Triple Sec

Cooking With Sin 2014 Calendar – February

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by Carla Johnson 2 Comments

Each month in 2014, I am sharing a calendar page that includes a CWS recipe. Here is February’s!

Click to open up the large version of the calendar page, then right click and save or copy it for yourself. Print it off for your fridge, share it with a friend, post it at your office … etc.

I just ask, if you use it in a document, please use the entire image, so Cooking With Sin gets the credit. Thank you. It is yours to enjoy!

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin Calendar 2014

CWS Calendar 2014-02 February

Check out the story from the original classic recipe “She’s a Trooper” Cherries Jubilee.

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

“I Love NY” Sangria

Posted on: February 10th, 2013 by Carla Johnson No Comments

Monica and her dad are very close and they have an annual tradition; they make wine together at a local wine makers. It is a special father-daughter venture and each year they choose a new red grape juice to work with. They have made Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet, Cabernet-Sauvignon and several others.

Cooking With Sin Carla Johnson

While she teaches grade 5 students by day, on the holidays Monica might be your tour guide on a bus trip to Montreal or New York. She has been to New York enough times that she has several favourite places. It was at a little Italian restaurant in NYC where she fell in love with their sangria and she set out to make her own version at home in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

Monica loves to entertain and invite people to her home. When it comes to party hostesses, she is one of the best. She is especially known for her delicious sangria. She has worked hard to find the right mix and at her last party I got a chance to have a few sips of it myself. I just loved it!

I find that sangrias can sometimes have a bit of a dry edge, but Monica’s is a smooth as silk. Her key ingredient cherry brandy. It works wonderfully.

“I Love NY” Sangria

1 750 ml bottle of Monica’s red wine
1/2 cup cherry brandy or cherry whiskey
1/2 cup triple sec
1/2 cup peach schnapps
1/2 cup lemonade
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup Sprite
Frozen berries

1. Mix the liquid ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl. Monica pours her sangria into large plastic pop bottles which are nice to pour from and make it easy to store.

2. Monica keeps a bowl of frozen berries nearby to spoon into each cup as it is served.

Note: You want to look for cherry brandy specifically, not Kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry brandy that is made with the whole cherry, including the pit. It works really well in my Flaming Cherries Jubilee, but is too bitter for Sangria.


“SANGRITA” Frozen Sangria &

“TAKIN’ THE PISS” Crisper Sangria

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin


“Ode to the Haggis” Burns Nicht

Posted on: January 27th, 2011 by Carla Johnson 1 Comment

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:

But, if ye wish her grateful prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

~ Robert Burns (1759-1796)

This “Cooking With Sin” blog was inspired by my maternal grandmother (Elizabeth Voth Nickel Dyck) who was Mennonite, but my fraternal grandmother (Dorothy Williams Johnson) was Scottish, so with Robbie Burns’ birthday approaching, I thought it would be fun to give her heritage a nod too.

On January 25th, every year, the Scottish community celebrates the birthday of their Ploughman’s Poet, Rabbie Burns. Knowing the night is infused with wee drams of scotch, it seemed a great fit for this venture. So, I called up a bunch of friends and invited them over.

The traditional structure to a Robbie Burns Supper goes like this:

1. Welcome and announcements
2. Selkirk Grace
3. Piping in and cutting of the haggis
4. Reading Robbie Burns’ “Address to the Haggis”
5. The “Immortal Memory” reviews his life and accomplishments.
6. Feasting and partying.
7. The evening ends with everyone singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

Our evening followed the order somewhat loosely. We started with wee drams all around and then one of our friends read the Selkirk Grace.

The Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

I had started planning this evening with the noble intention of making my own haggis. Then I found out what was involved and decided instead to follow the wise advice of my dear Scottish friend Jill Fraser Yang. I bought myself a haggis ball at the local Scottish bakery where I also picked up a good bunch of their bakery shortbread, too.

To pipe the haggis in we resorted to modern technology. One of our friends played bagpipe music on his iPod. Some were hesitant to taste it, but I can assure you that haggis is very mild. It’s like a crumbly sausage. And my scotch whisky cream sauce on it made it go down even better.We would have served neeps, but I’m not good to watch the clock and we ran out of time to cook them, so we had tatties without the neeps.

The desserts were wonderful. I made Cranachan with raspberries. The raspberries were soaked in scotch and the double cream was whipped with honey and scotch, too! Our friend Kim Stenhouse brought orange slices soaked in Drambuie which we served on vanilla ice cream. I’m feeling a little soaked just thinking about it. :)

There were more wee drams to follow along with shots of Drambuie, Cointreau and Triple Sec. I think we did Mr. Burns right. He would have approved.

Scotch Whisky Cream Sauce

1/4 cup scotch whisky
170g double cream
dash of salt

1. Warm the whisky in a sauce pan then light with a long handled lighter. Flambé the whisky for a few moments to burn off the bitter taste of the alcohol. Be careful of the flames. They can reach quite high! Douse the flames with the lid.

2. Stir in the double cream and salt. Reduce the heat and let the mixture cook until the liquid reduces to a thicker sauce.

3. Serve over the haggis.


Serves 8

2 cups fresh raspberries
1/2 cup scotch whisky
1/4 cup steel cut oats
2 teaspoons brown sugar
340g (12 oz.) double cream
3 tablespoons scotch whisky
4 tablespoons liquid honey

1. Soak the raspberries ahead in the 1/2 cup scotch whisky for 2 hours. Stir them occasionally.

2. Toast the oats in a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Watch them closely and sprinkle on the brown sugar and stir so the oats become candied. Let cool.3. Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. *Note: The double cream is much more substantial than our North American whipping cream.

4. Mix the whisky and honey into the whipped cream.

5. Layer a glass bowl or individual serving dishes with the cream and the raspberries and sprinkle the toasted candied oats on top. Serve.

“We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,

For auld lang syne.”

Another great Cooking With Sin Robbie Burns Day recipe is on “Bring Joy” Drambuie Cream Sauce.

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“Takin’ the Piss” Crisper Sangria

Posted on: July 28th, 2010 by Carla Johnson No Comments

“Balmy days, sweet sangria.
She’s been gone, have you seen her?
Señorita shyly turning away,
Leaving me our fading flame.” ~ Tori Amos “Sweet Sangria”

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Carla’s note:

I’ll never forget the darkness in my sister Michelle’s voice when she told me her best friend Martin Poyser had suddenly died. The shock in her voice echoed the pain of having part of her heart torn away. Martin had filled a special place in her life and he could never be replaced.

Michelle and Martin were a marvellous two-some supporting each other’s ups and downs and always laughing boisterously through it all. Michelle always said that Gordon Ramsey, the “Hell’s Kitchen” chef, was remarkably similar to Martin. Their energy, passion, fiery tongues and British accents along with their physical similarities were uncanny.

The love they had for each other was more profound than a romantic love. Martin helped Michelle navigate the her new world of singleness after her separation, treating her to meals and pampering her any way he could. While Michelle appreciated the joy of Martin’s relationship with his partner Martin. Yes, two Martins! She called them “Big Martin” and “Little Martin” – because her Martin was taller than his partner. :)

Michelle gesturing at one of her gallery openings with “Little” Martin and “Big” Martin. (I am extremely proud of my sister and the vision she brings to her art.

You can see the sparkle & joy in all their eyes in the next beautiful photo below. They all knew how to have fun!


By Michelle Johnson

I answer the phone and an English accents calls out, “Get your dimply ass over here. The sangria is ready!” My heart fills with love. I put on my lipstick and dash out the door knowing that soon Martin’s cozy kitchen will be noisy with laughter and frivolity. Upon my arrival, someone announces, “The wife’s here!” It’s a label I earned due to my tendency to lean on him. The guest list could have filled a mansion so this party spills out onto the lawn, both front and back.

Martin is like an oak tree that allows all kinds of strange birds to perch on his branches. Lucky enough to be one of those birds, I’m greeted with a huge warm hug. Martin says, “Go on, Love. Serve yourself a tall glass. You gotta catch up – it’s in the crisper!” The nibbly food is out for munching, the BBQ is ready and the fridge is filled to capacity. I nudge my way over to the fridge. Grab a glass and slide open the crisper drawer. Oh, a beautiful array of colour awaits.  Scooping it out with the soup ladle the glass quickly cools my hand. One sip and I know it’s gonna be a fun and “oh so messy” evening.

Martin Poyser, a dear friend, a keeper of secrets, a partner in crime and expert when it comes to “Takin’ the piss.” He suddenly passed away a few years ago of a heart condition. Gone much too soon.

Martin taught me many things, mostly by example.

“Little” Martin, Michelle, “Big” Martin and their close friend Stephanie

Photo Credit: Michelle Johnson

Here’s one of the lessons I learned.

1. Invite everybody over to your house – trust me, it’ll be fine

2. Throw out your vegetables.

3. Clean your fridge crisper drawer so it gleams a welcoming shine.

4. Line the bottom with fruit  – raspberries, strawberries, oranges, pineapple, lemons, kiwis, blueberries, plum, grapes.

5. Add some spirit – cover the fruit with brandy or whiskey, add a splash of triple sec.

6. Let that sit for an hour or two… resist the urge to nibble or the guests will be hungry and you will be too tipsy to care.

7.  Add your favourite cheap and cheerful red wine to fill the crisper 2/3’s from the top.

8.  Add some sparkly water or lemony pop to add some fizz.

9.  If you are a bitter person, add sugar.

10.  Using a soup ladle, serve, toast, sip and … at every chance you get, lovingly “take the piss.”

Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin


Carla Johnson author Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin

Carla Johnson Cooking With Sin