It’s January again. Let’s do it!

It’s been WAY too long since I took the time to do anything with this blog. I have lots of photos and recipes and experiences I’ve been meaning to share but there is never enough time; with four busy kids, a love-human (partner) and a full-time job. But such is life for so many of us, and how can I complain about being busy? Really, I am so blessed. To be healthy. To have my amazing family. To life in a country where we have a great deal of security, and choices. To have friends that forgive me for hardly seeing them. I want to say I’m lucky to have a job I like, where I work with great people but a good friend once told me that when you work hard and make good choices – then it isn’t just luck when you have a good job or positive relationships to be happy about.

So, why am I back after such a long break? I signed up to be a member of the Food Bloggers of Canada when I first started this thing, and they recently sent a note to everyone advising that dormant bloggers might get the boot from some lists. And I really enjoy reading their info and being on their lists, so here I am! Thanks FBC for kicking my butt to get going again!
toutiere web

In the spirit of our new year, I’m happy to share this Tourtière recipe. (Spell check wants to change this to “torture”, ha ha.)  It’s a traditional Canadian (Quebec) recipe, often served around the Christmas holidays. I used to make this with my Grandmother who was from Quebec. She was the BEST storyteller and very funny.  She also liked to eat, and was always overweight but didn’t seem to care. One of the funny things she said to me was this…(Imagine it with a french accent!), “I don’t have a man. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. So what if I eat? I need some pleasure in my life!” (Last line said with emphasis!)

Now, I overcooked this one on New Year’s Eve so it was dry…but the recipe itself is good! FYI, the name, “Nicole Burns Food” has been even more appropriate over the last year or so. When we redid our house about a year ago, we finally bought a gas stove/oven and we are still getting used to it! So many recipes either overcooked (or undercooked – and then we wait, and wait). I hope we get used to the new oven soon!


Serves 8-10


Use the tried and tested, never fail pastry recipe from Canadian Living:
3/4 cup vegetable shortening, cut into about 6-8 chunks3 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup very cold water

Actually, they called for salt but I very rarely use it, especially as I use salted butter. Your choice if you add a dash of salt.

My apple pie recipe has the method for preparing the dough, so please check it out there!
I appreciate that some experts use different dough for different things but I just really like this pastry recipe! It is so easy, and tastes good!



1/2 pack of ground pork and 1/2 pack of ground beef (lean). (This is about 1 pound each). (This recipe is traditionally all pork but we’ve always made it mixed.)
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of roasted garlic, minced (or 1-2 raw cloves of garlic, finely minced)
1 cup mushrooms, washed, trimmed and finely minced
2 sticks celery, finely minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley, washed and dried, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash or two of Worschestershire sauce
1 cup beef stock (I prefer low sodium if store-bought)
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (if store bought, get the plain ones, not with Italian seasoning)
1 egg yolk (treat yourself to an egg white omelette with the remainder)
1 tsp water


In a deep frying pan, cook the pork and beef over medium heat until browned, then drain off the fat.

Add onion, garlic, mushrooms, celery, parsley, Worschestershire and spices. Cook until the onion (and garlic if using raw) is soft, about five minutes.  Reduce heat to low.

Stir in the stock. Sprinkle and stir in the bread crumbs. If it is looking dry, don’t add them all in! Just add them until it isn’t soggy.

Set aside and let cool to at least a lukewarm temperature. (We tend to cover it and sit it outside while we roll the pastry!)

Prepare the pastry, then fill with the meat and cover with the remaining pastry. With any extra pastry,  make cut-outs to be extra fancy! To seal the edges and adhere the cut-outs, mix the egg yolk with the water and brush like it’s glue.

This can be done in advance and baked the next day or frozen and baked later.  Just cover well so the pastry doesn’t dry out.

Before baking, cut steam vents and brush with egg glaze all over. Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven (or 350 if you have my oven!) for about 40-50 minutes until the filling is heated through and the pastry is golden.

If cooking from frozen, let defrost overnight in the fridge. You will likely need to bake it a little longer to get it up to temperature in the middle. Half way through cooking, you might need to cover the pastry edges with foil to keep them from going brown and dry.

Serve hot with ketchup or gravy.

NOTE: Tourtière is so often relegated to Christmas time but this is a great recipe to make ahead and re-heat during busy weekdays.  And if you overcook and it’s dry, just add gravy!

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