Apple Cheddar Drop Biscuits

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup shredded extra-old Cheddar cheese
1 cup grated cored peeled apple
2 Tbsp chopped fresh green onion or parsley (optional)
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425° F.

In large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces. Stir in Cheddar, apple and green onions. Using a fork, stir in milk to form a ragged dough.

Drop by 1/4 cup mounds, 1 1/2 inches apart, onto parchment paper–lined rimless baking sheet. Bake in 425° oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes.

Caramel Apple Pudding Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar packed
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup thinly sliced apples

Sauce:
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups boiling waterh
1 Tbsp butter softened
2 tsp vanilla
Generous pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Make the pudding batter: In a medium bowl, mix together the the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, mix together the milk, melted butter and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine well.

Spread batter in to the bottom of an 8-cup baking dish or divide between 4-6 individual baking dishes. (*If using individual dishes, you may want to place dishes on a baking sheet, for easy transport to the oven, and to catch any splatters.)

Arrange a layer of apple slices on top of batter.

Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup, mix together the brown sugar and flour. Add the boiling water, the butter,vanilla and salt. Stir to combine and until butter melts. Gently pour over batter, being sure to leave 3/4-1 inch of room at the top of the baking dish.

Bake in pre-heated 350° oven for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick in centre comes out clean when inserted in the top cake part. Pudding will have formed a cake-like top with lots of sauce underneath. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy warm. Lovely as is, or top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple Crumble Cake

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (200g)
3/4 cup white sugar (150g)
1 tsp baking powder
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6-8 pieces (100g)
3 medium apples peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream, table cream (18%) or half and half cream (10%), 35% (200g)
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (120g)
1/2 cup brown sugar (100g)
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt

For the crumble topping:
1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
2/3 cup white sugar (140g)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch salt
5 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (80g)

Preheat oven to 355° F. / 180° C. and grease an 8-inch /2 0 cm springform pan. Set on a baking sheet and set aside. *Note: if you are using a dark springform pan, reduce temperature to 340F / 170C.

Make the cake: In a food processor, add the flour, sugar and baking powder. Pulse a couple of times to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter is combined with the flour. You’ll end up with a very dry mixture, like sand almost.
Sprinkle about 3/4 of this mixture over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Don’t press it down at all, but move it around a bit so it goes up the sides just a bit. Scatter the prepared apple slices over the crumbs (avoiding the sides), then sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over the top. Again, do not press down. Leave it as is. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, sour cream, brown sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When cake base has baked 20 minutes, remove from oven and carefully pour the egg mixture over the top. Return cake to oven and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the crumble topping. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Add melted butter to the mixture, just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the mixture comes together in large clumps. Place the bowl into the freezer until needed.

When the cake has baked for 20 minutes, remove from oven. (The egg mixture should have set somewhat so that the crumbs won’t sink into the cake. If it is too liquidy still, return to the oven for a few more minutes.) Evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top. Return to the oven and bake a further 20 – 25 minutes or until the edges are starting to become golden and pull away from the edge and the center is set. As long as it’s not too jiggly and a tester inserted in the centre comes out with just crumbs (not liquid), it’s ready to take out of the oven. It should have bake about 60-65 total, including all 3 steps.

Allow to cool in the pan, on a cooling rack, for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the outside and carefully remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Allow to cool more before removing from the base.

Dust with powdered/icing sugar, if desired.

Apple Almond Cake

Dough:
2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
1 tsp rum optional
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour
1 cup + 6 Tbsp all purpose flour

For the topping:
3 medium apples
1/3 cup sliced almonds

For garnish:
Icing/confectioners’ sugar

Grease a 10-inch springform pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, vanilla, a pinch of salt and a few drops of rum, if using. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the baking powder, ground almonds and flour and mix until well combined.

Spoon batter into the prepared springform pan and spread level.
Peel apples and cut into quarters. Cut out the core from each quarter and discard. Delete the core. Using a sharp knife, cut 4 deep slices into each quarter, cutting almost, but not all the way through. Press sliced apple quarters into the top of the batter, placing about 8 around the outside and 3 in the middle. Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top.
Bake for about 60 – 70 minutes, or until the center cake tests clean with a cake tester min.

Cool the cake, the sprinkle with icing sugar to serve.

French Pear Cake with Creme Fraiche

For cake batter:
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
1/2 cup sour cream

For filling:
3 pears ripe but still firm, peeled or unpeeled, halved and cored

For topping:
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/3 cup flaked almonds optional

For serving:
Crème Fraîche, whipped cream, or ice cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. with rack in centre of oven. Prepare a 10-inch springform pan by spraying with baking spray and lining the bottom ring with parchment paper. Place on a baking sheet and set aside.

Prepare the pears: You can peel the pears if you like, or simply leave the peel on. Cut in half down from the stem end to the bottom. Scoop out the core with a spoon and remove the stem spine and bottom blossom end. Place cut side down on a cutting board and cut each half in to 1/4-inch-ish slices. Transfer the sliced halves to the prepared baking pan, cut side down, fanning out the slices slightly. Arrange the sliced halves in a ring around the outside of the pan. The sliced halves should just touch each other in the centre and fan out slightly towards the outside edges. The centre couple of inches should be empty. You may or may not need all your pears. Simply fill until it’s filled around. Set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric beater or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and the 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition.
Spoon the batter in to the centre of the prepared pan. Using a knife, gently spread the batter in to a thin layer out to the outside edges of the pan. It will seem very thin and barely cover the pears. Scatter the flaked almonds over the centre area of the batter. Sprinkle top of batter evenly with the 1/4 cup white sugar.

Bake in preheated oven until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.

Let the cake cool 5-10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the outside and remove the outer ring. Allow to cool a bit more, then slice and enjoy warm with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.

Moroccan Meatballs

1/3 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
4 tablespoons (½ stick) salted butter
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
10 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup panko
1 pound 90 percent lean ground beef
1 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro, divided
2 large eggs, cracked into a small bowl

In a small bowl, stir together the olives and lemon zest; set aside.

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juice until smooth, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium, melt the butter. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and pepper flakes, then cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat. Transfer 1/2 cup of the onion mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium and add the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover and cook until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, stirring once about halfway through. Remove from the heat.

While the sauce simmers, stir the panko and 1/2 cup water into the reserved onion mixture. Let stand until the panko softens, about 5 minutes, then use your hands to mash to a smooth paste.

Add the beef, 1/2 cup of cilantro, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly with your hands. Divide into 16 (2-tablespoon) portions, rolling them into smooth balls. Place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Return the sauce to medium and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs in a single layer, then spoon sauce over each. Cover, reduce to low and cook for 15 minutes. Flip each meatball, then continue to cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and meatballs are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Push the meatballs to the sides of the skillet. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Gently pour the eggs into the center, cover and cook over medium-low until the egg whites are barely set and yolks are still runny, 4 to 5 minutes.

Off heat, sprinkle the olive mixture and remaining ½ cup cilantro over the tagine.

Tip: Don’t use ground beef less than 90 percent lean or the sauce will be greasy. Also, don’t overcook the eggs; the yolks should remain runny so they mix with the sauce.

Sichuan Stir-Fry Sauce (For Chicken or Beef)

Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons aged Pixian chili bean paste (doubanjiang)
3 tablespoons canola (or other neutral) oil
2 teaspoons Sichuan chili flakes (toasted and ground chilies)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground red Sichuan pepper
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon Chinese light soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

For Chicken
1 pound dark-meat chicken, cut in small, ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1/4 pound mildly hot green chili peppers (Chinese or Korean long hot peppers or Anaheim), cut on the diagonal in 1-inch pieces
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced

For Beef
3/4 pound steak (top sirloin, flank steak, etc.), cut in thin, slices
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
1 small white onion, cut in ½-inch slices
1 red or green bell pepper, cut in thin strips
2 fat cloves of garlic, sliced
cilantro

In a small bowl, mix the sauce: doubanjiang, oil, chili flakes, ground Sichuan pepper, dark brown sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil.

In a separate bowl, marinate the chicken or beef in Shaoxing wine.

Heat wok until very very hot, add a couple tablespoons of oil and swirl around the wok. Once heated, pour that oil out and add 2 tablespoons fresh oil. This procedure helps keep the chicken from sticking to the wok, which it really wants to do.

Add chicken or beef and let sear, undisturbed, on one side. When lightly browned, continue stir-frying until just cooked through. Remove and reserve.

Clean wok, return to heat, and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add vegetables and stir-fry over high heat until they start to brown but are still crispish.

Add garlic slices and cook briefly, then lower heat, push the veg to the sides of the wok and add the stir-fry sauce into the center. Cook it briefly, then add back the chicken, or the beef and cilantro, and mix all ingredients well.