Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New members of the Wine Dog Family

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My sister's new Shih-poos, Buttercup and Pumpkin, will soon be able to add their comments to The Wine Dog Review. As you can tell by their names they are already Foodies!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Absinthe segment from Modern Marvels

Absinthe is making a comeback, and Canada is tempting the Green Fairy. Taboo is being produced by Okanagan Spirits. See my article on Absinthe at The Wine Dog Review

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spicey Shepherd's Pie

Coming from a British/Canadian background I grew up with some English food favourites. Shepherd's Pie is a comfort food, no doubt about it. But I like mine dressed up a bit from the average meat and potatoes.


1/2 c panko bread crumbs soaked in 1/4 c milk
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam marsala
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 lbs ground beef
2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs Soy Sauce
1 can whole tomatoes
1/2 cup of red wine like Merlot or a Zinfandel
1/2 c dry bread crumbs

6 medium Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c pepper Havarti cheese
5 cloves of roasted garlic. (roast a head of garlic sprinkled with oil in a 400 f oven for 20 minutes.)
1/4 c milk
1 tbs butter
1/4 Parmesan cheese, finely grated.

Fry onions, garlic and spices in olive oil, over medium heat until softened, add beef and brown. Add soaked bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce, stirring to coat. Add tomatoes and the juice, and wine. Simmer for 1 hour, if too runny add dry breadcrumbs at the end and stir in. Taste as you go along, add more cumin for earthiness, more pepper flakes for heat and more Worcestershire Sauce for salt and bite.

Meanwhile boil potatoes in medium salted water in a large pot ( water should taste like sea water). When cooked through, mash and add garlic, Havarti cheese, butter and milk. Mash until smooth.

To assemble: Spread meat in the bottom of a large casserole, spread mashed potatoes evenly over top, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top of potatoes. Bake in 375 F oven for 40 minutes. Can be frozen before baking or refrigerated before baking.

I serve it with a relish made from 1/3 c raspberry/pomegranate jam, 5 chopped pickled cocktail onions and 1 tbs of Worcestershire Sauce. I warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

The meat and toppings can be changed up and made lighter by using ground chicken and a topping of mashed parsnips, ground lamb with a roasted cauliflower puree, or ground pork with a mashed squash topping.

Monday, April 14, 2008

High Tea in Ottawa

Chateau Laurier and Parliament Hill
-32 c but a beautiful sunset shot from the Rideau Canal
2008-03-12 01:19:56 GMT

High Tea At Zoe's, At the Chateau Laurier Hotel

I was in Ottawa in February, it's my home town, and although the regional grape vines were under 5 feet of snow I was able to try Ice Wine Tea at an afternoon tea at Zoe's. They have over 40 types of tea to choose from. The Ice Wine Tea tasted of honeyed grapes with a bit of spice and lychee.The tea paired very well with the scones and Devonshire cream, which are a heavenly tradition. I've listed the different menus for you to drool over!

Traditional Afternoon Tea

Seasonal Fresh Fruit Cup
Afternoon Tea Cake
Fruit Tartelette
Cranberry Scones
Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam
Dainty Finger Sandwiches
English Cucumber and Onion Sprouts
Turkey Salad, Mayonnaise and Green Onions
Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese
Choice of Fairmont Tea

Canadian High Tea

Port Marinated Peaches, Whipped Cream
Maple Mousse, Maple Tuile and Nanaimo Bar
Cranberry Scones
Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam
Open Faced Sandwiches
Nova Scotia Lox and Bagel
Ontario Goat Cheese Mousseline and Fig Chutney
Smoked Quebec Duck Breast with Clementine MarmaladeCanadian Cheese Board
Sir Laurier d’Arthabasca, Aged Balderson Cheddar, Ontario Borgonzola
Choice of Fairmont Tea

Champagne Tea

Moët & Chandon Blue Label Nectar Impérial
Fresh Strawberries with Warm Dark Chocolate Fondue
French Pastries, Cranberry Scones
Devonshire Cream and Strawberry Jam
Afternoon Hors-d’oeuvre
Crème fraîche Yukon Gold Blini and Québec Sturgeon Caviar
Foie Gras and Truffle Mousse,
Pickled Red Onions on a Toasted Croûton
Crab and Blue Cheese on Fresh Baked Baguette
Choice of Fairmont Tea

Mango Pannekoeken

Mango Pannekoeken just out of the oven

Orange Pepper Bacon

Brunch is served, drizzled with lime dressing

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Ginger, Orange Rind and Mango Pannekoeken

This is a favorite brunch, I serve it with bacon that has been brushed with orange syrup and cracked pepper over one side. The pannekoeken has the consistency between a pancake and a Yorkshire pudding.

1 c. flour
1 c. milk
4 eggs
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of salt
8 pieces of candied ginger, chopped.
2 mangos, flesh chopped into bite size pieces
3 slices of candied orange slices, chopped

Heat 3 tablespoons butter in 9-inch round metal cake pan in preheating oven at 400 degrees, until bubbling. 1-2 minutes.
Mix flour, milk, eggs, nutmeg, and salt. Beat lightly, leaving lumps. Fold in ginger, oranges and mango. Pour into hot pie pan. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake 20 minutes until puffy and brown. Serves 4.
I serve it with 1 tps orange syrup, ½ lime juice, 1 tbs brown sugar, warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

This is a card I made for a coffee connoisseur friend's birthday...I sent him some Alux coffee.

Great Cuppas

I'm on a bit of a coffee kick since I have been starting my day with Cafe Creme thanks to my Ikea Foamer. I have been looking for freshly roasted coffee and I have found a local gem. Alux Organic Gourmet Coffee and Chocolate is a Coquitlam, family-run business that roasts your coffee and delivers it to your home ( in the Coquitlam area) the same day. Many of their coffees are organic and they have a detailed rating for their coffees.

In Mayan mythology, an alux [Mayan: ä lōōsh’] is a tiny spirit that travel through the land. Aluxob are small, only about knee-high, and resemble miniature Mayans in traditional clothing. Aluxob are generally invisible, but can assume physical form for purposes of communicating with and frightening humans as well congregating together. They are generally associated with natural features such as forests, caves, stones, and fields, but can be enticed to move somewhere through offerings. They could be considered a Mayan version of leprechaun, as the tricks they play are similar.

It's wonderful fate to have a coffee spirit traveling through Coquitlam, providing excellent coffee and Mexican chocolate. I offered a good coffee grind, a french press and micro foam, and it was enticed.

Last week I was in Kits to pick up a yoga video at Banyan Books and I discovered Aphrodite Cafe and Pie Shop.

I had a tasty Wild Mushroom Quiche and salad for a spontaneous lunch. As this post is about coffee, I was very impressed with their house coffee, a blend specially developed for the cafe by Origins Organic Coffee on Granville Island. I will definitely return to have more coffee and a piece of organic pie. It's too bad I can't bring a pound of those beans home with me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ikea Foamer

If you love milk foam on your coffee and don't have a fancy coffee machine, this little gadget is a god-send!
Ikea sells them for $4.99. They need two batteries, I use rechargables, and this little whipper-snapper is still going strong after 4 months of daily use - without recharging.
I fill a coffee mug 1/4 full with milk, heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave and then whip away (about 25 seconds)and pour in the hot coffee on top. A beautiful French style cafe creme; almost solid foam floats 1-2 inches deep with rich dark coffee underneath. Foam lasts for 2 to 3 cups, saving many calories.
Soy Milk whips even better than milk, and I often add a dash of one of my home-made syrups (ginger and lavender work well) to the hot milk and incorporate.

It also whips whipping cream in small amounts, so no whisks or machines needed for that last piece of pumpkin pie.

Ikea Foamer

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