The Daily Blend

Writing to make connections

Mulled Wine for Christmas Cheer

With the holidays approaching we can all use some tips on festive fare for entertaining.

Mulled wine with fruit and spices

Unique and special here in North America, mulled wine has been a staple winter drink in Europe for centuries. My introduction to it was on a cold, grey day – in Germany – in February.

My husband and I were on a business trip to attend a trade fair. One morning at breakfast we were told the market was worth a look. We had a few hours to spare, so we walked through the cold, grey streets. On the cobbled square, behind a huge steaming pot, stood a cheerful woman ladling out hot, spiced glühwein (gloo-vine). One sip and I was hooked.

Fast forward to a few years ago

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Vietnamese Beef Pho and Asian Food at Home

Vietnamese beef pho made at homeNow that the chilly winds have started to blow I’m thinking more and more about making hot and hearty soup. Soup, for me, is the original comfort food. Put a steaming bowl and a spoon in front of me, and suddenly the world is a brighter place. You, of course, have your own comfort food. You may get that warm homey feeling when you dig into a creamy mac and cheese or aromatic lamb stew, a deep-dish apple pie or luscious tiramisu. For me, it’s soup.

Delightful surprise

So when my daughter introduced me to Vietnamese beef pho

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Pear Tarte Tatin

When I worked on the margins of the food industry, we

Home made pear Tarte Tatin

found that there were two kinds of home cook. One was interested in savoury foods, the other in sweets; our customers were “the cooks” and “the bakers”.

Since then, I’ve taken note of the preferences of my friends and acquaintances and found that there are very few people who are in the middle of that spectrum. A notable example is my friend Cathy, who loves to serve a meal of at least three courses, complete with a luscious cake for dessert.

Though I, myself, am near the savoury end of the spectrum

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Gluten Free Breakfast and Crisp Corn Pancakes

Amid the hype about (and IMHO over reaction to)
Gluten free breakfast pancakes are wheatless corn flapjacks.gluten in our diets let’s not forget that there are people who truly cannot and should never eat foods that contain gluten.

In my experience, there’s a range of tolerance to gluten just as there’s a range of tolerance to dairy products, “nightshade” vegetables and others. In the last few years I’ve made two friends who are in the gluten intolerant range. It’s not a choice for them; they get sick if they eat gluten.

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Kitchen Blender Fun & Facts

You may have seen a video or two of the viral marketing series Will It Blend?. If you haven’t, you’ve missed some entertaining and educational trivia. A host gives us upbeat patter while dropping unlikely objects into a kitchen blender. The host then turns on the blender to show us what will happen when the objects are blended.

Hunous made in the kitchen blender

photo by

I love watching this show. It’s fascinating to see stuff get crunched up and smoothed out.

Interestingly, a really good kitchen blender works so well not because of the blades but because of science. Something called cavitation. Basically, the blades spin so fast that they tear holes in the liquid you’re blending. It’s the resulting bubbles of air that actually do the work of smoothing the stuff into a liquid.

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Cranberry Sauce Revisited

With what I call the “turkey holidays” approaching, it’s time to share a cranberry sauce recipe I adapted. The original (as far as I know) was the recipe of a friend of a friend who was tired of plain cranberry sauce. He wanted more complex flavours to enhance his holiday turkey. The first time I made the sauce I was unable to get the Peychaud’s bitters called for in the original recipe. Even so, everyone who tried it was blown away by the way it complements turkey. I’m sure it would be great with venison and other game too.

Fresh cranberries for cranberry sauce

photo by Christopher Shearly

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