We always serve Tourtiere at Christmas.

One of the best things about having a crowd for Christmas is the cooking challenge it offers. It isn't just the turkey either. Over the next few weeks I know Morgan and I will be trying out new recipes to serve and reworking old ones in an effort to offer a tasty variety of meals and to fine tune our cooking skills, adapting to a larger group than we are used to.

One of the things I always make Christmas time is a meat pie which has it's roots in Quebec called tourtiere. The arguments go on and on about it origins and what the best ingredients are.
I use ground pork, ground beef and sometimes a bit of ground chicken but often venison was used. Some people add potatoes, often mashed but, others use pieces of boiled potatoes. Some claim that there are as many tourtiere recipes in Quebec as there are families. That is probably a fair assessment.

Historically Quebec was a very traditionally Catholic society so, particularly in small rural communities, everyone went to church Christmas Eve. Traditionally, Tourtiere is served after Christmas Mass. I make them and freeze a few and cook them for an easy evening meal.

I put the recipe onto one of my recipe blogs. Try making this dish it is easy and fun to make not to mention, very tasty.

You can find the recipe by following the link on the left hand side of this page which will take you to my main cooking blog, Gord's Kitchen or simply follow this link.


I could give the Blackberry Mead a Miss

You know what it is like to find a bar that you think of as your own? In the UK it would by my "local" or simple "the pub." It is the kind of place where you can go for lunch, settle in for a pint after a game of badminton or with a gang after floor hockey. A place where the staff get to know the regulars, a spot where you feel comfortable, somewhere you can linger over a couple of pints and talk. For me that sort of place is Bushwakkers.

Bushwakkers has character. It is in Regina's old warehouse district and the old square rough sawed posts that hold the roof up must be 2 feet square. They were probably shipped in by train from B.C. The floor creaks and the decor could use an update and if I was the chef I'd update they menu and bring back the potato skins, but it is comfortable.

It is a brew pub with a line of beer with good prairie names like Stubblejumper Pils, Sodbuster Brown Ale, and slough Shark Ale. I always have a chuckle when people order a pint of Mother-in-law - half a pint of bitter and half a pint of stout.

The only drawback about the place is that, around this time of year, Bushwakkers introduces Blackberry Mead to the drink menu. The place fills up every night with rowdies who have come to drink up the mead as long as it lasts. There are those who are there for the taste but without question, many are simply there for the high alcohol content.

My favorite place turns into a zoo for a few weeks each year. Friday evening when the forecast was for an overnight low of -49 with the windchill there was a lineup out the door and not a chance of getting a table for eight. After our weekly floor hockey game we had to go somewhere else for beer which for us was a giagantic break with tradition.

I hate to sound like a Grinch but, at least when it comes to Bushwakkers, will be happy to see then end of the holiday season.


We put up the tree

It is another cold one, -49 C last night with the windchill. Perhaps in January that would be ok, but December is a bit early.

With weather like that we just didn't want to go out today so, we got to it and decorated the tree. Things are beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The first of our visitors arrives this week. We are counting the days.

It should be lots of fun this year.