Ras el hanout offers great bang for your buck in the flavour department. Just a bit of this North African spice blend adds depth to everything from meats to grains to sauces. It can be purchased premixed from Middle Eastern grocery stores or in specialty spice shops. If you can't find it, you can easily make your own using spices you already have on hand.
Heat Rating: Fiery This dish is not for the hot-pepper timid: the quantity of dried hot peppers is essential for the classic taste. The well-cooked meat and the dry, concentrated sauce, with its chewy texture from lemongrass and toasted coconut, are of equal importance. Rendang must be served with plenty of white rice; a cucumber-and-onion salad makes a good accompaniment. Buying a whole roast allows you to cut the beef into large chunks, which are traditional for this celebration dish.
Thighs work well in this new main-course take on a popular appetizer because they stay moist during cooking. Serve with Coriander Chutney (see below).
Anne Kerekes was born in Hungary in 1926 and immigrated to the rural coal-mining community of Wayne, Southern Alberta, at the age of 2. The frontier spirit survives in Anne as she bakes weekly for her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When you drop by her house make sure you sneak a treat from the cookie drawer, which is always full.
This richly flavoured classic northern Indian curry is for those who like the challenge of complex cooking methods. Be sure to use a heavy-bottomed pot because the nuts-and-yogurt mixture sticks and can burn if not constantly supervised and stirred.
This impressive gingerbread house is a treat to decorate. Download the templates at canadianliving .com/gingerbreadhouse and use it to cut your shapes. Then, use any leftover dough to make gingerbread people, animals and other decorations for your house. Look for cake boards at craft stores, or ask your local bakery for one.