Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

Crown Princess Fine Dining-Dim Sum in Toronto


We’ve been to a number of places for dim sum in Toronto but none in as opulent a location as today.  The Crown Princess  is a potpourri of crushed purple velvet, marble and chandeliers.  Not my taste in decor, but no matter, the food is fabulous.  We left the ordering to our beloved Chinaman and he did a splendid job. 

D and I were trying to describe one of our favourite selections from home.  This Crispy Taro and Mushroom dumpling came in an attempt.  

We were successful with guessing that it was fried Sticky Dumpling with Meat.  Not as good as Dim Sum Garden in Winnipeg though, I must say.

Sticky rice, normally served wrapped in a lotus leaf was double wrapped in a piece of leaf and pure white paper.  A slightly lighter portion than we are used to and we predict that is the reason for the alternate preparation.

We enjoyed a variety of steamed seafood dumplings:  Har Gow (Shrimp dumpling), Chicken with Vegetable Dumplings, Goose Liver & Caviar Sui Mai  and this new dish, which turned out to be my favourite, Steamed Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings.


Gorgeous presentation and taste.  

I also got brave and tasted Chicken Feet with Chef’s Sauce and

D got psyched up to try Beef Tripe with Spicy Sauce.

The steamed baby squid in Curry Sauce was also new for us-yummy.

Familiar Barbecue Pork Buns filled us up before we ended with Mango Pudding with a stream of evaporated milk drizzled over top.

Crown Princess on Urbanspoon

 Kath’s quote:  “Gourmets! serve the bird roasted, with pink feet, a strip of bacon to cover its modesty, the breast sprinkled with lemon drops.”– Charles Monselet

Looking ahead to an Irish Spring


Perhaps it is the fresh snow that has stayed on the ground these past days.  Prehaps it is the time change and the early departure of the sun.  I would not say that I am already yearning for spring but I can tell you that I am eagerly researching and planning a trip that we have booked in early April to Ireland.  I am sure that it is no coincidence that many daytrips will be determined by the gastronomic offerings of the area.

We intend to venture to Sligo to enjoy W.B. Yeat’s favourite mountains and pay our respects at his grave at Drumcliff Churchyard.  We’ve heard that  Hargadon’s Bar is an obligatory stop here.  The famous and much-loved traditional grocery-bar in the centre of town is a listed building dating back to 1864.  It has had only two previous owners (the original builder, and then the Hargadon family who gave it the current name).  The Monahans who are the current owners undertook a lengthy and sensitive restoration of Hargadons, so there it is now in all its glory, restored and renovated but with all its snugs and fires and grocery shelves intact (and the marble counter cleaned and back in place).

The buzz is that it is not only a superb traditional pub, but also serves excellent food.  Home cooking is the appropriate aim in this atmospheric setting and they strive to use the very best local produce (organic where possible) from the immediate locality.

The emphasis is on hearty traditional food, especially at lunchtime, but a cosmopolitan twist may also be expected – and their evening menus offer treats like Lissadell oysters and local mussels. I understand that the owners have their own wines to offer (from the Languedoc region of the South of France), but also their own olive oil.

Look out Ireland-this potato lovin Polish Princess is making plans!

Kath’s quote: “Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer.”-Dave Barry

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Pizza Bianco


I am fascinated by the variety of pizzas in the world.  Indeed, referring to pizza is like referring to a sandwich.  I suppose the variations are endless.  Here’s an excerpt from my favourite food read from over the summer:  “Keeping the Feast” by Paula Butturini.

She writes: “And every Easter Sunday, a totally different sort of pizza, one meant to break the long Lenten fast, appeared on our breakfast table.  It had a double crust like a calzone, but it was flatter and wider, shaped like a foot-long strudel.  My grandmother called it “pizza gain”, and Anglicized version of pizza chine (KEE-nah), which in itself is dialect for pizza ripena, filled pizza.  “Pizza gain” was stuffed with many of the foods that we could not eat during the forty-day Lenten fast: proscuitto crudo, dried sausage slices, fresh runny cheese, and hard grated cheese all mixed together with endless fresh eggs from cousin Josephine’s farm.  We would cut into them on Easter morning and on every subsequent morning until they were gone, a treat so rich that two slim slices would make a meal.  I loved the Russell Stover’s pecan-studded caramel egg that my grandmother arranged to have appear in my Easter basket every year, but I would have traded that egg away in a heartbeat for a whole “pizza gain” of my own.”

We are fond of a pizza variety that doesn’t really taste like pizza at all.  I call it Pizza Bianca because it is made with entirely white ingredients:  Alfredo sauce, chicken, roasted garlic, grated mozzarella and crumbled feta cheese.  I assemble these things on top of a homemade pizza crust, not really caring how thinly I’ve rolled out the dough. 


It makes a great “stand around in the kitchen while eating your supper” dish.  I made it this past weekend when we called upon the Daughter #3 (daughter-in-law)’s folks to help with a painting project at the new house.  In fact, they virtually handled the entire project by themsleves.  As my dear Dad used to say “many hands make light work”.

Kath’s quote: “My idea of feng shui is to have them arrange the pepperoni in a circle on my pizza.”-Unknown

The Nook


We have bought a second house in our old neighbourhood of Wolseley.  Two of our three kids were born in Wolseley before we moved across the river.  One of the fun things about this process is discovering new neighbourhood haunts.  Our first venture was for Sunday brunch and we decided on The Nook.  The placed was jammed and we took that as a good sign.  

The Nook has been there for eons and I have driven by on my route downtown thousands of times.  It was my first visit inside and I was impressed by the comfy booths and rows of windows.  The staff was so pleasant and helpful.  They pour a great cup of coffee.

Parking is not plentiful and it was apparent by the comings and goings that people arrived at the diner on foot.  So it was likely that we were surrounded by our new neighbours and were duly impressed.

Some of us were still in breakfast mode, while others choose from the lunch menu.

Mom #2 (my Mom-in-law) and I had the perfectly cooked easy over eggs with crispy hash browns (they couldn’t guarantee this from the kitchen since they were so swamped).

Daughter #3 ordered blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon and hash browns (that’s my girl!).

The guys had a Denver,

a Reuban

and a Burger and all were well-pleased with their choices.

The Nook Diner on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: “Your first job is to prepare the soil. The best tool for this is your neighbor’s motorized garden tiller. If your neighbor does not own a garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”-Dave Barry

Scalloped Oyster Casserole


D works in the food-service industry and every once in a while he comes home with a purchase from a sale when “dead stock” items are sold to staff members when they have not been successfully sold to customers.  Now because I am the daughter of an Agrologist who specialized in livestock, the term “dead stock” is taking some time to get my head around.  But in the mean time, cooking up some of these items are stretching my culinary skills-and that is a good thing.

Last week D came home with a case of frozen oysters on the half shell.  We love oysters and were excited to give them a try but these in their “raw” state did not live up to ones that we have had at Fat Tuesday parties or our visit to New Orleans.  How could they?  The poor little guys were miles away from their natural habitat and our main complaint was their saltiness.  Well they are salt water creatures, for heaven’s sake, it wasn’t their fault. 

So last night I thawed about three dozen and then removed them from their shells.  Even though my recipe suggested that I reserve the oyster juice, I intentionally discarded it and gave the oysters a quick shower in warm water as well.

Then I followed this recipe and ta da, success.

Scalloped Oyster Casserole

1 lb. freshly shucked oysters

1 c cream (I used 1% milk with good success)

1/2 c butter, melted

1/2 t worchestershire sauce (I doubled this as we LOVE worchestershire)

1/4 t salt (I eliminated)

dash of pepper

2 1/2 c crunched soda biscuits (I used Italian bread crumbs to further reduce the sodium)

2 T butter, cut into slivers for topping (I eliminated, thinking that 1/2 c was quite enough)

Generously butter a glass 7 x 11 baking dish (metal will not produce the crusty brown bottom).  Melt butter & add worcherstershire, salt and pepper.  Place a layer of crumbs in bottom of dish, then layer 1/2 the oysters, pour 1/2 of the melted butter mixture over the oysters (stir butter just before or seasonings will have settled).  Repeat the layers one more time.  Dot with cold butter.  Pour cream (or milk) over top and bake uncovered immediately at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until top is browned and crunchy.

Kath’s quote: “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”-Ernest Hemingway

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