredients in different ways all the time but in a beet soup I’m not sure yet; also the sour cream in a soup in new to me. The next day this soup tasted much better and I omitted the sour cream from my portion. Mr. C. said it was good and tasted like it should. I guess I need to get my stomach accustomed to this dish.

Valentine’s Day: Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Pears with Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream – Candy Coated Culinista

A fancy and delicious dessert dish.

My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 2
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 2 pears
• ½ of a lemon, zested
• ½ of an orange, zested
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• ¾ cups granulated sugar
• ½ cinnamon stick
• 75 – 100 ml white wine
• 100 ml water
• Vanilla ice cream
Chocolate Sauce
• 40g (1/4 cup) 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
• 40 ml whipping cream
• 20 ml milk
• 1 tbsp butter
Ice Cream
• 1 cup milk
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• Pinch salt
• large egg yolks
• 2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Peel pears leaving the stems on and core out from the bottom of each using a sharp knife.
2. Flatten the bottom of the pear a little so the pear can stand up on its own.
3. Place pears in a saucepan along with zests, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, wine and water and bring to a boil on medium high heat.
4. Lower heat a poach pears for 20-25 minutes until pears are cooked all the way through.
5. Let cool in liquid.
6. When pears have cooled take out with a slotted spoon and place in a plate or bowl.
Chocolate Sauce
7. Create a double boiler and melt chocolate.
8. In another saucepan warm cream, milk and butter and stir into chocolate.
9. Pour over pears and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Ice Cream
10. Combine milk, sugar and salt in saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and texture is smooth.
11. Whisk together the egg yolks in a large bowl.
12. Add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, pouring in a constant stream while whisking.
13. Pour this mixture back into the saucepan and set over medium-high heat until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 minutes.
14. Strain the base into a large bowl and mix in the cream and extract.
15. Set the bowl into an ice water bath and stir until the base becomes cool.
16. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap and let chill completely for at least 2 hours.
17. Freeze in the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
18. Transfer to a chilled container and freeze until ice cream firms up before serving.

• This can be made a day ahead.
• The custard will look a little eggy but don’t fear it will turn out well.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The ice cream tasted great and this is now my base ice cream recipe. The pears were soft, but not mushy and I could taste the wine, cinnamon and vanilla. The whole dessert tasted great and would impress anyone.

Valentine’s Day Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous

Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous - Candy Coated Culinista

Sticky Fig Lamb with Beans & Moroccan Couscous – Candy Coated Culinista

This is an exotic, scrumptious and romantic meal that can be served for Valentine’s day or for a dinner party.

My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 4
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cook Time: 10 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• ½ cup Moroccan Couscous
• ½ cup chicken broth
• 2 handfuls of green beans
• 8 Lamb loin chops
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 6 tbsp Fig Cabernet & Wine Jelly
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
• Handful of grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 green onion, finely chopped
• small handful of mint leaves,
• 1 tbsp sultana raisins
• 1 tbsp pine nuts
• 1 tbsp dried apricots, finely chopped
• Dash of extra virgin olive oil
• Salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste

1. Boil a ½ cup of chicken broth and once boiled pour couscous along with broth into glass bowl until absorbed.
2. Trim green beans and steam.
3. Season lamb with salt and pepper and cook in a frying pan along with olive oil on medium-high heat for 3 minutes on each side (for medium rare) and brush jelly onto lamb.
4. Add the balsamic vinegar in the last minute or two of cooking.
5. Remove lamb from pan and let the remaining juices cook until sticky.
6. Fluff up the couscous with a fork and add the red onions, tomatoes, green onion, mint, raisins, pine nuts and apricots along with a dash of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
7. Plate two lamb loin chops along with the green beans and couscous and serve.

• Figs aren’t in season right now so I managed to find a fig jelly (PC Fig Cabernet and Wine Jelly).

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
The lamb was perfectly cooked and along with the fig and wine sauce it tasted delicious. The Moroccan couscous was savoury and light. This is a perfect Valentine’s Day meal, not too heavy and the perfect portion size.

Valentine’s Day Cocktail

Valentine’s Day Cocktail - Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day Cocktail – Candy Coated Culinista

My signature cocktail for Valentine’s Day.

Yield/Serving: 2
Prep Time: 5 min.
Mix Time: 1 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 ½ oz dark rum
• 1 oz grand marnier
• 1 oz peach liqueur
• 1 oz fresh lemon juice
• 3 oz chilled citrus soda (lemon-lime or soda water)
• Splash of grenadine
• Club soda / ginger ale.
• Lemon wheel, for decoration

1. Rub a piece of lemon around the glass and rim with sugar.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into a champagne glass.
3. Decorate with a lemon wheel.

• Pink, red or purple coloured sugar works better if you have it on hand.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
As I don’t drink really this was purely an experiment with the end goal of getting a pink hued cocktail for a special night. I could really smell and taste the alcohol, but if you love cocktails this may be right up your alley.

Valentine’s Day Nutella & Almond Croissants

Nutella & Almond Croissants - Candy Coated Culinista

Nutella & Almond Croissants – Candy Coated Culinista

Valentine’s Day is coming up and I have my home prepared menus all ready to go. Mr. C. and I are going out for Valentine’s Day but I still wanted to make us a homemade meal, even if I was a week early. This is a simple recipe to start off the day with a little more of a romantic feel than the usual fruit and cereal. My picture was included in the Valentine’s Day Food Newtork Canada Cooking Club Challenge gallery.

Yield/Serving: 6
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 5 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 6 croissants
• ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
• ¼ cup nutella

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Slice into croissant but not all the way through. (like a hot dog bun)
3. Spread nutella and sprinkle almonds inside.
4. Close up the croissant and place on a baking sheet.
5. Bake for 5 minutes.

Please Enjoy

Cupcake Decorating: Practice #2

Cupcake Decorating: Practice #2 - Candy Coated Culinista

Cupcake Decorating: Practice #2 – Candy Coated Culinista

My second attempt at cupcake decorating. These are for my youngest God-Daughter who is turning 2 this week, and she already has a massive sweet tooth just like me. This time I wanted to introduce two colours to piping. My technique is improving with every try.

Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons

Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons - Candy Coated Culinista

Tomato Soup with Bacon Grilled Cheese Croutons – Candy Coated Culinista

I love tomatoes and I like ketchup yet I have never been fond of tomato soup for some reason. I wonder if it’s because the few times I had it as a kid it was coming from a can or it’s just one of those things I will never care for. See my picture here in the cooking club gallery.

Slightly altered from Bite Me More & Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 min
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 tbsp butter
• ½ large onion, chopped
• ½ large garlic clove, minced
• 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
• 1 small celery stalk, chopped
• ½ small red pepper, chopped
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• ½ tsp lime juice
• ¼ tsp granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp black pepper
• 1/16 cayenne pepper
• 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
• 1 ¾ cups (400ml) diced tomatoes
• 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 6 slices of bacon
• 4 slices white bread
• 4 square slice of cheddar cheese
• Dried parsley, to sprinkle
• Dried basil, to sprinkle

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat place 1 tbsp of butter then add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent, 4 to 5 min.
2. Add carrot, celery, red pepper, tomato paste, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.
3. Cook until vegetable soften stirring occasionally, 4 to 5 min.
4. Add the broth, diced tomatoes and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce to low heat and simmer until vegetable are tender, about 20 min.
6. Puree soup in a blender until smooth, and then return to saucepan at low heat.
7. Fry the bacon in a frying pan.
8. Spread butter on two slices of bread and place in a frying pan over medium heat with the cheese on both sides of the bread and 3 slices of bacon in between until golden brown.
9. Repeat and make a second sandwich.
10. Remove from pan and let cool slightly.
11. Cut crust off and cut into cubes on one sandwich only. Cut the second one in half.
12. Ladle soup into a bowl and top parsley and basil along with grilled bacon and cheese croutons.
13. Serve immediately.

• Put the croutons in at the last moment and serve half a slice of bacon grilled cheese on the side.
• Remove the bacon and you have a vegetarian recipe.

Please Enjoy

“Nice job. That tomato soup last night was killer. It’s really tasty and the grilled cheese with bacon too was very comfort food”

My thoughts
We have two converts. Mr. C. didn’t like tomato soup since he was a kid and I just never cared for it, but this recipe has changed us both; it was flavourful, vibrant and tasty. The bacon grilled cheese is how I always make my grilled cheese (sometimes with tomato inside, but why would I need that with the tomato soup) and it tasted amazing with the soup. For a person who never really enjoyed soup except for my moms Caribbean soup and of course chicken soup when I was sick I have become a real soup lover. Simple fast and hearty recipes that freeze well are always a good thing.

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