Friday, 19 December 2014

Delia Smith, an icon of the BBC Cooking shows.

During the year there are lots of Holidays and the food offered is usually the same. The dishes go with the idea or spirit of that holiday. It seems that turkey is always coming back and if not turkey then its burgers or hot dogs. I am thinking here of Victoria Day in May, that is the start of the Summer Season and Cottage opening time, so a Bar-B-Q is de rigueur. Then Canada Day again being Summer and July more Bar-B-Q meats of all kinds. At Thanksgiving in October it's roast Turkey or ham and the same at Christmas and or New Year. At Easter it can be a ham though I one point Lamb was a favourite, though Canadian Lamb is becoming quite expensive, New Zealand lamb is quite cheap but full of chemicals and so lately people have been cooking other dishes.  In Canada Tourtière is popular, the famous meat pie of French-Canada, though how it is prepared is important and what quality ingredients you use makes a difference. For some reason the Lac St-Jean version of the tourtière seems a favourite with some people or at least in popular mindset.

Personally, I am not a fan of turkey nor tourtière meat pie, so come any major holiday and I will not think of having either dishes on the table. As for ham at Easter, I like ham in a sandwich but not at a main dish for a feast, I am also horrified by the tradition of sticking pineapple and cherries on it.

So I am always looking for new ideas for Holiday meals, even if it is just for a simple Bar-B-Q in the Summer, I want something different.  Instead of turkey, why not Goose or Cornish Hens, instead of beef burgers why not veal and beef or mixed with some pork burger stuffed with soft cheese and mixed with herbs and a strong dry mustard. Of course you can also get dishes of Seafood, lobster meat (shelled) in a cream sauce or a mix of seafood served in timbale.

Delia Smith with her CBE

Here comes Delia Smith, who through the years has perfected Holiday cooking. I always liked her because her recipes are A, easy to follow, B, there are no mystery ingredients and C, anyone even someone with little experience can prepare her recipes. She proposes menus, from what type of hors d'oeuvres to prepare for a pre-Xmas party, to a dinner party during the Season to the Christmas day lunch menu timed in such a way as to leave cook with time to spare to relax and enjoy the day. By lunch time around 1:30pm all is ready. Of course Delia is an organized person and you have to be too. She will prepare her vegetables the day before, her desserts are also prepared a day or more in advance, so on the actual day only the bird and stuffing is left to be done. I liked her stuffing, a good mix of pork with fine bread crumbs and celery and herb mix. She also tells you to get a bird around 14 lbs no more, and shop around for a black turkey which is gamier and better tasting instead of the supermarket white one which is often very bland tasting. In her preparation of the bird she will smother it in butter and then place bacon strips on top. Placing it in a roasting pan builds a cover for it which allows for a cavity around the bird instead of having the foil wrap itself close and tight on the bird. This way while cooking air circulates all around and in the last 40 minutes of cooking you  remove the foil and let it roast to get that golden skin colour not forgetting to baste it.

She also cooks chipolatas and bacon separately this will accompany the bird and it is a very Bristish tradition. I do not know if you can get chipolatas in Canada.

This year for Christmas dinner I will cook Canadian Lamb filet (12 minutes cooking time) do some roasted vegetables and voilà. I have ordered my desserts and we also have the most wonderful home made Fruit Cake known as a John H. Special. Uncle Johnny has been making them for us for the last 40 years. I am not one to eat fruit cake usually but his Fruit Cake is really something to behold, it is home made and it is his recipe and a very nice recipe it is indeed. I also got a Stollen and we have nice cheeses,  a firm cheddar Goat cheese, some Stilton blue, and other cheeses with nice crackers and fruits like the big Clementines and a nice variety of apples.

Do have a look at Delia website, the one recipe I want to try because it looks so amazing ''Venison Braised in BlackFriars Porter ale and Port with Pickled Walnuts.'' If you do not like venison no problem substitute for beef instead. At any time in Winter this would make a fantastic dish.

Then there is one very light and wonderful dessert she makes which is perfect when your main dish is rich and heavy. This dessert is called, Champagne Jellies with Syllabub Cream and Frosted Grapes.
You do not have to use champagne instead use a Prosecco or a bubbly wine, much cheaper and perfect for this recipe.

Well my shopping is done for this Xmas so the next few days should be quiet, going to dinner at friends and cocktail parties.




  1. I still hope that I live long enough/have enough money to reach retirement. Then, I plan on doing little more than cooking, all the things I hoped to make one day.

    1. I never know what to say when you come out with I hope I live long enough statement. I found out that you do not need that much money in retirement, when you are not working life is simpler and less expensive, a lot less. Well with delia on line you can watch and learn a lot about cooking. Try it.

    2. She certainly comes across on her program as a nice person.