The Canadian Connection: Your Insider’s Pass to Authentic Tuscany

What do you think of when
you hear the word Tuscany? Diane
Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun? A slew
of stereotypes that hang the walls of Italian restaurants all over North
America?

Casa Raia, Montalcino, Tuscany
Casa Raia, Montalcino, Tuscany

Tuscany tends to occupy a
slightly played-out, amber-coloured spot in our imaginations, even for those of
us who’ve had the pleasure of traveling there. Much of Western Europe turns the
other cheek to the throngs of tourists pounding its cobblestone streets, allowing
only limited access to that sought-after culture Europeans treat like a walled
garden. Tuscany is most definitely no exception.

Having said that, its beauty
and allure are unequivocal. All those experiences we see from behind the glass
of our TV screens, the stuff of Bourdainian romps and David Rocco cookbooks,
all those authentic experiences exist: you just have to know someone.

Family
Monnoyer Family, from the left: Noah,
Kalyna, Gaia, Eliah, Pierre Jean.

Having a friend with access
to the local community gets you that
invite to the town’s festival, a seat at the farmer’s table, that visit to the
private cantina. If you’re lucky to know someone in Tuscany, you’ll find its
magic to be everything you’ve ever imagined and more.

So what, you think, whoopee
for you, but I’m still stuck on a tour bus, getting trying looks from
commercial vintners as they ushers me to their wine shop?

I’ll tell you what. There’s
a Canadian connection. The next best
thing to having a friend in town and your shortcut to the authentic Tuscan
experience is Kalyna and Pierre JeanMonnoyer of Casa Raia organic winery, and you can meet them at an exclusive wine tasting at Toronto’s Tutti MattiTuscan restaurant,  January 4th & 5th, 2012.  (See giveaway below!)

Kalyna, a Montreal native
and ex-Torontonian moved to the famed Tuscan town of Montalcino – home of Brunello wine — in 2005, with her French
husband whom she met traveling in China. Despite the couple’s pan-continental
story, they dreamed of setting down roots and leading a life close to the land,
running an organic winery.

Casa Raia Tastings
Casa Raia wine at a tasting luncheon.

It’s no accident that Kalyna
looked to Montalcino as the couple’s home base. Her Milanese-born father and
Ukrainian mother discovered the area long before it was an oenophile hotspot,
traveling to Montalcino regularly since Kalyna was a child. In 1997, the family
bought a desperate wreck of a 15th century farm house with 7 hectares of
rolling Tuscan landscape, including a 2.2-hectare olive grove and 1.5 hectares
of vines. (Learn the nitty gritty of
being a Canadian in Italy in my interview with Kalyna.)

Previously, the estate
belonged to the Biondi Santi family, who if you know your wines, are regarded
as the founders of Brunello and are still in operation today.  Building on the history of the land, Klayna
and Pierre Jean sought to cultivate the vines using purely organic methods,
apprenticing with various organic winemakers in the area. Casa Raia’s first
yield of Rosso di Montalcino (2008), Brunello di Montalcino (2006) and their
supertuscan, Bevilo (a play on the local song, ‘Bevi lo’ meaning ‘drink up’,
2008), received rave reviews across European wine fares, and will be available
at the January tasting in Toronto.  (See
descriptions of tasting notes.)

Tutti Matti
Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan cuisine by
Chef Alida Solomon, Toronto

Today, Casa Raia (named
after the family matriarch, Raissa) has been meticulously restored to every bit
the Tuscan farmhouse and includes a modern cantina, where Kalyna and Pierre
Jean host in-season lunches and year-round private tastings. There are vineyards
and olive groves to wander through; blackberries, figs and persimmons to pick
in season; an organic garden of fruits and veggies; wild boar; a shaggy dog;
and a killer view — the quintessential Tuscan experience.

Chef Alida Solomon
Chef/owner Alida Solomon, Tutti Matti,
Toronto

Giveaway: Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan restaurant is offering the prix fix
menu valued at $150 per person, at a price of $50 per person, to one wine-and-food-loving
couple. A great new-year treat or belated holiday gift, the evening will
include all accompanying Casa Raia wine-by-the-glass, and an intimate setting
to chat with winemakers, Kalyna and Pierre Jean Monnoyer. For a chance to win,
email giveawaysATfoodnetworkDOTca the correct answer to following question:
name one Tuscan recipe by David Rocco on foodnetwork.ca. The winning couple can
choose between January 4th and 5th for reservations. Gratuities and taxes not
included.

 

The Canadians in Tuscany Giveaway Rules
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for the Canadians in Tuscany giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).

RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER
To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run from December 29, 2011 to January 2, 2012 after which time no answers will be considered.  

RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER
Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner.  For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.  

RULE 3. PRIZE
Giveaway: Tutti Matti authentic Tuscan restaurant is offering the prix fix menu valued at $150 per person, at a price of $50 per person, to one wine-and-food-loving couple. A great new-year treat or belated holiday gift, the evening will include all accompanying Casa Raia wine-by-the-glass, and an intimate setting to chat with winemakers, Kalyna and Pierre Jean Monnoyer. For a chance to win, email giveawaysATfoodnetworkDOTca the correct answer to following question: name one Tuscan recipe by David Rocco on foodnetwork.ca. The winning couple can choose between January 4th and 5th for reservations. Gratuities and taxes not included.

RULE 4. GENERAL
By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.
 
Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.
    
The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
 
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.

By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
 
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.

Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice.  Interpretation of these Giveaway Rules by Shaw shall be final.

The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.
Related:

Living The Tuscan Dream: How One Canadian Family Got There

Casa Raia
Casa Raia

On a promontory beneath the famed
medieval town of Montalcion, in Tuscany,
sits Casa Raia estate, a small organic
winery looking every bit the ideal Tuscan post card. Driving by a tourist,
you’d imagine that inside the rose- and wisteria-festooned, 15th
century farmhouse dwells the latest generation of a Tuscan family that’s dwelt
there for the past 500 years. You’d sigh from warranted but futile jealousy,
and drive on, completely ignorant of the reality inside…

For inside (pardon the drama), is a
brave cadre of Canadians (and one
Frenchman) who, having meticulously stalked the European lifestyle for decades,
finally took the plunge and pounced on their dream: moving to Tuscany and making wine.

And guess what? It wasn’t easy.

Monnoyer Family
Monnoyer Family, from the left: Noah,
Kalyna, Gaia, Eliah, Pierre Jean.

Elana Safronsky: In a nutshell, how
did you make this happen?
Kalyna
Monnoyer:
Pierre Jean and I met traveling in
China, and being from two different continents, neither of us had any concrete
plans. Eventually, after a couple of wrong turns on a long and windy road, we
knew our relationship was meant to be more serious and we ended up in
Montalcino together, tending to the vineyards and olive groves.

E.S.: Did you have a personal
connection to the land?
K.M.: Although it may seem random, that a Frenchman
and a Canadian would wind up in Tuscany making wine, it was not by accident. My
relationship with Montalcino began in childhood because my mother has been
completely enamored with the place, since the first time she visited in
the 1970s. My father immigrated to Canada from
Italy, however he was not from this particular region. It was a childhood
friend of his who introduced Montalcino to him and my mother.

 View from Casa Raia
View
from Casa Raia


E.S.: How did you find the land/house?
K.
M.:
We had admired this land for many
years from a neighboring house, where we spent our summers.  I remember
spending my days wandering through the olive groves looking for a shady place
to hang out…It was Eden.

The property was part of Biondi Santi,
the family of winemakers who created the Brunello di Montalcino from sangiovese
grapes, on the actual terraces beneath Casa Raia. We found the for-sale listing in a
newspaper, written in German. A friend brought it to our attention.

The Podere Scarnacuoia, now Casa Raia,
was purchased by my mother in 1997 and completed her life long dream of living
in Tuscany.

Casa Raia before restoration
Casa
Raia before restoration

E.S.:
Was there a lot of red tape obtaining it?
K.M.:
First we had to make sure that none of the other neighboring farmers
wanted to buy it and have them sign a waver. Then it was pretty straight
forward until we began restoration… For that you need nerves of steel, and just
remembering it gives me anxiety. The house itself was fully restored by 2002.
It took 5 years and the maintenance is constant.


E.S.: How are you able to run a business in Europe?
K.M.: Pierre-Jean is a European citizen, which
makes it possible for him to run a business in any European country.  Of
course, he had to learn Italian as he went, because there was no time to sit
down and study. There was lots of work to be done on the land. But French
and Italian are relatively similar.

Gaia, the K-9 part of team Casa Raia
Gaia,
the K-9 part of team Casa Raia.

E.S.:
What’s your typical day like during the warmer months?
K.M.:
In the summer we rise before the sun to avoid the hot hours of
the day, and go into the vineyard to manage the perfect development of each
grape. We cut the female branches of vegetation under the grapes and later
harvest only the grapes necessary to make a superior wine. There are many different stages of
pruning that begin in January and end in July. Then there are also the organic
treatments to administer in prevention of fungal diseases, common to the area.

E.S.:
What do you do in the winter?
K.M.:
Outside, when the sun is out, we prune the olive trees and
vineyards (Jan – march), changing poles and wire, replanting, etc. Inside, when it’s raining, we are
taking care of the aging wine in the cellar, bottling, labeling, packaging,
etc.


E.S.: What type of wine do you make?
K.M.: Brunello di Montalcino DOCG: 4 year aging in
oak; Rosso di Montalcino DOC: 2 Year aging in oak; and Bevilo, a IGT/
Supertuscan: 2 year aging in oak.

E.S.:
What was your first yield like?
K.M.:
We were lucky to start off with such an excellent year as 2006.
Mother Nature was truly on our side, which made work in the vineyard
straightforward.  2007 was equally good,
if not better!

Kalyna and Pierre Jean conducting daily business.
Visitors taking in the picturesque scenery.


E.S.: What sets your wine apart?
K.M.: The terroir is amazing!  Because it is a natural wine, you can rest
assured that what they’re drinking is simply the product of a good terroir and
hard work in the vineyard, with little alteration in the cantina.


E.S.: How ‘organic’ is organic?
K.M.: We use only organic treatments and even
herbal concoctions such as Willow, Stinging Nettle and Yarrow to help the vines
resist disease. We are part of an
association, called Vinnatur,
and are trying to even get rid of the minerals copper and sulfur we currently
use to treat the plants. To fertilize the soil we seed the vineyard with
nitrogen fixing plants.

Also, in the cellar we don’t use any
additives, other than sulfites (by law), at a lower dosage than required for
organic certification.

Pierre Jean nosing wine in Casa Raia's cantina
Pierre Jean nosing wine in Casa Raia’s
cantina


E.S.: What has the reception been like so far?
K.M.: We are very pleased with the response we have
gotten so far. Our first success was in
Montalcino when a local wine connoisseur tasted the wine in a blind tasting, as
he does every year when selects wines for his wine shop. We were thrilled when
he told us that we scored top marks and then put in an order! There have also been compliments from
three different Masters of Wine, who all encouraged us to continue ‘the fine
work’.


E.S.: Any plans to expand?
K.M.:
Yes, this year we will plant a little
more, however we are planning to stay small, to be able to carefully manage our
vineyards. As for the olive grove, we
will certainly increase production soon. We use 80 ltr of extra virgin olive oil per year just for our own
consumption!

E.S.: Is now a good time to buy
property, considering Europe seems to be getting more affordable?
K.M: European goods are more affordable but Tuscan
property value remains high.

E.S.: What’s life like in Italy for
you? HONESTLY? Any complaints? Do you miss home? Do you even think of Canada as
home anymore?
K.M.: We love living in Italy, though it did take
some getting used to. We love the rich
textures of Tuscany, the imperfect stone walls, weathered bricks, faded wood
and of course the hills in all different seasons, turning from bright green in
the cold months, red with poppies in the spring and golden in the parched
summer.

We love the Italian way of living,
which includes eating well and spending quality time with family and
friends. I especially love the emphasis
on food. People eat seasonal produce, many grow their own and conserve it for
the winter.

One thing I sometimes miss however is
the anonymity of living in a big city. In these small towns everyone knows your business and you can’t do your
grocery shopping without stopping to chat with everybody and their mother! But
I couldn’t ever imagine moving back. Our
life is now tied to our land.

E.S.: Do you cook any Canadian food
there? Any Canadian food you miss? What do you gorge on when you visit back?
K.M.: We love to share a little Canadian culture
with our friends, who are also an international bunch. We have a hamburger cook off in the summer
and celebrate Thanksgiving in the fall! Oh and we eat maple syrup and oatmeal
every morning. The kids are crazy about
it…in fact I am considering importing a few hundred litters.

E.S.: What kind of advice would you
give someone wanting to embark on your journey?
K.M.: The same advice a french winemaker once gave
us, “It is easy to make wine, you just have to do it.” Though it’s far from the truth, it sure
convinced us!

Related:

 

Video: Chuck Hughes On New Year’s Eve

There are 3 truths in life I can always count on: death, taxes, and a funny anecdote from Mr. Chuck Hughes.

 

Chuck Hughes

 

We already found out this season that the man does not enjoy turkey (I’m still reeling from that), but when I inquired about his New Year’s Eve plans this year I was surprised (once again) to learn that Chuck is not a big rah-rah-rah whoop it up type on this most definitely party-it-up of nights. Why? We’ll, check out the video interview below to find out. You’ll learn a new nugget of info about our boy Chucky (of which even I wasn’t aware) as well as find out why he’s one of the most endearing chefs on FNC 🙂

 

 

Related:

 

 

Anna Olson’s Holiday Recipes

From start to finish, Anna Olson has the recipes for a perfect holiday meal. Desserts are her specialty, so don’t limit yourself to just one!

 

Starter
Fruit Antipasti
Artichoke Asiago Squares
Potato Bisque

Anna’s Caesar Salad

Tomato Basil Tarts

Champagne Shrimp on Endive

 

Main Dish
Herb and Vegetable Stuffed Stripe Bass
Turkey Escalope
Roasted Lamb with Date Salsa
Dry Glazed Pork Tenderloin

Baba’s Cabbage Roll
Overnight Baked Ham 

Side Dish
Crème Fraiche Mashed Potatoes
Squash and Cheddar Soufflés
Roasted Root Vegetables

Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts

Dessert
Double Chocolate Cheesecake
Pear Almond Tart
French Macaroons

One Step Cherry Pie

Apple Almond Turnovers

Bumbleberry Tiramisu
Brandied Apricot “Cinnamon Bun” Cobblers

Mincemeat Turnovers

Related:

The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Finale – Did The Right Competitor Win?

The pantheon of American Iron Chefs grew one bigger last night as chef Geoffrey Zakarian defeated chef Elizabeth Falkner on the season finale of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs.

Lauded by host Alton Brown as a “classically trained master technician at the peak of his career,” the bespectacled chef-owner of New York restaurants The National and The Lamb’s Club brought all of his culinary talents to bear in Kitchen Stadium to create the ultimate three-course holiday feast.

Geoffrey Zarkarian

 

 

You read that correctly: the Chairman presented not one secret ingredient to the finalists, but an entire smorgasbord of (somewhat) traditional Christmas-dinner staples—everything from squash and parsnips to beef and salt cod. Turkey, you’ll note, was not included. Ever cunning, the Chairman also intervened three times during the 60-minute showdown to announce challenging “surprises for his amusement”: on top of their original three dishes, the chefs also had to create a cranberry-based dish, an ice cream, and a holiday cocktail.

The cooking, as expected, was fast and furious; we saw the usually cool chef Zakarian finally break a sweat, while chef Falkner had to overcome technical difficulties when her ice cream maker literally froze up. The action was so intense that previously eliminated chef Alex Guarnaschelli was conscripted to assist the two finalists.

 

When it came time for judging, both competitors earned fulsome praise from an expanded panel, including regular judges Simon Majumdar, Judy Joo and current Iron Chef Michael Symon, plus elder-statesmen Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto.

Chef Falkner’s extra dimension as a pastry chef was a much-discussed asset demonstrated in her various creative dishes, in particular a beef wellington that would’ve brought a smile to Gordon Ramsay’s face. Her dessert background also helped her to produce the evening’s most talked-about dish, a cranberry sorbet with frisée and fennel salad plus kaffir lime and tarragon gelée.

But, in the end it was chef Zakarian who pulled together the seasonal elements with superior panache. Among the offerings in his fanciful modernist Christmas feast? A parsnip and cardamom bisque with “frittata-style” sausage stuffing, cranberry risotto made with sake (for its floral quality) instead of wine, and roast beef cubes with tiny “gifts” of turnip, squash and potato.

 

The Next Iron Chef
 

It’s been a pressure-packed eight episodes, folks, filled with all manner of ingenious Chairman’s Challenges and Secret Ingredient Showdowns featuring 10 of North America’s absolute best chefs. I wonder, how many of you predicted that it would be chef Zakarian’s oversized headshot finally hanging in Kitchen Stadium? At the start of the season he seemed primed for a fall, almost too self-assured; by the end he was slightly humbled, but his confidence was clearly earned. I’m sure many of us were rooting to see Montreal’s Chuck Hughes rise above the competition, and I know at least a few ladies who could’ve used a few more weeks of Marcus Samuelsson on screen. Or perhaps you would’ve picked chef Falkner, the deserving finalist, who appeared to be just scratching the surface of her culinary potential.

What do you think of The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs finale? Did the right competitor win? 

   

Craig MoyCraig
Moy is an editor at a Toronto-based city magazine. He also writes about
all manner of cultural topics, including food culture.
 

 

 

Related: 

Holiday Menu Ideas From Your Favourite Food Network Hosts

The holidays are all about great company and delicious food, so to make your holiday menu planning a bit easier, we’ve compiled a bunch of menus comprised of recipes from your favourite Food Network Canada hosts!

First up, Chef Michael Smith’s simple and sumptuous dishes are guaranteed to be a success at any holiday dinner party! Be adventurous this season and try creating something from the menu that you wouldn’t normally, like a Deep Fried Turkey or Tea Poached Salmon (see the full menu here).

MichaelSmithMenu 

Chef at Home Holiday Menu  

Next we have a selection of luxurious and comforting dinner ideas from Chuck Hughes. Cozy up to some succulent Duck Breast with Red Wine Sauce and hearty Scalloped Potatoes (see the full menu here).

scalloped potatoes

Chuck’s Day Off Holiday Menu 

Finally, we turn to Laura Calder to add some French flair to your festive meals. French cuisine is luxurious and full of rich flavours, so try serving a Duck a l’Orange  for your main and compliment it with Artichokes with Brown Butter Hollandaise (see the full menu here).

Duck_a_l_orange 

French Food at Home Holiday Menu 

Sponsored by: tostitos 

Related 

Bitchin’ Kitchen Holiday Recipes

If you want to cook a holiday meal that will really impress your guests, look no further than Nadia G. With these gourmet dishes your diners will think they are at a 5-star restaurant!

 

Starter
Panko Shrimp with Strawberry Aioli
Zucchini Blossoms with Mimosa Vinaigrette
Thai-Italian Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Blueberry and Pomegranate Salad
Main Dish
Curried Chicken Pot Pie
Pepper Crusted Tuna Steak
Filet Mignon with Maple Balsamic Reduction

Sirloin Shepherd’s Pie

Side Dish
Spicy Sautéed Asparagus with Tamari and Toasted Garlic
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Candied Pecan and Strawberry Salad

Dessert
Peanut Butter Banana Fritters
Macintosh Maple Crumble with Candied Bacon
Pink Grapefruit Meringue Pies

Pot au Chocolat with Fleur de Sel

Ricotta Crepes with Raspberry-Chili Coulis

Related:

 

Michael Smith’s Holiday Recipes

Food Network’s favourite dad knows how to cook a meal that will please all family members. If you’ve got the relatives coming over, Michael’s recipes are sure to satisfy, from starter to dessert!

Starter
Potato Salmon Cakes
Portobello Pizzas
Grilled Cheese Bites

Watermelon Basil Feta Salad
Cornbread

Tomato Olive Salad

Main Dish
Baked Chicken with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes

Deep Fried Turkey
Sunday Ham with Apple, Maple, and Rosemary Mustard Sauce
Spice Roast Turkey Breast
Roast Rack of Lamb

Tea Poached Salmon
Side Dish
Parmesan Smashed Potatoes
Baked Tomatoes Provencal
Moroccan Zucchini

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Brown Butter Green Beans with Pine Nuts

Rosemary Onion Applesauce

Dessert
Butterscotch Bread Pudding
Three Chocolate Mousse Cups
Upside-down Apple Pie

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Little Vanilla Cakes

Caramel Crème Brûlée

Related:

Chuck’s Day Off Holiday Menu

A Chuck Hughes Traditional Holiday Menu

Chuck Hughes loves simple foods. If you’re looking for traditional holiday dishes (with a little twist), try a Chuck Hughes menu when you head to the kitchen.

 

Starter
Crispy Fried Cheese Squares

Oysters Rockafeller
Spinach and Cheese Dip
Warm Broccoli Salad

Chuck’s Cheddar Biscuits

Main Dish
Duck Breast with Red Wine Sauce
Roasted Suckling Pig
Braised Port Lamb Shanks

Apple Butter Glazed Ham

Rib Roast with Mushroom Crust

The Legendary Turducken

Side Dish
Scalloped Potatoes
Creamed Corn
Fried Rice

Roasted Yellow Beet Salad

Bacon Roasted Potatoes

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Dessert
Hot Chocolate
Roasted Cinnamon Plums
Toblerone Rice Pudding

Molten Chocolate Cakes

Cream Puffs

French Food at Home Holiday Menu

When you think of Laura Calder, French food comes to mind. If you’re hoping to please the palates of your friends and family with some French cuisine, opt for a Laura Calder holiday feast.

 

Starter
Blue Cheese and Dried Fruit Terrine
Laura Calder’s French Onion Soup
Olive Oil and Herbes de Provence Bread

Salmon Tartare 2
Roasted Fennel Salad

Fois Gras Tartines

Aubergine Caviar

Main Dish
Duck Breasts with Green Peppercorn Sauce
Roasted Cornish Game Hen with Grapes
Duck a l’Orange

Halibut Poached in Olive Oil
Blue Cheese Pasta

Rolled Pork Florentine

Vegetable Souffles

Side Dish
Tian of Provencal Vegetables
Duck Fat Potatoes
Leeks Vinaigrette

Cauliflower Salad

Petite Pois a la Francaise

Vichy Carrots

Artichokes with Brown Butter Hollandaise

Dessert
Crème Caramel 2
Coffee Éclairs
Baked Apples with Caramel Sauce
Chocolate Crepes

Profiteroles

Lemon Madeleines

 

No-Bake Holiday Treats

It’s tempting to become a holiday superhero, preparing only the most complicated dessert recipes for guests and gifts, but here’s a simple Christmas rule that will help keep life relaxed: sweets are sweets and when you’ve stuffed your friends’ and families’ mouths with sugary goodness, no one cares whether you slaved for hours over a hot oven, or spent a few minutes melting and pouring. All they want to do is savour the sweetness. With that in mind, here are some quick melt and pour recipes that will please all who eat them. And if you want to prepare them while wearing a cape and tights? Go for it!

Tip: chocolate and caramel are best melted in a double boiler or a saucepan suspended over another pot of simmering water. If using the microwave, heat in short increments, and stir frequently to prevent burning.

Marshmallow Pops

Gourmet marshmallows are all the rage in specialty shops, so if you’re feeling fancy, grab a bag of chi-chi mallows and some dark chocolate for an adult twist on this kid favourite. But even adults will enjoy the low-brow version of this classic sweet. Simply melt chocolate (milk or dark), stab your marshmallow of choice with a toothpick or kabob stick, and dip it in the gooey chocolate. While the shell is drying, create texture by rolling the mallows in crushed nuts, smashed candy, or festive sprinkles. Place finished pops stick-side-up on parchment paper and repeat until you run out of chocolate or marshmallows. Store finished pops in the fridge for maximum shelf life.

Caramel Nut Clusters

There’s nothing we’d rather have stuck in our teeth than sweet pieces of gooey caramel clusters. Luckily making them is much easier than cleaning them from biting surfaces. Grab a bag of your favourite caramels, remove the wrappers, melt them with milk and butter (a ratio of 25 caramels to 1 tbsp. butter to 1 tbsp. milk works well), and remove from heat.  Next add 1 cup of nuts (pecans, peanuts, macadamias and cashews all taste delicious) or ½ cup nuts and ½ cup chocolate chips directly into the caramel pot.  Stir quickly and spoon globs of the mixture into mini paper cups.  Consider topping with a dollop of cooled melted chocolate and let set in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Chocolate Bark

A package of chocolate bark wrapped in cellophane and tied with a pretty ribbon is a symbol of casual holiday elegance. To make, simply melt your favourite chocolate—chips, chunks or bar—and pour onto a well-greased baking tray. While the chocolate is still hot, garnish with a sprinkle of toasted nuts, mini marshmallows, white chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit or finely smashed candy cane. Glam it up by swirling melted white chocolate with dark, or go gourmet by adorning dark chocolate with chopped caramels and quality sea salt. Chill in the fridge for an hour and break into shards.

Peppermint Fudge

It’s hard to find a treat more indulgent than fudge, so put it on the top of your gift list for sweet-toothed friends. As versatile as it is cavity-inducing, fudge comes in countless variations, all delicious. But our favourite holiday fudge is a chocolate peppermint version, reminiscent of the holiday scents of childhood: chocolate and candy cane. The simplest fudge recipes can be found on the back of evaporated milk cans and call for a mixture of boiled evaporated milk, butter and chocolate. Follow the recipe, but once the pot has come off the stove, add ½ tsp. peppermint extract. Pour into a greased pan, dust with crushed candy cane and cool before cutting.

Rum Balls

Rum balls are like chocolate truffles, but better. Although they can be made non-alcoholic with artificial rum flavouring, we suggest using the real deal, so you have a good excuse to keep the candy away from the kids and all to yourself.  Simply mix melted chocolate, rum, vanilla, butter, sugar, nuts and crushed cookies into a thick paste. The rummier the better, so prepare rum balls in advance to soak in the flavour.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups                                          

Homemade peanut butter chocolate cups are just as good, if not better, than the mass-produced ones available in stores, and while they’re not exactly healthy, they get gobbled so fast they don’t need chemical preservatives to extend their shelf life. The most important step in mastering the peanut butter cup is to prep your paper cups in advance: lay them in rows on the counter and prepare to pour your way to greatness. From there it’s a simple 5-part process: melt some milk chocolate, fill the cups ¼ full, chill for 30 minutes, spread a mixture of salted peanut butter and icing sugar over the chocolate, top with more melted chocolate, and chill to set.

 

 

 

Holiday Meals From Around The World

Confession: I’ve never really been a turkey fan. Although it’s the central dish at my family’s Christmas gatherings, I just don’t understand the fuss. Preparing turkey is time-consuming and finicky, and eating it induces sleep. Frankly, I’d rather inspire after-dinner dozing with rum and eggnog. But whenever I try to introduce alternatives, I face the same ironclad rebuttal: turkey dinner is a family tradition.

So this year I’m trying a new tactic, because in a multicultural country like Canada, traditions are as varied as the languages spoken across the country. If you’re looking for a break from the same-old dinner, but are still keen to honour holiday traditions, this list is a great start. And if you get pushback on the basis of tradition, be bold: after all, these dishes are traditional, too.

Ireland

Melissa Murphy of Cork, Ireland couldn’t imagine Christmas without her mom’s spiced beef. “It’s a real Cork thing,” she says, “and it makes the whole house smell amazing.”  Preparing spiced beef is a labour of love that involves about a week of daily rubbings (salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace and pepper are massaged into beef), and a long day of slow simmering. The finished product is served cold in thin slices.

Poland

For Polish families Christmas Eve–called Wigilia—is the night of the big feast. Polish-Canadian Katrina Moore celebrates with her relatives by tucking into savoury bowls of beet borscht, succulent perogies (similar to dumplings) and salty licks of sledzie (pickled herring).

England

While many traditional English Christmas dishes are common in Canada (turkey, shortbread, stuffing), not all have crossed the pond. But when the Sellick family moved from to Canada from England, they maintained their tradition of serving bread sauce with turkey dinner. “It’s very English,” says Linda Sellick, who makes the sauce with cream and bread crumbs.

South Africa

South African Eamon Allan admits that many of his family’s traditional dishes are similar to standard Canadian fare –roasted turkey, chicken and salad—but adds, “Since it is usually on one of the hottest days of the year, we eat Christmas dinner in the middle of the day [and] we often have cold meats. My mom also always makes trifle.”

Australia

Heat is also a factor in Australia, where many families spend balmy Christmas afternoons at beachside BBQs. Canadian teacher Julia Huckabone has been living outside Sydney for 3 years, and says that although turkey is available in supermarkets, most families opt for a seafood BBQ followed by Australia’s national dessert, Pavlova (a meringue and fruit concoction that is as simple to make as it is luscious to behold.)

Canadian Peter Kim, who lives in Queensland, agrees that seafood BBQ is the meal of choice, adding that most Aussies enjoy the feast midday. Heavy rains usually rule out beachside picnics in Australia’s tropics, but Queenslanders have their own way of keeping things festive: “Rum balls are popular at Christmas,” says Kim. “Actually, rum in general is popular.”

Sweden

Christmas is a great time to expand dinner options, but if your family is resistant to menu changes, altering breakfast might be an easier way to start. “Our Swedish tradition,” says Swedish-Canadian Carmen Nave, “had cardamom bread—which is a braided sweet white bread flavoured with cardamom and drizzled with lemon icing or pearl sugar—and also fruit soup, which is dried fruits stewed in berry juice.”

Holland

Jana Van Duin credits her Dutch roots for her family’s delicious Christmas breakfast tradition, which includes an array of cold meats, homemade stollen (a sweet, yeasty bread packed with raisins and currants), cheeses, breads, jams, hageltje (chocolate sprinkles, enjoyed on toast), fruit and boiled eggs.

Mexico

Marketing student Luis Cabellero has been living in Canada for 4 years, but he always tries to return to Mexico for his family’s traditional feast of apple salad, tamales, stuffed pork loin and pozole (a spicy pork stew).  Craig Calhoun, who grew up in the Southern US and enjoyed frequent trips to Mexico, adds that tamales (made of stuffed, steamed corn dough) are enjoyed by “most everyone in Mexico.” At  Christmastime, regular (typically pork or chicken) tamales are available, as well as candy and chocolate versions.

Canada

If you were raised in an Anglo-Canadian family, then French-Canadian dishes like tourtiere (meat pie) and French onion soup might not be obvious choices for a traditional feast, but for Kevin Maisonville’s French-Canadian family, they’re essential. Maisonville’s family eats the French onion soup on Christmas Eve, and includes the tourtiere at Christmas dinner.

Growing up, Jessica Smith’s Ojibwa family also enjoyed a non-mainstream, but quintessentially Canadian meal. “After midnight mass,” she says, “we used to have traditional feast including fried scone, corn soup, partridge, venison, and roast goose.”

 

Derek Bocking’s Turkey Stuffing with Fresh Sage, Apples and Hazelnuts

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the stuffing is my favorite part of Christmas dinner. I always pile it onto my plate every year. This recipe doesn’t veer too far away from the classic turkey stuffing we all know and love, but jazzes it up a bit with the addition of some fruit and nuts. The flavours of apples, raisins and hazelnuts go really well with turkey; a little dash of cinnamon will enliven your bird too.
 

When it comes to herbs, a ready mix of dried Italian herbs or poultry seasoning is a good start, but it is worth it to pick up a bunch of fresh sage. In general, it’s always preferable to use fresh herbs over dried and fresh sage will make a big difference in the end.

 

I incorporate some rye bread for extra depth of flavour, but I also use white bread because it does a better job of soaking up all the other flavours. Be sure to get a dark, dense whole-grain rye bread, not the white sandwich variety. Hopefully you’ll find this stuffing so delicious you will want to have it not just for Christmas. It can make a great side dish for chicken or duck on any occasion.

 

Stuffing

 

Ingredients:

  • 75g butter
  • 750ml onion, diced
  • 500ml celery, diced
  • 3 Macintosh or Courtland apples, diced
  • 250ml golden raisins
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 1 bunch fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 tbs poultry seasoning or Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
  • 100g hazelnuts
  • 2L white bread, cubed
  • 2L rye bread, cubed
  • 300 ml chicken stock

1. Melt 50g of butter in a large skillet and add the onions. Sautee until golden brown. Add the remaining butter, celery, apples and dried seasoning and saute for 5 minutes.
3. Mix the remaining ingredients with the sauteed apples, celery and onion in a large baking dish and bake in the oven at 350F for 30 to 40 minutes.

 

Derek BockingDerek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years of culinary experience. On his blog, Derek’s Kitchen,
he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home,
from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.

Derek Bocking’s Gingerbread Cookies with Candied Lemon

When I was working on my recipe for candied lemon, I was thinking about all the different ways to use them. Christmas is just days away, so that’s probably why I thought of incorporating them into a gingerbread cookie. I love gingerbread, but I also love gingersnaps. This cookie has the best of both worlds — the spicy kick of a gingersnap and the soft texture of fresh gingerbread. They are delicious even without the candied lemon on top, but I assure you, the flavour of the candied lemon combined with the gingerbread is really out of this world.

 

Gingerbread Cookies

 
Ingredients:

  • 175g butter
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100ml molasses
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbs ground cloves
  • 2 tbs ginger
  • 1/2 table baking powder
  • 2 pinch salt

1. Beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and then incorporate the molasses and egg. Mix until smooth.

2. In a separate bowl mix together all of the remaining dry ingredients.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the batter forms one large smooth ball of dough.

4. Roll the dough into 1″ (2.5cm) balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Press the balls down with a wooden spoon to shape the cookies. Leave space between the cookies on the tray, as they will spread out during cooking.

5. Bake at 350F until the edges are firm to the touch, about 12 to 15 minutes. To apply the candied lemon, put a drop of water and a pinch of sugar in the center of each cookie and spread with the back of a spoon. Lay the candied lemon on top and press down firmly. Return the cookies to the oven for 2 minutes and then transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
Derek BockingDerek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years of culinary experience. On his blog, Derek’s Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.

Cheat Sheet: Food and Wine Pairings

Pairing food and wine is one of my favourite pastimes! It’s both delicious and fun. If you try to match the flavour and weight of what’s on your plate and in your glass, you’ll discover some terrific combinations. Here’s a quick cheat sheet with some of my own favourite combos.

Food and Wine Pairing Cheat Sheet

White Wines

  • Chardonnay: seafood with butter sauce, chicken, pasta with cream sauce, veal, turkey, ham, Emmenthal, Gruyeres, Port-Salut
  • Riesling: roast turkey, mild cheese, clams, mussels, Asian dishes, sashimi, ham, pork, lobster Newberg, Tandoori chicken, Coquilles St Jacques
  • Sauvignon Blanc: oysters, grilled or poached salmon, seafood salad, Irish stew, ham, chevre, goat cheese and strongly flavored cheeses, asparagus quiche
  • Gewurztraminer: spicy dishes, Thai food, curry, smoked salmon, pork and sauerkraut, Muenster, spiced/peppered cheeses, onion tart

Red Wines

  • Cabernet Sauvignon: duck, spicy beef, pate, rabbit, roasts, spicy poultry, cheddar, blue cheese, sausage, kidneys
  • Pinot Noir: braised chicken, cold duck, rabbit, charcuterie, partridge, roast turkey, roasted beef, lamb, veal, truffles, Gruyeres
  • Merlot: braised chicken, cold duck, roasted turkey, roasted beef, lamb, veal, stew, liver, venison, meat casseroles
  • Shiraz: braised chicken, chili, goose, meat stew, peppercorn steak, barbequed meat, spicy meats, garlic casserole, ratatouille

Written by Natalie MacLean. For more of Natalie’s wine picks and pairings, visit www.nataliemaclean.com.

Video: Bobby Flay’s Top Turkey and Stuffing Tip

Turkey and holiday meals go hand in hand and this festive main course may be prepared in a multitude of tasty ways. Some people like to braise their bird and then roast it, while others prefer to brine their turkey overnight and then slow-cook it for a few hours, and some daring cooks deep fry their bird to a delicious crispy delight. Personally, I’m a briner and slow-cooker myself, but as long as your family and friends enjoy your turkey dinner, the technique is really secondary.

I recently caught up with Chef Bobby Flay to get his top turkey and stuffing tip and I was surprised to learn that he isn’t a briner! Check out the video below to see what Bobby had to say.

Related

Giveaway: Anna Olson’s Back to Baking Cookbook

We’re not sure if you’re done your holiday shopping yet, but we figured it’s about time someone gifted you. We’ll be hosting giveaways every day up in our gift guide until December 24th (Christmas Eve). Check back often for your chance to win!

 

Today, you could win a great cookbook from one of Food Network Canada’s most beloved hosts, Anna Olson. In her newest release, Anna takes it back to what made her famous, baking. In the beautifully designed book she shares 200 recipes, including a section dedicated solely to holiday fare. Cookies, tarts, squares, custards, cakes and so much more–this is the book every baking-fan has been waiting for!

Anna Olson's Back to Baking
Giveaway

We have one copy of Anna Olson’s Back to Baking cookbook to giveaway. To be the lucky recipient, email giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with the correct answer to the following question: We’ve included some of Anna’s recipes in our holiday guide–what is the name of her baked dish that includes both walnuts and plums?
Don’t forget to add your mailing address and phone number to your email submission for courier purposes. Also, please add “Anna Olson’s Back to Baking Cookbook Giveaway” to your subject line. See giveaway rules below.

Back to Baking Cookbook Giveaway Rules
The following are the giveaway rules (“Rules”) for the Back to Baking Cookbook giveaway (the “Giveaway”) being administered by Shaw Media (“Shaw”).
RULE 1. HOW TO ENTER
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, entrants must answer the question posted above correctly, as determined by a Shaw representative. The Giveaway shall run from December 16, 2011 to December 24, 2011 after which time no answers will be considered.
RULE 2. SELECTION OF WINNER
Upon completion of the Giveaway, a Shaw representative shall review the answers submitted by each entrant to determine which entrant answered the question correctly. From the entrants that correctly answered the question, Shaw will randomly select the prize winner (“Winner”) and provide the prize to the winner. For the purposes of this Giveaway and the awarding of prize, these Rules shall govern in all respects and the decision of any Shaw representatives shall be final.
RULE 3. PRIZE
There is one prize available to be won, which consists of Anna Olson’s Back to Baking Cookbook (“Prize”). The approximate value of the Prize is forty Canadian dollars (CDN $40).
RULE 4. GENERAL
By participating in this Giveaway, you agree to abide by these Rules and the decisions of Shaw in awarding the Prize, which decisions shall be final and binding upon all entrants. Entrants who have not complied with these Rules are subject to disqualification. Shaw reserves the right to modify the Rules, before or during the Giveaway, in its sole discretion, in any way at any time it deems necessary or appropriate without materially affecting the terms and conditions of this Giveaway. Interpretation of these Giveaway rules by Shaw shall be final.
Personal information collected during the course of this Giveaway shall be used by Shaw and its authorized representatives solely for the purposes of conducting the Giveaway and awarding prizes, and will not be used or disclosed for any other purpose unless required by law.
The Prize is not transferable and not redeemable for cash, will not be extended under any circumstances and must be accepted as offered without substitution.
Employees of Shaw and its affiliates, subsidiaries, related companies, advertising and promotional agencies and the household members of any of the above, are not eligible to participate in this Giveaway.
By participating in this Giveaway, the Winner agrees that his/her name may be used in any and all forms of media, without any further compensation by Shaw and waives all rights (including moral rights) with respect to printed, broadcast and other forms of publicity.
In the event of a dispute as to who submitted an electronic entry, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at the time of entry. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, on-line service provider or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution, etc.) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address.
Notwithstanding the defined Contest Period, Shaw reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to terminate the Giveaway, in whole or part, and/or modify, amend or suspend the Giveaway, and/or these Rules in any way, at any time, for any reason without prior notice. Interpretation of these Giveaway Rules by Shaw shall be final.
The Giveaway is subject to all applicable laws of the province of Ontario and the laws of Canada applicable therein.

Watch! Chatting with Recipe to Riches Winner Glo McNeill Video

Last night’s Recipe to Riches finale (watch the full episode here) was intense, to say the least. Jesse Palmer and all of the judges kept us on the edge of our seats waiting to find out, one by one, who the winner would be. Each of the finalists had amazing products, but ultimately, only one of them could win the grand prize and have their product become a permanent selection in grocery stores across the country. And Canada, you voted for Glo McNeill’s Luscious Lemon Pudding to win this prestigious honour!

tglo

I caught up with G-Lo (her new nickname from the show) the morning after the taping of the finale and we chatted about her Recipe to Riches experience, the prize money, how she feels about being a food celebrity and more. Check out my video below and see what she had to say!

Related

10 Budget-Friendly Wines To Enjoy This Christmas

Can you give like Santa, but save like Scrooge when it comes to wine? Absolutely! These days, there are an incredible number of terrific wines that taste twice as expensive as they cost. The reason is that there’s more competition than ever for your wine dollar from new wine regions and new producers in existing regions. You really don’t have to give up great taste just because you have a budget for holiday entertaining and gift-giving. Try some of my favourite bottles below this festive season.

 

 

10 Budget-Friendly Wines To Enjoy This Christmas

Gloria Ferrer Brut Sparkling Wine, Sonoma County, California

I’ve been a fan of this bubbly for years: It’s beautifully made and so refreshing. The price is an absolute steal. Get a case for the holidays. $21.95. Score: 90/100.

 

2008 Liberty School Chardonnay, Central Coast, California

Lusciously big pineapple and tropical fruit notes with a round, viscous mouth-filling texture and a toasty vanilla-caramel finish. Great price for a big Chardonnay. $18.95. Score: 89/100.

2010 Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc Wairau Valley, Marlborough, New Zealand

Extreme grass: you’ll need a lawnmower for this one. Refreshing with herbals and chive notes. Ever so food-friendly. $17.95. Score: 87/100.
2010 Luigi Bosca Chardonnay Reserva, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina

Tasty and balanced with appealing green apple and lemon notes and just the right amount of toasty oak. Full-bodied and smooth. $17.95. Score: 89/100.

 

2009 Montes Carmenère Alpha, Colchagua Valley, Chile

This is simply amazing for the price. The total package. Packed with gorgeously layered fruit yet there’s acidity and elegance. Pair with: spare ribs, herbed steak. $19.95. Score: 92/100.

2008 Kaesler Shiraz Grenache Mourvèdre Stonehorse, Barossa Valley, South Australia

A blend of 62% Shiraz, 28% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre. This wine was fermented mostly in stainless steel; no new oak. Gorgeously rich and layered with juicy flavours of ripe plush blackberries and plums. Oh yum! $22.95. Score: 91/100.

2009 Jackson Triggs Merlot Niagara Estate Gold Series, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Savoury and juicy with fleshy black plums and dark field berries. Full-bodied and smooth. I am liking this wine a lot. Decant 1-2 hours. Pair with: blackened steaks and grilled portobello mushrooms. $21.95. Score: 90/100.

2009 Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva De Familia, Maipo Valley, Chile

Delicious, dependable and a deal. This is a terrific producer for those who want a wine that tastes twice as expensive as it costs. Full-bodied and generous with layers of black fruit. Pair with: grilled steak with a rich sauce. $17.95. Score: 89/100.

2009 Delas Frères Saint-Esprit, A.C., Côtes Du Rhône, France

Stunning for the price! Cedar and wild cherries and black raspberries. Earthy and full-bodied with a juicy mouth-watering character. $15.95. Score: 89/100.

2007 Open Vidal Icewine, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

Superb dessert wine! Apricot and honey with an underlay of rich butterscotch. Perfect with dessert or as dessert on its own. Half the price of most icewines. $29.95. Score: 91/100.

 

Written by Natalie MacLean. For more of Natalie’s wine picks and pairings, visit www.nataliemaclean.com.
Natalie Maclean's UnquenchableGiveaway: We have a copy of Natalie’s latest book, Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines to give away. To be the lucky recipient, email giveaways@foodnetwork.ca with the correct answer to the following question: Which one of Natalie’s 10 wine picks does she suggest is perfectly paired with dessert (or can be a dessert on its own)? Don’t forget to add your mailing address and phone number to your email submission for courier purposes. Also, please add “Unquenchable Giveaway” to your subject line. See giveaway rules.

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Christmas: 5 More Super Useful Holiday Tips!

Yesterday, I told you about Gordon Ramsay’s rules for a relaxing gourmet family Christmas. But, he didn’t stop there.

 

Ultimate Christmas: Part 2

In part two of his special he outlined more advanced holiday recipes, adhering to all his previously noted guidelines (doing as much prep work in advance is, again, paramount) while adding a few more:

  • Make dishes that can multitask over the busy holiday season. Ramsay’s honey-glazed ham was highlighted here. The leftovers can be used for ham salads, ham sandwiches, spaghetti carbonara and more
  • Don’t waste food. Axiomatic at any time of year, of course, but especially so during the holidays when, let’s face it, many of us tend to overindulge. No, the chef didn’t go all nose-to-tail this time, but he did demonstrate how to make a pumpkin soup using a whole pumpkin and leftover stock from his ham. The kids even got involved again, helping to scoop out the pumpkin seeds for a toasted treat.
  • “Get the texture right, and you take food to that next level of indulgence.” That doesn’t necessarily mean serving up a fruitcake just because it’s got some chewy bits and some chunky bits. Instead, why not a smooth and refreshing, rum-flavoured pannacotta with a “beautiful, rich, sticky” pomegranate glaze?
  • Don’t forget the beef wellington! A fine looking alternative to another turkey dinner, Ramsay added chestnuts to his signature recipe for a festive twist.
  • And be prepared for unexpected guests with tasty treats like mulled wine and homemade vanilla shortbread cookies.

Watch Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Christmas, Part 2 in our video centre now.

 

Craig MoyCraig Moy is an editor at a Toronto-based city magazine. He also writes about all manner of cultural topics, including food culture.