asima arora

Buckwheat & Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (Gluten-free)

Buckwheat cookies are an amazing alternative for those with gluten intolerance. Made with healthy and hearty wholesome ingredients such as medjool dates, coconut, and my favourite – hazelnuts!

Hazelnuts can be substituted in this recipe, but these go nicely with the buckwheat and chocolate. These are so tasty you won’t miss a thing, my 7 year old loves them and we’ve made them many times.

I hope you’ll try them out and if you do, please share them with me using my hashtag #hautesucre, I would love to see them. Make these for your next cookie exchange or holiday brunch, they’re sure to become your new holiday favourite, get the recipe below.

Buckwheat Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies (gluten free) Recipe

Ingredients:

8 Medjool Dates

2/3 cups hazelnuts

2/3 cups maple sugar (or raw turbinado sugar)

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1 large free range organic egg

2 tblsp almond milk (or other dairy/non dairy liquid)

1 cup Buckwheat flour

1/3 cup coconut manna (dried coconut)

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground Vanilla bean

1/2 cup dairy free chocolate chips

Topping:

1 cup dairy free chocolate Cacao nibs

Fleur de sel

Instructions:

1. In a high speed blender or food processor, pulse the hazelnuts and dates until broken down. You should still see chopped pieces of nuts – you don’t want hazelnut flour.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until the mixture comes together. Do not over process.

3. Transfer the batter to a small bowl and work it with your hands for a few minutes, ensuring it’s evenly distributed.

4. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

5. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

7. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and scoop out the mixture into mid size balls.

8. Gently roll and flatten them slightly so that they bake evenly.

9. Bake for 12 minutes. Let them rest for 2 min and transfer to a rack to completely cool.

10. Melt 1 cup of chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and set aside.

11. When the cookies have cooled, dip each half cookie into the bowl of melted chocolate, shaking off the excess and laying it flat onto the parchment sheet to dry. Repeat with remaining chocolate.

12. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with raw cacao nibs and fleur de sel. Let the chocolate harden until set.

Enjoy!

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Spicy Shrimp Scampi with Hot Cherry Peppers

Shrimp Pasta

(This post is sponsored by President’s Choice.  I used their PC Black Label Hot Cherry Peppers to make this Spicy Shrimp Scampi.)

After a nice long summer break, I’m back in the kitchen experimenting with my new October PC Black Label black box where I received two jars of condiments that can be eaten tapas style or included in a recipe.

PC Black Label Hot Cherry Peppers marinated in oil are the perfect accompaniment for pizzas, pastas, grilled meats and seafood.  I was particularly fond of this as I love using a wide variety of peppers in various dishes and this one is the perfect addition to this Spicy Shrimp Scampi recipe that I’m sharing with you.

PC Black Label Borettane Onions  are tasty and can be used with many dishes or served as apart of an antipasto platter.  I have tried them on their own and in a quiche and they have a unique balsamic vinegar flavour that isn’t too overpowering, but very pleasant and mild.

I decided to shake up my favourite shrimp scampi recipe and added the PC Black Label Hot Cherry Peppers into the mix, it takes the dish to a whole new level!  It is simple, quick and packed with flavour,  its perfect for an easy weeknight meal or for a romantic date-night dinner served with your favourite wine.

I used the PC Gigantico Raw Zipperback Black Tiger Shrimp as I prefer the larger variety of shrimp in this recipe as it carries well as a main dish.

Spicy Shrimp

Whether you’re a home chef or an aspiring foodie, the PC Black Label Collection makes it easy to unleash your culinary curiosity and get creative. Discover the entire collection and be inspired to #PlayWithYourFood at pc.ca/blacklabel.

Spicy Shrimp Scampi with Hot Cherry Peppers Recipe

Serves 3-4

Spicy Shrimp:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 2 tblsp butter
  • 25 large sized shrimp, deveined and dried, tails left on (PC Gigantico Raw Zipperback Black Tiger Shrimp)
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tblsp tomato paste, double concentrate
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over high heat.
  2. Add the tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes
  3. Add the garlic cloves and mix thoroughly.
  4. Now add the shrimp and stir the mixture a few times to ensure the shrimps are coated with sauce, about 3 minutes.
  5. Flip the shrimp over and cook a few more minutes until they’re done.
  6. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Spicy Shrimp

Scampi Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tblsp olive oil
  • 3 tblsp butter
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • PC Black Label Hot Cherry Peppers chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 Tblsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 500g of spaghetti cooked in salted water

Butter and garlic

Directions:

  1. In the same large skillet, add the olive oil, butter and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
  2. Add the cherry tomatoes and raw sugar and cook 5 minutes until they burst open.
  3. Add the garlic and chopped cherry peppers and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the salt, pepper, and white wine. Cook on medium heat and reduce the wine to cook out the alcohol, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Set aside and boil your pasta. Do not wash the skillet.
  6. Boil 500g of spaghetti in salted water
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, transfer it to the skillet along with the chopped parsley. Toss to coat the pasta completely with the sauce. Cover and let it rest for 5 minutes to absorb the flavours.
  8. Transfer the pasta to a platter or to individual plates and top with the shrimp.
  9. Drizzle over the leftover sauce from the shrimp and serve.  Enjoy!

Scampi

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli and Maple Glazed Spicy Salmon

 

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli and Maple Glazed Salmon

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli and Maple Glazed Salmon

This month’s #PresidentsChoice PC Black Label Collection box included a favourite of mine, which is PC Black Label Habanero Aioli Whipped Dressing! This velvety aioli has complex flavours of sweet mango purée, curry, and a subtly hot habanero kick.  It’s a great condiment to eat with french fries, swirled into a salad dressing or used as a side replacing ketchup or mustard.  It’s so versatile that I even serve it with my maple glazed salmon and my kids love it!

Another product that I received this month is the PC Black Label Bacon Marmalade, which is great on a cheeseboard and is a welcomed addition to our pantry.

I have created a simple recipe this month using PC Mixed Little Gems Yellow, Red & Blue Mini Potatoes.  I have sauteed them with butter and olive oil and then tossed with this PC Black Label Habanero Aioli.

 

To make this side dish the perfect accompaniment to your meal, I have also included my recipe for Maple Glazed Salmon below.  I hope you enjoy this recipe and please feel free to tag your recreations with #hautesucre, I would love to see them.

Whether you’re a home chef or an aspiring foodie, the PC Black Label Collection makes it easy to unleash your culinary curiosity and get creative. Discover the entire collection and be inspired to #PlayWithYourFood at pc.ca/blacklabel

 

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli

Rustic Baby Potatoes with Habanero Aioli and Maple Glazed Spicy Salmon Recipe

 

Ingredients:

1 bag (680g) PC Mixed Little Gems Yellow, Red & Blue Mini Potatoes, washed and sliced into halves

1 tblsp butter
2 tblsp olive oil
Fleur de sel (sea salt)
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp herbs de Provence seasoning

1 tblsp maple syrup
1-2 tblsp PC Black Label Habanero Aioli Whipped Dressing (for spicy, use 2 tblsp)

Directions:

1. In a large heavy bottomed frying or sautée pan, add the butter, olive oil and sliced potatoes.

2. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes.

3. Remove the lid and add the salt, pepper, herbs de Provence seasoning and maple syrup.

4. Continue to cook until the potatoes are softened and start to caramelize. About 10-15 minutes, depending on potato size.

5. Add the PC Black Label Habanero Aioli, covering the potatoes completely.

6. Cook on high heat until slightly seared, do nut burn (approx 1 minute). Remove and transfer to a large platter.

Prepare the salmon.

Maple Glazed Spicy Salmon Recipe

4-6 servings

2 small ceramic baking dishes

Ingredients:

1 tblsp sesame oil

4-6 salmon fillets, cleaned and dried

 

Salt
Pepper
1 tsp Mustard seeds
3 tblsp Maple syrup
1 tsp Raw sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried parsley
Dash of red chili powder
1/3 cup Soy sauce
Black Sesame seeds (optional, for the top)

{1-2 tblsp Sambal oelek (red chili paste)}

This recipe works best with salmon fillets due to the complementary flavours in this marinade; but feel free to try it with other kinds of fish.

wpid-2014-08-01-10.49.40.jpg.jpeg

Directions:

1. Clean and dry the fish fillets and place in a shallow bowl or plate
2. Combine all the ingredients and coat the fish with the marinade. Set aside for about 25 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.

3. Preheat oven to 470F

4. Transfer to a baking dish and place a little sesame oil to coat the bottom. Lay fish in a single layer and pour over remaining marinade.

5. Roast the fish for approx 15 minutes (do not overlook) and put under broil for a few minutes to slightly char the top.

6. Alternatively, you can bbq it or pan fry it.

7. Serve with Habanero Aioli Potatoes and additional Habanero Aioli on the side.

Enjoy!

Austin, Texas 

Recently, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Austin, Texas in partnership with Visit The USA, Official USA Travel Guide to American Holidays.

I had heard and researched great things about Austin’s food and music scene snd was really excited to visit as it would be my first time visiting Texas. I had little or no idea what to expect.

I flew into Austin on the first of September, expecting a cool, summer-is-almost over feel, but boy was I wrong! Upon leaving the airport, I was welcomed with a hot breeze, cowboy boots, and sweet southern music! The people were so friendly and helpful in directing me to my hotel downtown.

We checked into the Hilton Austin on 4th Street, close to the hustle and bustle of downtown Austin.

We enjoyed some drinks whilst admiring the city views from the 25th floor lounge before heading out for the night.

We had dinner reservations at the highly acclaimed Uchiko,  which serves upscale Japanese farmhouse cuisine. We had tried various menu items and the desserts were out of this world!

As a pastry chef, I enjoyed them immensely and appreciated the various techniques that were showcased. Overall, the service and food were excellent and the ambiance was lovely.

The following day, we had brunch at the Magnolia Cafe, a classic 24 hour eatery which serves Southwestern/Mexican food.  My particular favourites were the migas, huevos rancheros, sweet hibiscus ice teas and the yummy grapefruit mimosas. This place was full of locals and definitely a classic Austin eatery with good eats!

After brunch, we headed out to do some shopping on South Congress Avenue, a favourite spot among tourists. We visited some interesting eclectic shops filled with a wide vaiety from vintage props to old fashioned candies to Mexican dolls.

After purchasing some cool souvenirs and candy, we headed out in search of tacos for lunch.

I had heard about the infamous Torchy’s Tacos and couldn’t wait to try them.  My favorites included the Baja Shrimp and the Democrat!  What a fun place!

We continued shopping along the South Congress strip after brunch stopping in some very nice retail clothing shops when all of a sudden, it started to storm like crazy.  That’s Austin weather for you, sunny one minute and hailing rain the next!

We ran for cover and ducked into a cute coffee shop called Mañana, a great little shop with a cozy atmosphere and very chic vibe. I tried some silky cortados with strawberry Macarons. Yum! I’m so happy that we stumbled upon it!

After a full day of walking under the Texan sun, we headed back to the hotel to relax and enjoy some snacks and cocktails in the Hilton hotel’s lounge.

Dinner was at the infamous Barley Swine headed by Chef Bryce (he was named Food & Wine’s best chef in 2010.) We were seated at the Chef’s table with a great view of the kitchen. It was a delight to watch the magic of the kitchen happen right before our eyes. Beautiful plates of food being served one course after the other.

Some of my favourites included the Hatch chile cheese pretzel, Akaushi Ribeye with corn pudding and bone marrow marrow hash as well as dessert; the lime mallow sorbet with cucamelon and olive oil cake and the Mango Koji rice pudding. A not to be missed restaurant!

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and crossed through the infamous 6th Street in downtown Austin.  The hustle and bustle of the bars, clubs and loud music keeps this street alive until the wee hours of the morning. Popular amongst the students from University of Texas and tourists alike.

We reached our destination Voodoo Doughnuts, a 24 hour bakeshop. I finally had the chance to try these colourful, creative and quirky doughnuts and they did not disappoint!

The next day we walked our way around the city and explored Lady Bird Lake where we walked along the trail to the boardwalk. The lake is beautiful and it’s a great place where locals go to workout, kayak or stroll.

After a lovely walk through the city and visiting the Texas State Capitol, we ventured over to Second Bar & Kitchen for some amazing cocktails paired with a burger, fried chicken and biscuits for lunch. One of my favourite spots.

After lunch, we stopped into Con’ Olio Oils & Vinegars,  a lovely local foodie shop in downtown Austin selling a wide range of high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars. We learned about how they are made and had an opportunity to do a tasting. We puchased a few lovely flavours such as Grapefruit balsamic and South African Chili oil. Can’t wait to pair them with my meals.

A great place to relax and grab a drink is the historical Moonshine Patio Bar serving classic American food and drinks. With an equally delicious cocktail menu, it’s hard not to find a favourite. I’m still dreaming and missing this Bourbon Renewal!🍹❤ The Bourbon Renewal quickly became my favourite drink which is made with Rye, créme de cassis, lemon and Angostura! Yum!😋

Moonshine Patio Bar also serve a tasty buffet style brunch on Sundays worth checking out, but get there early as the line ups can be very long (mostly filled with locals, they know good food!)

Another dinner restaurant worth mentioning is Emmer & Rye by Chef Kevin Fink on the ever popular Rainey St. We chose this restaurant as Chef Fink was named Best Chef of 2016 by Food & Wine.

Dishes are served small plate and dimsum style. Truly farm to table cuisine worth sharing that showcases up to 15 different kinds of grains milled in their kitchen, which demonstrates Chef Fink’s  passion for incorporating local ingredients into his cuisine.

For dessert, I tried the cocoa bean ice cream with red fife cookies. A great twist on a classic with this hearty grain, a nice highlight dessert on my trip.

Further down Rainey Street there are more bars and food trucks that are worth checking out for quick fare ranging from Grilled Cheese to Indian to Greek. It’s a really lively street lined with bars and lounges, similar to 6th Street but with a slightly older vibe (post graduate crowd).

Another cafe that is hip and upcoming is Launderette, which is a converted gas station serving gourmet new American fare such as Fried chicken and Asparagus eggs Benny.  The food was hearty and delicious with another great cocktail list, including the Rose Grapefruit cocktail which was the perfect accompaniment to the hot weather.

Not to be missed and truly Texan is the BBQ scene! While there are plenty of places to choose from,  I had the pleasure of trying La Barbecue and it did not disappoint but be prepared to wait as there are long wait times, but it’s worth it!

Be sure to try the Valrhona 70% chocolate gelato from Gelateria Gemelli next door. It’s the perfect afternoon treat!

Austin was a great experience for a city girl like me. The food scene is amazing and the city is really up and coming. There is new construction everywhere and you can feel the tech boom moving in.

It has a great vibe and I highly recommend visiting it, especially if you’re into the music scene. There are many amazing music festivals that I would love to catch on my next trip, until next time!

A special thank you to Visit The USA and Visit Austin for this opportunity and the hospitable staff at the Hilton Austin for a great stay.