Brighten up your winter with food, drinks and friends

The holidays are over and we must now deal with the realities of winter: short days, cold weather and for many of us, no vacation in sight. So let’s create our own holiday by hosting small, intimate gatherings of friends and family. Let’s share laughs and forget about the weather, but let’s keep it simple: use your favourite comfort dish, dress it up with a great appetizer and finish off the meal with a delicious cheese platter. Start off your first dinner party of the new year with a classic dish prepared with a fresh twist: French onion soup with […]

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Dry Aged AAA Beef Strip Loin with Warm Asparagus, Crispy Truffle Potato

Makes 4 servings 16 – 20 ounces Dry aged beef strip Loin steaks or roast 20 stalks Asparagus (peeled, blanched & cut, 1 inch pieces) 1.5 lbs Large Yellow or White Potatoes 1 Tbsp Gelatin Powder 2 Tbsp Instant Flour 1 Tbsp Fresh or Preserved Truffles (finely diced) 1.5 Tsp Truffle Oil 1 Tbsp Butter or Olive Oil 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese   Beef: Purchase dry aged beef which most butchers carry. Please note: When trimming dry aged beef it is important to remove any exterior tissue that has been exposed to the air because that is the place which […]

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Wine Cellar Tips to Build and Stock Them

Here’s a terrific story from the Ottawa Citizen on building and stocking your wine cellar. You can find more stories on this right here. Forget meaningless one-night stands. An increasing number of North Americans are having a hot and heavy love affair with wine — a passion that rages on, long after the red roses have wilted and the Valentine chocolates are gone. According to government statistics, "the intake of wine has continued to increase over the last 10 years reaching 13.9 litres (per person)." Ottawa wine writer Natalie MacLean says in the last two years alone, wine consumption has […]

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Pairing wines and spicy foods

This is a terrific piece on pairing wine with spicy dishes written by my good friend Monica Bhide …   There is certainly a noticeable trend in the past few years toward the growth of different ethnic cuisines in the U.S., and wine consumption is also trending up. Combine these and it begs a few questions, such as: What to drink with vindaloo (other than chilled beer)? What to pair with kung pao? How does one pair wine with cilantro? To find the answers to these questions, I turned to Natalie MacLean, editor of a free, award-winning wine newsletter at […]

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Napa Valley Wine Writers Symposium — Cheers!

To prove how excited I was to be heading to this year’s Napa Valley Wine Writers Symposium, I tipped over my wine glass. To acknowledge my celebration, the restaurant owner didn’t refill it, reassuring me that I had had enough excitement for the evening. The Symposium, as the site says, draws top wine book authors and editors, wine magazine writers and critics, newspaper wine columnists, and bloggers to Napa Valley to speak, listen, debate, explore themes prevalent in contemporary wine writing and network with their peers for four days. A combination of lectures, panel discussions, group and individual writing sessions, […]

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Veal Roast with Sage and Apple Stuffing

A savoury spiral of succulent veal and bread stuffing makes a deeply flavourful winter meal and an elegant dinner table centerpiece.   Ingredients 2 tbsp butter 30 ml 3 stalks celery, chopped 3 1 onion, chopped 1 1 tbsp dried sage 15 ml 1/2 tsp celery seeds 2 ml 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper 1 ml 2 apples, diced (unpeeled) 2 8 cups cubed day-old bread 2 L 3/4 cup dried cranberries 175 ml 5 lb boneless veal breast, trimmed 2.5 kg 1-1/2 cups approx. chicken stock 375 ml   Preparation In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; […]

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Pairing books and wine

In a recent column for the Globe & Mail, I paired some of my favourite books with wine …   I can’t think of a better book to read on January 1 than Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis. It has one of literature’s finest descriptions of a hangover: "Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way; not for him the slow, gracious wandering from the halls of sleep, but a summary, forcible ejection … His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum."   On […]

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