Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

The back story.

Eating processed food or eating out too often takes a huge toll on my energy levels and my clarity of thought. It also enjoys tipping the scale and turning my digestive system into an MMA match. Needless to say if the motivation was a bird, I’d have enough for a flock. Guess what? I still can barely muster giving a goose. As a result, my weekly lunches are often Sunday’s stew which I force myself to make. Maybe that’s the norm for some of you, but for a food blogger, that’s horrifying. My breakfasts and dinners come from simplicity and laziness. However, there are some benefits. I’ve held onto the simple yet tasty recipes and those easy enough to put together even when I’m catatonic. In other words, life savers. Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be sharing these with you. Hopefully, you enjoy these as much as I have until I get back into my cooking and blogging groove.

Today’s story starts with a Pig.


Recently I’ve had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a family that raises Berkshire pork. The kobo beef of pigs! Get in my belly! What a score.
With some convincing I was able to get my hands on enough meat to last me through the year. Moving to a new city means finding all new sources of sustainably raises animals, a CSA, farm fresh eggs and local dairy. It’s been a process, to say the least, but getting access to Berkshire pork far exceeded my expectations of finding quality local products. It’s like a won the jackpot and it’s living in my freezer.

Being asked for feedback on the sausages prompted me to get into the kitchen and that’s how this stew was born.
I feel a warning is in order. I can guarantee that your stew will end up tasting different from mine no matter how closely you follow the recipe. The flavor of your sausages will undoubtedly be different. Your tomatoes might be a different variety, grown in a different climate or maybe they came from a can. Your fennel bulbs might be larger, your garlic more potent. In the end, none of that will matter because this is one of those foolproof recipes. I’ve included the variations I’ve made in the past that have been successful, but feel free to play around. This stew can handle it!

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew

My favorite addition to date is a drizzle of black truffle oil. If you want to serve lasts night’s stew to some special guests, this is the way to go. Garnish with fennel fronds and feta, crumbled goat cheese or parmesan pedals. The color contrast ads visual interest and layers of flavours. I love that this stew is so pliable.

Tomato Fennel Sausage Stew
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  1. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 onion, roughly chopped
  3. 4 galric cloves, minced
  4. 6 cups of roasted tomatoes or 2 756ml cans of whole tomatoes
  5. 1 cup of chicken stock
  6. 1 can tomato paste (156ml)
  7. 2 fennel bulbs, core removed and sliced
  8. 2 tsp dried thyme
  9. 3 Tbsp of honey (or more to taste)
  10. 1 Tbsp Hungarian or Spanish paprika (sweet or bitter)
  11. 6-8 sausages (approximately 2 lbs)
  12. Chopped fennel fronds to garnish
  13. Drizzle with black truffle oil (optional)
  14. Additional toppings: cheese such as feta, goat cheese or Parmesan.
  1. Preheat pven to 350 F. In a cast iron pan or oven proof pan, brown the sausages on all sides. Place the sausages in the oven and cook until no pink remains and their juices run clear. Depending on the thickness of the sausages, this will take 20-25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven, cook onions with olive oil over medium heat until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except the sausages and stir to combine. Simmer for 25 minutes or until fennel becomes tender.
  3. Once the sausages are cooked, add all the juices and fat from the cooked sausages into the stew and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more honey if the stew is too acidic (depends on your tastes and the tomatoes).
  4. Serve stew with slices of sausage and top with your favourite garnishes.
The Restless Palate
The basics:
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) white beans and serve it over angel hair or spaghetti. Garnish with Parmesan petals.
-Add 1 1/2 cups (or 1 can drained and well rinsed) of cooked chickpeas, garnish with feta and serve with crusty bread and butter
-Add shrimp and cooked diced chicken and 1 can of drained and rinsed clams and chilis flakes to taste. Serve over rice with grated aged cheddar.
-Add 3 cups (approximately) of chicken stock and serve as a soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
-Add 1/2 cup of sour cream  and serve with Pappardelle and toasted Panko crumbs

Maken’ it fancy:
Serve it over creamyParmesan polenta and drizzle with black truffle oil and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan and fennel fronds
Serve on top of zucchini fritters and top with grilled halloumi cheese

By on November 17, 2015 in Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Lunch, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Pork, Recipes, Tomato 1

Olive Oil Cake with an Apricot Brandy Glaze

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.4

I’ve taken a leave for quite some time so the obvious post would be an irresistible cake with which to bribe you for forgiveness. After all, who in their right mind doesn’t like cake?! Only crazy people. Of course none of you fall into that category so join me in this indulgence.

Disclaimer: I take no responsibilty for the midnight sneaks into the kitchen for just one more wee little sliver. You were warned.

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.0

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.2

I liken this desert to a pound cake making babies with a syrup cake. At first it comes across as a dense pound cake. What’s surprising is that it’s still light and delicate on the palate, almost begging you to alllow it to slowly dissolve on the tongue. There’s earthy notes from the olive oil that ground it and a hint of lemon that keeps it fresh. The apricot brandy glaze is not only addicting but it also keeps the cake moist for days.

In fact, it’s the worst kind of cake. This cake just keeps you coming back for just one more sliver and another and another…In any case that’s what happened to me. Don’t judge. It could happen to anyone!

Olive Oil Syrup Cake1.1

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.5

There will never be afternoon tea at my house but if I did, this would be my first choice. Grandma’s coming over? Yup! This is the cake. Maybe your hosting a dinner party and have a choclate hater amongst you? This is the cake. Honestly, I can’t think of a situation where this would not be fitting. I know because the only meal of the day that I could think of that might make this cake a questionable choice was a 7 AM breakfast. So I did what any reasonable blogger would do. I tried it, once or twice. Yup. It totally works.

Those of you who have been following me for a while, know that I rarely do fussy or complicated baking. To be quite frank, I simply do not have the patience or the aptitude for anything but no fail and easy desserts. First mix the dry ingredients. Then mix the wet ingredients. Mix it all together and bake. If I can make this, so can a 5 yr old. 

I made this using a spring form pan but I would confidently recommend using just about any baking pan you have availble. It will require you to watch the baking time a little more closely if you decide to go that route.

Note: Honey causes the edges to brown faster then cakes using only sugar.

Olive Oil Lemon Cake
A dense moist cake that's a delight to serve at almost any meal or occasion.
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  1. 2 cup flour
  2. 1 cup sugar (organic cane or regular)
  3. 1 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  5. 1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  7. 1 1/8 cup milk
  8. 1/2 cup honey
  9. 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  10. 1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  11. 1/4 of fresh squeezed lemon juice
  12. 1/4 brandy
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan (or pan of choice, but then you'll need to adjust baking time accordingly).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking power and baking soda. In another bowl mix together the oil, milk, honey, eggs, zest, lemon juice and brandy. You may notice that the milk will slightly curdle when you add the lemon juice. That's ok.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir only long enough to combine. A little flour here and there is fine.
  4. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Bake at 325 F for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. The top should be golden yellow, the edges a deep golden brown.
  1. Apricot Brandy Glaze recipe to follow.
The Restless Palate
Apricot Brandy Glaze
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  1. 1/2 cup apricot jam of choice
  2. 1/4 cup brandy (apple juice, whiskey, Grand Marnier can be used as subsitutes)
  1. Place both ingredient in a small pan. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Allow the cake and glaze to cool slightly. Top the cake with the glaze in an even layer.
The Restless Palate

Olive Oil Syrup Cake 1.3

By on November 9, 2015 in Apricot, Blog, Dessert, Flour, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Snack, Vegetarian 8

4 Ingredient Maple Adobo Glazed Salmon (15 minutes flat)

Sweet and Spicy Salmon

There are days when simplicity is best. When it’s just about getting something tasty, flavorful and easy into the belly. Especially when the mind is too cluttered to give much thought to dinner.  Serve it with greens and dinner is done. Thank gawd because sometime….we all have those days. 

Sweet, spicy and tangy. What could be better all smothered on top of a thick slice of wild salmon?

4 ingredients, 15 minute sweet and spicy wild salmon. Is there really any need to say more? I didn’t think so. Continue Reading →

By on February 2, 2015 in Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Salmon 2

Moroccan Coconut Corn Chowder ( Vegan/dairy free)

Moroccan Coconut Corn Chowder

The sky is grey and trees once hanging heavy with snow are now bare due to 25 km winds. It’s amazing how much a landscape can change with just a gust of wind. Though mild temperatures persist, it feels more like a blizzardy day, one where you’d  hunker down with a big bowl of stew and your fuzziest blanket. Ice pellets falling from the sky are in the immediate future and the wind gusts are proving to challenge even the strongest ravens (and those things are fierce in the north…and the size of medium sized dogs. These are seriously huge birds!). It’s time for comfort food. Again…

Comfort food. Perfect for cold days, low days, sad days, days on the ski hill with the kids, days that are blustery, after a night of not sleeping well or for days spent outside frolicking in the snow with good friends. Seriously, when is it not the right time? Depending on who you ask, comfort food can vary greatly. However, it’s usually associated with dishes someone you loved used to make. What they often have in common is some kind of startchy goodness like rice, potatoes, pasta or bread and some type of creamy texture mixed in for good measure. Comfort food doesn’t always have to be unhealthy though and with New Year’s resolutions falling like flies in late fall, this one won’t leave you with any guilt at all. Little potatoes, corn, and butternut squash all surrounded in a coconut milk broth and warming spices to wrap you up in proverbial blanket of coziness. Continue Reading →

By on January 21, 2015 in Blog, Chickpeas, Coconut Milk, Corn, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian 1

Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs and Parmesan Risotto

Stout Braised Beef Short Ribs 

Stout Braised Beef Ribs! Perfection for a cold winter’s day where the snow hangs heavy in the trees, the cold clings to your skin and you can hear the snow creak beneath your feet. When it’s paired with a cheesy risotto (basically fancy mac and cheese in my books) it instantly becomes one of my favorite comfort foods. Put this dish/meal on your stove top to cook before heading out for a snowshoe or set it in a slow cooker in the morning, and it will be waiting for you at the end of the day. Continue Reading →

By on January 15, 2015 in Beef, Blog, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Main Course, Main Ingredient, Recipes 7

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