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Second Draught: Samichlaus, a beer for next Christmas

Could there be a sea change happening at the LCBO when it comes to products previously disallowed for reasons of “community standards”? Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head is now on shelves and this holiday beer that features a picture of a rogue-ish Austrian Santa — more Billy Bob Thornton than Tim Allen — on the label has also been given the green light by the AGCO.

It didn’t make it out from the LCBO warehouses to stores before the 25th but there still seems to be a strong demand for it. Summerhill went through 44 bottles in three days and I wouldn’t be surprised if the inventory at other locations disappears almost as quickly. (more…)

Murkey Recipe for Christmas

Adapted from Ruth Goodman's recipe on Wartime Farm my recipe for Murkey.

Alton Brown taught us that stuffing is evil. He awkwardly and half-heartedly rescinded the blanket prohibition against putting bread inside your bird with a well-if-you-really-must episode that involved a pre-roasting turn in the microwave and then a cloth bag and then in to the cavity. That doesn’t sound fun to me, does it sound fun to you? (more…)

Loblaws Holiday Gingerbread House

Both to mark the holiday season and to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their Carlton street location (in the old Maple Leaf Gardens), Loblaws and their President’s Choice brand have built a giant holiday gingerbread house.

The life-size house is made with edible gingerbread but only packaged candy decoration will actually be eaten–given the sanitary concerns related to life-sized children and their pint-sized hands. It’s located in the Canteen at the Gardens location and is decorated with over 700 pounds of candy.


Nuts and Bolts with Pork Drippings

Nuts and bolts with pork fat

Do we all remember the dark ages before free trade when there was a big difference between grocery availability in Canada and the US? Dill Pickle chips and Shreddies were  the highlights of what we could exchange with our American cousins for their Cherry Coke-led cornucopia. Not much leverage there, except before Christmas when the value of Shreddies sky-rockets because it is the workhorse of the greatest of all snack mixes, Nuts and Bolts.

My aunt Kim has my grandmother’s recipe posted on Squidoo but this year I decided I’d add my own twist to it. (And really isn’t that what recipe blog posts are for?) (more…)

Candied Clementine Peel

Candied clementine peel.

Clementines are the de facto citrus sponsor of Christmas in my part of the world. Everyone gets one in the toe of their stocking and they’re what keep our hands and mouths busy between the assorted holiday meals. When I was a kid my brothers and I ate enough of these mini-oranges that if the crates they’re sold in, came in bigger crates that’s how my mother would have bought them.

But what about the mountains of peel we created?

There must be some way to put them to good use. I thought about marmalade at first but that’s such a particular, specialised preparation that I’d rather stick to tradition and use the intended Seville oranges. Instead, because the product is attractive and the process is pretty easy, I decided to candy the peel. (more…)