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Coq Au Vin (French Chicken Stew)

Coq au vin is one of the most well known and popular French chicken dishes. It consists of chicken braised with wine, bacon and mushrooms. Although red wine is typically used, white wine can also be used to make Coq Au Vin Blanc. It can be prepared a day or more before serving, which will result in an flavourful stew.

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Irish Coffee Dessert

Traditional Irish coffee is a cocktail consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream. The coffee is drunk through the cream.  This variation has similar ingredients, but it is in the form of a set dessert. Definitely worth a try! The popular alcoholic drink, Irish Coffee, was created in the winter of 1943 by Chef Joe Sheridan. The story goes that he whipped up something special to drink for a group of cold and weary passengers who were waiting for a flight at the Foynes Airbase in Ireland. Apparently silence descended on the group as everyone enjoyed this delectable concoction.

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Crêpes Suzette

Crêpe Suzette is one of the most popular and well-known French desserts. So much so that National Crêpe Suzette Day is celebrated annually on the 6th of May. Crêpe Suzette consists of crêpes (pancakes) with an orange sauce. It is served flambé.   The crêpes can be made in advance or if you are pressed for time, use shop-bought crêpes. You can even use South African Pancakes to make Crêpe Suzette! If you like the combination of orange and alcohol, be sure to also try my recipe for Duck à l’Orange!

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Microwave Fruit Cake or Dessert

Moist, delicious and no effort to make and cook in the microwave. May be eaten fresh from the oven or cooled and treated like a traditional cake, covered with almond paste or marzipan only or covered with plastic icing (easy to purchase) as well.

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Tiramisu means “pick me up” and is a popular coffee-flavored Italian dessert. It is made of ladyfingers or Boudoir Biscuits dipped in coffee, layered with a whipped mixture of eggs, sugar, and mascarpone cheese, flavoured with cocoa. Countless variations of Tiramisu exist. (see variations below).   Marsala wine can be added to the recipe, but other liquors are frequently substituted for it including dark rum, Madeira, port, brandy, Malibu, or Irish Cream and especially coffee flavored liqueurs such as Tia Maria and Kahlua.

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Beef Bourguignonne

The unequalled classic, rich beef stew is known as “Boeuf Bourguignonne” means “beef in burgundy” or good red wine.  The dish originates from the Burgundy region in France.  The amount of wine added may be adjusted or even omitted to suit personal preference. The success of the dish depends on the quality of the meat and correct cooking methods.

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This dish is a Milanese specialty of cross-cut veal shanks braised with vegetables, white wine and broth. It is often garnished with gremolata and traditionally served with polenta or mashed potato.  When loosely translated from Italian, Ossobucco means hollowed bone – a reference to the large piece of marrow in the center of the veal shank bone.

6 x 200 g crosscut veal shanks (2.5 to 4 cm in thickness)
125 ml cake flour
salt & pepper
45 ml butter
30 ml olive oil
30 g dry porcini mushrooms (optional)
125 ml onion, finely chopped
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
375 ml dry white wine
250 ml veal or beef stock

Gremolata (see Notes)
2 lemons, zest only (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
90 ml parsley, finely chopped

Creamy Polenta
250 ml polenta (yellow maize meal)
80 ml cream
salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  2. Dust each shank with flour, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large oven proof pan, melt the butter with the oil, and brown the shanks well on both sides.
  4. Remove to a separate plate and pour off any fat.
  5. Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in a cup of warm water for 30 minutes.
  6. Drain, retaining the mushroom liquid, and finely chop the mushrooms and set aside.
  7. Strain the mushroom liquid through a fine sieve, and measure out 1/2 cup, then set aside.
  8. Add the vegetables to the pan, and sauté the vegetables until tender.
  9. Add the wine, scrape up any brown bits on the bottom, bring to a boil and reduce.
  10. Add the beef broth and mushroom liquid and heat.
  11. Return the shanks to the pan, cover and place in the oven for at least 2 hours, or until the meat begins to fall off the bones.
  12. Combine the ingredients for the gremolata topping and set it aside.
  13. To make the polenta, bring 750 ml cold water to the boil in a saucepan.
  14. Add the polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes or until the polenta is soft.
  15. Remove the polenta from heat and stir in the cream.
  16. Season with salt and pepper and spoon into individual plates.
  17. Serve one shank per person and spoon some of the sauce over the shank and polenta.
  18. Sprinkle with the gremolata topping and serve.


  • If the sauce is not thick, carefully remove the veal shanks to a warm dish and return the pan to the stove top over high heat. Cook until the sauce has thickened. Just before serving, return the veal shanks to the pan to reheat.
  • Gremolata is an Italian garnish made from finely minced parsley, garlic and lemon zest.  It is traditionally served with veal but it is also an excellent accompaniment for fish and seafood dishes.

6 servings.

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Veal With Tuna Sauce (Vitello Tonnato)

Vitello tonnato is a Piedmontese dish of cold, sliced veal covered with a creamy, mayonnaise-like sauce that has been flavored with tuna. It is served chilled or at room temperature as the main course of an Italian meal or as antipasto.  This dish has unlikely ingredients, but the end result is quite delicious!  Be sure to read the post The Veal Deal for more info and recipes on veal.

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