Food Musings

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

A Cottage by the Sea, Part One


In early February, D an I went on a mini vacation (it was my Christmas gift from him), flying to Vancouver and driving from there to Seattle. En route, we spent a wonderful afternoon, evening and overnight with an old friend of mine from The Keg days. I had visited her in her home on Crescent Beach (White Rock), many years ago, but the renovations and love that she has put into her place since then, have made it truly “picture perfect”. Here’s part one of a pictorial tour:


We started with a walk down “Nance’s” beach.








When we arrived at her place, there was no one home so it gave me a chance to walk around her garden.

We shared some libations and some nibbles that Nancy had put out for us when another old friend dropped in for a visit. Regretfully, she had other plans and couldn’t join us for our fabulous dinner at the Seahorse Grill.


PS Nance sent me an update of what her garden is looking like right at this moment, now that spring has arrived in full force on the west coast.

Kath’s quote: A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” 
 Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

peach heart.jpg

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



Watt St. Bistro



Neighbourhoods like East Kildonan were once thriving little self-contained business centres. When I grew up just a half block from Watt St. we could walk to our own grocery store, pharmacy, hardware and dentist. The mini strip malls that once housed these establishments on Watt St. and various communities around the city sometimes have a ghost-town feel about them. One such business centre is being revived by restaurants like the Watt St. Bistro (710 Watt St. just south of Kimberley). I suspect that the motivation for the neat and tidy café is the huge student population and recreational participants next door at Miles Mac, The EK YMCA and the beloved Melrose Community Club.


My eldest brother who still lives in the suburb, as do most of my extended family, encouraged me to give the place a try. He mentioned $5.99 lunch specials and poutine, so I was surprised that the bistro actually features an extended selection of Vietnamese fare.


The highlight of this visit was the sizzling curry shrimp and vegetable dish that was served first. The owner Tan Dang (partnered with wife Trang Phung) personally brought out the two part dish. We were warned about the temperature of the wrought iron platter that was placed in between my sister and me. The second component was a heaping bowl full of the saucy shrimp and veggies.


As he poured the bowl onto the platter, the sizzling began and the dish imparted the most amazing aroma. Both the shrimp and the multitude of vegetables were cooked perfectly to a tender crisp and the sauce was, well I could have supped up the sauce with a spoon. Instead, I poured it over little bowls of rice and was well pleased.


Char-Broiled Pork Vermicelli was another choice. The heaping bowl is my “must-have” dish when dining at a Vietnamese restaurant and this was a lovely version.

Watt Street Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “our highest priority, when all is said and done, has to be commitment to each other –- sticking together.” ― Steve Goodier


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.





A Little Taste of Greece, Without Leaving Home


Yesterday, my morning began with a drive to the airport to deposit Boo and The Frenchman, who will soon be making their way to the sunny isles of Greece for their honeymoon. Although back-packing, Boo managed to pack a number of flowy white dresses for the trip. I can already picture my baby and her handsome husband dancing in the sun and smooching across a seaside table. Ah Greece, so exotic and romantic and delicious!

During my own sojourn to Greece, right out of university, I was a timid eater. I picked at the tomatoes and feta, the herb omelettes and spinach pie and managed to never ever taste an olive. I was such a silly girl and long to return to Greece so that I can savour every salty little taste. In the meanwhile, I LOVE Greek food, love all Mediterranean food in fact. I have many favourite little tavernas here in the city but not all are conducive to picking up a healthy supper or dropping in for a quick lunch. That is until Opa! of Greece came along. They’ve been in Polo Park for six years, but since I am not much of a shopper, I have never visited. With their second location (1639 Kenaston) adjacent to my neighbourhood and based on the samplings that I enjoyed last evening, that is going to change.


We started with spanakopita-crunchy phyllo wrapped around spinach, onion and bound together with some cheese.


We were then invited to fill our plates with traditional Greek fare: meat kebabs, roasted potatoes, “peasant” salad, warm pita, hummus and tzatziki and olives! I am so hooked on olives that I ate them all before I took this photo. These kebabs were specially made for us highlighting beef, chicken and lamb on a skewer. I typically shy away from lamb but it was beautifully marinated, tender and sparkling with flavour.


Crispy calamari and spicy falafel came around as we sat down at our tables. Both were excellent.

My foodie friends are a hoot and we enjoyed lingering and eating the calamari morsels like popcorn. Here’s the thing that I learned in Greece those many years ago-all food is made better when cooked with love and shared with friends. Owners of both Opa! Winnipeg locations: Fatima and Klaus Kostas, obviously know this too, as the pride in their offerings and their warm hospitality, shone through like the Mediterranean sun.

Opa! of Greece on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles and harvests potatoes.” Greek proverb


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.




Cafe Turko Shop, Freemont, Seattle



When I recently recounted our time at Café Turko in Seattle, I did not get the opportunity to share with you the beautiful shop which co-habits with the café. Both are located in a large building that was once a Turkish carpet shop. Some carpets still remain, along with








jewelry and glass items,


lanterns, lanterns


and more lanterns. I loved that the shop and the café co-inhabited peacefully together.

Kath’s quotes: Turkey’s true master is the peasant.”  Mustafa Kemal Atatürk


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.




Many of our good friends are realizing that there is no time like right now to go on traveling adventures; offspring are old enough to fend for themselves or have flown the coop entirely as is the case with D and me. Some of our circle are even more daring than us and leave the comforts of home and volunteer in far off places like South Africa. Such was the case with the particular friends that invited us to dine with them recently. On the drive over, I had commented to D that I hoped that they were cooking something from their travels, as they said that dinner was all planned and we could not contribute a thing. The aroma wafting from the kitchen as we were greeted at the door led us to excitedly inquire what was for dinner.

I had to look up “bobotie” on Wikipedia as Boo and the Frenchman who spent three months in South Africa were not available to ask. They happen to be preapring for an imminent month long vacation to Greece. I found out that Bobotie (pronounced /bəˈbʊəti/ or /bəˈbti/), also spelt bobotjie, is actually the national dish of South African. Simply stated, the dish consists of spiced minced meat baked with an egg-based topping. It is thought to have originated from the Indonesian dish bobotok. Colonists from the Dutch East India Company colonies probably introduced bobotie to South Africa previous to 1609 which is when the first recipe appeared in a Dutch cookbook. Afterwards, it was taken to South Africa and adopted by the Cape Malay community.

Today Bobotie is typically made with beef or lamb. Early recipes incorporated ginger, marjoram and lemon rind; the introduction of curry powder has simplified the recipe somewhat but the basic concept remains the same. Although not particularly spicy, the dish incorporates a variety of flavours that can add complexity. For example, the dried fruit (in this case raisins) contrasts the curry flavouring. The texture of the dish is also complex, with the baked egg mixture topping complementing the milk-soaked bread which adds moisture to the dish.


5.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: South African
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: serves 8
Resembles mousakka to me.
  • 1 loaf thick sliced bread (white or brown)
  • 375 ml (1½ c) milk
  • 25 ml oil
  • 10 ml butter
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 25 ml curry powder
  • 10 ml salt
  • 25 ml chutney
  • 15 ml smooth apricot jam
  • 15 ml Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 ml turmeric
  • 25 ml brown vinegar
  • 1 kg raw mince
  • 100 ml sultanas
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch salt and curry
  • bay leaves
  1. Soak bread in milk. Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic. When onions are soft add curry powder, salt chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well. (Janine also adds cumin and ginger
  2. Drain and mash bread and reserve milk for later.
  3. Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring, and when meat loses its pinkness remove from stove.
  5. Add 1 beaten egg, mix well., then spoon into a greased, 8 x 11 and level the top.
  6. Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have 300 ml) and salt and curry.
  7. Pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top.
  8. Stand dish in a larger pan of water (this is NB to prevent drying out) and bake uncovered 350 for 1 hour or until set.
  9. Serve with rice, coconut, nuts and bananas.


Doesn’t bobotie look like dessert when garnished with almonds, bananas and coconut?

Our hosts also served the savoury dish with crusty bread and a crunchy salad. The meal was simple, yet tasted soooo extravagrant. We had an absolutely delightful evening and now I predict that bobotie will become one of our families’ favourites. After I find out what “raw mince” is…..

Kath’s quote: My Ouma (my Dad’s Mom) was Afrikaans; a proper boerevrou. I remember her working in the farm dairy, churning the butter, or outside making her soap in the giant sized potjie (which is now a flower container at my sister Iona’s house in England). No-one could roll apricot smeer, make koeksusters or cook bobotie like Ouma could! –Judy Croome


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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