Category Archives: basic

It’s Rhubarb Season

I love rhubarb. As soon as it appears in my local produce store or farmers market I buy it. Having grown up on the country side with an abundance of this vegetable available I do not want to miss it.

One of the first things I used rhubarb for this spring were my basic muffins. I added small rhubarb cubes and walnut crumbs and used vanilla flavouring to complement the tangy taste of the rhubarb. I baked those for my neighbour Julia and her family after she gave birth to little Monty.

A fantastic dessert I recently tried was strawberry rhubarb galettes from my favourite cookbook author Lucy Waverman posted in the Globe and Mail. Unfortunately my crust flattened down a bit. I have to try those again.

Much easier than galettes is a strawberry rhubarb pie as it sits in a pan.

Last night I opted for a rhubarb strawberry crumble as dessert. Here is the recipe that my dear friend Alison shared with me years ago when I had no idea about great American recipes yet. Alison is a great baker and has always some treats ready for her family and friends.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble


for the crumbs

  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • cinnamon

for the fruit layer

  • 3 cups rhubarb cubes
  • 1 cup strawberry cubes
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • vanilla extract or vanilla sugar


Mix oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add not completely melted butter and form crumbs. Mix all ingredients for the fruit layer.

Grease a 6×9 inch baking pan, add the fruit layer, top with the crumbs. Bake at 400˚F for 30-40min. Let cool off a bit and serve with vanilla ice cream.

The feature photo originates from La Grande’s Farmersmarket photostream on Flickr.


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Filed under basic, dessert, easy, spring, summer

Home-Made Vinaigrettes – Ready to Go

What I  learned from my old friends Klaus and Dorle who were both busy teachers and were rising a family with four young children at the time is that it is efficient and saves time to prepare in advance. They used to always have a bottle of home made Balsamic vinaigrette dressing ready to go in their kitchen. I adopted this habit and added a bottle of my own raspberry vinaigrette.

If you want to do the same or if you want to prepare a nice present from your kitchen for a friend just  prepare the dressing, then download and print one of the labels and glue it onto an empty vinegar bottle.

Both vinaigrettes go well with a toss of leaf lettuce with fruit, nuts and cheese.

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Filed under all seasons, basic, easy, inexpensive, vinaigrette

Sauce Bolognese

The origin of this recipe for a basic meat sauce for pasta and lasagna is from a German cook book with Italian recipes (1) that I own. I changed it a bit, replacing the amount of milk that it asks for by broth. It takes a bit of time to prepare. That’s why I usually prepare it ahead and double or triple the recipe to freeze some portions.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 50g pancetta
  • 300g ground beef
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic glove
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300g tomatoes from the can
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine.
Prepare the vegetables. Mince pancetta, carrot, celery, onion and garlic (I just use my food processor to do this) and mix with the ground meat. Melt the butter and brown the meat mixture. Add red wine and and bring to boil. Boil until reduced by half, then add broth, tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for about 2 hours.
(1) Marieluise Christl-Licosa, “Echt italienisch kochen. Reizvolle Original-Rezepte und Küchentips”, GU Verlag, 1989.

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Filed under basic, pasta sauce, takes time

Béchamel Sauce

This basic white sauce is the basis for many variations of pasta sauces. Just start with a minced onion and add cooked fish, ham or cheese at the end. It can also be used as a topping on a vegetable gratin.


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • salt and white pepper.


In a sauce pan melt butter. Add flour and sauté for a bit. Stir with a whisk while adding the milk. Let come to a boil, then simmer for 5 min. Add whipping cream and salt and pepper to taste.

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Filed under basic, easy, pasta sauce