Published on July 1, 2020
Four Museum staff members share their favourite family recipes and the stories behind them. Try your hand at making one — or why not all? — of these tempting treats.
My love of baking comes from my mom. These muffins were a family favourite, and whenever I bake them I am transported back to my childhood and my mom’s kitchen. Although we enjoyed them throughout the year, I remember my mom would bake them whenever we would have a snow day off from school. To this day, I crave these muffins every time we have a heavy snowfall.
Prep time: 20 mins. Cook time: 20 mins. Total time: 40 mins.
1 and 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1⁄2 cup shortening or unsalted butter
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup sweetened apple sauce
ADDITIONAL COOKING REQUIREMENTS
12-cup non-stick muffin tin
12 muffin tin liners
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cream together shortening (or unsalted butter) and sugar using the handheld mixer on a medium-low setting
3. Beat in two large eggs into the butter and sugar mixture using the handhed mixer on a medium-low setting
4. Mix together the dry ingredients (salt, baking soda, flour, baking powder, and cinnamon) in a separate mixing bowl.
5. Gradually add the mixed dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (eggs, butter and sugar mix), using the non-stick spatula
6. Stir in apple sauce into the batter, and be careful to not over mix.
7. Distribute the mixed batter into the lined muffin tins using the ladle, filling the individual cups ¾ of the way full.
8. Bake the muffins in the pre-heated ovens for 20-minutes until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned or when a toothpick inserted into the centre of each muffin comes out clean.
9. Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until just warm to touch.
Source: Janine’s Mom (and wherever she may have found it).
My search for the perfect chewy chocolate chip cookie was inspired by my partner in crime. Most people like the crunchy cookies but he likes them crunchy outside but chewy inside. I’ve probably tried at least 20 different recipes from Martha Stewart to different blogs, until I found I found this specific one. I’ve tried using melted butter versus fridge-cold cubed butter and experimented with varies types of flour (cake, bread, and all-purpose) and sugar (brown, yellow, cane, white) to get the right moisture level.
This is by far the best chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe I have come across. It is quick and easy. You can pre-make the dough and freeze it as well.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 10 to 15 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.
280g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1-1⁄2 tsp cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp salt
170g unsalted butter, melted and at a warm temperature
150g dark brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
225g chocolate chips (I personally like dark chocolate but it can be any kind)
ADDITIONAL COOKING REQUIREMENTS
1 medium mixing bowl
1 large mixing bowl
Wooden or non-stick spoon or spatula
Non-stick baking tray
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in the large mixing bowl.
3. Whisk melted butter, brown sugar, and the granulated sugar until the sugars are dissolved in the medium mixing bowl.
4. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract into the butter and sugar mixture, until thoroughly mixed and it has turned into a lighter brown colour.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Use the spatula to loosely combine all ingredients. There can still be a little flour that is not thoroughly mixed in.
6. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter with the spatula and combine until there are no traces of flour. Be careful to not overmix.
7. For chewier cookies and a more caramelized taste, cover the cookie dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for one to three hours. You can also skip this step and proceed immediately to the next step.
8. Line the baking tray with parchment paper and portion out the dough into balls that are roughly two or three tablespoons in volume.
9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before eating!
Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction, with a few modifications from Delros.
Biryani has always been part of a tradition in my family — a treat for special occasions! Eid would not be Eid if we didn’t have biryani to go with the kheerkorma (a special sweet dish of milk and vermicelli). If we were celebrating a promotion or a good school result, it had to be biryani. My husband and I come from different countries, but for both our families, if there was a celebration, it had to be biryani. This was also the first “adult” dish that my son had growing up (of course, without the spices), and it was love at first taste! Thereafter, there was always the request for Mum to make “binani,” as he used to call it. And the affair continues!
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cook time: 45 mins. Total time: 1 hour.
1kg chicken, bone-in, chopped into medium sized pieces
750 grams basmati rice, wash well and soak in water for two hours
1 cup yogurt
2 cups water
15 cups water
3 medium tomatoes, diced
3 medium potatoes, skin-on or peeled, each cut into quarters
3 medium onions, finely sliced
3 tbsp ginger garlic paste, mixed
4 tbsp Shan Bombay Biryani Masala, or mix the following spices to make your own masala:
1. Heat the oil and add the sliced onions. Fry until the onions turn a golden brown.
2. Add the tomatoes and fry until oil separates.
3. Add the ginger and garlic paste, and stir for a few seconds
4. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and fry for two to three minutes
5. Add the Shan Masala or the custom masala mix and a little bit of salt. Stir to coat the chicken pieces evenly, then cook for five to seven until the spices are well toasted.
6. Add the potatoes and stir fry five to seven minutes more.
7. Add the yogurt and mix well, stirring continuously.
8. Add the water and cover the pot. Cook on low heat until the chicken is tender. Remember to check that the potatoes are also cooked through.
9. Continue cooking and stirring the mixture until it reaches a thick consistency.
10. In a separate pot boil 15 cups of water. Add 3 tablespoons of salt and add the washed and soaked rice. Boil rice until almost cooked.
11. Drain rice and spread/layer it on the cooked chicken and potato mixture (on low heat).
12. Sprinkle the yellow food colouring powder on top of the rice and cover the pot.
13. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the frying pan and when hot, add 1⁄2 tsp of black cumin seeds. When the seeds start to crackle, pour the oil and the seeds on top of the rice. Switch off the flame — the biryani is now ready!
OPTIONAL: You can add boiled eggs to this dish, if you are a fan of eggs. Just add four hard-boiled, peeled eggs into the chicken and potato mixture, immediately after Step #8, before adding in the rice.
Note: Beef biryani is made the same way — replace the chicken with cubed stewing beef. A longer cooking time may be needed for the beef to become tender.
Source: A mixture of family tradition and Shan Bombay Biryani Masala instructions.
This recipe started as an experiment and has fast become a family summer favourite. We even created a custom cast-iron holder, allowing the paella pan to sit over an open fire — so you know we make this dish whenever and wherever we can! The mix of flavours is simply delicious, and you can add different meat, seafoods, and vegetables to suit your personal preferences. Cooking paella over an open fire takes a little more time, but that allows us to relax and soak in the sights and smells as a family. Plus, the final result is more than worth the wait.
1/4 tsp. crumbled saffron threads
1 tsp. sweet smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. rock salt, more to taste
1 large ripe tomato, grated with a box grater
1 medium yellow onion, grated
4 finely chopped garlic cloves
Handful green beans
1 lemon washed and quartered
6 skin-on chicken legs
4 chorizo sausages, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail segment still intact
12 medium mussels, fresh preferred but frozen will do
1-3/4 cups Bomba rice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 cups vegetable stock
ADDITIONAL COOKING REQUIREMENTS
A heat-efficient outdoor fireplace that is protected from the wind
A good supply of precut hardwood logs in manageable sizes (oak or maple)
A few pre-cut fruitwood logs that are smaller than the hardwood (apple or cherry)
A 12-inch paella pan
Wooden spoon and wooden spatula
Medium soup pot
An iron cooking stand or a stack of bricks arranged in the fireplace
1. Start by placing the cooking stand or bricks on a solid surface in the fireplace. Make sure it is level by placing the paella pan on the stand and pour in water to confirm it is level.
2. Remove pan and start by building a fire around and under the stand. As the fire burns start by prepping all of the ingredients and place them in smaller dishes near your cooking space.
3. Keep tending to the fire by adding more hardwood and building up a confined bed of coals directly under the stand. It is always useful to extend the fire outside of the cooking stand to ensure you have a good supply of already burning wood that you can migrate under the pan if need be.
4. On your oven, pour the vegetable stock into the soup pot and add the crushed saffron threads.
5. Bring the stock to a boil and then remove from heat and let stand to infuse.
6. When the fire is prepared, place the paella pan on the stand and let it warm up.
7. When the pan is warm, add a good splash of olive oil and heat for two to three minutes.
8. Add the chicken to the pan and cook through.
9. Keep the meat moving to avoid burning it. When finished (about eight minutes), remove the chicken from the paella pan and set aside.
10. Add a splash of olive oil back into the paella pan (don’t clean it). When the oil is heated, add the chorizo and sauté it until browned (four to five minutes).
11. Remove the chorizo from the pan and set aside.
12. Add more olive oil to the (still) unwiped paella pan and then the chopped onion.
13. Stir occasionally (about four minutes) until it is soft and caramelized.
14. Add the tomato, garlic and paprika and a 1/4-teaspoon of salt.
15. Gently cook the mixture in the center of the pan, stirring frequently with the wooden spoon and spatula until it is deep dark red and very thick. This is the sofrito and provides the unique flavor to the paella. If the sofrito starts to burn or dry out a splash of water to deglaze the pan and adjust your flames and coals accordingly. This should take about 40 minutes to reduce and intensify. Remember to maintain a consistent heat for your fire and coals during this process and keep the sofrito moving to avoid burning it.
16. When the sofrito is finally done, add the Bomba rice to the pan and stir to evenly mix it into the sofrito.
17. Add some of the fruitwood to the fire and let the flames build under the pan. After about two minutes pour four and 1/4 cups of the saffron infused stock to the paella pan. Evenly distribute the rice and sofrito and bring to a boil.
18. Keep adjusting your heat to maintain the boil. There will be bubbles around the rim of the pan and larger bubbles in the centre. Do not stir, but carefully and occasionally rotate the paella pan to help distribute the heat.
19. After about eight minutes, arrange the chicken legs, chorizo, green beans, mussels and shrimp over top of the Bomba rice, distributing evenly. Lightly tent the pan with some foil and disturb the fruitwood fire beneath the stand to create a good billow of smoke to cloud over the pan and add flavour.
20. After about five minutes, remove the pan from the heat and place it directly on the table. As the paella is presented, place a wedge of lemon facing each guest and offer them each a small wooden spoon to serve themselves. Encourage your guests to scrape the bottom of the pan as they serve themselves. The bottom of the pan will have a crispy, caramelized layer of rice (called the socorrat) that is one of the best parts of the paella.