Saffron Pilaf with Honey and Almonds

This fragrant rice with raisins and toasted nuts gets its beautiful golden colour from Persian saffron.  One of the world’s most expensive spices, saffron has a deep flavour that isn’t found in American saffron also known as saffron (good for colour but adding no flavour).

4 to 6 tbsp toasted nuts (pistachios, pine nuts, almonds, your choice)
2 tbsp butter or olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 cup basmati rice
1 ¼ cups water
2 tbsp golden or green raisins
1 tsp honey (see notes)
1/2 tsp salt (less or more to taste)
1/2 tsp saffron threads
4 cardamom pods lightly crushed (if you have them)

  1. In a medium fry pan, toast the nuts until golden brown, shaking and stirring often so they don’t burn. Pour them onto a heat-safe plate or bowl and allow them to cool completely. When cooled, coarsely chop them.
  2. To the hot pan, add the butter and onion and stir cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir cook another minute or two to lightly toast the rice.
  4. Add the water (careful – it will steam voraciously), raisins, honey, salt, saffron (crush the threads in the palm of your hand with your thumb before adding them) and cardamom pods (if you have).
  5. Reduce heat to low immediately and cover. Simmer until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir it a couple of times while cooking.
  6. Remove the rice from the heat, fluff gently with a fork and cover again, letting it stand covered at least 10 minutes and up to 30.
  7. Adjust seasoning to your taste, then stir in half of the toasted nuts. Plate and garnish with remaining nuts.

Suggestions:

  • Substitute the plain honey and cardamom pods with Beary Berry Chai Honey, which has cardamom and other eastern spices which would be delicious in this.
  • Or, try one of these Beary Berry Honeys:  Cinnamon, Ginger, Lemon or Licorice for a subtle hint of spice.

 

 

Autumn Squash Soup with Sage and Honey

A quick and easy one-pot dish. Serves 4 as a light meal or 6 as a starter.

Soup
2 tbsp butter or bacon fat or oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
375 gr butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
375 gr acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces
1/2 tsp rosemary, dried (chop it small)
1/4 tsp thyme, dried
1/4 tsp savory leaves, dried
1 tsp sage leaves, rubbed
3 tbsp cream (optional)
2 tsp honey

Croutons
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tbsp parsley, minced
12 baguette slices
1/2 cup grated pecorino, parmesan, Swiss or goat cheese
fresh cracked black

OR

Toasted Nuts and Seeds
1/2 cup your choice of toasted nuts and seeds
Try pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, Brazil nuts, pistachios, or toasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.


Soup

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic until soft and translucent, but not browned, about 10 minutes. (If it starts to brown a bit, turn down the heat. It’s not the end of the world – you’ll just have brown bits in your soup.)
  2. Add the broth, squash, and herbs. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Simmer until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Using an immersion blender, purée soup right in the pot. (If using a regular blender, purée in batches, being very careful to firmly hold down the lid covered with a cloth to avoid exploding hot soup. When puréed, return the soup to the pot.)
  5. Stir in cream (if using) and honey, and bring to simmer. Season with salt (if using) and cracked pepper.

Croutons – prepare them while the soup is simmering

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. In a bowl, combine butter and parsley. You may not use it all, but it’s delicious for toast or on potatoes and vegetables, as a finish for meat.
  3. Shmear 1 side of each bread slice with the herb butter.
  4. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on baking sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute.
  5. Remove from oven, sprinkle with grated cheese and cracked pink or black pepper. Do this when the soup is almost ready.
  6. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Remove pan from oven.

Serve
Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with 2 or 3 croutons, or a sprinkle of the toasted nuts/seeds.


Tips / Suggestions

  • You can use just butternut or just acorn squash if you don’t want to buy both.
  • Weigh the squash AFTER you peel and seed it – which means you need to buy about 20% extra to account for that.
  • Don’t like peeling squash? Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place cut side down in a baking dish. Add water to a depth of about 1/2″. Roast in a 425 degree oven until softened. Length of time depends type and size of squash – check by piercing with a paring knife and when it easily slides through the flesh, the squash is ready. Remove from oven and carefully scoop out the hot flesh. You won’t need as much cooked as raw, so go for about 300 gr-ish of each.
  • Bacon fat gives a rich flavour – save the drippings next time you fry some up. We like Irvings Farm bacon.
  • We mae the croutons using The Cheesiry Pecorino, and a baguette from SaveOn Foods

Recipe adapted from one by ElaineWilson.com. Image copyright ElaineWilson.com, used with permission. 

Berry Protein Smoothie

Keep a pitcher of this in the fridge for quick snacks or early morning meal after your work out. Stir before pouring. Freezes well. Serves 2.

30 red grapes
1/4 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1/4 cup raspberries
1/2 cup 8 cherries, pitted
1/4 cup blackberries
1/2 medium apple
1 cup cooked chickpeas or white beans – cannelini, navy, kidney, etc.
1 to 2 tbsp Beary Berry Honey (see suggested varieties below)
water as needed

  1. Put everything in a blender with 1/4 cup of water and blend. Add more water to get to the consistency you like. (Smoothie will be thicker if you use frozen fruit.)
  2. Enjoy right away, keep in the fridge a couple of days, portion and freeze, or pour into popsicle moulds and freeze for a healthy and delicious frozen treat.

Tips / Suggestions

  • Beary Berry Honey liquid or creamed honey works great, or try one of our fruit honeys such as: Strawberry, Red Raspberry, Black Raspberry, Saskatoon, Blueberry, or Pomegranate.
  • You can use any combination of fruits you like, fresh or frozen. There are several frozen berry blends that are great.
  • Beans add great whole protein. If you want to bump it up even more, add rice, pumpkin or hemp protein powder, available at health food stores and many pharmacies and supermarkets.

Recipe adapted from one by ElaineWilson.com.

Honey-Dijon Port Reduction

This is a rich, complex reduction that pairs well with roast pork, game or chicken. It’s delicious with pan-seared salmon and other strong tasting fish. You can make the reduction ahead and keep in the freezer for a quick week night meal. Serves 4 to 6.

2 tsp oil
1 large shallot, minced
1 tsp rosemary, fresh, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Port (or Cognac or brandy)
1/3 cup apple juice (preferably organic pressed for deeper flavour)
3 to 4 tbsp Dijon mustard (or half Dijon and half coarse mustard)
2 to 3 tbsp honey

  1. Heat a small pan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil to swirl and coat the pan.
  2. Add the shallot, garlic and rosemary, stirring cooking to soften and cook the vegetables.
  3. When lightly browned, deglaze the pan with the Port (or you can omit and go straight to the apple juice if you like). Be careful! The alcohol may burst into flames – this is normal but keep long sleeves, hair, apron strings and of course body parts clear. In a moment or so, the alcohol will burn off and flame will extinguish.
  4. When the alcohol has almost cooked off, add the apple juice and let it bubble until reduced by half.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a gentle bubble – if it seems over reduced or too thick, add a bit more apple juice or water to get the consistency you like. Adjust the flavour – adding a bit more mustard or honey as you like.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve over roast pork, chicken, seafood or game. If making ahead, let cool completely then freeze. Makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.

Tips, Suggestions & Information

  • Use cold sauce as a vinaigrette – thin with a bit of water and apple cider vinegar (to your taste). Serve on salad or steamed/roasted asparagus.
  • If roasting meat, scrape the drippings into the sauce for a fuller-body richness (not essential, but delicious!).
  • If pan-searing the meat, when it’s done, remove the meat to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Make the reduction in the meat pan and when ready, place the meat back in the pan, turn to coat and then plate, drizzling with remaining sauce.

Recipe and image copyright ElaineWilson.com, used with permission.

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

This is a great make-ahead vegetarian meal for quick lunches or a side dish. Delicious for potlucks and picnics, too. Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side dish.

Vinaigrette
3 to 4 tbsp olive oil, extra-virgin
2 or 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp Beary Berry Honey (see recommendations below)

Salad
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/2 English cucumber, seeds removed and diced
2 hands full of chopped or baby spinach, kale, beet or other greens
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano (leaves, not ground)
3 cups cooked quinoa
salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: a handful of chopped fresh parsley
Optional: 100 gr of Feta cheese, crumbled
Optional: toss in a handful of black Kalamata olives


  1. Dice the vegetables and place them into a large bowl.
  2. Add all the remaining salad ingredients and toss well.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients.
  4. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette and adjust to your taste – add more oil, salt, honey, herbs, or vinegar.

Tips, Suggestions & Information

  • Use Beary Berry Honey unpasteurized clear or creamed honey for a simple vinaigrette.
  • For this recipe, try our Pomegranate Honey, Licorice Honey, or Chai Honey. Use fresh lemon juice instead of red wine vinegar, and try our Lemon Honey or for a real Middle Eastern flavour, Peppermint Honey.
  • Quinoa is the only grain which is also a complete protein. It can be found at almost any natural foods, organic, or regular grocery store and is usually more economical in the bulk aisle. It increases about 3 x its volume when cooked. The easiest method is to cook it like pasta, in lots of water and exactly 11 minutes. Drain and serve immediately as a hot side dish or for a warm salad. For a cold salad or to make ahead, rinse the hot, cooked quinoa with cold water and keep it in the fridge up to 3 days, or portion in small containers and freeze for quick meals.
  • Use any combination of vegetables you like – broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, etc. Try adding cooked beans, chickpeas or lentils for different textures, or even cold shredded chicken or pork for meat eaters.

 

 

 

 

 

Spiced Carrot Muffins

This is a moist muffin that could easily double as a cupcake.

2 cups whole wheat flour (see tips below for choosing flour)
2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
1/4 tsp cardamom, ground (see notes)
1/4 tsp ginger, ground
1/4 tsp star anise, ground in a coffee grinder (see notes)
1 1/2 cups Beary Berry Honey liquid honey
3/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil or melted butter
3 large eggs
4 cups carrots, grated (lightly packed)
3/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
3/4 cup raisins (optional)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F.

  1. Butter or lightly oil 24 muffin tins, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the honey, applesauce, and oil/melted butter until well blended (not too vigourously, though, or it will splash).
  4. Add the eggs and whisk well to combine them.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and using a wooden spoon, stir until blended.
  6. Stir in grated carrots and, if using, the raisins & nuts.
  7. Divide the batter among the tins. It will come fairly close to the top of the muffin cups and it will be okay – I haven’t had it spill over, but you could put a baking sheet underneath if you’re worried.
  8. Bake about 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the oven and let sit about 10 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely before serving.
  10. Store them in a sealed container and eat within a few days. They freeze great, so keep a few out and freeze the rest.

Serves: 24
alternatively: 12 pieces from a round, two-layer cake
12 large or

Tips / Suggestions:

  • Use Best for Bread whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour – it’s lighter and better for pastries and cakes. If you have access to local farmers who mill their own grains, find one who grows the varietal “Soft White” – it’s a whole grain (not processed white flour), but much lower in protein, making it ideal for baking and pastries. I go to John Schneider of Gold Forest Grains for flour milled on his organic farm. He’s at Old Strathcona Farmers Market.
  • If using non-stick pans, reduce cooking – start checking them at about 22 minutes.
  • You can use this recipe to make 2 round cake layers or one 9×13 sheet cake. Grease and flour the pans before adding the batter. They will take longer to bake so adjust the time accordingly.
  • If you don’t have access to cardamom and star anise, no worries. Just add a bit more cinnamon and/or ginger.
  • If you use Beary Berry Cinnamon Honey and/or Ginger Honey, omit those respective spices in the recipe.

Recipe and image copyright ElaineWilson.com, used with permission.

 

 

 

Honey French Toast with Honey Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

The nice thing about breakfast and brunch on the weekend is having the time to make something scrumptious once in a while.  Serves 4 to 6.

1-1/2 cups plain yogurt (not Greek)
1/4 to 1/2 cup Beary Berry Honey of your choice (flavoured or plain)
3 to 4 cups sliced fresh fruit (strawberries, banana, peaches, apple, pear…whatever you like)
2 tbsp Beary Berry Honey of your choice (flavoured or plain)
1 cup milk (not non-fat or skim)
6 eggs
12 thick slices of bread (any kind works, but French bread, brioche, or challah egg bread are really good)
1/2 cup butter or oil


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt and enough honey to get the sweetness and flavour you like. Set aside. (Can be made the day ahead.)
  2. Slice or prep the fruit and set aside.
  3. Place a large fry pan on the stove. Turn heat on to just under medium.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the Beary Berry Honey, milk, and eggs.
  5. Dip the sliced bread in the egg mixture, leaving several seconds to saturate. Turn the bread to coat the other side. Only soak as many as can fit your pan at one time.
  6. Add a good sized knob of butter (about 2 to 3 tablespoons) and quickly stir to melt it.
  7. Add soaked slices of toast to the sizzling pan – don’t crowd them so they toast and fry evenly. Give them a good two or three minutes, allowing them to get nice and brown on one side, then turn over and fry-toast that side (add a bit more butter if you need). NOTE: if toasting too quickly, turn the heat down a bit.
  8. Serve the French toast hot with a good sized serving of fresh fruit and a dollop of the honey yogurt.