Proscuitto Wrapped Meatloaf

Most meatloaf recipes are pretty much the same and while perfectly good and satisfying, I always felt they lack imagination and are missing out on flavour. That said, there are typically two ingredients in conventional meatloaf recipes that I actually profoundly dislike. One is Ketchup and the other is Worcestershire Sauce. So here is a recipe that substitutes those two components with ingredients that I believe make for a better meat loaf. But there is more to it than just that, so…

Proscuitto Wrapped Meatloaf

Bruno
Take your same old boring meatloaf to the next level with this recipe and you will never go back to you the one your Grandma has handed down to you.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine International
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Meatloaf

  • 1 kg Ground beef regular or lean but not extra lean
  • 8-10 slices Proscuitto
  • 250 ml Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Onion large
  • ¼ cup Kalamata olives pitted and chopped
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 3 cloves Garlic peeled, germ removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp BBQ sauce *see notes
  • ½ tin Tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs Thyme fresh, leafs only, *see notes
  • 1 sprig Rosemary fresh, leafs only, chopped, *see notes
  • 1 tsp Basil dried
  • 1 tsp Parsley dried
  • 3 tsp Beef bullion powder or 2 cubes crumbled
  • 1 tsp Black pepper

Glaze

  • 1 tin Tomato past about ¼ cup
  • 1 tbsp Honey e.g. wildflour
  • 3 tbsp Water warm
  • 2 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot sauce optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Oil or spray a suitable loaf form or baking dish

Glaze

  • Mix all ingredient in a small bowl and set aside

Loaf

  • Add Panko to a large bowl
  • Chop onion into chunks and purée in a blender
  • Add onion purée to Panko and mix well
  • Add all dry ingredients and mix well
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix well using your hands
  • Form mixture into a loaf
  • On a clean surface or cutting board lay out proscuitto in two overlapping rows of 4 slices and place loaf at one end
  • Start rolling the loaf across the proscuitto. It shoud pick up the proscuitto but you may have to coax it along to adhere to the loaf
  • If necessary, use two more slices of proscuitto to cover the ends of the log
  • Transfer the loaf into the prepared loaf tin or baking dish
  • Brush ½ the glaze generously over the loaf
  • Bake the loaf for 45 minutes
  • Remove from oven and brush it with most of the remaing glaze
  • Bake the loaf for an additional 30 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes
  • Turn out, brush remaining glaze over top and carve into slices about 20 to 25 mm thick
  • Serve with your favorite sides and gravy (Shown here wth Hasselback potato and green beans)

Notes

I use Bulls Eye Hickory BBQ sauce. It’s a staple in my house. Feel free to substitute with your favorite flavour, e.g. Chipotle, Guiness etc.
If fresh herbs are not available, substitute dry ones except for rosemary. Dried rosemary will not soften enough to integrate well into the finished loaf.
Keyword ground beef, panko, proscuitto

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

The aromas that fill the kitchen and house when you are roasting potatoes and carrots infused with balsamic vinegar and combined with herbs like thyme and rosemary, will leave you salivating in anticipation of the finished dish.

Balsamic Roasted Potatoes And Carrots

Bruno
Roasting potatoes and carrots infused with aromas of balsamic vinegar, thyme and garlic makes for a wonderfully aromatic side dish to serve with pretty much any cool weather main dish.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Canadian, International
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 kg baby mixed colour potatoes cut in half
  • 500 g carrots peeled baby or baby cut
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled, germ removed and smashed
  • 2 shallots peeled and thinly sliced
  • 75 ml balsamic vinegar
  • 50 ml butter melted
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme (2 ml dried)
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (see notes)
  • 5 ml salt
  • 2 ml pepper freshly ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 220°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Arrange potatoes, carrots, shallots and garlic in a single layer on sheet
  • Combine the balsamic vinegar, melted butter, dried thyme, (if using), salt and pepper
  • Pour over vegetables and toss to coat
  • If fresh thyme and rosemary is used, insert the sprigs among the veggies
  • Cover the sheet with aluminum foil sealing the edges
  • Roast covered for 45 minutes giving it a good shake every now and then
  • Remove foil and roast for an additional 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally until potatoes and carrots are tender and golden
  • Remove any remaining sprigs or stems of the fresh thyme and rosemary (if using) before serving

Notes

I do not recommend using dried rosemary in this recipe as the needles will not soften sufficiently to make for a pleasant eating experience.
Keyword balsamic vinegar, carrots, potatoes, thyme

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Rosemary and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
A savoury biscotti to serve at cocktails or with a hot bouillon. The aromatic rosemary is supported with a hint of cayenne pepper and the pecans round out the Umami of this unconventional biscotti.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 24 biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 550 ml (2½ cups) Flour All-purpose
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) Baking Powder
  • 25 ml (1 tbsp) Rosemary Fresh, finely chopped
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) Salt
  • 1 ml (¼ tsp) Cayenne pepper
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml (½ cup) Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 25 ml (2 tbsp) Milk
  • 250 ml (1 cup) Pecans coarsly chopped and lightly toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • To a large bowl add flour, rosemary, cayenne, salt and mix thoroughly
  • In a medium bowl beat eggs using an electric mixer until fluffy and pale yellow
  • With mixer running, add butter and milk
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until combined
  • Stir in pecans
  • Moisten hands with water and grab half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 160°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool and store in a tight container

Notes

This recipe is easily altered to achieve different flavour profiles, e.g.:
  • Use walnuts instead of pecans
  • Use thyme leaves instead of rosemary
  • Add 200 ml of grated Parmesan
  • Use white wine instead of milk
  • Or, use your imagination
 
Keyword cocktail, nibbles, party snack, savoury

Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

We tend to associate this kind of salad with Spring and Summer. It can however make for a nice treat in any season.

Mixed Green Salad with Smoked Salmon and Crostini

Bruno
A flavourful salad that can be served at any time of the year.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine International
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Salad

  • 4 cups Mixed Greens e.g. Mesclun
  • 6 slices Smoked Salmon
  • 12 pieces Crostini store bought or home made
  • 1 tbsp Capers
  • 10 g Parmesan for garnish shaved

Vinaigrette

  • 4 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard course grained
  • 1/2 tsp Basil dried
  • 1/2 tsp Tarragon dried
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Add all vinaigrette ingredients to a small bowl and mix thoroughly
  • Divide and arrange salad greens between six salad plates
  • Add a dab or two of cream cheese on each crostini and add to plate
  • On each plate top salad with an artistically arranged slice of smoked salmon
  • Place a few capers on each slice of smoked salmon
  • Spoon vinaigrette over each salad including salmon
  • Grind a few twists of black pepper over each salad
  • Garnish with a few shavings of Parmesan and serve

Notes

When fresh herbs are available use these in place of dried
If fresh parsley is available add a few leaves as additional garnish 
Keyword crostini, mixed greens, mixed salad, smoked salmon

Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Truite Amandine or Trout Fillets with Almonds is a fairly regular dish in our house. It’s easy to make, light fare, looks and tastes great and lends itself as everyday dinner as well as for entertaining.I typically use whole almonds and slice them myself. I like having a bit of skin on the almonds for colour as opposed to using store bought ones that are just plain white.

Trout Fillets Amandine aka “Truite Amandine”

Bruno
The recipe below is for 2-3 people, depending on the size of the fillet. Use 2 fillets if you are feeding more or if the fillets are small, use one per person.Make sure you serve a nice glass of white to go with that. I might suggest a Riesling of Cabinet quality.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Servings 4
Calories 135 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large trout fillet 250 g (8 oz), skin on
  • 1 shallot finely sliced into rings
  • 6 almonds roasted and sliced or a small hand full if store bought sliced
  • 1 sprig of fresh dill or 1/2 tsp of dried parsely or thyme make suitable substitutes, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat you stove to 180°C (350°F)
  • Thoroughly wash the fillet in cold water, then pat dry
  • Prepare a piece or pieces of aluminum foil large enough to hold the fillet and butter them so the fillet doesn't stick
  • Place the fillet on the foil skin down
  • Dowse fillet with lemon juice to your taste
  • Sprinkle dill over fillets
  • Spread shallots over fillet
  • Distribute almonds over fillet
  • Add some salt and pepper to your liking
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes (adjust time to your oven and your liking)
  • Finish on broil for 2 minutes or until you get a nice looking colour 🙂
  • Serve immediately with sides of your choice, e.g. rice, asparagus or what ever green is in your fridge
    Trout Fillets Amandine
Keyword almonds, fish, trout

Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Espresso Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

Bruno
This Biscotti recipe combines the incredibly rich flavours of fresh ground espresso and luxurious chocolate into a most delightful dipper for your early morning coffee.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 250 ml Sugar granulated
  • 125 ml Cocoa powder unsweetened
  • 50 ml Espresso finely ground
  • 675 ml Flour all-purpose
  • 12 ml Baking powder
  • 1 ml Salt
  • 3 Eggs large
  • 125 ml Milk
  • 50 ml Butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 5 ml Vanilla extract
  • 250 ml Chocolate chunks and chips semi sweet

Glaze

  • 175 ml Icing sugar
  • 25 ml Water

Instructions
 

Dough

  • Preheat oven to 160°C
  • Line large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, combine sugar, cocoa and espresso grounds, stirring until no more lumps remain
  • Stir in flour, baking powder and salt
  • In a medium sized bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until fluffy and pale yellow
  • Slowly add milk, butter and vanilla while continuing to run mixer at low speed
  • Add this mixture to the flour bowl and stir until well combined
  • Incorporate chocolate chunks and chips quickly using your hands
  • Moisten your hands slightly and scoop up half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two

Bake

  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 150°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool completely and move slices back together

Glaze

  • Combine icing sugar and water stirring until you get a thick creamy texture*
  • Drizzle the glaze over the biscotti forming several lines along the length of the loafs
  • Let glaze harden overnight before storing in a tight container

Notes

* Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. It should just barely be able to flow slowly from a spoon dipped in the glaze
Keyword chocolate, cocoa, espresso

Classy Beef Wellington

Beef Wellington is one of those dishes that is hard to beat as a classy dinner such as Christmas, New Years, Anniversaries or other special occasions. It’s got the wow factor. It looks great, tastes great and is loved by all. It may be expensive because we are using one of the most expensive cuts of beef and it may not be the easiest to make but when the occasion calls for it, it’s all worth it. So let’s get to it. A few things to note. You may need to order the meat ahead from your butcher. If you can’t find ready made cooked walnuts, skip them or substitute with cashews or pine nuts. If anyone in the dinner party is allergic to nuts, skip them altogether or substitute with shallots. For the mushroom Duxelles, I use cremini. You also can use portobello mushrooms or then white button mushrooms if you prefer a more subtle taste.

Classy Beef Wellington

Bruno
Classic Beef Wellington Recipe
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine British, International
Servings 6
Calories 365 kcal

Ingredients
  

Duxelles:

  • 450 g (1 lb) cremini mushrooms
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) cooked chestnuts
  • 2-4 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves only

Beef:

  • 900 g (2 lb) piece beef tenderloin fillet, centre cut, trimmed
  • Salt coarse, kosher, sea
  • Pepper fresh, ground
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8-12 slices of prosciutto
  • 500 g (1 lb) puff pastry, all butter, ready made
  • flour to dust
  • 2 egg yolks lightly beaten with 1tbsp water (egg wash)

Instructions
 

  • If tenderloin is tied, leave tied. If not, tie with butcher string in 4 places to hold its shape while searing.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Heat olive oil in large frying pan to high heat, add fillet and quickly sear on all sides including ends until evenly browned. Transfer to a plate and while still hot, brush with Dijon mustard all over, then set aside to rest.
  • To make the Duxelles, put the washed and trimmed mushrooms in a food processor. Add chestnuts, garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Pulse processor until you obtain a finely chopped mixture.
  • Heat up a large dry frying pan and add the mushrooms. Add the thyme leaves and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, driving off the moisture until most of it has evaporated. Spread out on a tray to cool off.
  • On a clean surface, roll out a good 50 cm (18 in.) of cling wrap. Place prosciutto on wrap, overlapping each piece in such a way as to form a rectangle that will completely wrap the fillet with the Duxelles and the prosciutto. As an example, a fillet of 8 cm in diameter and of 16 cm in length would need a rectangle of about 20 cm wide by 25 cm long. Don’t skimp here. Make good overlaps in both axis and give a couple of extra cm in both directions and ensure there are no gaps. 2 rows of 4 pieces is usually perfect for a fillet this size.
  • Season the prosciutto with fresh ground pepper, then spread the Duxelles evenly on top leaving a gap of about 2 – 2.5 cm along the edges.
  • Place the fillet in the middle of the rectangle.
  • Grab the cling wrap at the edge in front and slowly start to pull up and wrap it and the prosciutto layer over top of the fillet and keep rolling until you have a nice tight barrel shape making sure no cling wrap gets trapped between the fillet and the prosciutto. Grab the ends of the cling wrap and twist them really tight and secure. Place in refrigerator for 20 min. to let it set up.
  • Now roll out the pastry dough on a lightly flour dusted surface. Again, make a rectangle large enough to wrap the beef and keeping it about 5 mm thick. Brush lightly with egg wash, unwrap the fillet and place it in the middle of the rectangle. Use your judgement to trim off any extra dough but making sure you have enough. Wrap the pastry around the beef, overlapping the edge along the length of the fillet and pressing to seal. Pinch the dough at the ends to seal and trim as necessary.
  • Wrap the log tightly in cling wrap, again twisting the end to make a firm log and refrigerate for 10 min. (overnight if making ahead.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (180 convection). Remove the cling wrap from the filet and brush with egg wash. With the back of a small knife, score the pastry lightly in a decorative pattern if you wish (see the image above for an example) and place it on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt, the bake for about 40 min. If the pastry is browning up to quickly, reduce the temperature 5 or 10°C. You should end up with the meat at medium rare. If you or your guests like the meat well done, cook longer.
  • When done, rest the Wellington for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
  • Cut into thick slices (4 – 5 cm) and serve with your sides of choice.
Keyword beef, mushrooms, pastry dough

Dried Cherry, Hazelnut and Pecan Biscotti

Dried Cherry, Hazelnut and Pecan Biscotti

Bruno
The flavour sensations of dried cherries, lightly toasted hazelnuts and pecans and with the added zing of lemon zest, make this biscotti an all-time and perennial favourite. Visually appealing with the dried cherries looking like glistening rubies, serve them with your choice of coffee, or just eat them by themselves. Note that while ordinary lemons will do the job, use Meyer Lemons for that special extra if you can find them. You can also just use only hazelnuts or filberts in this recipe, substituting equal quantities for the pecans.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 50 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 48 Biscotti

Ingredients
  

  • 1000 ml (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
  • 2 ml (½ tsp) salt
  • 125 ml (½ cup) of hazelnuts cut in half, lightly toasted
  • 125 ml (½ cup) pecans coarsly chopped, lightly toasted
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dried cherries
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs large
  • 225 ml (1⅓ cups) sugar granulated
  • 125 ml (½ cup) canola oil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) lemon juice
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F)
  • Prepare large baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Take a large bowl and combine flower, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, hazelnuts and pecans
  • In a medium bowl and using a hand mixer, beat eggs until fluffy and lightly coloured. Now slowly add the sugar, followed by the oil, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Make a cavity in the flower mix and pour in the liquid
  • Fold in the flower and mix until liquid is mostly absorbed, then add the cherries and stir until well combined
  • Moisten hands and divide dough in half
  • Pick up first half and on a clean surface quickly form into a log about 30 cm long
  • Place log on parchment paper lined baking sheet and shape into a flattened loaf about 10 cm (4 in.) wide by 35 cm (14 in.) long, moistening hands as necessary.
  • Repeat with second half of dough, keeping loafs about 5 cm (2 in.) appart
  • Bake for 35 – 40 min. or until the loafs start start to show cracks and tops take on a golden colour
  • Remove from stove and let cool until loafs are safe to handle
  • Using a bread knife, cut loafs at an angle into slices about 15 – 20 mm (1/2 – 3/4 in) thick wiping knife with a damp cloth if it becomes sticky
  • Put slices back on the baking sheet, standing them up and spacing them about 5 mm (1/4 in) apart
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) and bake biscotti for an additional 30 -35 minutes until dry to touch
  • Remove from stove, cool completely and enjoy. Store airtight in a dry place.
Keyword biscotti, dried cherries, hazelnuts

Lemon, Vanilla and Almond Biscotti

Lemon, Vanilla and Almond Biscotti

Bruno
This biscotti recipe is probably the most basic one found on my ZenGourmand site. One of the perennial favourites, it is however super delish on its crunchy own or as a dipper with your coffee or tea.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Cooling between bakes 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Baked Goods
Cuisine International, Italian
Servings 36 Biscotti

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 90 ml Butter softened
  • 150 ml Sugar granulated
  • 150 ml Sugar brown
  • 10 ml Vanilla extract
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 700 ml Flour all-purpose
  • 15 ml Baking powder
  • 5 ml Salt
  • 150 ml Almonds sliced

Icing

  • 150 ml Icing sugar
  • 10 ml Lemon Juice
  • 20 ml Water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C
  • Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

Dough

  • In a large bowl and using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, vanilla, lemon zest and juice to a soft an creamy consistency
  • Add eggs, one at a time, while continuing to mix at medium speed
  • Add flour, baking powder and salt
  • Mix using a wooden spoon until smooth
  • Fold in the almonds using your hands (dough will be sticky)

Bake

  • Moisten your hands slightly and scoop up half the dough
  • Form dough into a roll about 30 cm long and place on one long side of the baking sheet
  • Moisten hands as necessary and form the roll into a log about 33 cm long and 12 cm wide, flattening it down a bit on the process to get a nice biscotti profile
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough placing it on the other side of the baking sheet leaving a gap of about 5 cm between the two
  • Bake for 25 minutes or to a stage where the dough develops some crack and appears firm when gently pressed on
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
  • Reduce oven temperature to 150°C
  • Place loaf on a cutting board and, using a bread knife, cut crosswise into slices of about 10 to 15 mm cutting at a slight angle
  • Remove parchment paper from baking sheet and carefully place slices standing up on baking sheet maintaining a gap of 5 – 10 mm
  • Bake for an additional 20 – 25 minutes or until biscotti feel dry when touched on the sides
  • Cool completely and move slices back together

Icing

  • Combine icing sugar, water and lemon juice stirring until you get a thick creamy texture*
  • Drizzle the icing over the biscotti forming several lines along the length of the loafs
  • Let icing harden overnight before storing in a tight container

Notes

* Add more sugar if the glaze is too thin. It should just barely be able to flow slowly from a spoon dipped in the icing
Keyword almonds, lemon, vanilla