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Vitamix Vegan Avocado and Cacao Pudding · Monday January 31, 2022 by colin newell

Easy dessert - avocado and cocoa pudding

There are few things more fun than the simplicity of a great recipe that whips up quick and satisfies unconditionally.

And for those of you that say, “…hang on! Avocado in a dessert, are you crazy?”

Avocado is a tasty and healthy way to add incredible texture to a pudding or dessert. Trust me.

This dessert comes together quickly with the Vitamix – its texture is Bistro quality and the taste is out of this World!

Let’s go!

Count them – 5 ingredients

2 Avocados, ripe (of course!)

Refrigerated 1/2 cup Almond (or Soy or Oat milk, unsweetened…)

1/2 cup Maple syrup
1/2 cup Cocoa powder, unsweetened
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Garnish – Mint, Chocolate shavings, fresh fruit… Use you imagination.

Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend on high until the ingredients have broken down.

Give the pudding a good stir and continue blending until very smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust according to personal preference.

Garnish with shredded dark chocolate, a sprig of mint or a fresh strawberry.

Serves 4 people

Short and sweet – you are welcome!


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and writer of words, recipes, kitchen inspirations and adult libations. His treatise on the edible and drinkable have populated these parts since the mid-1990’s. Dig in and enjoy.

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Gorgonzola and peas in penne pasta - winter home cooking for the holidays · Monday January 3, 2022 by colin newell

Peas, Gogonzola and cream pasts

We have some fav local eateries in Victoria like Cafe BrioIl Covo Trattoria and Zambri’s – they are hard to beat for pure romance on date night. We have been doing a date night for 25+ years and put it down to the love for each other, the love of food and wine or the lack of children — I don’t know. It is a recipe that works for us.

And in this classic and massively tasty recipe (tried here for the first time!) we venture into the world of creamy, herbaceous, lightly seasoned and hugely tasty!

Sidebar on Gorgonzola over here – 100% Worth your time.

The basics

Pasta: We used Penne for this recipe, a tubular pasta that the creamy gorgonzola sauce clings to.
Oil and butter: For cooking. You can just use oil, but butter adds a nice richness.
Onion and garlic: For a nice base layer of flavour. Dice finely so that it mixes in well with the sauce.
Gorgonzola: This is a soft and creamy Italian blue cheese. It is milder in flavor than a hard blue cheese.
Whipping Cream: Use a heavy or whipping thick cream for a thick and rich sauce.
Peas: They add a nutty and herbaceous tang to the dish – as well as fresh parsley
Optional: Walnuts: Walnuts add a great flavor and texture to this pasta recipe, as well as some plant based protein.

Exact Ingredients

6 ounces Penne dried pasta
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion finely diced
2 garlic cloves minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 ounces gorgonzola (85g)
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
Optional – 1 cup walnut pieces (125g)
1 cup green peas
Fresh parsley to garnish

Instructions

Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions.
Cook the peas in the last 2 minutes of the pasta cooking – yes, in the pasts pot! Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, you can start on the blue cheese sauce.
Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet on pot on a medium high heat.
Add in the onion and cook til soft.
Add in the garlic and cook for another minute.
Add in the salt and pepper, pour in the cream and crumble in the gorgonzola.
Simmer at a very low heat, for around 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened.
Add the cooked pasta (and peas) and optional walnuts to the sauce. Toss to combine and coat the pasta.
Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley and serve with some of my legendary focaccia bread


Colin Newell is a Victoria area resident and food writer. His blogs go back to 2007 and as always, this food blog has no click bait, crap, ads or amazon links. We respect our readers so we only offer what you are looking for – recipes and no B.S.

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Happy New Year Shakshuka with Feta · Saturday January 1, 2022 by colin newell

Shakshuka for Brunch - 2022

Welcome to the New Year everyone – 2021 is behind us and ’22 is ahead.

Our New Year’s brunch tradition is Shakshuka.

Shakshuka is a Middle-Eastern dish that is not only perfect for breakfast and brunch, but also for a quick and delicious dinner.

Best of all, it truly easy to make. Let’s do this…

Ingredients Overview

Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Don’t scrimp on cheap olive oil!
Onion and Red Pepper –
Spices – Roasted cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper.
Tomatoes – Fire roasted, canned and chopped is best.
Eggs – Free range or organic if you have them.

Ingredient specifics

▢14oz / 389g Chopped (Fire roasted) Tomatoes
▢ 2 large Eggs
▢ 2 tbsp Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
▢ 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced or 1 TBSP minced garlic

▢ 1 medium Red Pepper, finely diced (optional)
▢ 1 small White Onion, finely diced
▢ 1 tsp Cumin
▢ 1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste
▢ 1/2 tsp Sugar
▢ 1.5 tsp Smoked Paprika
▢ 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste
▢ 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, or to taste
▢ Feta, crumbled to serve
▢ Fresh Parsley or Cilantro/Coriander, finely diced to serve

1.) Fry pepper and onion in olive oil until softened and beginning to brown. About 5 minutes.
2.) Add garlic and fry for a couple of minutes longer.
3.) Stir in spices.
4.) Pour in tomatoes and season (salt, pepper, sugar). Leave to simmer for 5 mins.
5.) Crack in eggs and cook. (see additional tips!)

The skinny of this is: You are cracking eggs into a “sauce” – there are many ways of approaching this, the quick way or the slow way. Many adherents suggest a long slow simmer to thicken the sauce. The problem with that is that you lose moisture and the sauce dries up. I believe in adding the ingredients after simmering the sauce for 5 minutes (medium heat) until it just begins to reduce. Make a divot in the sauce to hold two eggs. Crack in the eggs into the divots, turning the heat to low to simmer for 10 minutes. From there, cover the skillet and poach the eggs for an additional 2 minutes. Ideally, you want soft yolks, so there may be some practice required here.

Note: The feta cheese and parsley is actually sprinkled onto the serving plates — not into the pan!


Colin Newell is an ancient 20th Century writer, photographer and electronics expert. He has roamed the streets of Planet Earth looking for genuinely good coffee and food. As always, if any of these recipes don’t seem quite clear, send me a note. Answers guaranteed!

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West Coast Peanut Butter Cookies · Wednesday December 22, 2021 by colin newell

Colin's Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter cookies
are my favourite cookie – ever.
There is something about the taste
and the texture that takes me straight back to childhood.

INGREDIENTS

▢ 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 180g
▢ 1/2 cup butter unsalted, room temp 113g
▢ 1 cup smooth peanut butter 250g
▢ 1/2 cup brown sugar 100g, lightly packed
▢ 1/2 cup sugar 100g
▢ 1 tsp vanilla extract 5mL
▢ 1 egg large, room temp
▢ 3/4 tsp baking powder 3g

INSTRUCTIONS


Preheat oven to 350F – you can likely convection bake these at 325 to 340 degrees but shorten your time!
Sift flour and baking powder together then whisk to combine.
Cream butter and sugars in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. You can add an optional 1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt.
Add peanut butter and mix until incorporated.
Mix in egg and vanilla extract then add flour mixture and beat until incorporated.
Roll dough into one inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
*I used a tool called (I think) a melon baller – kind of a much smaller version of a ice cream scoop to get the perfect size every time.
Flatten cookies with a fork in a criss-cross pattern.
Bake cookies for about 10 minutes. Pay strict attention to timing. These cookies are dead easy to burn.
Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet, before being transferred to rack.

This cookie pairs well with any kind of black coffee or tea. It is guaranteed to take you back to a simpler time.


Colin Newell is a Victoria resident and long time editor of the CoffeeCrew.com website.

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December simple pasta - Aglio e Olio · Wednesday December 8, 2021 by colin newell

Aglio e Olio - quick as a wink pasta

I love pasta. You love pasta. And this dish is as easy as it gets. After a hard day, when you are too tired to even think about fixing dinner, this is what you whip up.

At a mere handful of ingredients, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio is a big bowl of comfort food that is simple and quick to prepare.

The hardest part, perhaps, is waiting for the salted pasta water to come up to a boil!

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Made with the pasta of your choice; spaghetti, linguini, etc… sauteed garlic, olive oil, crushed hot red pepper flakes, and chopped Italian parsley. Add your own discretionary amount (1 cup give or take) of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese – which can be sprinkled on the top and mixed in to add a creamier texture.

Instructions…

Bring 3-4L of water to a boil over high heat in your favourite pasta pot.
Add a generous amount of salt to pot. “As salty as the sea!”
Stir the spaghetti into the boiling water. Cook your pasta according to package instructions.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil [5 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon of butter (optional)] in your favourite pan over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and cook for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes, watching carefully so the garlic doesn’t burn. Once the garlic is softened, remove from heat and add red chili pepper flakes.

Reserve or capture 1 1/2 cups of pasta water. This water is salty and starchy and adds flavor to the sauce.

Once pasta is cooked, drain, and then toss into garlic and olive oil mixture. Add reserved pasta water.
Toss with parsley and most of your freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.

Salt according to taste. If you like it hot, add a touch more red pepper flakes. Garnish with remaining Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serve with a big glass of red wine and some of my sourdough focaccia


Colin is a Victoria area resident and long time food guy, drinker of coffee, mixer of cocktails, baker of treats. He has written stuff since the early 1990’s.

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