Tag Archives: recipe

Buttery, Puff Pastry Spirals: Guaranteed to Please

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These puff pastry spirals are my go-to appetizer for company. I serve them right out of the oven when the cheese is still a little gooey and the puff pastry melts in your mouth. They’re super easy and you can really fill them with whatever you have on hand. The ones below are made with Manchego, which is a hard, Spanish goat’s cheese, and Serrano ham. However, I have made them with gruyere and prosciutto, parmesan and prosciutto, bacon and cheddar, sundried tomatoes and fontina, the combinations are really endless. If you want them to look super elegant, you can make Palmiers instead of spirals, the concept is pretty well the same. These are great with Prosecco, white wine, red wine or even a rosé. So the next time you’re rushed to put an elegant appetizer together for company, give these a try. I’d love to know what unique fillings you come up with. Enjoy with good friends and wine – Sham Style.



How to Make

10 minutes of prep, 12-15 minutes in the oven. Serves 4.


Puff Pastry (I use President’s Choice as it’s already rolled out for you)

1 tbsp smoked paprika

4-5 slices Serrano Ham

½ cup grated Manchego Cheese

Defrost puff pastry but make sure it’s chilled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay puff pastry out with the long side facing you. Sprinkle with smoked paprika, followed by shredded cheese, leaving a ½” border around the edges. Cover cheese with slices of Serrano ham. Starting from the long edge farthest from you, tightly roll the puff pastry toward you. Press the seams of the pastry into the roll. If you find that it’s not sticking, use a little egg wash on the seams to make them stick. Alternatively, you can make Palmiers:

Refrigerate the roll for 5 minutes. Take the roll out of the fridge, and place on a lightly floured surface. Cut the roll into 1/2″ disks and lay the spirals on a silpat lined baking sheet. Bake in oven till crisped and golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and move to a serving platter. Serve immediately.


Written on my Microsoft Surface RT with purple backlit keyboard

All pictures taken with my Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera Phone

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms: Steak for Vegetarians

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There’s nothing like a vegetarian dish that satisfies the need for veggies and also the most ardent carnivores. These mushrooms are as good as steak and have all the flavours of a bistro steak dinner: blue cheesy goodness, meaty portabella mushrooms, wilted spinach and a tangy balsamic glaze. You’ll completely forget that you aren’t eating any meat. The best thing about this recipe is that it’s easy enough to make on a weeknight and elegant enough for company. Serve these to a vegetarian and they’ll never feel like a second class citizen. Enjoy with a nice, robust red wine – Sham Style!



4 large portabella mushrooms

½ a French Stick (roughly 2 cups chopped)

1 cup vegetable stock

2/3 cup blue cheese (I used Bleu D’Avernge but you could use any creamy blue)

1 tsp fresh Thyme

1 tablespoon fresh chives

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 tsp olive oil (for shallots)

1 tbsp olive oil (for mushrooms)



Balsamic Glaze

1 cup vegetable stock

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp butter


1 container of fresh baby spinach

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

Pre-heat oven to 370 degrees. Cut the French stick into small crouton sized chunks. Add thyme and chives. Add 1 cup vegetable stock and toss the bread croutons with the herbs and stock. Finely chop the shallot. Heat a tsp of oil in a small pan and sauté the shallot until it is translucent. Add the shallot to the bread crumb mixture and mix thoroughly.  Add crumbled blue cheese to the bread mixture.

Wash the portabella mushrooms and gently dry with a paper towel. Next you want to remove the gills from the portabella mushrooms. The gills will stain your stuffing if they are not removed. To remove the gills, use a small, slim very sharp knife. Turn the mushroom upside-down. From the centre of the mushroom, slide the knife under the gills and run the mushroom as you continue to slide the knife under the gills. Once you have gone around the circumference of the mushroom, more your knife out to the outer edge of the mushroom and score the outer rim of the mushroom. You should be able to simply remove the gills with your fingers.


Rub the mushrooms with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Stuff the mushrooms with the bread mixture. And place the roasting dish in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes. Bread crumps should be golden when ready.

In a small pot simmer the vegetable stock until reduced by half. Add the balsamic vinegar and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the vinegar mixture starts to become syrupy. Add butter and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly and pour the glaze into a squeeze bottle.

3 minutes before the mushrooms are ready, heat olive oil in a large frying pan. Gently wilt the spinach and season with sea salt.

To Plate

Place the spinach on the plate in a circle slightly larger than the mushroom. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and place on the spinach. Sprinkle balsamic glaze around the plate and over the mushrooms and spinach.

Serve with a nice red wine.

Written on my Microsoft Surface RT with purple backlit keyboard

All pictures taken with my Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera Phone

Smoked Salmon Paté (for those liver haters)

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Unfortunately, my husband hates liver. It’s not that he doesn’t care for it, he absolutely loathes it. However sometimes you just feel like some crusty bread and paté. This is my solution. Smokey, briny and spreadable, this paté would be great for a special occasion, but is easy enough to make anytime. Hope you enjoy it – Sham Style!


2 tbsp finely chopped shallots

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp coarsely chopped chives

2 tbsp coarsely chopped dill

6-7 slices smoked salmon coarsely chopped

4 tbsp crème fraiche

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp capers

Sauté the shallots in olive oil on medium heat until they are translucent (avoid browning shallots). Set pan aside and allow to cool. Chop chives, dill and smoked salmon. Place chopped salmon, dill capers and chives in a food processor. Add shallots to food processor as well. Pulse until mixture is fully incorporated and somewhat chunky. Add crème fraiche and pulse to incorporate. Add lemon juice and pulse to incorporate. Mixture should resemble a course paté. Remove to serving dish and let chill for ½ hour or more. Paté can be refrigerated for up to one day. Garnish with dill and serve to toast points or crostini.

Written on my Microsoft Surface RT with purple backlit keyboard

All pictures taken with my Nokia Lumia 1020 Camera Phone

Tastes from Sunny Italy on a Gloomy Fall Day (Osso Buco, Risotto)

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It’s a typically gloomy November day…. rainy, damp, cool.  The perfect kind of day to bring the sunny tastes of Italy to the table: Osso Buco Milanese, Saffron Risotto, Gremolata.


I personally don’t like my Osco Buco too “tomato-y”.  I want the flavors of the gremolata to jump and I don’t like overwhelming the delicate flavor of the Saffron Risotto.  This recipe using tomato paste and a touch of Crème Fraiche to provide a delicate, light flavor.  I also add a touch of anchovy paste for umami – don’t worry, there is nothing fishy about this dish. – Make it Sham Style!

Osso Buco

4 – 6 veal shanks

1 tbsp grape seed oil

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tbsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp sweet paprika

1 large carrot finely chopped (or 2 smaller ones)

1 stalk of celery finely chopped

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tbsp of anchovy paste

2 tbsp of tomato paste

2 sprigs of rosemary

4 sprigs of thyme

2 cloves of garlic

2 cups of veal or low sodium chicken stock

1 bottle of dry white wine

1/4 crème fraiche

1 package baby spinach wilted

Equipment: Cast Enamel Dutch Oven, cheese cloth

Pre-heat oven to 320 degrees.  On a plate, mix the salt, pepper and paprika.  Dry veal shanks with paper towel. Season the veal shanks with the salt and pepper mixture.  Heat Grape Seed Oil in a 10 inch cast iron Dutch oven over high heat until it glistens.  Sear the veal shanks until they have turned golden brown on all sides.  Remove to a plate.  Add chopped carrots, celery and onion and lower the heat to med-low.  Cook until onions and celery are translucent.  Turn heat to medium and add anchovy paste and the tomato paste.  Stir continuously until any liquid is evaporated.

Turn up heat to high and add wine.  Heat until wine starts to bubble.  Add chicken/veal stock.  Bring to a simmer.  Cut a square pièce of cheese cloth and create a bouquet garni with the rosemary, thyme and garlic.  Add the bouquet garni to the liquid.   Add veal shanks and any accumulated juices back to the Dutch oven.  Bring to a simmer, put the lid on and move to the pre-heated oven.  Cook for 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  If the liquid evaporates too much, add 1/2 more chicken/veal stock.  Meanwhile, prepare Risotto (see recipe below).   Remove Osso Buco from the oven.  Gently remove veal shanks and place on aluminum foil, add a 1/4 cup of juices and wrap tightly.  Remove bouquet garni.  Simmer the sauce in the dutch oven on the stove while Risotto cooks in the oven.  When Risotto is ready, add the crème fraiche to the sauce and stir thoroughly. Add veal shanks to dutch oven, turn temperature to medium and heat through.  Serve with risotto and gremolata (see recipes below).


2 tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

1 1/4 cups Arborio rice

1 cup dry white wine

2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 tbsp. saffron threads

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Add olive oil to a 13 inch skillet and heat on medium high until the oil shimmers.  Add onion and sauté until translucent.  Add rice and sauté until the rice is translucent and no longer white.  Turn the temperature to high and add wine.  Simmer for 6-8 minutes until wine is partially evaporated.  Add the saffron, salt and pepper.  Add the 2 1/4 cups of the chicken/vegetable stock and simmer for an additional 8 minutes.  Remove pan from heat, add 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and stir to incorporate.  Pour the risotto into an oven safe casserole dish.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil.  Set aside.  Once the Osco Buco has been removed from the oven, increase the temperature to 375 degrees.  Cook the risotto in the oven for 30-35 minutes.  Add remaining chicken/vegetable stock and parmesan cheese right before serving.


1 clove garlic

3 tbsp very finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp lemon zest

2 tsp orange zest

1/4 tsp sea salt

Using a mortar and pestle, crush garlic until it is a paste.  Remove to bowl and gently stir in all of the other ingredients.  Serve on top of Osco Buco.

To Plate:

Wilt spinach in sauté pan.

Place wilted spinach in a round on a plate.  Top with a mound of risotto and shape.  Gently place a veal shank on top of the risotto.  Gently pour some sauce over top and sprinkle with gremolata.

Enjoy with lots of red wine!

Recipes written and tested by Suzanne Battiston

Created on my Microsoft Surface RT with the purple backlit keyboard.