Sunday, 28 April 2013

Cooking recipes

A few weeks ago Will suddenly got up and went looking for an old red binder with the word Air Canada on the cover, inside are old yellow sheets of paper with type written recipes for various dishes from appetizers to main course to desserts. We have had this binder and recipes for at least 35 years. He was looking for a recipe in particular and wanted to see if we could try it out. We did and it was quite good, a simple sauce to accompany a dish of pasta. Many of the recipes are from a time a few decades ago when people ate heavier dishes. Mind you, I know a lot of people who still eat fairly heavy dishes with lots of cream and butter sauces and cheese topping for good measure. It's the same with desserts, many are fudge chocolate like with cream and a side of ice cream. I simply cannot imagine eating any dishes like that today. My desserts now tend to be a fruit usually fresh never in a can or just an espresso
with a spot of milk no sugar.

So far we tried two recipes and both are sauces requiring fresh tomatoes chopped up and at least 500 gr of fresh leafy spinach. In Europe spinach is very popular usually just tossed in a pan with a bit of garlic, in the USA at least in New England, cream spinach is popular but in Canada you do not see it so often on menus or in peoples homes as a side dish. A shame really, it is a very good vegetable and so easy to prepare but you must remember to clean it well, like all leafy greens. There is always a lot of dirt on the leaves and it needs a good rinsing once of twice under cold water.

Among these old recipes are some of Will's signature dishes, like Smoky Pumpkin Soup done usually for Canadian Thanksgiving in October, Sopa de Tortilla from our time in Mexico 1986-89. Or his
Tomato tart with polenta crust and rocket, or Mushroom rarebit. A dessert he use to make was Treacle tart.

                                        Recipe teasers

So he looked up this Pasta with Spicy Tomatoes and Spinach.  I got the ingredients at the store and made it for dinner, it was easy and quite good. This recipe can be made in less than 30 minutes if you are slightly organized in the kitchen and have a nice glass of wine at hand.

The recipe is as follows:
Pasta with Spicy Tomatoes and Spinach

8 oz of fresh Linguini pasta
1 dried chili pepper, seeded and crushed
5 *anchovy fillets, rinsed under cold water, drained and chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb (500gr) of fresh loose leaf spinach, washed, stemmed and coarsely chopped.
8 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (you can used the can variety)
3\4 cup of freshly grated parmesan
Fresh ground pepper
1 tsp of good olive oil

* about the anchovy, on the market you can find imported from Italy, fresh anchovies which is a white fish in oil or anchovies only in oil and a little salt. It is very different in taste from the anchovies which are cured and salted, do not use those.

First cook your pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and shake well, coat with 1 tsp of oil and mix up. Cover and set aside.

Heat the chill in 3 tsp of olive oil until the pepper is brown. Remove and discard pepper.
Now using the same large pan used for the pepper you have your base oil flavoured with the pepper.
Reheat the oil, add anchovies, garlic and cook stirring constantly until garlic turns golden brown. Add spinach and tomatoes and cook tossing until spinach is wilted.

Now add your pasta and toss well with the sauce until heated through ( approx 3 min.)

Remove from heat and add the parmesan and pepper. Serve immediately.

This weekend I made Breast Chicken fillets with Spinach and Tomato and for Sunday dinner Sautéd Chicken and Tortilla Salad.
Spring is here now, the Rideau canal water level is back up for boating, The many marathons along the canal have started, we have quite a few in Ottawa. The fishing season has opened and the Tulip Festival starts on 3 May in Ottawa our special connection with the Royal Family of the Netherlands. The weather is now on average 20C very pleasant. So I am switching the sheets to summer cloth and also our dinner menu to more Spring like fare.


  1. The tried and true recipes become like old friends after a while, don't they? Enjoy the tulips and the nice Ottawa weather!

  2. I have an accordian file of clipped recipes, which I want to someday make - it is my retirement dream. I love cooking and always want to try new things - if I had my druthers I would eat something new each day.