Food Musings

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

Winnipeg Wine Festival 2016 Gala Dinner


Whenever I am invited to an event at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre main building, I marvel at how they get so many elaborate dishes out while still piping hot, when their kitchen is no where near the space that we are dining in. On the occasion of the Winnipeg Wine Festival, the gorgeous room with floor to ceiling windows was in the newly opened expansion of the Convention Centre and I am guessing that the kitchen is in closer proximity.


The origin of the wines for the 2016 festival were the wines of California. The festival is held each year to raise coffers for Special Olympics Manitoba . When we sat down at the big round dining tables, we were flabbergasted by the number of empty wine glasses lined up at each place setting. How could we possibly make our way through so many selections?


We commenced with a California Style Spring Roll on a Mango Chutney. The spring roll had been stuffed with crab, lychee nuts, cilantro and avocado and had a subtle taste. Of the William Hill Estate Winery North Coast Chardonnay and the Fetzer Gewurztraminer, I preferred the latter. We love Gewurztraminers, either on their own as a summer drink or with spicy food like the heat radiating from the mango chutney. We were off to a great start.


Preferring reds to whites, I quite enjoyed the Menage a Trois Silk that accompanied the Applewood Smoked and Sliced Chicken Breast on a Red Beet Carpaccio rather than the Girard Chardonnay. The full-bodied Silk retained bright red fruit flavors and smooth mouthfeel and was especially nice with the beet flavours.


Up next was a Pesto Crusted Fillet of Salmon on a Wild Rice Risotto, napped with a roasted red pepper sauce. I was delighted when the fish course was paired with two reds instead of the customary white. It was a toss up between the Rodney Strong Merlot (I am partial to Merlots) and the decadent red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah of the Cupcake Black Forest.


We could have happily laid down our forks and our wine glasses at this point but the piece de resistance was up next. The Seared Roast of Marinated Filet of Beef  was piping hot and perfectly prepared to a medium rare. The tenderloin came with two sauces: Madeira and Béarnaise, both exceptional. Served alongside were a yukon gold and California cheese galette, mushroom sauté, ratatouille stuffed zucchini and butter glazed steamed bok choy. The veggies were as perfectly prepared as the steak. By this time my taste buds were less discerning and I do not recall a preference between the Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon and Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel.


I usually turn down dessert but when the Honeycomb and Kiwi Mousse in a Tuile Basket was perched in front of me, I couldn’t resist. Thinking that I would simply eat the fresh berries and chocolate curls on top, of course I didn’t stop until I had consumed the entire dish, and the dish itself! I got a kick out of the Barefoot Bubbly Pink Moscato which concluded the evening on a high and very sweet note.

Not only were the dessert and wine sweet but so was our company. Love you Sue, Ron, Laura & Shea.

Kath’s quote: “At the shrine of friendship never say die, let the wine of friendship never run dry.” – Victor Hugo


Love never fails.


Dinner with a New Friend


I recently enjoyed dining with the Canstar reader and contest winner Michele Costen and her guest at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar original location on Garry St.


As soon as we could stop talking about our favourite Winnipeg restaurants, Michele selected an appetizer of Baked Garlic Shrimp where shrimp had been baked in Café de Paris butter and topped with cheese. The butter is the same one used for Keg Escargot for persons who are interested in the decadent taste but are squeamish about tasting snails. Michele and her guest were determined to try something that might have typically been outside of their comfort zones. Michele apparently loved the piping hot and crunchy shrimp enhanced by the savoury flavours of the herbed butter.


Her guest enjoyed the Shrimp Bisque that was on special that evening. She had recently supped on the seafood soup in San Francisco and was eager to compare. Bisque is a smooth, creamy, highly seasoned soup of French origin, classically based on a strained broth of crustaceans. It can be made from lobster, crab, shrimp or crayfish. It is thought the name is derived from cooking the crustaceans twice like a biscuit for the shrimp are first sautéed lightly in their shells, then simmered in wine and aromatic ingredients, before being strained, followed by the addition of cream. In authentic bisque, the shells are ground to a fine paste and added to thicken the soup. Julia Child has been said to have remarked, “Do not wash anything off until the soup is done because you will be using the same utensils repeatedly and you don’t want any marvelous tidbits of flavor losing them down the drain”.


Our fabulous waiter suggested that I might like to try a Blackened Steak where the steak was first coated with select herbs and spices and then finished with a dollop of herb butter.


For her entrée Michele’s guest chose the Bleu Cheese Filet which came wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, smothered in a bleu cheese crust, then finished with roasted garlic cloves.


Michele said that she was going to “go for it” and was happy to indulge in a Surf + Turf-a tender mini filet medallion and a petite Atlantic lobster tail.


Crème brûlée (literally: burnt cream) was selected by Michele’s guest.


Michele considered and then concluded that the famous Keg Billy Miner pie would be her choice. When dinner was over our conversations continued and could of extended long into the evening.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “We don’t make friends by accident, they were meant to cross our paths for a reason.” -Unknown


Love never fails.

Spring Chicken!


Like the seasons, one thing you can count on in Winnipeg is a special evening with Karen Webb and Manitoba Chicken in fall and spring. I chose a random seat at the dining table and ended up sitting with two lovely couples. One person I had met previously under different circumstances and the another is a very good friend of Sister #2. What a small world Winnipeg is.

Our family loves chicken and I can never get enough advice on varied ways to prepare it for just D and I or when the gang all assembles for Sunday dinner.

Deluca Fine Wines was the co-host for the evening and I enjoyed all of the pairings but the truth is, between being polite and visiting with the other guests at the table and making note of all the chef’s comments, I was hard-pressed to also get all the wine info recorded.

The chefs were from the Rossmere Golf & Country Club, a place that has been recently recommended to me by one of my Canstar Community Newspaper readers. Coincidentally, I grew up just steps away from the Country Club and can’t wait to visit.


The evening commenced with Chicken croquettes assembled from ground chicken which had been merged with duck fat and foie gras. The earthy tastes were enhanced by a lovely puree of truffle and sweet corn.


Next up was chicken soup which I bet was better than your Momma makes. The chicken consume had delicate noodle strands floating at the bottom and the spoon contained a dollop of decadent cream of chicken soup. I opted to stir mine together for the best of both worlds.


Asian elements were played up in the salad course featuring spinach tossed in soya ginger vinaigrette, adorned with smoked chicken and compressed pineapple. Chef came around and added a dusting of a powdered barbeque sauce just before we tucked in.


Our entrée was a clever take on the traditional chicken cordon bleu with comfortable additions like mashed potatoes, carrots and asparagus.


A close up of the stuffed chicken.

Roasted ham and grated Bothwell Swiss cheese had been paired, cooked and then stuffed into whole deboned chickens which had been soaked in a citrus brine. The result was a lovely spin on a classic.

A little ice cream bar was set up with Cornell Cream ice creams and fun toppings. But my gaze went right to the chocolate petit fours and lemon tarts from High Tea Bakery. Both amazing!

I paced my wine consumption by splashing the remains of the white samplings into the spittoons, so that I could savour the lone red from Chateau du Charmes-the Niagara on the Lake vineyard that we loved touring.

Kath’s quote: “But my favorite remained the basic roast chicken. What a deceptively simple dish. I had come to believe that one can judge the quality of a cook by his or her roast chicken. Above all, it should taste like chicken: it should be so good that even a perfectly simple, buttery roast should be a delight.”  ― Julia Child

TSR Watermark - 5666

Love, never fails.




Mother’s Day 2016



J2 and the Wee One jumping for joy in the back yard.

I am quite certain that being a Mom is the finest thing that I have ever done and I certainly don’t need “things” to celebrate my joy in doing so. My family know and understand that, so this Mother’s Day I received a very special gift. The gift of time, diligence, and hard work. I love my gardens and really enjoy spending time in the dirt every spring. This year though, I hadn’t been able to with a torn meniscus and my leg in a brace. D thought that I should spend the weekend at the lake so I did so and enjoyed every single moment.


On Sunday I packed up and headed back into town. As soon as I pulled onto the parking pad I noticed that my railing boxes were full of flowers! It turned out that Boo and the Frenchman worked for hours on Saturday and then were back to finish things up with J1 on Sunday. J2 and Beep were the cheering section and they all pitched in on the flowers that were in the seven window boxes that I have on the house and back deck. In addition to lovely cards that I received, I was one happy Momma.

To top it off J1 made us all supper. J1 and J2 are part of a dinner club and last week they hosted.  J1 likes to work with a theme so he made a dinner which reflected our east European heritage and then recreated the menu for Sunday supper.


After nibbles of Polish sausage while sitting in the now beautiful garden, D set up a table so we could picnic in the sun. On the menu was a delectable Pork Schnitzel with the unusual addition of curry powder in the flour dusting and big squeezes of lemon over all. Panko flakes made the tenderloin especially crunchy. To accompany we loved the sweet & sour cabbage and an amazing potato salad. The authentic recipe contained chopped up dill pickle (which my Polish Grandma always called “ogorki”)and a dash of the brine. From start to finish, the meal was fabulous especially when surrounded by my beloved family.

Another thing that makes Mother’s Day so special is celebrating with my own Mom (89 years old) which I did the week prior as well as my daughter-in-law who was to enjoy her special day on Monday.

Kath’s quote: “But kids don’t stay with you if you do it right. It’s the one job where, the better you are, the more surely you won’t be needed in the long run.”
Barbara Kingsolver


Love never fails.

2016 Confessional


I am writing furiously so that I do not chicken out. I am once again sharing with you my readers, so that I can be held accountable. The issue is this: my blood sugar is in the high normal range and I have seen the way diabetes has tragically altered my Mom’s life in so many ways.

Even though she is 89 and has survived two cancers, it is the diabetes that has caused  lasting debilitation. She has been wheel chair confined for quite some time now and when the lift in her personal care home broke down, they indicated that they would no longer be able to get her to the washroom, so you know the rest…… She tries hard to exercise her independence but she is totally reliant on others for her care.

I asked my nurse practitioner if losing some weight would help the blood sugar thing and she replied with a resounding “yes”! So today is Day One and I will “weigh” in with you in a week or so and share some of my new found recipes along the way.

I have considered Weight Watchers as I was very successful on the program between our first and second baby. But the truth is, I know exactly what I need to do without spending money on a program. I need to eat less, and when I do eat, it needs to be the right choices. It is pretty clear to me.

Here is a small triumph from Day One: I have a torn meniscus and have spent the day in waiting rooms, seeing doctors, getting x rays and prescriptions. When our kids were young, I always let them have a treat of potato chips after a dentist or doctor’s appointment. While I was killing time at Rexall waiting for a topical cream prescription to be filled, I spied the chip aisle. Although I was tempted by a big bag of my favourite kettle chips, I resorted to a healthy snack. My appointments meant that I had not eaten any lunch, so it hit the spot. The snack was mostly air but had some crunch and some salt which are the two sensations that I cannot do without.

So feel free to come along my friends as I take you on another food journey.

Kath’s quote: “I have a great diet. You’re allowed to eat anything you want, but you must eat it with naked fat people.” ~Ed Bluestone


Love never fails.



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