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Chef Stephen Treadwells’s red pepper soup is made with lime sorbet with chopped basil or mint.The Globe and Mail

Two new restaurants in Niagara-on-the-Lake are are making the region's fine food scene even stronger. For a taste of local offerings, dine at Treadwell Farm-to-Table Cuisine where multitalented chef Stephen Treadwell prepares seasonal meals using ingredients from local suppliers. He is an outstanding chef and his food is consistently delicious.

If you're more of the comfort food type, you'll enjoy grabbing a bite at The Garrison House. Aside from typical pub food, they serve Chef Vikram Vij's famous chicken curry. The British Columbian restaurant owner spends a lot of time in Niagara and was recently at the I4C International Chardonnay festival successfully matching his curries to chardonnay. He toned down the heat, making the intricacy of the spices underscore the match.

Servings: 4 to 6

Ready Time: 1 hour

Treadwell's red pepper soup

1/2 cup lime sorbet

2 tbsp chopped mint or basil

1 cup chopped onions

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp vegetable oil

4 cups vegetable stock

6 red peppers charred, skinned and seeded

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 cup milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

A few sprigs of thyme

4 cheese straws

Chili oil for garnish

Vij's family chicken curry

1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 3-inch stick of cinnamon

3 tbsp finely chopped garlic

2 cups chopped tomato

2 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp garam masala

2 tsp salt

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground cayenne pepper

3 lbs chicken thighs, bone in

1 cup sour cream

1 cup water

1/2 cup chopped cilantro, including stems


Treadwell's red pepper soup:

For his colourful, summery soup Treadwell makes a rich sorbet with fromage frais and a lot of lime to top it. I found it easier to buy a lime sorbet and mix in a couple of tablespoons of chopped basil or mint. The soup is hot, the sorbet cold and the touch of chili oil brings it all together.

Stir chopped herbs into lime sorbet. Keep frozen.

Heat butter and oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes longer. Add vegetable stock, red peppers and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft. Stir in milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle one cup liquid into a bowl and reserve. Remove thyme sprigs from soup. Blend soup, adding reserved cooking liquid as need to get the desired consistency. Pass mixture through a strainer and re-season with salt and pepper.

Serve soup hot with a last minute addition of lime sorbet and a few drops of chili oil. Add a cheese straw across the top.

Vij's family chicken curry:

Vij’s Family Chicken Curry is an easy curry with many layers of flavours without being too spicy. Vij says the richness of the sour cream in this curry and the particular spicing make it a perfect match for chardonnay.

Heat oil in a large pan on medium for 1 minute. Add onions and cinnamon, and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes until onions are golden. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, ginger, cumin, coriander, garam masala, salt, turmeric, black pepper and cayenne. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the oil separates from the masala.

Remove and discard skin from the chicken thighs. Wash thighs and add to the masala. Stir well. Cook chicken thighs for 10 minutes, until the chicken looks cooked on the outside. Add sour cream and water and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times, until the chicken is completely cooked. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Cool curry for at least 30 minutes. Reserve.

Transfer cooled chicken thighs to a mixing bowl. Wearing gloves, peel meat off the bones. Discard bones and stir chicken back into the curry. Just before serving, heat curry on medium until it starts to boil lightly. Stir in cilantro.

Divide curry evenly among four bowls.