It was nice enough to start snowing late this afternoon, just as the last of the second group arrived for the final weekend package of Christmas in November. We walked around the lake and skipped rocks across the partially frozen parts, creating an eerie sort of space bird sound, had hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and then had hot baths and watched Wall-E while writing Christmas cards in our robes before Buffet #2, at which point the evening quickly deteriorated into a frenzy of chasing HellBoy as he ran through the crowd and attempted to disassemble Christmas trees, placating him with lamb chops and trying to maintain our composure as he screamed and spread-eagled himself on the ground in the middle of the high-traffic main doorway and refused to move.So when M took (or rather dragged) W back to the cabin (to answer the query – he has spent many nights in our room ordering room service, partly because he has a bum knee and W won’t stop, partly because three year olds don’t make ideal gala dinner guests, and partly to keep himself away from the free-flowing wine and martinis at the main lodge) I managed to sit and eat some dinner. I have a guest photographer tonight – while we ate Michael Olsen offered to photograph his plate, as well as the two tenderloins on the carving board at the head of our table. (My plate had a few token greens on it – his is far more accurate.)
The plum chutney played such a minor role in this buffet; it was there to accompany short, squat bison sausages wrapped in the merest belt of puff pastry, but it interested me most – it could have so many other applications. I asked Chef Turcot for the recipe and he obliged. (He didn’t have much else to do this week.) I love this formula… this is what restaurant kitchen recipes look like – they assume you know what the hell you’re doing if you’re there and using the recipe – and generally the amounts are in liters or pounds instead of cups and teaspoons. (There are some sausages with plum chutney in the last buffet photo – Monday’s dinner.)
1 liter plums, diced (that’s 4 cups)
7 garlic (I’ll assume that’s cloves, and I’d crush them)
336 g brown sugar (about 1 2/3 packed cups)
300 mL cider vinegar (a cup is 250 mL; you do the math)
3 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. cloves (let’s say ground)
1 tsp. nutmeg
In pan place ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and reduce by half. Cool and serve.
The Maple Pouding Chomeur though. There were a lot of desserts, but this was The One. It’s a sort of sticky maple goo covered with golden, crunchy-topped cake. A French Canadian pudding cake. I was a little disappointed to see the quantity of cream, butter and sugar, but it did make sense considering how good the finished product is. And it does serve 24. Michael says its original name is “Poverty Pudding” – I should be so impoverished.
Maple Pouding “Chomeur”
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 1/3 cups milk
Maple Creamy Sauce:
1 ½ cups maple syrup
1 ½ cups brown sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1/3 cup butter
Cake: In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light. Add eggs and vanilla and mix. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk, and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased 13 x 9 inch oven glass dish. Sauce: In a large saucepan, bring to boil the syrup, brown sugar, heavy cream and butter while stirring. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 2 minutes or until the sauce has slightly reduced. Slowly pour the boiling sauce onto the batter.
Cook in a preheated oven of 325°F for about 35 minutes or until the top of the pudding is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 24.