Butternut squash soup is one of my favourite fall dishes. It’s quintessentially autumn – from the colour, to the flavours, to the aroma of warm spices simmered together in a broth made velvety by the purée of winter squash – which stands alone as something I look forward to making all year round. Kind of like my favourite sweater, it’s reliable, but too warm for September. I wait patiently for the “sweater weather” of October to arrive, when I can finally pull it out of the closet on that first blissfully cool autumn night. Though our favourite sweaters may be worn and threadbare in places, I would never suggest that they should be changed or improved upon in any way. They are perfect as they are. That’s not the case, however, when it comes to cooking. When I’m in the kitchen, I’m always looking for ways to kick up the flavours a bit and that’s exactly what happened with this recipe. As I was stirring the pot it was almost as if I had an Angel sitting on one shoulder and the Devil on the other. . . Continue reading “Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Bourbon Bacon Jam”
I’m kicking off the weekend with an Earl Grey Hot Toddy and a few good books. Old books are my weakness. I can’t resist. Sorry e-readers, nothing beats holding a real, hardbound book in your hands. The weight. The texture of each page between your fingers. The smell of a time long forgotten, pressed between the pages and preserved in the spine.
It’s been my dream, ever since I was a little girl, to have my own library, overflowing with antique books. All of the classics – Hemingway, Twain, Longfellow, Capote, Hugo, Verne, Mitchell – really, I could go on forever! Continue reading “Earl Grey Hot Toddy”
Let’s play a little game. Imagine, for a second, that it’s a few days before Christmas. Your significant other has surprised you with tickets to the symphony (or Opera… or John Legend’s Legendary Christmas Tour… you choose!). It’s a bitter cold evening; snow is in the forecast. The wind cuts through your jacket with its icy fingers as you walk with your lover, arm-in-arm, toward the warm lights of the theatre doors. Your partner feels you shiver and presses closer as the doorman throws wide the massive glass doors and you step into a whirlwind of theater-goers; the room is a dizzying and disorienting blur of tuxedo blacks and showy holiday evening gowns. You arrive a little early so your partner takes you by the hand and whisks you through the swirling crowd to the bar at the far end of the lobby where the smell of tobacco and Dior J’adore hangs in the air like the London fog. You are handed a beautifully crafted cocktail menu, curated, you’re told, by none other than the theatre manager himself, who dabbles in the art of mixology on the side. Each drink is designed to chase away winter’s cold and lull you into a state of ultimate contentedness against the symphonic backdrop of the evening’s performance. The only question now is, which one will you choose? Continue reading “7 Winter Cocktails to Drink Now”
When it comes to dessert, I’d much rather have a glass of wine with a bit of cheese than a piece of cake. If I’m feeling fancy, we might even make cocktails instead. You know I love whiskey and whiskey-based cocktails and this is one of my favourites. It’s a variation on a Brandy Alexander, made with whiskey, crème de cacao, vanilla, cream and nutmeg. I love to entertain with this recipe. It’s wintery and sweet, and with a touch of nutmeg, perfect for the holidays or just dessert on a Friday night. Choose a good quality whiskey, but one that’s not too expensive. I like to use a local whiskey from Leopold Bros, but if that’s not available, Tullamore D.E.W. – a subtle and smooth Irish whiskey (for only about $30 USD a bottle) – is a great alternative. Continue reading “Whiskey Alexander”
I spent my life believing I was Irish. My grandmother’s family immigrated from Ireland and the proof hung proudly in a frame on the wall in her brother’s living room – County Cork to New York, New York; 1922. I stood looking at it once, this yellowing paper in a frame – finding it incredibly strange that something like a government issued form would be considered a work of art. But, to our family, it was. It was proof of how far they had come, and a reminder to never forget where their roots were planted. It’s a conflict that perhaps all immigrant families feel, this pull of two different lands, two different homes. Continue reading “On being Irish, sort of, and Irish Coffee”
I try not to worry about little things like the cold and flu season. I tell myself, kids get sick. It’s just a fact of life. It strengthens their immune systems when they’re young so that they are healthier as adults. Little colds here and there I can manage, but this flu season has been rough, and when there are so many teachers out sick at school that the children cannot even go out to recess because there aren’t enough adults to watch them, then I start to worry. I’m a worrier by nature, thanks to my grandmother who worried herself into four heart attacks. The best way, I believe, to stave off worry is by Continue reading “Garlic-Turmeric Soup and Ginger Tea”
Whiskey is winter’s drink. Of course, when it comes to the six base spirits (rum, tequila, vodka, gin, brandy and whiskey) there really aren’t any seasonal rules to follow. But if there were, they might look something like this: light spirits like vodka or tequila, which are best mixed with fresh fruit and juices and served ice-cold, were made for the summertime. They’re easy and free, flitting along with the cocktail trends that change year after year. Similarly, the spicy sweetness of rum seems most appropriate when autumn arrives. It’s rich and versatile and I use it just as frequently in my cakes and cookies as I do in cocktails. However, whisky is different and that’s what makes it “winter’s drink.” It is a timeless rule-breaker in an arrogant and cavalier sort of way. It neither flirts with trends nor lends itself well to baking. In other words, whisky doesn’t give a shit. Continue reading “Clementine Bourbon Sour”