McEwan’s Festive Meals Make Entertaining a Holiday Miracle

If you’re reading this in the midst of the hectic holiday season, you’re likely buried in a to-do list longer than Santa’s. There are decorations to hang, gifts to buy, events every night of the week and of course, that grand dinner party you promised you would host. Amidst the chaos in the week, pulling off a bountiful spread may seem like an impossible task…and isn’t the purpose of the holidays to spend time with family and friends rather than be chained to a stove basting a turkey with one hand while mashing potatoes with another?Well, until we find a clone under the tree that can help us make our cake and eat it too, we’re taking a little help from the holiday experts at McEwan.
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This giving season they are offering a variety of full Festive Meals that will let you actually relish in those precious once-per-year moments.

McEwan Catering Manager, Eric McEwan told me, “a lot of our first time customers who were used to doing their holiday meals themselves were skeptical at first, but they all have come back in the new year raving about the meal, how easy it was and how much food they got for the price. Ultimately, they appreciate being able to spend the time they would usually be cooking with their families instead and these meals help them do just that.”

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Investing the same care and passion you would if you were cooking yourself, the McEwan chefs have developed a variety of holiday meals to satisfy your families size needs, preferences and holiday traditions.

The most popular option is of course the whole Turkey Dinner with classic sides like Cranberry Sauce, Stuffing, Brussels Sprouts and more which Eric anticipates to get over 200 orders for this Christmas Eve.

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For those exhausted from poultry, why not try the elegant Beef Tenderloin, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Heirloom Carrots, Seasonal Mushrooms and Caesar Salad supper.  There is also amore exotic Roasted Leg of Lamb with Parmesan Potato Gratin, Chili Garlic Rapini and an Arugula Manchego Salad. Even the non-meat eaters have a restaurant-quality option with McEwan’s stunning Maple Whisky Salmon with Dill French Beans, Slow- Cooked Sugar Beets and Bibb Lettuce Salad.

It’s not just about likes and dislikes, McEwan also recognizes that happiness and health always go hand in hand and are keen to accommodate various dietary concerns. Going gluten free? No problem, Eric showed me the batch of gluten free stuffing and flourless gravy that they’ve got going into holiday meals. Lactose Intolerant shoppers have a plethora of options as well with McEwan’s innovative dairy free recipes. Even vegetarians can get in on the jolly spirit with handmade vegetable pot pies and pasta entrees. If you don’t see something specific that captures your holiday traditions, Eric suggested their team of culinary superstars will happily take requests – “we ask you what you want and make it happen.”

What’s the point of getting your guests all riled up unless you’ve got a big showstopper to end the night? A quick trip to McEwan’s tantalizing bakery and your toughest chore will be deciding whether to go Yule log or pie, European cookie tray or petit fours. That is so much easier than last year’s struggle with the 20 pound stand-mixer and the worst flour blizzard of 2012!

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While a McEwan quality meal like this is sure to get gobbled faster than Santa’s cookie tray, there are lots of tasty possibilities for the lucky chance of leftovers.

Too much turkey? Executive Chef Shen Ousmand suggests you shred or “pull” it, mix it with some cranberry sauce and serve it on a mini bun as a Pulled Turkey Slider! Got extra Brussels sprouts? Try tossing them with some cooked potatoes, throw a fried or poached egg on top and call it a breakfast hash.

However you want to serve it, McEwan’s Festive Meals are a great way make this hectic season just as relaxing for you as it is for your guests- a scenario that may have previously seemed like a holiday miracle!  So if you started reading this piece a little anxious starring down your to-do list, I hope you’re now breathing a sigh of relief at the big ticket item you can cross off. With a McEwan’s Festive Meal on your menu, you can get back to what really matters this season – cherishing each moment spent sharing memories, stories and fabulous food with your closest family and friends.

DELICIOUSLY YOURS,

ABBEY SHARP, RD

OWNER, ABBEY’S KITCHEN

 

Lights! Camera! Action! Barbados Food, Wine & Rum Festival

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For the past three years we’ve been lucky enough to participate in the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival. It is something we wait for all year.  From stepping off the plane into the warm Bajan sunshine, to unpacking our bags in the beautiful rooms at The Tamarind Hotel and to spending our days working side-by-side in the kitchen at the Pom Marine these are experiences that stay with us throughout the whole year.

We spend our days working with local ingredients, pumping music from our iHome players and drinking Banks Beer.

Each year we tackle something new with our dishes, last year it was making fresh ricotta, this year it was making over 1,000 tortillas from scratch. We are known for the long hours we put in, but also for the way we are able to make friends and tackle obstacles….if there were an award for Team Congeniality, we would win hands down!

Above all else it is a great bonding experience. We meet local Bajan chefs and our favourite ones from the States, and we get to spend time away from the office together. Bymark‘s Executive Chef, Brooke McDougall, Executive Chef Andrew Ellerby from One, McEwan and Fabbrica as well as Mark McEwan and myself spent time conceiving new plans for the year ahead on the beach instead of in the office. We have lunches and dinners together rather than heading our separate ways at the end of the work day, reminiscing and laughing at stories from the night or years past while waiting for swordfish sandwiches from roadside grill.

Chef Mark McEwan, Anne Burrell, Chef Garces, Marcus-Samuelsson, Aaron McCargo, Jr. and others at Barbados Food And Wine & Rum Festival in 2012. File Photo: Barbados Tourism

Chefs Mark McEwan, Anne Burrell, Garces, Marcus-Samuelsson, Aaron McCargo, Jr. and others at Barbados Food And Wine & Rum Festival in 2012. File Photo: Barbados Tourism

Below is a home movie of our trip, it follows our antics inside the kitchen and outside, prepping for Ambrosia, the party at the polo club with 1300 guests as well as what we did on our days off.

We hope to be invited back next year…and we hope you will join us!

Written by,

Jordie McTavish, Executive Chef to Mark McEwan

Holidays at McEwan Floral

There are signs everywhere that the festive season is approaching full bloom – window displays in stores, mittens being dug out of storage boxes and of course, signs of snow. Everything is telling us to start checking strands of holiday lights for duds and to take stock of last year’s decorations. You can’t help but want to add something extra to your standard décor. A good, versatile place to start is with a floral arrangement.

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Making your own is a great way to add something fresh and personalized to your decorating repertoire. This year we are eager to share a little bit of advice in the hopes that we can help you create your own beautiful arrangement, instead of just buying one.

Floral trends to keep on eye out for the coming holidays this year include:

  • Arrangements with Magnolia branches instead of traditional pine elements with two toned brown and green leaves add a hint of warmth, while showcasing elements of the winter landscape. Fluffy white roses bring out the suggestion of snow.
  • “Forget using satin red ribbon this season, try using natural elements like burlap or twine for holiday bows.” – Rachel & Dianne of McEwan Floral
  • Wild rosehips are remnants of autumn and we love them on their own or speckled in a lush floral arrangement.
  • Vintage brass vessels adds that luminosity and warmth that is reflective of the holidays. Bring your old vases and vessels in to be filled for holiday cheer!
  • Hemlock branches are also very popular this year

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Arrangement Tips – Think of arranging flowers like you think of cooking…

  • Overpowering ingredients together in a recipe can cause a clash; use flavours and flowers that will enhance and flow with one another.
  • Pick a base, your green foliage. Pick a focal flower, the main flavor in your creation. Finally, pick supporting flowers that will compliment your focal flower & keep it simple.
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1.Magnolia 2.Wild Rosehips 3.Hemlock Branches 4.Amaryllis 5.Juniper

Here our favorites for the holidays that we are most anxious to share:

Amaryllis tones range from the deepest red to peachy pink. The velvety sheen of their petals can add a luxurious feel to arrangements.

The fragrance of Juniper is pungent, herbaceous, peppery, and pine-like. We love it in arrangements or in festive garlands.

Cedar is a traditional holiday pine. The foliage is a bright green and adds the smell and feel of the wintery weather.

We finish here with large sprinkles of inspiration.  If you are in doubt, stop by McEwan Floral and we will gladly help come up with some suggestions.

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