Wine, Women and Good Food
by Anne Azel
Easy, Inexpensive Recipes from Canada
with Janet and Robbie Williams from Seasons
When your wife is the beautiful, rich and talented Roberta Williams it is very difficult to find the perfect Christmas gift. This year, Janet thought she had found a gift that Robbie would love. She had made a cook book of all Robbie’s favourite recipes and written about a special moment associated with each meal. She planned to give it to Robbie Christmas Eve and then show her just how much she was loved.
Wine, Women and Good Food
Recipes from the Heart
To Robbie with love, Janet
From Newfoundland With Love
Janet and Robbie Williams had escaped for a few weeks to enjoy the beauty of the west coast of Newfoundland. They’d spent the previous day hiking through Gros Morne National Park and then had spent a special evening cuddled up by the fireplace in their cabin.
Janet woke to the feel of Robbie’s lips warm and soft on her throat. “Mmmm, what are you doing up so early?”
“Got you breakfast.”
Janet’s eyes popped open. “Do I need to call the fire department?”
Robbie grabbed Janet and pulled her naked form on top of her. “Oh ye of little faith. I got take out from Molly’s Café down the street.”
“Wonderful woman. Smells great.”
Robbie’s eyes darkened and her voice took on the deep liquid tones of passion. “You smell better.”
After a night of passion here’s a brunch that will restore your energy levels.
Eggs and Newfie Steak
2 slices of Newfie steak (baloney) or Canadian back bacon
2 hamburger buns or any roll
drizzle of creamy salad dressing
Butter and grill two hamburger buns until golden brown. Spread with cream cheese. Place grilled Newfie steak or Canadian back bacon on top. Then on top of this add a poached egg. Drizzle lightly with any cream salad dressing.
Serve with a shot of vodka in a glass of orange juice and finish your leisurely brunch with a coffee.
Nova Scotia Warmth
Late in the afternoon, Janet and Robbie walked hand in hand along the rocky shore near the picturesque harbor of Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia. There was a fall crispness to the air mixed with the heady scent of the ocean. Gulls cried over head and waves lapped against the shore.
Janet pulled Robbie into her arms and kissed her softly.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Are you cold?”
Janet stood on her tiptoes and whispered into Robbie’s ear. “I know just what to do to warm you up.”
Robbie smiled. Janet took Robbie’s hand and started leading her back towards their condo.
After that crisp walk on a fall day with the one you love, try this warm afternoon delight.
Honey Butter Hot Biscuits
½ cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup liquid honey
half a dozen biscuits or scones
Mix the butter and honey together really well. It works best if made ahead of time and allowed to cool in the fridge. Warm biscuits in microwave and butter with the mix. Add a cap of whip cream just before serving.
Serve with hot chocolate with a dash of brandy or coffee with a shot of Baileys.
New Brunswick Tourtiere
Robbie and Janet had booked into the historical Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews-by-the-Sea in New Brunswick. Robbie had been busy all day with a television interview and promotionals for her new movie. Janet knew that her wife would be tired and grumpy when she returned. Fortunately, she knew just how to handle that. First, she talked to the cook about the meal she wanted sent to their room later that evening. Then she changed, lit candles and put on some soft music.
The door rattled and then opened and in came a ruffled looking Robbie. “Shit! It was a bitch of a day.”
Janet closed the door and slipped the chain in place. Then she dropped the house coat she was wearing and stepped into Robbie’s arms.
“I think I can make your evening a lot better,” she smiled.
From the old Acadian Settlements, this is a wonderful treat to serve on a cool spring night that you plan to heat up.
New Brunswick Tourtiere (meat pie)
2 cooked potatoes (cut in small cubes or mashed)
1 lb ground pork (for those not comfortable with red meat, ground turkey works quite well)
1 lb ground beef
1 onion (chopped finely)
1 garlic clove
½ tsp sage
½ tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
1/4 tsp dried mustard
1/4 tsp mace
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 pie shells
Brown onions, ground pork and beef and then drain off fat. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Place in pie shell and cover with another shell. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown.
Serve with fresh fiddle heads (young ferns) or asparagus. A glass of Pinot Noir from the Niagara region of Ontario would go very nicely and don’t forget the cheese and fresh fruit plate the two of you can linger over while you finish the bottle.
Prince Edward Island Romance
Janet and Robbie had gone riding that summer afternoon, galloping down the tree covered lanes of Prince Edward Island and through fields of wild flowers by the sea. Then, they led their horses down to the beach to cool them off as they walked through the surf. At the end of the beach, a bonfire burnt and a pot of Chowder waited for them.
Robbie helped Janet down from her horse and kissed her softly.
“You planned this?”
“I thought dinner on the beach while we watched the sun set over the ocean would be just about perfect.”
“You make it perfect,” Robbie murmured and kissed Janet again.
The perfect meal for romantic summer night by the beach or lake.
Chowder and Brew
½ tbsp butter
1 tbsp salt
3/4 cup finely diced onion
1/8 tbsp pepper
1 ½ lbs seafood cut in bite size pieces ( mix of haddock, cod, hake, halibut or variations of )
3 cups diced PEI potatoes (best in the world)
3/4 cup diced carrots
2 cups milk
2 cups boiling water
In a large soup pot sauté the butter and onions until soft but not brown. Then add the potatoes, carrots, water, salt and pepper. Cook just below a boil for ten minutes and add the fish. Cook for another ten minutes. Cool and add milk. Season and simmer.
Note: If adding scallops, they needed to be poached before adding to the pot. Lobster shouldn’t be added until the very end.
Serve with a Molsons Canadian larger. Finish with a sharp, old cheddar on a slice of apple pie and a coffee with a shot of Amaretto.
Fun in Quebec
Robbie and Janet had taken their family to Quebec City for Caravel, that wonderful January celebration of Canadian winter. They’d marvelled at the ice sculptures, cheered for the boat races across the St Lawrence, enjoyed skiing at the nearby resorts and walked through the walled city that dated to the 1500s. Now they stood and watched the most fantastic winter parade of lights, floats and sound. When it was over, Robbie bought them a true Canadian treat to warm them up as they walked back to their Hotel.
Now this is a truly Canadian treat, eh? Perfect for when the Amazon tribe visits.
Poutine for Two
2 orders of fries
1 pack of St Hubert brand sauce ( a thick chicken based gravy with pepper and onions will do)
1 cup of fresh cheddar cheese curds
Place the fries in two bowls. Add a layer of cheese curds and top with hot gravy. Don’t forget a tray of meatballs and a vegetable tray. Serve with a Labatt Blue Pilsener Larger. Of course, in Canada, you can order Poutine to go. It’s a wonderful country!
Ontario Hot Beaver Tails (Yes, you read that right)
Janet and Robbie skated hand in hand down the Rideau canal. Ahead of them, Ryan skated along with Reb on her shoulders. Near by the bells rang on Parliament Hill, their green, copper roofs visible against a blue sky. Ryan circled back to them.
“We’re hungry,” she stated.
“You two are always hungry,” Robbie laughed.
“Is this another example of child abuse?” Ryan teased.
“No, this is an example of my daughter seeing a food stand just ahead.”
Ryan smiled. “Well, that might have been a factor.”
The family skated over to the stand and Robbie ordered four beaver tails and hot chocolates. They sat on a picnic bench and enjoyed their hot treat. Robbie looked around at her family with pride and thought that life couldn’t get better than this.
Beaver tails are a great treat when you are cuddled up together by the fire watching a snowstorm. In winter, the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa (Canada’s capital) is a must. It is a 8 km long skating rink and along the embankment you can buy a beaver tail and hot chocolate to go. Don’t forget Ottawa’s Winterlude celebration.
½ cup warm water
5 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm milk
1/3 cup sugar
11/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, 1/3 cup oil
4-5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
oil for frying
granulated sugar and cinnamon
Mix warm water and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl and add yeast. Cover and let sit for five minutes. Then stir in the sugar, milk, eggs, oil, salt and the flour to make a soft dough. Knead for six minutes. If needed add extra flour at this point to make the dough firm but elastic. Place in greased bowl and cover. Let sit for 35 minutes at room temperature. Deflate dough carefully. Pull off a ball of dough about the size of a ping pong ball. Roll out to make an oval shape and pitch the end to make the shape of a beaver’s tail. Place on a wax paper until the other beaver tails are made. Heat a deep frier. (if you don’t have one use a wok) Test the heat of the oil by dropping a bit of dough in. It should sizzle and expand. Place tails in and cook until a golden brown, then drain on a paper towel. While they are still warm dip them in a mix of sugar and cinnamon and serve.
They go great with a hot chocolate laced with cherry brandy.
Manitoba Metis Meal
Robbie and Janet had spent all day walking the hills and plains around the historical settlement of Batoche in Manitoba. Here the Metis, Louis Riel, and his followers had made a stand against the RCMP. The Metis was a culture that had developed when French fur traders married into First Nation tribes. Robbie planned to tell their story in film.
“Robbie, whose side will you take? Louis Riel was hung as a traitor and yet he’d formed a viable territorial government and had stood up for the rights of the Metis. The French and the Metis thought that God talked to him. He had even taken some training to be a priest.”
Robbie shrugged. “True. Yet, he rebelled against the young nation of Canada and English Canada thought he just heard voices and was crazy.”
Robbie picked a piece of prairie grass and stuck the end in her mouth. “It’s not an easy question. Like all people who change the course of history, he was part saint and part sinner. I guess the message I want to give people is that it didn’t have to be this way. If each side had listened to the other and respected each other’s ways, the rebellion might never have happened.”
Janet sighed. “Bigotry, racism, hate, dressed up as Godly virtues. I think I side with Riel. As a lesbian, I know what unjust bigotry is all about”
Robbie drew Janet close and gave her a long hug.
The Metis of Manitoba have a unique blend of French and First Nations cooking. This is a great meal to make when your partner has had a rough day and needs TLC.
1 can lima beans
1 can kerneled corn
1 ½ lb ground buffalo ( ground turkey or beef will do)
½ cup craisons (dried cranberries)
½ cup pine nuts
1 onion chopped fine
1 tsp sage
I Tsp sweet molasses
1 cup wild rice
To make the succotash, mix lima beans and corn together and add salt to taste. Heat.
To make the hash, brown onion and pine nuts and add meat, craisons, sage and molasses. Mix and cook until meat is no longer pink. Cook wild rice. Serve meat over the wild rice with the succotash on the side.
Serve with a Beaujolais from the Lake Erie region of Ontario if you are having beef. If you choose turkey, try a Zinfadel. For dessert a dish of fresh strawberries with a dish of melted chocolate. Just think of the possibilities!
“Oh look! Stop!” cried Janet, as their car came over a rise in the road.
Robbie obeyed, pulling to the shoulder. The field beside them was a mass of sunflowers. Their huge yellow heads and black centres made them look like giant Black Eyed Susans in the late afternoon sun. Beyond, the vast prairie stretched out before them beneath a dome of blue.
Robbie sighed. “The possibilities seem endless in all this wide open space.”
“Yes, you can’t help but feel free.”
They got out of the car and climbed up on the split rail fence to look at the magnificent view. Robbie wrapped her arm around the woman she loved and they sat and watched the setting sun turn the fields to gold and then to fire. The sunset spread its beauty from horizon to horizon. Stars started to twinkle over head so close that Janet felt she could reach up and capture one like a fire fly.
“That was beautiful,” she whispered.
“Almost as beautiful as you,” Robbie agreed, and kissed the woman she loved.
A perfect meal to watch the sunset by on warm summer’s night.
5 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (all sorts to choose from at your grocery store if you don’t have the benefit of a Saskatchewan prairie)
11/2 cups chicken broth (buy it in the box it’s so much easier)
½ cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup half and half
1 Tbsp sherry
In a sauce pan cook the mushrooms in the chicken broth with the onion and thyme until tender (about 12 minutes). This mix needs to be put in a blender until it’s a puree with some small chunks of mushrooms in it still. Now in a saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it’s smooth. Add the salt, pepper, half and half (cream) and the mushroom puree. Stir constantly. Bring mix to a boil and then simmer until it thickens. Add the sherry just before serving. Serve with warm, buttered crusty rolls and a glass of sherry. Carry the sherry theme on into dessert by pouring a glass of sherry over a bowl of short cake and field berries and setting it on fire.
Robbie and Janet were booked into the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. From their window, they looked over the turquoise glacier lake that was surrounded by high, snow-capped peaks. They had hiked around the lake that morning. Later, after enjoying a shower together, they had spent the afternoon in bed making love and cuddling close. It was hunger that finally drove them out from under the sheets.
“I’ll get dinner,” smiled Robbie, and Janet laughed, knowing that her partner would call room service.
“Room service? This is the Royal Suite. We’d like to order your elk stew dinner, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, your nut and fruit tray and a bottle of ice wine. Thank you.”
“Elk?” Janet laughed.
“Only red meat will do,” Robbie growled playfully.
Here’s a great meal when red meat will only do.
11/2 lb stewing elk or beef
3 Tbsp flour
5 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 bottles dark beer
2 cups water
3 bottles of dark beer
2 cups water
1 onion finely chopped
3 Tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp thyme
salt and pepper based on personal taste
In a large deep frying pan or saucepan heat the canola oil until it is very hot. Toss in the beef and brown all sides. Add the chopped onion. Then add the flour while stirring. Cover and cook for about five minutes. Add the red wine vinegar and stir, then add the beer and water. Bring to a boil and add the brown sugar bay leaf and the thyme. Cook just below a boil for four hours. Serve over potatoes with carrots and broccoli on the side. Try a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia with this meal. And finish off with a tray of nuts (crack your own) and a small glass of ice wine from the same region.
British Columbia Wonders
Janet threw up her hands and looked at her wife and two teen daughters in frustration. She’d had to go to a conference that morning and had sent Robbie and the girls off fishing in the spectacular rain forest of British Columbia.
“Twenty-three miles of river and you three pick the spot where there are grizzly bears. How did that happen?”
Robbie looked sheepish. “We wanted to see them fish,” she admitted.
“And then one chased you to the truck.”
“And just how much damage is there to the truck?”
It was Reb who answered, with eyes wide with excitement. “Wow, mom! You should see the scratch marks! The whole truck shook!”
Janet closed her eyes and counted to ten. What could you do when you had a family of olives. “Did you catch any salmon?”
Ryan laughed. “That would be a no, but we did find a great restaurant that serves a wonderful salmon dinner.”
Janet shook her head and smiled. “Let’s go. I’m starved.” On the way out, Janet whispered in Robbie’s ear. “I’ll get even tonight.”
Some like it hot and this is the perfect meal to go with that sort of night.
2 fillets of British Columbia salmon
1Tsp of soft peanut butter
1 Tsp of soy sauce
½ Tsp balsamic vinegar
1 finely chopped green onion
½ tsp brown sugar
1/4 clove of garlic (minced)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp sesame oil
pinch of salt
Mix all the ingredients together in a dish until smooth. Marinate salmon in the mix all day. Keep in fridge. Barbecue or grill the salmon until flaky. Make Jasmine rice. Firmly fill a small, round bowl with rice and turn over on dinner plate to make mound. Drape salmon down side of rice and hold in place with a branch of rosemary. Serve with asparagus or a side salad. A chilled Riesling from the St Lawrence lowlands would be excellent with this.
Janet, Robbie and Ryan and Reb stood with their faces pressed against the tour bus window. They were visiting in the Arctic. Out on the ice, was a polar bear with its cub.
“Way cool. I’m going to be a vet when I grow up,” exclaimed Reb.
“Good choice. You can take care of Duffus for free,” Robbie laughed.
Ryan pointed. “Look, an Arctic owl.”
They watched the bird swoop down and land on a rock.
“Time to head back to Churchill,” Janet stated.
“The radio said the northern lights should be good tonight,” their driver said, as he headed back across the tundra.
Robbie whispered into Janet’s ear. “Making love under the northern lights sounds pretty romantic to me.”
“Everything makes you think of making love, but I agree as long as it’s from inside our cabin!”
An exciting day in the cold, arctic air topped off with this tasty meal is just about perfect. It’s an easy recipe to prove to your girl that you really can cook.
Caribou Stew (or beef)
2 rashers of bacon.
1 lb caribou or beef cut into bite size cubes.
2 cups water
1 cup dry red wine
½ tsp salt
1/4 ground thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
1 large onion chopped finely
6 baby red skinned potatoes cut in half
6 baby white skinned potatoes cut in half
½ cup chopped celery
2 carrots cut in small pieces
½ cup cold water
3 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
Fry bacon in a large soup pot over a medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon but leave the fat in the pot. Sear caribou pieces in bacon fat until all sides are brown. Chop bacon fine and add to pot with 2 cups water, 1 cup wine, thyme and pepper. Cover and simmer for about two hours. Add onions, celery, carrots and potatoes. Heat to boiling and then simmer until the vegetables are cooked. (about 30 min) Mix I/2 cup cold water and flour until it is smooth then slowly add it to stew while stirring. Heat until boiling while stirring. Keep at a boil only about 1 minute. Serve in a bowl with crusty rolls. A glass of Molson Ex Ale would go very nicely. For dessert, serve baked apples. Hollow out 2 apples and fill with brown sugar, a few raisons and cinnamon. Cook in the microwave until soft. (2 min)
Late Christmas eve, Robbie and Janet lay in their bed watching the snow gentle fall on the evergreens outside their window. It had been a busy day as all the family had arrived to celebrate Christmas.
“I have something for you,” said Janet, snuggling close to Robbie’s warm body. Robbie growled playfully and Janet laughed. “Not that, well, at least not yet. Here.”
Robbie took the gift and unwrapped it. Then she propped herself up in her bed, took her glasses from the side table sheepishly, and started to read. Tears were soon rolling down Robbie’s face.
“Hey, I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
Robbie carefully put the book down and pulled Janet closer. “I love the book. It reminds me just how lucky I am to be loved by you and to have such a wonderful family. Thank you.”
Janet enjoyed the first of many kisses the night would bring. “ Merry Christmas, Robbie”
Note: tsp- teaspoon, Tsp- tablespoon