New Year

Another new year

By | Bitter, Epiphany, New Year | No Comments

I will not say I have made a resolution to blog more often, resolutions never work. But having given myself the month of December off, I was doing a lot of book promotion, I plan to be more diligent with my social networking.

The end of the year is always about lists and I was thrilled to learn that Bitter made many of them. It is always a little odd to be judged in this way. My focus was on promoting the book in Toronto and Montréal before Christmas and now I am preparing to go to the west coast to visit Victoria, Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco. Please check my Facebook page for details, all the events will be posted there, plus there is a video of myself making bitter drinks with Montréal Gazette writer Lesley Chesterman.

Tomorrow is Epiphany and the day to eat one of my favourite cakes Galette des Rois and here is the recipe part 1 & 2. Of course you can buy the puff pastry, but trust me it is not that hard to make. And don’t worry if you haven’t started, you can eat your galette all week. It is fun to celebrate the year with special foods, we have all enjoyed our Christmas favourites, so let’s start the New Year off on the right foot.

Keeping up Traditions

By | Galette des Rois, New Year | 4 Comments
Yesterday was Epiphany and I made a galette de rois or king’s cake. This cake is traditionally served in France around this time of the year. I’ve written about this before so I won’t repeat myself.
You can buy this cake in French pastry stores, but it is really worth the effort of making it yourself, yes even the pastry. There is something so satisfying watching your homemade puff pastry soar in the oven, and I’ve never achieved the same results with bought pastry. Although Epiphany has passed you can still make the cake and there are step by step instructions for the puff pastry here. The pastry has to be made a day ahead and then you can make the filling and bake the galette. Try it this weekend.
This year I got the bean,  a reward for keeping my new’s resolution to blog weekly? Perhaps not, it is only week two.

Truffles

By | Butter, Eggs, New Year, Truffles, Vodka | One Comment

In my excitement over my galette des rois I forgot to post about New Year’s Day. So here it is.

We always have the same breakfast; it has become the traditional way to start the year, truffled scrambled eggs. Simple to make, even with a hangover, although I didn’t have one this year. The most difficult task is peeling the truffles because it’s time consuming especially as I try to remove only the bare minimum. Some people just brush their truffles, but the skin is very hard and often harbours dirt and tiny pebbles; neither is a great addition to eggs. Peeled truffles are easier to slice thinly; a sharp knife will do the trick although I admit to owning a truffle slicer that makes the task showy and simple.

Whisk your eggs. I had wonderful farm eggs from my friend Jan who resides in Cookstown, north of Toronto, with her chickens.  Add a good glug of whipping cream and season well with salt and pepper. Now cook them in a pan over low heat, this takes patience and time but the result is a superb soft, creamy texture.
Take the pan off the heat before you think the eggs are ready, the heat of the pan will continue to cook them, and stir in the truffles slices.  Serve with thick pieces of buttered toast and a glass of champagne – it is a New Year after all. This year we even had truffled butter from Paris to spread thickly on the accompanying toast. A perfect way to start 2010
 
We kept the truffle peelings, rinsed them well and covered them with vodka in an attempt to make a truffle liquor. I’ll let you know how it turns out – we may be able to just squeeze out an ounce.

Christmas Eve

By | celebration, Christmas, food, memories, New Year, slush | 2 Comments

Well here it is Christmas Eve and the weather is frightful – warming temperatures and rain mixing with all the snow creating my least favourite winter effect – slush.
Christmas comes with lots of expectation; presents, food, and being home for the holidays. I am not sure where my home really is; my loyalties are divided between two hemispheres and three continents but the food ties me to all of them. Having Christmas cake, shortbread, foie gras, and goose with red cabbage evoke memories of Christmas past; small and big gatherings, mostly happy, a few sad, where the weather was often freezing or sweltering.

This time of the year is also about endings and beginnings, a time of mixed emotions. So amidst all the celebration we should take the time to reflect and remember that the glass is always a least half full and hopefully, with a good wine.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.