The long, cold, snowy winter continues, although the days are lengthening. We cling to the hope of spring. But in the meantime, a winter break was needed. So I tacked on some days and put together a five-day weekend. The first two days were spent in Elora, where the gang of four went to stay at Drew House. This is a B&B and offers gourmet weekends with cooking demonstrations by owner/chef/author Roger Dufau. We went for the works, as one of the party is an old friend of the Dufaus.
It was cold and sunny, and the heavy snowfall squeaked underfoot. Elora, famous for its stone buildings, its summer music festival and its real charm, was a haven of serenity for us out-of-towners.
Roger produced a Valentine's Day menu which, to be honest, I thought was impossible in three hours or so.
Beetroots and blue potatoes
Roasted steelhead with shrimps and scallops
Black Forest Cake
Readers, he did it, unflappably and charmingly in his Basque French accent and assisted by his sous-chef François, a young culinary student. What a relief fron the overexcitable self-importance of most television chefs.
The 30-or-so crowd enjoyed the demonstration with wine they had brought
and Roger's indescribably good sausage rolls. He made them in front
of us as part of the demo and then, thank God, they only took ten
minutes to cook in a roaring oven. It was, and this is saying
something, the best part of the weekend. My friend Laura turned me and
said, "We're making those."
We start work on this year's big
cake project very soon, and she suggested that at our first get
together, when we start the colour-flow decorations, that we set aside a
bit of time to try making the sausage rolls.
demonstration took place in the large coachhouse building of Drew House.
Afterwards the food was set up on a buffet table we all sat together en famille and ate. So good. SO. GOOD. And such an interesting table of people!
Later, after a bit of shopping in the little main street of Elora (I had bought
raw chocolate there last fall and had to stock up again), we had
cocktails at a beautiful farmhouse. This belongs to a friend of one of our gang of four, and Chef Roger and his charming wife Kathleen were of the party.
Our hosts are avid collectors of photography and there were some stunning pieces of serious historical value. We then returned to the main house, where we had run of the place, and
sat by the fire chatting and making new friends. I slept like a log in the pumpkin-hued bedroom, and then, in the morning, there was more lengthy
discussion over breakfast, which featured eggs benedict. It seemed most of the previous day's demo
participants had stayed overnight as well. It was hard to push our chairs back from the table as the conversation flew fast and furious. Finally we groaned
our way back to the car and came home. I slept... more. That's pretty much
all I had done all weekend: eat and sleep. Really wonderful time.
Roger and Kathleen create a very special atmosphere, deeply relaxing and friendly, warm and irresistible. Needless to say, we'll be back. Needless to say I took some pictures.