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Archive for ‘Recipes’

Beat the heat bevvies

Posted by Debbie

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Question: What drink make you think of summer?

A) Refreshing Rosé
B) Mouth-watering Cider
C) Cold Radler Beer
D) Big bold Cabernet
E) Fruity Sangria
F) All of the above!

This is a multiple choice quiz that none of us can get wrong! With more sun-filled days, long weekends and lazy afternoons lounging on your deck or dock, summer brings more time to relax & unwind with a glass in your favorite beat-the-heat bevvy.

To help you shift from winter warming drinks to summer sippers, here are some tips from our team of Savvy Sommeliers & Brew Crew:


Fielding RoseFielding Estate Rosé VQA 2015

from: Niagara, Ontario

Nothing says summer like a glass of chilled Rosé wine. There are plenty to choose from all parts of the world, ranging in colour from a hint-of-pink to bright candy floss. With a sip, you will discover tastes from bone dry to a touch of sweetness.   To tip you off on just one Rosé to buy is difficult. When the Savvy Sommeliers got together for our spring kick-off, we were impressed with Fielding’s Rosé wine. A soft pink colour with aromas and tastes that will remind you of ripe strawberries and rhubarb. It’s a lovely wine that will be delicious with fish (poached or grilled), prosciutto wrapped asparagus, lemon roasted chicken, corn chowder or even a summer salad.

$15.95 per bottle available at the LCBO all summer long.

County Cider Pear bottle shotCounty Cider Co. Pear Cider

from: Prince Edward County, Ontario

County Cider Company is a family-run operation that has been crafting ciders in The County since 1995 – long before the region became known for its wines. The Pear Cider was inspired when the cidery owners Jenifer & Grant Howes visited Normandy, France – an area renowned for Cavardos (Pear and Apple Brandy). For this summer sipper, pear juice has been blended with carefully selected apple cider – for a dry, delicious quench thirsting summer drink.

$7.95 per bottle – available when you visit The County this summer or contact Savvy Company to deliver some to your doorstep.

radler-can_2048x2048Kichesippi Brewery Radler

from Ottawa, Ontario

Last summer, it seemed that every craft brewery was making a Radler! They are not a new creation, rather a resurgence of a summertime beer that was first introduced in Deisenhofen, Germany back in 1922. Intentionally made to be lower in alcohol (typically 3%), this is a great beer to enjoy during lunch on the patio, or to pop into your panier to quench your thirst during a bike ride. Kichesippi’s Radler is a blend of their lager with grapefruit soda. Be sure to try plenty of Radlers this summer to find your favorite.

$2.85 per can – available at the LCBO throughout Ottawa only for the summer.


13th Street Meritage13th Street Estate Winery Meritage VQA 2012

from Twenty Valley (Niagara), Ontario

A powerhouse red blend of 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot & 33% Cabernet Franc. Get out your largest wine glasses as this BIG red wine is begging to be served with anything off the BBQ. Think thick steak, lamb chops, spicy sausages with loads of fresh grilled veggies. A very special wine as only 220 cases were made. Every sip will remind you of black cherry, dark chocolate , black plum with a dash of fresh ground pepper and warm spices (think cloves, Chinese 5 Spice & steak spice). At $34.95 per bottle, this extra special wine is only available when you visit the winery this summer. Alternatively, subscribe to Savvy Selections wine-o-month club & the wine will auto-magically arrive at your home or office.

 Summer won’t last forever, so mix it up with a pitcher of sangria. Whether you make it with red wine or take a new approach and use white wine, this fruit ladened cocktail make your summertime Happy Hour, even happier!


Debbie’s Secret recipe for Sangria

from Debbie’s kitchen to yours…

Photo from

Makes 1 large pitchersangria-3

1 bottle of red wine (select something under $18…afterall you will be adding fruit to it!)
10 to 15 strawberries, sliced
A handful of blackberries
1 lemon, sliced & quartered
1 lime, sliced & halved
1 orange, sliced & quartered
½ of a tin of frozen Five Alive juice concentrate
½ to a full can of Club Soda or 7-Up (optional – if you want a little spritz to your sangria. 7-Up will make your sangria sweeter.)

Place fruit into a large pitcher or jug. Pour in Five Alive concentrate, club soda or 7-Up (if using). Fill with red wine. Stir until well mixed. Chill in fridge for 1 hour before serving to let the fruit marinate. Pour into a tall glass with lots of ice. Garnish with a slice of fruit on the rim. Enjoy.


Love Rosé wines? You’ll love this…

bouquet-of-rosesWe make it easy to Clink & Drink Pink! Each month throughout the summer, our Savvy Sommeliers will select a different assortment of six Rosé wines from across Ontario. These are extra special as you won’t find them at the LCBO.

Order a small bouquet (a parcel of 6 different Rosé wines) or a full bouquet (a parcel containing 12 bottles – 2 of each of the featured Rosé wines).

There is a different bouquet of Rosés each month!

Next to the taste, the best part of this new way to buy hard-to-find rosé wines is free shipping.

Order yours or give as a gift at


Summer is not over yet…enjoy the long weekend with a G&T!

Posted by Debbie

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

September has arrived but there is still time to enjoy the many iconic drinks of summer – a fruity sangria, a minty mojito, an elegant glass of rosé wine, or a frosted G&T. You might be surprised to read that this Sommelier enjoys something other drinks as well as wine, yet with gin making a comeback, it is interesting to re-discover classic favorites and try some of the artisanal gins that are being made in our own backyard.

The history of gin stems back to 16th-century Holland and since then various styles that have emerged from crystal clear and bone-dry to honey colored and fruity. While you may go local when buying wine, craft beers, artisan cheese and farmers fresh produce, there is a local distiller in Ottawa and several more throughout Ontario making their one-of-a-kind gin to enjoy this summer.

Savvy Company - 66 Gillead Loyalist GinLoyalist Gin

66 Gilead Distillery in Prince Edward County is constantly creating adding a new twist on their portfolio of spirits. Their Loyalist Gin has is loaded with junipers and botanicals including locally grown lavenderas well as heritage hops flowers.Available at the LCBO or the distillery. $43.95 43% alc/vol


Savvy Company - PigerHenricusGinPiger Henricus

A traditional London Dry gin made with botanicals such as juniper, berries, coriander, angelica root, lemon zest, cardamom AND parsnips. This secret ingredient gives the drink a very distinctive taste that is hard to pin point on the first or second sip. Parsnip makes it uberrefreshing. “Piger Henricus is not your grandfather’s gin,” remarks founder Stephan Ruffo. Available at the LCBO $39.00 43% alc/vol


Triple Beam Gin

Made in Ottawa at North of 7 Distillery – the only one in the city – using juniper berries sourced from Ferme et Forêt in Wakefield, Québec along with a concoction of botanicals (many that are local). Available only from the distillery at 1733 St Laurent Blvd. $39.95 40% alc/vol

Savvy Company - Dillons_Rose-GinUnfiltered Gin 22 and Rose Gin

Dillon’s Small Batch Distiller in Niagara creates a base using grapes from neigbouring wineries. Herbs, flowers, fruitand other secret ingredients are all sourced from local farmers in the Niagara region.   Available at the LCBO or at the distillery Unfiltered Gin 22 $39.95 40% alc/vol, Rose Gin $49.95 38% alc/vol, Cherry Gin And they make Cherry Gin and Strawberry Gin too (available in August at the distillery)!


Gin 101 – the 5 different styles of gin…

London Dry Gin – typically dry & heavily juniper flavoured without any sugar added, classic to use for cocktails & martinis, names you will recognize include Gordon’s, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater

Plymouth Gin – less dry than its cousin London Dry, infused with more roots to create an earthier softer flavoured gin. Only one brand available, coincidentally called Plymouth Gin

Genever or Dutch Gin – a darker coloured drink made from a base of malt grains. Good for sipping straight up or chilled.

Old Tom Gin – the sweetest of the bunch. Used for making the classic Tom Collins drink. It can be difficult to find, yet be on the lookout for Hayman’s brand.

International Gin – the umbrella style for all gins that are made with ingredients other than juniper berries. Hendrick’sis a brand that is growing in popularity.


 Recipes 2 try

Once you have your gin of choice in hand, keep the bottle in the freezer for that opportune moment to shake up a martini or pour a G&T.   Since this article is all about discovering different gins, here two recipes to try this summer to mix things up a bit!

Celery Gin & Tonic

from the creators of PigerHenricus

1 celery stalk, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar or maple sirup
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 ounces gin (why not try Piger Henricus?)
1 small stick of parsnip
Lemon twist

Muddle celery with sugar and lemon juice in a blender for 1 minute. Add gin.Pour in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until the outside of shaker becomes frosty (about 30 seconds). Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with parsnip and lemon twist.

Pimms No. 1 Cup

Savvy Company - PimmsIf you have ever traveled to England during the summer, you would have noticed that G&Ts have been replaced with a dark-coloured drink called Pimms. This is a cocktail made with a gin based liquor and is the cocktail of choice at Wimbeldon tennis matches….and everywhere else in the UK during the sunshine! Either grab a bottle of the ready-to-mix Pimms from the LCBO ($29.95) or use this do-it-yourself recipe for this classic summertime drink


DIY Pimms

1 part gin
1 part red vermouth
½ part Cointreau
Club soda, 7UP or Sprite

Mix the ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate. When ready to serve, add sliced strawberries, sprigs of mint & cucumber to the pitcher and soda, then pour into ice-filled glasses.

dozenroses_180pxWant to take a break from gin?

For those of you who want to Clink & Drink Pink, check out for our monthly assortment of One Dozen Rosés – a selection of 12 bottles of dry, crisp refreshing Rosé wines handpicked by the team of Savvy Sommeliers.  Whether it’s the heat or summer or fall on the way, we have lots of tips for you to enjoy great Ontario wines.

Enjoy your Long Weekend!





Mexican Beef Brisket & Winter Squash Chilli

Posted by Debbie

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Flipping through the ‘Best of’…articles & blogs, I found this recipe that looks absolutely delicious!

From Canada’s Top Trending Recipes for 2014
Makes 12 Servings


O Canada recipe Mexican chilii6 dried ancho chilies
2 cups boiling water
6 oz. bacon, diced
4 cups chopped white or yellow onions
5 lbs (approx. 2 to 2.5 kg) first-cut beef brisket, cut into 3-inch chunks
Salt and ground black pepper
2 jalapeno chilies, stemmed, seeded and chopped (optional)
6 garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp chili powder
14 1/2-oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chilies
12-oz. bottle beer, plus more if needed…of course some to enjoy while cooking!
1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves separated
7-oz. can diced fire-roasted green chilies
3 cups of  2-inch chunks peeled and seed butternut squash

Finely chopped red onions
Peeled, seeded, and sliced avocado
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Warm corn or flour tortillas


Tear apart the dried ancho chilies, then discard the seeds and stems. Place the torn chilies in a small bowl. Pour the boiling water over them, then soak until soft, at least 30 minutes, or up to several hours.

When ready to proceed, heat the oven to 165°C (325°F).

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté the bacon until it begins to brown. Add the onions and cook, covered, for 5 minutes.

Season the beef with salt and pepper. Remove the pot with the onions and bacon from the heat and stir in the beef.

Place the soaked chilies and about 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid in a blender (save the remaining liquid to add to the pot later, if needed). Add the jalapenos (if using), garlic, cumin seeds, oregano, coriander, chili powder, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Blend to form a puree, then add to the pot along with the diced tomatoes, beer, cilantro stems and green chilies.

Stir well, cover, place in the oven, and bake for 2 hours. If the chili becomes too dry during cooking, add some of the reserved chili-soaking liquid or more beer. The meat is done when it is fork tender. If the meat is not yet fork tender, return the covered pot to the oven and check it every 20 to 30 minutes. Once the meat is tender, stir in the squash and bake for 20 minutes more, or until the squash is tender.

Remove the pot from the oven. Use a spoon to skim off any fat on the surface of the chili. Season with salt and pepper. Divide between serving bowls with the cilantro leaves, red onions, avocado, cheese and tortillas on the side.


Award Winning Parisienne Hot Pot…

Posted by Debbie

Monday, February 16th, 2015

Looking through The Ottawa Citizen, during yet another cold snap in Ottawa,  I found this delicious recipe to share…

The ByWard Market’s 24th annual stew cook-off earlier this month was won by Tucker’s Marketplace, which served a beef and Italian sausage concoction that it called Parisienne Hot Pot. The recipe is below. The event, which pitted the stews of more than 20 market businesses against one another, attracted 500 people to sample their wares and raised more than $5,000 for the Lowertown Community Resource Centre’s summer camp programs.

The Tucker’s stew came first with the event’s judges, and third in the people choice competition. No other stew made the top three of both lists.

A similar stew by Tucker’s also won the market cook-off in 2012.


Parisienne Hot Pot

Makes 10 servings


6 pieces bacon
2 oz vegetable oil
2 cups (500 mL) diced onion
¼ cup (60 mL) minced fresh garlic or roasted garlic (optional)
2 lb (900 g) stewing beef, ¾-inch diced
2 lb (900 g) Italian sausage – cut into ½-inch coins
2 cups (500 mL) dry red cooking wine
1 cup (250 mL) tomato paste
2 cups (500 mL) celery coarsely chopped
2 cups (500 mL) carrots
2 cups (500 mL) fresh tomatoes ¾-inch diced
2 cups (500 mL) redskin potatoes ¾-inch diced
8 cups (2 L) water
¼ cup (60 mL) beef soup base
¼ cup (60 mL) Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp (2.5 mL) garam masala
1 tbsp (15 mL) ground cumin
1 tbsp (15 mL) fresh thyme
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried oregano
1 tbsp (15 mL) dried sweet basil
½ tsp (2.5 mL) allspice
pinch crushed chili peppers
1 tsp (5 mL) brown sugar

For the Flour Mix

½ cup (125 m) flour
3 cups (750 mL) water


Marinate cubed beef in red wine and minced garlic for 4 hours.

In a large, heavy-bottom pot, cook bacon, then remove when crispy and set aside. Add onions to 2 oz of vegetable oil over a low heat and simmer until translucent.

Increase heat to medium-high and add thyme. Pour wine marinade off of beef and retain for later step. Add beef and Italian sausage to onions and thyme. Cook until seared and browned.

Add celery, carrots, and potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, beef base, spices, brown sugar, reserved wine marinade and water, and bring to a boil.

Reduce temperature to a simmer, cover and stir occasionally. Allow to simmer for 3 – 5 hours.

Combine flour and water, and mix well. Increase heat to medium, and slowly add flour mixture to thicken to desired consistency. Reduce heat and simmer for an additional 20 minutes.

Chop bacon and garnish top of stew & sprinkle with cilantro or parsley.


Tuscan Vegetable Soup

Posted by Debbie

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

You can’t go wrong with this hearty Italian style soup.  It is guaranteed to warm you up on a ch-ch-chilly winter’s day.

Original recipe by Ellie Krieger & Food Network
Cooking tips from our friend Karen Wright
Serves 6


1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium canellini beans (tip from Karen: white kidney beans or Romano beans) , drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, diced (about 1/2 cup)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 small zucchini, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
32 ounces low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 cups chopped baby spinach leaves (tip from Karen: I use kale)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional


In a small bowl mash half of the beans with a masher or the back of a spoon, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, zucchini, garlic, thyme, sage, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the broth and tomatoes with the juice and bring to a boil. Add the mashed and whole beans and the spinach or kale leaves and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes more.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Photo from Food Network web site

Photo from Food Network web site






Lemony Lentil Soup

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

This is zippy soup is hearty as well as refreshing.  I enjoyed it at Fresh Tracks Café at Whitewater Ski Resort that I bought the recipe book & now make it at home & take skiing with me!

From Whitewater Cooks: Pure, Simple and Real
Makes 8 servings


2 tsp salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped (optional)
2 cups dried red lentils (or you can use green lentils too)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, diced
8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice of 2 lemons
2 tsp lemon zest
1 cup feta cheese crumbled


Rinse the dried lentils and set aside to drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, chili flakes, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Stir well and sauté until the carrots are tender. Add the stock and the lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and summer for about 25 minutes or until the lentils are sfot.

Remove the bay leaves. You may puree the soup at this point or just leave it as is.

Add the lemon juice, zest and more salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with feta and dill on top.


A great cookbook!

A great cookbook!


Cream of Leek Soup with Stilton Cheese

Posted by Amanda

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

A delicious soup to include in a menu for your next dinner party.
From kitchen of our friend Amanda Jackson
Makes 6 servings


2 Tbsp butter
1 shallot (or onion) finely chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1 potato, diced
2 cups chicken stock
1 ½ cups 35% cream (or a little bit lighter with 10% cream)
salt & pepper to taste
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
2 oz Stilton cheese, crumbled (alternately use your favorite blue cheese)


Melt butter in a deep pot.  Add shallot & leeks and sweat them until translucent.  Add potatoes and chicken stock.

Simmer briskly until stock is reduced by half and potatoes are cooked.  Puree in blender.

In a separate saucepan, simmer and reduce cream until it begins to thicken. Add to soup and bring to boil. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and lemon juice.

Pour into warm bowls and top each serving with crumbled stilton.  (For extra flavor, I add some extra stilton into the soup at the same time as the cream)



Orange Soup

Posted by Debbie

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

This soup always gets ooohs and aaahs.  Open up your fridge and throw in veggies & fruits too that is orange!

From the kitchen of Debbie Trenholm


1-2 Tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
1/2 to 1 Tbsp of red curry paste

Roughly chop:
2 onions
2-3 sweet potatoes
3-4 carrots
1/2 of butternut squash (could sub in pumpkin)
…and anything else that is orange (I have added roughly chopped mandarins, orange peel)

Chicken stock (a carton or container of fresh stock)
1 can coconut milk
At least 2 glugs of white wine – to drink & cook with – of course!


In a large pot, melt butter with curry paste. Throw in onions & sautee til soft. Add orange veggies & cook for a bit, stirring often. Pour in stock & boil the living daylights out of the mix til the veggies are soft & the kitchen smells heavenly. Go ahead & have some white wine while you wait for this magic to happen. Turn off heat & cool soup mix. Add coconut milk/cream.

Get out your blender. When the mixture is cooler, spoon into blender & whiz up til super creamy. Pour creamed soup into bowl. Once done, return creamy soup back into the soup pot (no need to clean it) & reheat. Rinse the blender & soup bowl with a glug of white wine…then add to soup. Adjust flavours any way you like – add more curry for more kick, salt, more wine etc…

When you serve, crumble into middle some blue cheese, or a dallop of sour cream or toasted pumpkin seeds if you like. And…if there is more wine left in the bottle, have a glass with your soup!