Food Musings

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

Beer and Cheese Party


I was recently invited to attend a “new” spin on an old favourite- a beer and cheese tasting, as opposed to a traditional wine and cheese party.  I say “new” with qualifiers because both beer and wine have existed since the beginning of time.

First up was Molson M paired with Oka Classique.  This was my first taste of Molson M and I appreciated its creaminess and lack of bitterness.  The selected cheese complemented the sweet, maltiness of the beer.  The carbonation of the beer cut through the richness of the cheese and cleansed the palate.  I intend to remember this for my next formal dinner party and surprize guests with a glass of beer instead of the sorbert cleansing course.

Rickard’s White is one of my favourite “boutique” beer.  This is perhaps because I am drawn to the fresh, crisp taste of cilantro and the beer is fashioned with ground coriander which is the seed of the herb.  The result is a drink with a slight spiciness and a refreshing finish.  An intense, yet velvety Brie was served as a complement.

Last, but not least, was my favourite pairing: Molson Canadian 67 Sublime with a spicy Monterrey Jack.  Since I have long been a lover of light Mexican beer with a wedge of lime squeezed into the bottle, this beer is my new “go to”.  The hint of natural citrus flavour in the beer is the perfect way to cool and refresh your mouth after a hot taste of the jalapeno infused cheese.  If you close your eyes, you could be lying under a palapa on a Mexican beach.

Throughout this tasting, we were hosted by a to female executive from Molson’s (her job title is VP of Beer Reverence-how awesome is that?) who coached us to raise our glass to a light source in order to observe the colour, clarity and foam of the beer.  Then to bring the glass to our neck level and fan it right and left under our noses (more than anything-this looks really cool)!  Next, we were encouraged to discover the first scents of the elixir and then to release even more aromas from the hops and malts by swirling our glasses to release additional carbonation.  Our noses were plunged deep into our glasses for the next step, to take in a long, deep smell.  And finally, it was time to drink!

We were instructed to allow enough beer to cover our entire tongue and taste receptors, to keep our mouths closed and breath through our noses (the opposite of swimming lessons).  This is called “quaffing”.  And thankfully, we were not instructed to spit but to ensure that the beer flowed down the back of our mouths where there are other important taste receptors.  Oh yes, and then we were to breathe.  “Quaff, swallow, breathe.”

Our son J1 is studying to become a brew-master and is already a beer connoisseur.  I hope that he will be impressed by his ole Mom and her newly acquired swilling techniques.

Kath’s quote: “He was a wise man who invented beer.”-Plato

Love-that is all.

An Amazing Man at We Day In Winnipeg


I had a spectaular day at my second We Day event in Winnipeg.  I was awed and humbled to be in the room with one of the greatest men who has ever lived: President Mikhail Gorbachev.  Through his interpreter and as a result of questions from Free the Children Founder Craig Kielburger, he shared that his own life was riddled with war and hunger but that he has been given the “gift of a happy life”.  He attributes this happiness to his hard work and that even very early in his life, he knew that he wanted to learn and make a difference.  This, in spite of living in the middle of nowhere with no electricity or telephone.  He never boarded a train until he was 20 years old.

He imparted these words of wisdom to the 18,000 school aged kids who sat quietly with respect and reverence:

“Don’t allow anyone to divide, because some exploiters will try to.

Never fear those who are trying to intimidate you.  Be on the side of the truth.

Honesty, justice and the truth.  This is what we want.”

He referred back to his contribution to the dissolution of the cold war with US President Ronald Reagan.  He recalls saying to President Reagan:

“A nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought.”

He added: “We need to move towards a world without nuclear weapons.  We need to rid the world of the militarization of politics, of civilization.”

When asked about his hopes for his great granddaughter (4 years old):

“I want her to live in a world free and just, in friendship and co-operation.”

And then in conclusion, he said to the crowd:

“Be brave, be courageous”.

The hushed silence had ended, the crowd roared in appreciation.

I was so impressed with so many other speakers but as a food blogger, I was particularly thrilled with the following new Free the Children announcement:

The PotashCorp of Saskatoon has come on board.  “The partnership includes the introduction of an Agriculture and Food Security pillar to Free The Children’s long-term and sustainable Adopt a Village program, which helps lift rural communities in developing countries out of poverty through long term sustainable infrastructure and programming. PotashCorp is the Founding Partner of Free The Children’s fifth Adopt a Village pillar, which joins the program’s four existing pillars of Education, Health, Clean Water and Sanitation and Alternative Income and Livelihood. The Agriculture and Food Security pillar will be added to programming in all eight of Free The Children’s Adopt a Village countries: India, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Kenya, Haiti, Ghana and rural China.”

Kath’s quote: “In the last analysis civilization is based upon the food supply.”-
Will Durant

Love-that is all.

Peanut-Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies


My cooking style is very conceptual.  When I am in my own kitchen, I will read over a recipe and then kind of wing it.  Knowing what foods pair, blend, enhance and contrast each other is a skill that I have unintentionally honed over the years.  Baking on the other hand, is not a natural talent for me.  I was an avid home economist student and even thought that this would be my career, so I know that baking is more like a science experiment where elements must interact and react in a certain fashion.  This is why ingredients need to be precisely measured in order to produce the desired effect.

There are two men in my family who are great bakers.  My husband D will  whip up a batch of amazing cookies some evening, just because he has a hankering for something sweet.  His Mom is a fabulous baker too, so this trait in genetic, I suppose.

The second man is the beau of Daughter #2 and I call him the Frenchman.  He often arrives at our home with a package of sweets for his sweetheart and a separate package for us to share. These qualities seem like a contradiction in terms because he is as big as a bear (and likely as strong) and yet he is a an artiste and crafts-person (usually in wood or metal) but apparently too in the kitchen. I have already blogged about this delicious cookie but I have modified it for this purpose switching out the margarine with canola oil.


Peanut-Butter Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Tastes like a chocolate peanut butter cup!
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1½ cups flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup icing sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Stir together flour, cocoa and baking soda.
  3. Cream together the canola oil, sugar, brown sugar and ¼ cup peanut butter until fluffy.
  4. Beat in egg, milk and vanilla.
  5. On low speed, beat in flour mixture.
  6. Batter will be thick.
  7. With your hands, form the dough into 32 balls and set aside.
  8. For filling, stir together icing sugar and ½ cup peanut butter.
  9. Shape this mixture into 32 balls also (they will be smaller).
  10. Slightly flatten each chocolate ball and top with peanut butter ball.
  11. Pull chocolate dough over peanut butter to cover completely and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
  12. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
  13. Bake for 8 minutes or until just set.
  14. Cool on pan 2 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling.

These will be served tonight after our weekly “mandatory Sunday supper” which all the kids including the Frenchman are required to attend.  Tonight D’s “Baking Mom Extraordinaire” will be at the table too.  We’ll see how my cookies turn out under the scrutiny of this distinguished panel of judges.

I am using this recipe to enter a baking contest, initiated by the Manitoba Canola Growers in the hopes of attending a Food Bloggers of Canada Conference this spring  The event takes place in Hockley Ontario, which means that I will also be able to visit the family of the Frenchman.  I will get to see first hand if his baking skills are genetic too.

Kath’s quote: “Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love.”-Charles M. Schulz

Love-that is all.

posted under Desserts | 4 Comments »

Peasant Cookery Revisited


I had been a bit underwhelmed by my first visit to Peasant Cookery and I knew that I must have ordered incorrectly because all my family and friends who’s opinions I trust, had experienced quite the opposite.  So when when an old friend suggested that we should get together with another friend, for an early supper before attending a class that we are all involved with leading (and she was treating), I jumped at the chance.

It was one of those first rainy nights that come with autumn on the prairies and it was murky and grey outside.  Even though the bright and cheerful interior of The Peasant should have elevated our mood, I notice that even the background tone of my photos are blue/greyish.

Ah, along came just the ticket….an excellent glass of wine and a focaccia just warm out of the oven with extra crispy corners, just the way I love it.  The wine was selected from an extensive list (8 reds and 8 whites) all priced at $8. per glass.  This is reason enough for me to return.

My first friend opted for the Aged Cheddar Gnocchi (which had been on my short list as well).  The light and puffy potato pillows had been tossed with sun dried tomato, spinach, red onion , piquillo peppers and basil oil.

My second friend chose the Tourtiere (also on my short list) which was dense with meat, contained in a buttery pie crust.  The recipe was very dissimilar to the recipe that I make at home but had a hearty taste that was appropriate to warm the innards on a night such as this one.  The French Canadian pie was served with hand-cut French fries that I could not stop sneaking from her plate.

I ordered the half chicken which the menu described as being served with sage and thyme spaetzle, currents, sweet potato, leek and chicken gravy. Spaetzle is a little German dumpling that is typically boiled and then pan-fried.  This version was more like a noodle than a dumpling but I am sure that there are many variations on a theme.  The chicken was firm and moist and far easier to eat than a half bone-in chicken would have been.  The gravy was a teensie bit on the salty side.  I merrily shared and tasted bites with friends and cleaned my plate.

I understand that chef Tristan is competing in the Gold Plate Competition.  He is a talented young Chef and I wish him well.

Peasant Cookery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: Often, admiring a chef and getting to know him is like loving goose liver and then meeting the goose.”-George Lang


Love-that is all.

An Old Fart attends her 2nd We Day in Winnipeg


As I look towards next week and my schedule of responsibilities and events, I am keeping Tuesday, October 30th clear so that I can attend We Day, coming again to Winnipeg.

We Day is a movement of young people leading local and global, social change. The We Day organizers believe that they are the first generation that can truly end the worst forms of poverty and remove the barriers to youth being agents of social change. They push forward the boundaries of charity, social entrepreneurship and create change. “It’s a worldwide movement that proves anyone can change the world.” In order to succeed, Free the Children and Me to We have forged a relationship, and work together through We Day.

These are the notes that I hastily scribbled at the last We Day event that I attended:

“Do all the things that you think you cannot.” Mia Farrow

“Make changes in your own life.” Vice President Al Gore

“When you pray, move your feet.”  Desmond Tutu

“Time, knowledge, compassion is available.” Rick Hansen

“Age does not define what I can do.” Hannah Taylor

“Redefine possible.” Spencer West

Freedom, love, trust, hope.” Shawn Desman

“We are the generation that we have been waiting for.” Craig Kielburger

“Africa will capture your heart, but it will also break it.” unknown

“There are no can’ts or won’ts, only hows.” unknown

Important to me, is whether We Day practices what they preach. This is what my research unearthed:

In the past year alone, there were:

  • 92,121 trees planted to offset carbon emissions
  • 275,000 people inspired by Me to We speakers, books and leadership programs
  • 8 summer leadership academies held across North America, inspiring 439 young leaders
  • 145,600 volunteer hours served by 1,300 travellers including youth, families and corporate groups on Me to We trips
  • 500 Maasai mothers in employed full-time as Artisans

So why would a Boomer like me be interested in screaming and jumping around with 18,000 youth when I could be sitting at home with a mug of coffee in my turquoise house coat? Because:

  • I am a shameless idealist.
  • I believe that we cannot inspire our children to make a difference in this world unless we stand along side them rather than watching them from the sidelines.
  • My premise is food=love and this does not just mean in places of the world where it is aplenty but in those areas of the earth, where it is not.
  • I plan on inviting my daughter who has taken classes through the Canadian School of Peacekeeping and is currently studying for her degree in International Development at the University of Winnipeg.
  • She is looking at Kenya as one possibility to complete her practicum and I would love to visit the Maasai Mara and perhaps volunteer with Free the Children, building schools alongside local community members.
  • This will likely be the only time that I will be in the same room as the President of the Soviet Union and Nobel Peace Laureate, Mikhail Gorbachev.  I hear that he is a snappy dresser (JK).
  • The Keg Steakhouse and Bar is a sponsor so the food will be good…..

Kath’s quote: “Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”-Norman Kolpas

Love-that is all.

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