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Roasted Fennel Soup

Nothing says comfort like a bowl of warm and creamy soup on a cold Autumnal day! This soup adds a touch of elegance by first roasting the fennel to bring out the natural sugars and bring a more subtle level of complexity to the flavours. Perfect for mid-week lunches or an elegant starter for a winter dinner party.
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Serves 6
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  • 1 Large bulb fennel, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. fennel leaves to garnish
  • grated asiago or Parmesan Reggiano (optional)
  • sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F. Toss fennel with 1 tablespoon olive oil and roast fennel on a baking sheet until tender and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.
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While fennel is roasting, heat remaining oil in a heavy, medium sized pot over medium-low heat. Add shallots, stirring until soft and translucent. Add white wine and stir for an additional minute until reduced. Add potatoes and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 20 minutes. Add roasted fennel and then cool to room temperature.
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Puree mixture with a blender – wait until COOL. Never blend hot liquids unless using an immersion wand blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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To serve, reheat soup and ladle into warm bowls. Garnish with fennel leaves and grated cheese.
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Enjoy!
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Jackie Simons - October 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm

This soup recipe will make a great fall or winter first coarse. Try it.

Jackie Simons - October 22, 2014 - 2:59 am

Liked it??? I LOVED IT….

Savoy Cabbage with Pancetta & Honeycrisp Apples

The darker months don’t have to mean an end to fresh greens. Right now the green grocers and autumn markets are loaded with glorious, gorgeous cabbages and apples galore! This is one of my favourite ways to cook Savoys: the ginger and apple enhance the natural sweetness of the cabbage and the pancetta adds a salty depth that takes this flavour combination to a whole new level. Serve this alongside a pork roast, ham, or even as an alternative to brussels with the upcoming holiday bird.
Serves 4-6
  • 4 thin slices of pancetta dice finely  
  • 1 large leek,thinly sliced 
  • 1/ 2 large head savoy cabbage, julienned 
  • 1 Honeycrisp or granny smith apple, coarsely grated
  • 1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste 
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Place the pancetta in a cold pan and slowy cook until the pancetta is partially cooked. Add the butter and leeks and continue on a medium heat until the leeks are soft and translucent. Add the cabbage and sauté until the cabbage is slightly wilted – about 5 minutes.

Stir in the apple, and ginger cook, stirring once, until the cabbage is soft and apples  and ginger are tender. Add salt and pepper and serve.

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Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Well it’s official, the holiday season has descended upon us! From this weekend on it will be a fast slide into Christmas with family, friends and festivities abounding. And, as dessert is sure to star right alongside the turkey this Thanksgiving, I thought I would offer a twist on traditional fare. This crème brûlée is a sophisticated alternative to last year’s pumpkin pie but just as easy to whip together. The recipe is small enough for more intimate dining and doubles well if you’re feeding a crowd. Give it a try this holiday weekend – I promise you’ll love it! Happy Thanksgiving to all our fellow Canadians, and to all those in the USA and across the world, enjoy whatever you’re celebrating this weekend and stay tuned here for more holiday goodness over the next few months.
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Makes 4 individual crème brûlées
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  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 Tbs. pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup plus 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat an oven to 300°F. Have a pot of boiling water ready.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and whisk in the spices. Set over medium-low heat and warm the cream mixture until bubbles form around the edges of the pan and steam begins to rise from the surface, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.

Whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, pumpkin puree, the 1/3 cup sugar and the brown sugar until smooth and blended. Slowly pour in the cream mixture, stirring until blended.

Divide the mixture among four 8-fl.-oz. ramekins and place in a large baking pan. Add boiling water to fill the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan loosely with aluminum foil and bake until the custards are just set around the edges, about 30 minutes.

Remove custards from oven and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.

Just before serving, sprinkle 1 tsp. sugar over the surface of each custard. Using a kitchen torch according to the manufacturer’s instructions, move the flame continuously in small circles over the surface until the sugar melts and lightly browns. Serve immediately.

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