Grand Marnier and Orange Chiffon Pie by Sarah Topps

Grand Marnier and Orange Chiffon Pie by Sarah Topps

From one of my old cook books “New Creative Cusine’
Photo from book, but hoping to take my own by the weekend as unable to shop for ingredients at the minute!

It was always a winner at wedding or birthday parties and is more creamy, delicious and light than a cheesecake. The crunchy nut crust is a slightly different variation of a plain cheesecake base too:

Grand Marnier and Orange Chiffon Pie

For the crust:
125g sweet biscuit crumbs
75g melted butter
2 tbsp runny honey
50g chopped walnuts
1 tsp finely grated orange rind

For the filling:
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp cornflour
90g castor sugar
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
125ml fresh orange juice
2 tsp powdered gelatine
5 tsp cold water
3 tbsp Grand Marnier or orange liqueur
125ml whipping cream

1. Mix all the ingredients for the crust together and warm gently in a pan on the stove for 3 minutes.
2. Press onto the base of a greased 8 to 9″ round spring-form tin.
3. Place in the fridge to chill.
4. Beat the egg yolks, cornflour, castor sugar and orange rind.
5. Soak the gelatine in cold water.
6. Cook the egg yolk mixture over a double boiler, stirring constantly until it thickens like custard.
7. Remove from the heat and add the Grand Marnier.
8. Add the softened gelatine and stir in. Leave to cool and thicken slightly.
9. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and then fold into the orange mixture with the whipped cream.
10. Pour over the chilled base and leave to set in the fridge.
11. Once set, decorate with chopped walnuts and cream.


Tacle Mandarin Stir Fried Beef and with Snow Peas by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Tacle Mandarin Stir Fried Beef and with Snow Peas by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Cookbook:2,000 recipes From 20 Years of America’s Most Trusted Food Magazine



3/4 cup Tacle Mandarin juice (5-6 mandarins)
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp cornstarch

Combine ingredients and set aside.

Beef Stir-fry

2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp light brown sugar
12 oz flank steak sliced thin on the diagonal
3 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp black bean sauce
1 tsp mandarin zest
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced lengthwise into 1/2″ strips
10 oz snow peas with stems and strings removed

Combine the soy sauce and sugar in a medium bowl, add the beef and mix well. Allow to marinate for 30-60 minutes.

Combine garlic, ginger bean sauce, mandarin juice pepper flakes and 1 tsp of the oil and set aside. Meanwhile heat 1 tsp of the remaining oil over medium high heat, add half the beef, leave undisturbed for 1 minute, then stir-fry until evenly browned on all sides. Remove to another bowl. Repeat with remaining beef. Put remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan and add the onion, stir frying until slightly softened 3-5 minutes. Add snow peas and stir-fry for 1 minute more. Add the water and continue to cook the vegetables until crisp-tender. Move the vegetables to the edges of the pan and add the garlic, ginger, bean sauce, zest and pepper flake mixture. Smash into the pan and let cook until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Add the beef and any juices and mix thoroughly with vegetables. Cook together for another minute.

Whisk the mandarin juice sauce to recombine, add to the beef mixture combining thoroughly and cook for another minute.

Serve immediately with white rice.

Follow with Tacle Mandarin Olive Oil Cake and Candied Tacle Mandarins.

Tacle Mandarin Olive Oil Cake with Candied Tacle Mandarins by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Tacle Mandarin Olive Oil Cake with Candied Tacle Mandarins by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

Adapted from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark

Tacle Mandarins (you’ll need 4 for the cake and a dozen or more for the candied mandarins)
1 cup sugar
Plain Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups Manitoba flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil preferably a mild one from Liguria

Preheat oven to 160C/350F
In a large bowl, zest 3 of the mandarins. Combine with the sugar rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingers until completely distributed.

Supreme 3 mandarins by cutting off the top and bottom, then cutting away the skin and the white pith around the fruit. Then inserting the knife between the skin of each section and the flesh, cut the flesh away from the skins dropping the flesh into a bowl. break up the pieces of fruit. Set aside.

Halve the remaining Mandarin and juice so that you have about 1/4 cup of juice. Add yogurt to the juice until you have 2/3 cup of liquid. Add to the sugar mixture and whisk well. Add the eggs, and once again whisk well to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt to combine. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then, using a rubber spoon or spatula, fold the oil into the mixture a little at a time until combined. Gently fold in the mandarin pieces.

Scrape the mixture into a loaf pan and bake until a skewer comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.

Allow to completely cool before serving with whipped cream and candied mandarin sections if desired.

Blood Oranges, Avocado, Black Beans and Arugula Salad by Kim Vanzi

Blood Oranges, Avocado, Black Beans and Arugula Salad

I have made this many times in the past and it is a love light salad.  Make me feel like spring is in the air when I am eating it and a reminder to start eating light again.

2 Avocados firm ripe not mushy

2 Sicilian Blood Oranges

½ Medium Red Onion cut into thin crescents

½ cup Black Olives halved

½ cup of cooked Black Beans

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup olive oil

2 Limes juiced

Salt & Pepper to taste

Peel and cut the avocados and oranges in chunks. Place the avocado chunks, orange segments, black olives, black beans, and onion slices in a bowl. Pour juice of one lime and mix gently.

Whisk together the second lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad ingredients and toss gently. Serve on top of Arugula. Serves 4 as a first course or side dish.

GC Challenge: Salmon Winner

GC Challenge:  Salmon Winner

with 21 total votes

Salmon Burgers with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Asian Slaw

by Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen

For Best Presentation

First Place

Salmon Burgers with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Asian Slaw and Homemade Hamburger Buns Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen  7 votes

Second Place

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Sushi Rolls by Kim Vanzi 4 votes


For Most Innovative

First Place

Salmon Burgers with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Asian Slaw and Homemade Hamburger Buns Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen  8 votes

Second Place

Lone Star Sweet Bourbon Salmon by Kimberly Vanzi 4 votes  (But I give mine up for Ingrid’s. I don’t consider this recipe most innovative, sorry all)

Salmon, Cointreau & Spinach Crepes by Ingrid  3 votes


For Best Use of Ingredient

First Place

Salmon Burgers with Hoisin Barbecue Sauce, Asian Slaw and Homemade Hamburger Buns Mary Leonardi-Cattolica Sansen  6 votes

Second Place

Smoked Salmon Terrine with Endive Salad by Amber with 3 votes

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Sushi Rolls by Kim Vanzi

Smoked Salmon Cucumber Sushi Rolls

I love sushi, but have to watch the raw fish so I figured I would try it with smoked salmon.  Add a bit of cream cheese to counteract the amount of salt in the soy sauce and the salmon plus the refreshing cucumber.  For the rice I used this recipe Sushi Rice (from  and in that recipe I substituted the rice vinegar with apple cider vinegar with a pinch of sugar (came from The Cook’s Thesaurus).  This is very important to follow the recipe precisely or the rice will not have the right texture and stickiness needed.

Sushi Nori Wraps
Prepared Sushi Rice
Finely sliced cucumbers partially skinned and with the seeds removed
Finely sliced carrots
Smoked salmon pieces
cream cheese
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
Soy sauce, wasabi, ginger

It is best if you have a rolling mat but if not you can use a kitchen towel and plastic wrap.  Take your mat I like to put plastic wrap on that too just because I am a neat freak, but you don’t have too.  Place the nori sheet on the plastic wrap, wet your hands with water and take the rice and pat it all over the mat leaving a space above of about 1 inch with out rice, keep wetting hands to press the rice down.  Then top with Salmon going across in a row.  Same with the vegetables.  I put a small layer of cream cheese mixed with some wasabi in a line after the salmon and before the vegetables.  Next is the hard part roll up your sushi slowly, tightly, and squeezing to make sure everything is tight.  Do this to until you have about 1 cm left. Then wet the nori slightly with your finger dipped in water continue to roll to the end.  Take your log of sushi to a cutting board with a very sharp knife you can cut it into an 1 and 1/2 inch segments. Dip in toasted sesame seeds.   place on a nice dish an serve with chopsticks, soy sauce, extra wasabi, and ginger.  Get some sake and make a whole Japanese meal.

Note:   IF you can get really fresh fish you can do it with fresh fish instead of smoked salmon.  You can also just make an all vegetable sushi.  Shrimps, eel and octopus should always be cooked.