Food Musings

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

The Story of a Kitchen


We once had a family home in the Wolseley neighbourhood of Winnipeg. I loved the schools, the shops and the friends we knew and made in the neighbourhood. This was over twenty years ago and the community was not as gentrified as it is now and D was often concerned about our safety and was just as happy when we made the move to River Heights. The Wolseley kitchen was a do-it-yourself job with white cupboards and black hardware, white appliances and pine ceiling and walls. There was a door to the back porch, a door to the dining room, a door to the front landing and a door to the basement. J1 who we called “crash” as a toddler, once hit one of those door jams which forced his recently exposed front teeth, back up into the tooth sockets. Overall, it was an awkward space and poorly laid out and we would not miss it when we moved.


Our River Heights kitchen was smaller but had a more efficient footprint and was relatively new. At that time I was overjoyed. There was no designated dining room in the house but it had a built in kitchen table and it was perfect for our young family. Perfect, that was, until our border collie-cross puppy ate off all the legs to the chairs for the kitchen table! Over the years, things went down hill from there.

When J1 became a young man, he and D backpacked through Europe. Back home, for no apparent reason, the tempered glass on the front of our stove imploded into a million little glass shards. D and J1 redesigned the kitchen footprint on the back of a napkin in some European pub along their route. By this time, we had reworked a little TV room into a dining space so we no longer needed the kitchen table. We did a small redesign to move the stove where the table had been and replace the flooring which was very much the worse for wear.


In more recent years, we had run out cupboard space and the cupboard doors would literally fall off their hinges on a regular basis. We were disgusted by our popcorn ceiling and the grime that had accumulated there from our constant use of the stove. I had suggested a modest face lift to fix the cupboards and ceilings and create some more space. D want to start from scratch and so we waited until we could afford the reno.

In the mean time, my Momma had moved out of our family home and shared the proceeds of the house sale with my siblings and me. The kitchen dream, came back onto the front burner, so to speak! We researched some very grand plans of creating a doorway into the living room and going back to the bare bones with the help of our designated contractors-DAB Building and Renovation.

In the end, our plans had to be scaled back without the access and retaining the flooring and appliances, or we would have to continue to save. We chose the former and moved ahead. The guys from DAB are friends of our offspring and had some appreciation of our casual lifestyle. They suggested a beach-like kitchen decor and I was SOLD! The only thing that we modified was replacing a laminate counter top with a granite one. Otherwise, we accepted every one of their practical and design suggestions.


The majority of the work was scheduled to be completed while D and I were up at the Beach House on our August vacation. We emptied the cupboards and moved the contents of the city fridge to the lake one. Right on schedule, the demo and rebuild began. We got regular up-dates from the guys and I remained up at the beach house for some extra time to stay out of the guys’ hair.

A custom-made window took a bit of time to be completed and installed, but otherwise, the job took about three weeks.

Here’s a tour:


D prepared our first dinner at our dining peninsula. We wanted butcher block surfaces but was cautioned about surrounding the sink with wood, so we mixed it up with the granite top on the cupboards opposite. (This photo also illustrates that we should probably pour less hearty wine portions in the future).


We had never before had a spice drawyer. This one is right next to the stove top and D was thrilled with how easy it was to season everything up before the grilling that he did that evening.


In the drawers directly opposite the stove are all of our utensils. These three drawyers were newly acquired and much needed space. I seem to have accumulated way too many gadgets, given as product samples at blogging events. I itentially placed all of the plastic items in the bottom drawyer so that the Wee One could open it up by herself to help me unload the dishwasher or just play. The granite gives me a place to work with dough and is very “organic” looking in appearance.


The shelf to the left was added so that there would be clearance by the stove which allowed for a bank of open shelving. We had one of the shelves removed so that our tall bottles of various oils could be readily available at the stove top.


The open shelves serve a number of purposes: I never before had the space to place my much-loved cookbooks. Having a place to display a couple of decorative items means that it is less tempting for me to “clutter” up the counter as D likes clear counter tops. I think that we have found a number of good compromises between form (me) and function (him).


In our previous kitchen a double lazy susan (Sister #3 has always wondered why Susans are labelled in this manner), was full of packaged goods. Now one shelf holds all of our stove top cookware and another, all of our small appliances.


In addition to the lazy susan space, the pevious cupboards that occupied this space, right down to the floor, was full of food packages. These days, we find that we depend on hardly any packaged foods and so we were able to incorporate almost all our food stuffs and ingredients into this one space. We retained the wire baskets from our former kitchen so that we could pull out the shelves and see all of the ingredients so that nothing would get lost and forgotten about at the rear of the cupboard. In addition, I categorized each pull out, so if I am baking, I just pull out that entire basket and place it on the counter for easy access.


We do not have a stove hood or vent in the kitchen so it is so lovely that the window now opens to let steam and cooking odors out and the fresh air in.


The plant shelves by the south window are for growing herbs in the winter. The glass fronted cupboard is a great place to display some glass and pretty coloured serving items.


We have tripled the lights with numerous pot lights, strategically located. The pine that serves as our backsplash was white-washed to cover the popcorn ceiling. The double farmer’s sink is great for rinsing on one side and allowing supper to defrost in the other. The floor matt was out on our back deck and I initially brought it in just to have a place to put it over the winter but I love it so much that I will not want to give it up. I think that it ties everything together and really contributes to the beachy decor that we were going for.


Now here is the ironic thing, a detail that I do not think that D has even remembered: the white cupboards with black hardware and the pine on the walls and ceiling are exactly the decor of our first kitchen those many years ago (the one that we couldn’t wait to leave behind)!


Kath’s quote: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. –Joni Mitchell

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.








London House – Gordon Ramsay, Hong Kong


When I heard that a friend of ours had recently dined at one of ordon Ramsay’s restaurants (in Hong Kong, no less) I asked if he could be a guest blogger in this space. He and his wife include their favourite restaurant suggestions in their annual Christmas letter, so I was pretty sure that he was up to the task. He apologised for his photos as he didn’t know about my request at the time he dined. I thought that it would be fun for you to get a glimpse inside hell’s kitchen.


London House is located in the trendy area near the Shangri-La in Kowloon, not far from the ferry terminals and Nathan Rd.

I was an accidental diner in Mr. Ramsay’s restaurant. The previous night, a German supplier, friend and myself had gone to Brotziet, a German pub style restaurant to watch the seemingly unlucky Stuttgart Football club out play and out chance a Schalke club that made the most of its chances and defeat the home team by a score of 1-0. A discouraged group we were, but having only had beer that night and having seen much of the food that came out of the kitchen, I endeavored to eat a meal there, perhaps to make up for the lack of success the previous day.

Mody Rd. is lined with two storied restaurants, where the main floors typically have walk out patio style eating areas. As a result, you can walk down the sidewalk and feel as though you are walking through each restaurant as you go. This favours the first few restaurants on the road as most of the foot traffic arrives from the subway and the Shangri-La Hotel. I happened to pick-up the menu for the London House as I walked past, not even realizing that it was Mr. Ramsay’s, and it looked interesting (my general rule is to not eat twice in the same place while in Hong Kong – so this fit), so I decided to make a quick change of plans and sit down.


The menu in the bar where I ate was rather uncomplicated. The appetizer list included what you would find in many pubs today, with a few seafood options, wings and some tapas style items. I ordered the Onion and Cider soup with Gruyere cheese. This is not something I typically order, but I certainly didn’t regret it. I quite like these types of soup and the cheese and cider flavor was excellent.


For my main course, I ordered what seemed like the right thing to order for a London style pub in the harbor of a former British colony – fish and chips. It came with three large pieces of battered fish, a large portion of crispy French fries, homemade tarter sauce, and a homemade crushed pea side. The fish was quite tender and not too heavily battered. As with the soup, the portion size left little doubt that you were only going to need to eat in one place in order to have a full stomach. To those of us in Canada, this may seem somewhat redundant, but be assured this is not always the case in Hong Kong. The rest of the menu featured a few sandwich options, salads and a several mains consisting of a variety of meats.

For a beverage, I ordered an Orchard Cider, something that added a nice compliment to my meal and dessert for after it.

Overall I quite enjoyed the experience. The meal was pricey by Canadian Standards – about $90CDN – but in line with most of restaurants in this area. I was fortunate to get a seat at the bar as reservations are needed to get a table (the lounge/patio is first come first serve, but quite busy).

One final thought. This restaurant is located about a 5 min cab ride from the Ozone, the highest bar in the world. It is at the top of the Ritz Carlton. On a clear night, I would highly recommend this open air rooftop patio on the top of the tallest building in Hong Kong. 116 stories up.

Kath’s quote: “I don’t like looking back. I’m always constantly looking forward. I’m not the one to sort of sit and cry over spilt milk. I’m too busy looking for the next cow.”-Gordon Ramsay

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Isa Mujeres 2015-Day 3



The dawn was cloudy resulting in this almost invisible sunrise. But look at what else was in store for us that morning……













As the sun crept higher, the clouds parted and made for a glorious morning of photos. Every time that I thought that I had captured the ultimate shot, there was another which awaited me. It was as if there were three, or even more sunrises all in one morning.


D was still not feeling well but was still up for his morning walk into Centro to get the newspaper. While I was beachcombing J2’s Mom and Dad found me.


When D returned, we had a lovely morning all together on the patio over coffee and yoghurt.


We stayed put that afternoon to ensure that D was better. We whiled away the lazy afternoon in the hammock and in our beach chairs.



I for one, could be content with sitting and gazing at the turquoise sea forever.


Had a delicious lunch of leftover pork and rice from Tino’s that I was able to sauté up in our Luna D’Miel kitchen.


We have been accumulating more small appliances to take to Isabel, each time we make the trip and have it pretty well appointed.

In the late afternoon, we walked into Centro to tend to some future arrangements.  At sunset we strolled over to the Fisherman’s Co-op and shared an order of garlic fish. The sunset like the sunrise was absolutely exquisite but you’ll have to head over to my Fisherman’s Co-op post to see just how beautiful it was.



After our light dinner, we were off to meet up with V & D again along with Brother #3 and his wife at El Patio. They had enjoyed their dinner together on the second floor patio. We don’t listen to much live music back home but we always make it a point to do so on Isla.



Javier and his “Band with No Name” is our favourite Isla group and we stayed for a couple of their sets. Javi (and his wife Marla) have been good friends of ours ever since we were introduced to him as Winnipeggers. Javi is very close to a number of Winnipeg families and has even visited Winnipeg on a couple of occaissions. He had hoped to return this summer but could not make the arrangements for his Canadian visitor visa. Sisters #2 & 3 were going to host one of his famous house concerts up at their beach house and property.

We ended the evening with a walk along Playa Norte before we cabbed it home and enjoyed a vino tinto together under the stars.

Kath’s quote: “Come walk with me, take off your shoes, let’s walk the beach with only the moon to light the path and waves to hear you tell me you love me.”-Unknown

glass hearts.jpg

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Cockteleria Justicia Social (Fisherman’s Co-op), Isla Mujeres


The Fisherman’s Co-op has been our go-to destination when we are craving simply prepared, fresh fish and you can’t get any fresher than sitting right on the dock where the lobster traps are stacked high and the fishing boats are tied up. Over the years we have sampled most of the menu and have been absolutely delighted with everything we’ve ever tasted. The parmesan crusted and almond crusted fish and the varied kinds of ceviche are all excellent. Sometimes we order ceviche “to go” to take along to a happy hour or as a light supper.

We love the pico de gallo and crunchy tortilla chips that get placed in front of you as soon as you sit down.

We have observed over the years that as many locals as travellers frequent the café.


On this evening, we split an order of garlic fish. It was succulent, perfectly prepared and so abundant.

But the excellent food isn’t the only draw of the Fisherman’s Co-op, it is the million dollar view:








Kath’s quote: “Remember the waterfront shack with the sign FRESH FISH SOLD HERE. Of course it’s fresh, we’re on the ocean. Of course it’s for sale, we’re not giving it away. Of course it’s here, otherwise the sign would be someplace else. The final sign: FISH.”-Peggy Noonan


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Anywhere in the World, He Chose Our Beach


My beautiful and talented niece/Goddaughter was back home for a visit. She currently resides in Melbourne Australia as does her dashing beau. Her Mom (dubbed Sister#2 in this space) invited all her beach cousins to get together for a little soiree at their beautiful lake home. If Aunties and Uncles happened to be out that weekend they were invited along. It was to be a very unceremonious get-together. What we didn’t know was this:


The burly rugby-playing beau had a surprize up his sleeve. He invited his love to join him down at the beach. It was an overcast and fairly non descript day as far as the weather went. She was told to wait at the end of one of the beach paths.


As she made her way along the path, she saw that the story of her life was displayed in photos along the fences that line the way. Near the end of the photo journey were images of her new life with her man in Australia. He was waiting for her on the beach. Just then, the sun burst out and shone on the two of them as he bent down on one knee to ask her to be his soul mate forever.

This may sound all very romantic and like the perfect setting. Here’s the thing, they currently reside in one of the most breathtaking places in the world and are en route to spend time in Europe with a stay in Paris. The Aussie could have chosen any dream locale to make his request but he chose Lester Beach, knowing how important it would be for his future bride to be in a place she loved so very much, surrounded by her family and long-time friends.


The details of the party seem like minor points indeed with all the love that was swooning in our midst. But they were not. They were consistent with the premise of this space and my core belief, that is: Food=Love. To me it was particularly fitting that soon after the beach festivities, we were assembled together to eat, drink and be merry.



The day prior D lovingly grilled these two platters of garden vegetables. He wanted them to chill overnight to set the flavours. He knew that our niece was vegetarian and wanted to delight her with the variety and the tastes.


Sister #3 made her famous guacamole and Sister #2 this cheese ball as big as your head.


The big hit of the evening was the latter’s chicken lettuce wraps but my favourite was courtesy of the bride-to-be herself. Here’s how she makes the stuffed jalapeno peppers pictured above: “Sorry I don’t have exact measurements for the pepper recipe cause I always just wing it! but these are the ingredients… Jalapeños sliced lengthwise and seeded. The cheese filling is half cream cheese half goats cheese. Use a piping bag to fill the sliced jalapeño with the cheese. The caramel sauce is around 12 pitted dates blended with half a can of coconut milk. Drizzle the sauce over the cheese. Top with a couple of pecans the put in the oven at 400 degrees for 5-10 mins or until the pecans are toasted and jalapeños are softer.” Whip up a batch for your next cocktail party and you will not be disappointed.


The sun set on that momentous evening. After more connecting around the bonfire, the couple walked down to the beach with cousins and friends. Along the way they witnessed a dazzling shooting star and then from the shore, the most spectacular display of northern lights. The couple felt very blessed as if nature was endorsing their future nuptials.

Kath’s quote: “Be my forever  You’re my bright blue sky   You’re the sun in my eyes   Oh baby you’re my life  You’re the reason why”-Be My Forever, Ed Sheeran


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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