Comfort food

Is there anything better than a delicious dinner at home, prepared by the entire family? It’s love on a plate!

by Julie Lalonde

When our family is all together for a comfy meal, all of us pitch in for the prep work, especially when it’s time to make our braised short ribs. It goes great with rosemary roasted potatoes and a hardy bottle of red wine.

Gabrielle has been making her focaccia bread for family functions, or for anybody who comes over, for a long time. She has found this super easy to make and leaves her lots of time to enjoy one of Tristan’s hockey games or a winter walk. She especially likes that it can be ready for everyone when they get home from school.

Braised Short Ribs


• 8 good-sized beef short ribs, trimmed of fat

• 60 ml (¼ cup) sunflower oil

• 2 large onions, diced

• 150 g (1/3 lb) mixed wild mushrooms, diced small

• 3 medium carrots, peeled and diced small

• 3 medium parsnips, peeled and diced small

• 3 medium celery sticks, diced small

• 500 ml (2 cups) red wine

• 30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato purée

• 3 litres beef stock (proper stock) or demi glaze

• 1 to 2 bay leaves

• 2 sprigs rosemary

• 2 sprigs thyme

• 3 whole garlic cloves


• Trim as much excess fat off the ribs as you can, or ask your butcher to do it for you.

• Put a pan on medium high heat and let it warm up for about 30 seconds. A casserole dish or Dutch oven with a heavy bottom will ensure the meat doesn’t burn.

• Add the oil, ensuring it fully coats the bottom of the pan.

• Add the beef ribs, placing them face (not bone side) down. Ensure they are not on top of each other and that they fully touch the bottom of the pan. Sear in batches if required.

• Sear on three sides – the top and each side of the rib. No need to sear the bone. Remove from the pan and put in a bowl and place to the side.

• To the heated pot, add the onions and mushrooms and then the carrots, parsnips and celery. Turn the heat down to medium low and stir well.

• You will want to sweat the vegetables, which means removing the liquid and allowing them to go soft. Cook for about five minutes and then scrape the bottom of the pan until all the sticky brown bits come up, too.

• Add the red wine and then turn the heat up to high and reduce until thick and syrupy.

• Add the tomato purée, stir well and cook for one minute on a medium low heat.

• Add the beef ribs back to the pot, stir well and make sure they are coated in the vegetable mix.

• Add the stock (opt for the real stuff) to the pot, making sure the ribs are fully submerged, adding water if necessary.

• Place the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme and garlic on top.

• Put a lid on the pot and place in a pre-heated oven at 250F (120C) for at least four hours.

• After four hours, check the tenderness of the ribs with a fork. If the meat begins to fall off the bone, they’re ready; if not, put them back in the oven in for another 30 minutes.

• Serve with Rosemary Roasted Potatoes.

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes


The amount of each ingredient is based on the number of servings and personal taste.

• Potatoes

• Roasted garlic oil

• Fresh sprigs of rosemary

• Salt and pepper to taste

• Parsley

• 10 gr (2 tbsp) butter


• Preheat oven to 350F (180C).

• Place all the ingredients, except parsley and butter, on a sheet pan and roast for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.

• Finish with parsley and a few knobs of butter.

Gabby’s Focaccia


• 2 cups (480 ml) all-purpose flour

• 1 tsp (5 ml) salt

• 1 1/4 teaspoon (6 ml) instant yeast

• 1 cup (240 ml) warm water

• 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

• 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano

• 2 tsps (10 ml) dried basil

• 1 tsp (5 ml) kosher salt


• In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and yeast.

• Add the warm water and stir to form a soft and sticky dough. Shape into a ball.

• Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for between eight and 24 hours.

• Prepare an eight-inch cake pan by coating the interior surfaces with olive oil.

• Gently shape the dough into a ball and place in the centre of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temperature for two hours, or until the dough has expanded to nearly fill the cake pan.

• Preheat oven to 450F (230C).

• Remove the plastic wrap from the pan and drizzle the olive oil over the dough.

• Press your fingers down into the dough, pushing to the bottom of the pan. Repeat until the entire surface of the dough is covered in deep dimples.

• Sprinkle with oregano, basil and salt.

• Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.