Grand Marnier

“Family Favourite” Banana Flambé

Posted on: June 2nd, 2012 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

A few weeks ago, I stayed late at the dentist office. Most people want to get out as quickly as possible, but Michele, the administrative assistant and I got to talking and we didn’t want to stop.

For many years, Michele has been a warm, friendly voice on the answering machine reminding us about our appointments and her warm smile has always welcomed us like family at each appointment. Over the years I enjoyed hearing about the adventures of her 3 children as they have grown and are now off to college and Michele has watched our daughter grow up from a toddler playing with the train set in the waiting room, to the independent teenager she is now.

At my last appointment, we started talking about food. Michele’s real passion in life is creating and serving exquisite food. She comes by it naturally. Her great aunt was June Jacques, the matriarch to the Jacques family who owned the very popular Knotty Pine restaurants here in Cambridge and Waterloo, Ontario.

The Knotty Pine restaurants were famous for their Buttered Almond Cake. People came from all over the province to enjoy a slice. You can find recipes online that claim to be the original, but Michele reassures me that the original Buttered Almond Cake recipe, along with all their recipes, remains under lock and key. The family has never released any of their recipes to the public.

As Michele and I chatted that evening, she told me about her favourite recipes and all the foodies in her family. We were having so much fun that her husband who arrived to pick her up had no choice but to join us. We came up with great ideas for more restaurants and more cook books. It was great fun!

This is an old family favourite enjoyed at our family cottage for forty-some odd years. I watched my mom make it for friends while entertaining and I in turn made it for friends when I grew up. Everyone simply loves it!  ~ Michele

Family Favourite Banana Flambé

6 or 7 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  1. In a large sauté pan melt butter over med heat.
  2. Add sliced bananas, orange juice, sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar. Quickly toss over medium to high heat until butter and sugar thickens (about 2-3 min).
  3. Turn burner to high, drizzle Grand Marnier over bananas and ignite with flame! A lighter with a long handle is the safest option to ignite it with.
  4. Quickly toss over high heat. The flame will go out within 30 seconds.
  5. Remove from stove and immediately serve over vanilla ice cream or gelato.

Tip: Michele uses amber rum when she doesn’t have Grand Marnier available.

Simply Delicious!

Excerpt from Wikipedia article on Flambe


Simply lighting food on fire is not flambéing in and of itself. Igniting a sauce with alcohol in the pan changes the chemistry of the food. Because alcohol boils at 78 °C (172 °F), water boils at 100 °C (212 °F) and sugar caramelizes at 170 °C (338 °F), ignition of all these ingredients combined results in a complex chemical reaction, especially as the surface of the burning alcohol exceeds 240 °C (500 °F).

Because of their high alcohol content, some recipes recommend flambéing with liquors such as Everclear or 151. However, these spirits are highly flammable and are considered much too dangerous by professional cooks. Wines and beers have too little alcohol and will not flambé. Rum, cognac, or other flavorful liqueurs that are about 40% alcohol (80 USA proof) are considered ideal. Cinnamon, which is ground from tree bark, is sometimes added not only for flavor, but for show as the powder ignites when added.

4 Women Holding Bananas. Really!

If you liked this recipe…  Mother-Daughter Butterscotch Bananas is a similar recipe. Bananas & ice cream seem to bring families together.

“Best Bites 2011” Bravo!

Posted on: September 14th, 2011 by Carla Johnson No Comments

On Sunday I spent the afternoon along side the best chefs, restaurants, wineries and breweries in the region. At the Cooking With Sin booth we were “doctoring” up pieces of cake  at Best Bites 2011 where all our efforts helped raise $80,000 for Cambridge Memorial Hospital!!

Wayne, Michèle, Me & Shelley

Thank you Shelley Stone, Michèle Atack & Wayne Atack for joining me! We sure had a LOT of fun!

Thank you to my daughter and her friend for all your help setting-up, decorating and taking-down.

We were “doctoring” up pieces of cake donated by our local Metro grocery store for the event. Thank you Metro! It was based on Shelley’s “Special Delivery” Black Forest Cake.

Thank you Grand Marnier for providing a bottle of your spectacular liqueur to inject into each piece with my fun metal turkey baster. :)

If you live in the K-W-C area, you gotta join us next year!

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“Born to Cook” Cranberry Sauce

Posted on: June 12th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments


Inventor Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle had his friend César Ritz taste his creation, the famed hotelier was so taken with it that he suggested a new name: “Grand Marnier® ”

A grand name for a grand liqueur,” he is reputed to have said, ignoring a trend in turn-of-the-century Paris to call everything small, or “petit” (Le petit journal, Le petit café, Le petit palais, etc.)

~ from the Grand Marnier website

Adam Hewson’s mother Claudette loved to cook all types of interesting foods and baked many delicious sweets. Her heritage was Jamaican, but she liked to try foods from all over the world.

It was in this world of wonderful foods that Adam was raised and he has carried on Claudette’s love of cooking. While he is usually quiet and easy-going, if you sit down and talk to him about his rum cake he comes alive. Adam has a true passion for cooking and will enthusiastically share the countless recipes “up his sleeve.”

Here is the link to Adam’s Jamaican Rum Cake:


Did you know? The key ingredient to marinating ribs is Dragon Stout beer. It’s a Jamaican beer that has been described as “Sinfully sweet, chocolaty, fruity and complex.”* Hmm… they used the word “sin”! 😉


Did you know? Rib-eye steak tastes better topped with mushrooms sautéed in butter with a bit of brandy and Grand Marnier tossed in at the end. Cremini and portobello mushrooms are the best and add the crushed garlic half way through the sautéing so it doesn’t burn.

Did you know? A few key ingredients will take cranberry sauce from delicious to spectacular. Grand Marnier is one of them.


Adam’s Cranberry Sauce

1 500 ml bag (2 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
½ cup (100ml) water
½ cup brown sugar
1 orange (zest + juice)
1 Granny Smith apple
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
pinch fresh ground pepper
¼ cup Grand Marnier, or any other orange liqueur
Coarsely ground black pepper

1. Toast the coriander seeds carefully in a skillet on medium heat. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn, then grind into a coarse powder. The coarse texture brings a distinct dimension to the recipe. Should make about ½ teaspoon of powder.

2. Peel, cut and core the apple. Discard the peelings and core. Grate the apple.

3. Place cranberries, orange juice, peel, water, apple and sugar into a medium sized sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the cranberries soften and break down. About 15 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the Grand Marnier and coriander seeds. Season with black pepper. Other orange liqueurs will work, but won’t have as strong of a flavour.

5. Let the cranberry sauce cool. It will firm up a bit. It can be prepared a few days in advance and stored in the fridge. It also freezes well, too.

Bon Appetit!

titanic-gm-bottle This Grand Marnier bottle was found in the Titanic wreckage and is now in the Titanic Museum.

* Quote from

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“Rainbow Special” Brandied Gravy

Posted on: April 3rd, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments


April showers bring May flowers,Grand-Marnier
That is what they say.
But if all the showers turned to flowers,
We’d have quite a colourful day!

~ Karen Chappell

Today on our family drive home from our cabin, we drove through some rain and then a rainbow followed us for the last 45 minutes of our drive. I have never seen a rainbow last that long before. It was amazing!


Because of its awe-inspiring beauty the rainbow represents a lot of wonderful things to a lot of wonderful people. Did you know…??

  • An Islamic physicist 1000 years ago was the first person to try and explain the science of a rainbow.

  • In Greek and Norse mythology a rainbow connected humans to the gods.

  • In Christianity a rainbow represents hope and promise.

  • In Hinduism the 7 colours of the spectrum represent the 7 shakras.

  • To the First Nations of Turtle Island (North America) the rainbow is a sign of Manataka, the Place of Peace.

  • The rainbow snake in Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories represents the water diety.

  • The rainbow flag with the colour spectrum has been adopted by the LGBTQ groups to represent the spectrum of our sexuality.

We just passed the March Equinox and in the next few days, there will be many significant celebrations that fit beautifully with the renewal of spring. Christians are celebrating Easter. Jews are celebrating Passover. Sikhs are celebrating Vaisakhi and the Bahá’í are celebrating  Ridvan.

If you are getting together with family or friends – for any reason! – and cooking a turkey, here is a recipe you will want to try. When I asked my Goddess friends for recipes, Laurie told me she had a recipe with brandy in it, but it was for gravy. My jaw just about fell to the floor. I would never have thought of putting brandy in gravy! I wanted her to make it for our Goddess Supper, but it would have required roasting a turkey, so I saved it for this post. 

Brandied Turkey Gravy


2 cups water
1 onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
turkey giblets chopped coarsely
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup brandy or orange liquer
pinch of salt & pepper

While the turkey is roasting, make a giblet broth by adding the water, onion and bay leaves to a pot with the giblets. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered aboukt 30 minutes. Strain and save the liquid.

Once the turkey is finished, remove it from the baking pan. Skim off the fat that is floating on top of the pan juices. Place the pan over the burner on medium heat and bring to a boil.

Whisking constantly, sift the flour into the pan juices. The flour can also be mixed with cold water separately then whisked into the pan. Whisk until smooth and it thickens with the heat.

Whisk giblet broth into the pan and ad the brandy or orange liquer.

Reduce heat to medium and stir frequently. Keep the pan uncovered until it thickens, 5-7 minutes. Reduce to low heat and simmer 5 more minutes.

Add pinches of salt and pepper as needed. Makes about 3 cups.

Enjoy your weekend!