Sping Means it is Tea Time

April16

tea5

We attend a wonderful church in our neighbourhood.  Not only do we have the opportunity to worship together, we get together for fun and fellowship whenever the opportunity arises.  Recently one friend thought that the idea of having an old fashioned tea would be a lovely way to get us all through the end of a very long winter.  Now I have run a number of teas in the past and they take a lot of co-ordination and very hard work.  But she had a really clever way of distributing the share of work.  She asked a number of us to “host” a table which meant that we were to completely set and decorate it as well as provide a dessert for everyone sitting at our table.

tea7

So we packed up our best china (it is so nice to have an excuse to do so) and polished up the silverware.  Each table was distinctively different and I would say depicted something of each hosts’ personality.

tea8

tea9

tea10

Our table is below.  When I say “our” that is because I enlisted the help of Sister #3 to co-host with me.  I don’t have any cups and saucers with my china set so she contributed those as well as our Mom’s silverware which she is an excellent caretaker of.

tea11

Lucky for me, she also volunteered to make the dessert.  We were both ga-ga for coconut that I had found while we were both together on Isla Mujeres.  She managed to purchase the last bag in the grocery store to bring home and keep until the right event came along.  Her coconut cake with coconut cream cheese icing was a delicious and decadent contribution to the afternoon.

tea12

tea2

Other attendees contributed fruit , scones and fancy sandwiches.

tea3

There was a lovely turn out.

tea4

There were wide brimmed chapeaus

tea1

and some younger attendees in their fascinators.

The afternoon was an absolutely lovely way to herald in the spring.

Kath’s quote: “A woman is like a tea bag — only in hot water do you realize how strong she really is.”-Nancy Reagan

BeFunky_IMG_6897.jpg

Love-that is all.

 

 

 

Isla Mujeres Trip Report Day 8-Clubhouse Sandwiches on the Beach

April14

day81

We waited patiently for another glorious sunrise.

day82

day83

dAY84

day85

We were rewarded beautifully with the commencement of another splendid day.

day86

D could have happily spent the entire time, just so.  But I managed to talk him into venturing to North Beach.

day87

I wanted to spend some time with my brother and his wife and I knew exactly where to find them on the beach.  This was what my sister-in-law had waited for, for months.

day88

My brother has opposite colouring to mine-he with black hair, dark brown eyes and skin that just loves to soak up the sun.  Me with blue eyes, fair hair and freckled skin.

day89

I had made Clubhouse sandwiches for lunch with left over rotisserie chicken, excess Canadian bacon from our Olympic hockey breakfast, the reddest/freshest market tomatoes and lime mayonnaise.  They were so delicious that two separate groups of people asked us where they could buy the same sandwiches.

day810

As the sun started to descend in the afternoon sky, D was back in his favourite spot.

day811

We watched the setting sun as we walked along Medina to meet our extended gang at La Brisas on the water for dinner.

day812

day813

day814

What  a beautiful sight right from our table set on the beach.

day820

J2 and the Wee One joined us.  We hadn’t seen them all day and we had missed them.

 

day825

Both D and the Wee One’s Other Grandma ordered and loved the garlic fish.  Unfortunately the latter’s wasn’t served with the rest of us.  After Sister #3 firmly expressed our disappointment to the kitchen, they quickly responded.  By this time though, Wee One was long past her bedtime and they had to make a quick exit.

day824

Sister #3 and I both ordered frutti de mare linguine.  She accurately pointed out that the kitchen had been a bit too heavy handed with the chicken stock and the dish was a bit on the salty side.  The noodles and seafood were both cooked perfectly and I was pleased with the abundance of both.

day823

My sister in law and Dona both ordered the fried fish, encouraged by D who had savoured it on his snorkelling trip.

dy822

J2 did enjoy her chicken fajitas until she had to high tail it back to the hotel with an overtired baby.

day826

In the mean time, there was still lots of evening left, so headed to one of Centro’s many fine gelato shops, this one right at the corner of Hidalgo and the square.

day827

dy827

Sister #3 delighted with her choice and another remarkable day.

Kath’s quote: “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”-Voltaire

sandy.jpg

Love-that is all.

 

Good Reads: “The Sweet Life in Paris”-by David Lebovitz

April9

Whilst spending almost a month in Thompson this “spring” teaching cooking and hospitality, I did a lot of reading (when I wasn’t prepping for classes).  When I travel, I always over pack, not clothes but books.  I am always concerned that I will start something and not want to finish it (I give the writer 100 pages to hook me) and then where would I be, miles from home and family without a best friend aka a book?  Now that I have discovered the Kindle app on my tablet though, bulky book packing is a thing of the past.  I am not sure that I will allow on line reading to replace my beloved books (besides I still have a stack waiting for me on my nightstand) but for traveling, Kindle is the ticket.

BeFunky_IMG_3371.jpg

One of about ten titles that I plowed through was this ditty.  David Lebovitz is a food blogger and photographer that most persons in this field are aware of.  His style is sophisticated and humorous at the same time, noticing and commenting on the subtleties of life in a candid manner.  The sub-title to this book is “Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious and Perplexing City.”  This excerpt is from the section of his book where he explains, how it was to be the he moved to Paris.

BeFunky_IMG_3422.jpg

I spent almost a year traipsing around the continent after college doing nothing in particular except learning about European cultures, primarily by pulling up a stool or chair and eating what the locals ate.  During that time I made it through almost every country in Europe and tried whatever local delicacies were to be had: oozing raw-milk cheeses in France and hearty, grain-packed breads in Germany; Belgian milk chocolates that when sniffed, could transport you to a dairy farm in the countryside; and crispy-skin fish grilled over gnarled branches in the souks of Istanbul.  And of course, lots of buttery pasties and crusty breads smeared with plenty of golden butter in Paris, the likes of which I had never tasted before. Page 4 Kindle version

Fortunately, the European style of cooking was gaining a foothold in northern California, and there was a new appreciation for fine foods and cooking du marché: buying locally produced foods at their peak of freshness, which was a daily ritual in Europe.  It seemed like common sense to me, and simply the right way to eat.  So I packed up and moved to San Francisco, just across the bay from Berkeley, where an exciting culinary revolution was simmering.  And I hoped cumin-scented desserts weren’t a part of it.

Shopping the outdoor markets of the Bay Area, I discovered farmers who were raising things like blood oranges with tangy, wildly colored juices and tight bunches of deep-violet radicchio, which people at the time assumed were runty heads of cabbage.  Laura Chenel was producing European-style moist rounds of fresh goat cheese in Sonoma, which were so unfamiliar that Americans were mistaking them for tofu (especially in Berkeley).  And viticulturists in Napa Valley were producing hearty wines, like Zinfandel and Pinot Noir, which had a great affinity for the newly celebrated regional cuisine, which was liberally seasoned with lots of fragrant garlic, branches of rosemary and thyme, and drizzled with locally produced olive oil-a big improvement over the bland “salad oil” I grew up with.

I was thrilled-no astounded-to find the culinary counterparts to everything I had eaten in Europe.  I savored the hand-dipped ultrafine chocolates of Alice Medrich at Chocolat, which rivalled those I had swooned over in swanky French chocolate boutiques.  I’d line up daily for a boule of pain au leavain that Steve Sullivan would pull out of his fired-up brick oven every morning over at Acme Bread, and was ecstatic to find many of the pungent cheeses I remembered so fondly from Europe stacked up at the Cheese Board Collective in Berkeley, just across from Chez Panisse. Page 5-6 Kindle Version

BeFunky_IMG_3410.jpg

If you have lived or traveled to Paris you will appreciate David’s perspective of the Parisians-amazingly formal and stylish, they ride their bikes in business suits and tear into baguettes while walking down the street.  They take a while to warm up to “Americans” (i.e. anyone who lives in North America) but were helpful and accommodating when D and I visited, going on five years ago.

Kath’s quote: “Parisians are always in a big hurry, but are especially frantic if they’re behind you. They’re desperate to be where they rightfully feel they belong: in front of you. It’s a whole other story when you’re behind them, especially when it’s their turn: suddenly they seem to have all the time in the world.” -David Lebovitz

BeFunky_IMG_3427_edited.jpg

Love-that is all.

 

This Foodie’s 10 Reasons Why I’m Glad Quebec is Part of Canada

April8

As a result of last night’s election results, I was happy and reflective this morning.  Here’s why (in no particular order):

1. D and I honeymooned in Quebec City and cannot wait to have a reason to visit again.

2. Our girls LOVE Quebec.  Daughter #1 studied French with the Explore program at Universite Laval and Daughter #2 in Montreal.

3. Our very own “Frenchman” who will officially be a part of our family when he weds our youngest this fall, was born and raised in Quebec and we adore him!

4. Poutine-my favourite indulgence!

5. Pesto Maison-my go-to brand of upscale pestos.

6. Cheese of every description.  I still remember the hot and goey baked parmesan that we ate at a sidewalk café in Quebec City.

7.  Chefs “just get it done” Chuck Hughes and dreamy Ricardo Larrivee.

8. Montreal smoked beef sandwiches.

9. Bagels.

10. Add your own….

Kath’s quote: “I am proud that my fellow Quebecers have chosen unity and acceptance as we move forward together.”Justin Trudeau

Love-that is all.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet The Jackson Family-Cattle Ranchers from Inglis, Manitoba

April7

The Canadian Food Experience Project began June 7 2013. As we (participants) share our collective stories across the vastness of our Canadian landscape through our regional food experiences, we hope to bring global clarity to our Canadian culinary identity through the cadence of our concerted Canadian voice.

Our twelfth and final task was of the project was to write about a farmer or producer that we knew of that practices “farming sustainably to honour the land and to grow or produce food that may be of a heritage lineage or particularly representative of the terroir of your area”.

My memory immediately went back to the morning that I met Carman and Donna Jackson at High Bluff Stock Farm.

This was my first visit to the area surrounding Inglis, MB.  The setting is rolling and lush.  We passed the scenic Assiniboine River Valley and the Shell River Valley which join at the Shellmouth Dam to form the Lake of the Prairies, en route to the farm that morning.

Carman, Donna and all five of the Jackson daughters are tall, lean, healthy and glowing (but also stylish and well-coiffed)-they are a testament to country living.  When I caught up to them recently, they were on the road for spring break.  Tomina the youngest of the sisters and Donna picked Erin up in Saskatoon where she obtained her Honours Degree with a major in Political Science. Together they toured Lakeland College’s farm and Ag department at Vermilion where Autumn secured her Diploma in Agribusiness. The latter and Fawn, who has her Masters degree from Oklahoma State in International Agriculture, would be met up with in Calgary.  They intended to skype Haylan (a graduate from Dalhousie University in Halifax) and have a wonderful couple of girl days!

When I first met Carman, Donna and Tomina they loved to share the experience of living and working on their diverse, mixed farm.  They share grain farming responsibilities with Donna’s parents and her brother and much of their crop is considered seed grain.  You can discern in a moment that they are well educated and on top of their business and the commitment that the family has made to making the most intelligent decisions for their animals and the environment.  They have created a low stress atmosphere for their prized cattle who are provided the best in nutritious feed, shelter and veterinarian care.

Their beautiful, white coated Charolais herd are obviously well loved and not shy around humans. One of them really wanted to get into a family photo.

Their passion for their animals and the land is so apparent in every thing they believe, say and do.  I am so glad to know them, as they created a 360 impression of a cattle farm family for me.  Thank you Carman and Donna. They are proud cattle ranchers, proud Manitobans and proud Canadians and their commitment to their style of farming and ranching makes me proud too.

Does anyone know why I instantaneously fell in love with their horse?

Kath’s quote: “Farmers are the only indispensable people on the face of the earth.”-Li Zhaoxing

 

« Older Entries