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If your kitchen is like mine the lowly butternut squash often sits at the back of the countertop patiently waiting for its time to come to the table. It is not that I don’t love squash, but when so many other items are more perishable than it, squash becomes the vegetable of necessity when the fridge is empty. Yet for its willingness to wait, every time I cook with it, I remember how giving it is on the table. In my latest Behind the Brew article, I serve up a baking spice and bacon squash soup and delicious vegetarian lasagna based on squash and scented with sage, cinnamon and nutmeg. While squash typically likes some time roasting away in the oven, I’m keen to try Gordon Ramsay’s quick butternut squash curry recipe. I often find I am most enamoured with Ramsay’s home cooking, and regardless of opinions of the famed foul-mouthed chef, he always shows how technique and simplicity can come together.
Four for Fifty: New Year's Eve challenge
My wallet, and many of my friends’ wallets, have never been lighter than they are now at the end of 2020. Working through the ranks of the restaurant business, my friends are almost exclusively in the ‘trade.’ With cellars depleted and tip jars near emptied, I challenged myself to make a gourmet meal (with wine) for four out of $50. With food and wine prices at all-time highs - and going up according to a recent article titled Cook more, eat frozen - it’s a challenge many of us are facing in our daily lives. Let’s toast away 2020 with some great food and drink but do so on a budget. I hope you enjoy my Four for Fifty: a gourmet New Year’s Eve challenge.
Uncomplicate home dining
There is a global trend towards rethinking fine dining. Complicated plate designs are on the way out and simple, comforting foods are in. It’s a trend I appreciate. For too long, we have associated ‘fine’ with the finesse of plating, but in my opinion, ‘fine’ should be reflective of flavour. Separating a dish into multiple splashes of colour on a plate is an art but embracing a multitude of flavours and colours in a single dish is no less virtuous. Claire Tansey’s simple sausage and bean stew is a great example of building flavour without being complicated. I see myself enjoying a deep glass of savoury red wine, this recipe and a book in my holiday vacation future.
See you next week when we'll offer more great food and drink recipes. Until then, keep following your foodie dreams.
~ Mark DeWolf
Mark DeWolf is a connoisseur of all things food and drink. He's a creative director with SaltWire and local fare is his specialty. Watch Mark whip up seasonal plates in his video series, In a Jiffy, and go deeper with food trends and kitchen challenges weekly