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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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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Seasonal Eating – Plum Cake

Some years ago, in a small town in Ontario, a magazine called Harrowsmith was published. The magazine contained a wealth of knowledge and entertainment based on living in the country. All sorts of interesting articles appeared, including some about growing and eating food.

Plum cake ready to be glazed with melted jelly

Canadian Recipes

After some years, the editors published a series of three cookbooks of recipes that readers had sent in. These books were eventually combined in the Complete Harrowsmith Cookbook. Sadly, Harrowsmith magazine is defunct but, as of the fall of 2013, the cookbook is available, mostly used, through various web sellers. One of the beauties of this book is that each and every recipe had been tested in a real home kitchen long before ever being published. Fortunately for me, I was given a copy a few years ago and a really good recipe for plum cake is in it.

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Preserving Seasonal Traditions

Both my grandmothers came from families that grew and preserved their food out of necessity. My family was not so different. With six children and one income, my parents still needed to plant a large vegetable garden as well as to buy in bulk and preserve foods they couldn’t grow themselves.

Using fresh peppers enhances seasonal traditions

As Ye Sow…

In the early years, when we kids were all living at home, a day each weekend was reserved for tending the garden at my grandmother’s farm 45 minutes drive out of town. We would all pile into the car after breakfast and

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Seasonal Eating – Fresh Corn

Stop at a roadside stand and buy some fresh corn on the cob now, before it’s all gone. Forget anything that’s already husked or wrapped in plastic. You want to look at the husk and stem for freshness and to be able to peel back the ends of the husks to peek in at the kernels. If the vendor won’t let you do this, just walk away.

Fresh corn on the cob for seasonal eating

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