Food Musings

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

Old School Banana Bread-Best of Bridge


I do not particularly like to bake.  Cakes are my worst nightmare-breads and crisps are more my style.  But if I have to bake, I love to in the early morning. Perhaps this is a throwback to the summers that I spent with my Grandma who did her baking before the kitchen got too hot (she had a wood stove in the kitchen and an electric stove in the porch).  And so here it is at 7:25 am and two loaves of banana bread are already in the oven.

My early morning baking companion…

For some comfort foods, “old  school” is best.  I’ve been making this recipe since the kids were little.  I have “gussied” the recipe up with pecans or blueberries but in the end it is this basic version that my gang loves.  We are planning a family road trip soon and this is always the first request when I pack the lunches. 

Best-Ever Banana Bread (from Grand Slam- Best of Bridge)

2 c sugar

1 c butter

6 overly ripe bananas-mashed (3 c)

4 eggs, well beaten

2 1/2 c flour

2 t baking soda

1 t salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  With electric beater, cream butter & sugar until light and fluffy,  Add bananas, eggs, and beat until well mixed.  Blend dry ingredients together in a large separate bowl.  Pour in banana mixture and mix just enough to blend-do not over-mix.  Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans.  Bake 45 minutes to one hour.  Test for doneness.  Cook on rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.  These freeze beautifully.  We like them best a day later when they have been stored at room temp.

Kath’s quote: “Happiness is when you see your husband’s old girlfriend and she’s fatter than you!” -author unknown

love, love, love

Saint D’s Hoisin Chicken


Not only did D prep all weekend for his annual catered Christmas dinner for 80 (inlcluding 5 turkeys) but he made me chicken soup and tea because I wasn’t feeling well AND he made us a scrumptuous Sunday dinner when the kids came over. 

Hoisin Chicken

3 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into small serving sized pieces

corn starch, enough to coat chicken

enough oil to shallow fry

3 T oil

1 inch ginger piece, peeled & grated 

2 onions, roughly chopped

8 oz. brocoli, cut into small flowerettes

1 red pepper, cut into squares

1 cups of sliced mushrooms

2 T hoi sin sauce

2 T dry sherry

1 T soy sauce

2 T vinegar


1 c water

2 chicken stock cubes

1/2 t sesame oil

 3 t cornstarch

Heat oil in wok.  Fry a few pieces of chicken at a time until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 5 minutes, drain well.  Drain excess oil from pan  and heat 3 new T of oil.  Add ginger and heat 1 minute.  Add onion and heat 1 minute.  Add brocoli, peppers and mushrooms and toss well for 2 minutes.  Add combination of hoi sin, sherry, soy, vinegar, salt, water, chrciken stock, sesame oil & 3 T corn starch.  Add chicken back to pan with veggies.  Add sauce & toss over high heat until sauce boils and thickens.  Continue to toss for 2 minutes.  Serves 6 (we even had enough for 4 left over servings).

Kath’s quote: “American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.”                      W. Somerset Maugham

and I love him

posted under Entrees | 2 Comments »

Celebrating Life with Food (from the couch)


I’ve been “under the weather” as they say-first the flu and now a cold.  Wow, I sure appreciate my wellness after a few days of that.  But if I had to be in bed for a weekend-this was the weekend to do so.  I was absolutely delighted by the Christmas foodie specials of the Food Network.  Each host, as you likely already know, has their own approach and style.  

Guy Fieri with his bleached out hair and backwards sunglasses approaches everything with a wide-open mouth and enthusiasm that make your mouth-water.  We’re excited to check out a couple of his haunts from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives when we are on a road trip next weekend. 

Giada has her own brand of enthusiasm with her enormous smile and constant cleavage.  Her kitchen overlooking the beach is a dream of mine, so I watch Giada at Home and live vicariously.  I caught Sunny Anderson for the first time.   She is one of the few chef’s that doesn’t perplex me,  That is, I wonder how these skinny people are around so many glorious dishes without packing on the extra pounds.  Well Sunny’s hips and her indulgent cooking style, is closer to my reality than any of the others.  Her show is aptly titled Cooking for Real.

Ricardo and Friends gives a peak at culinary Quebec that makes me proud.  The local ingredients and rustic recipes and country-side take me to an earlier time in my life  when I enjoyed time in the Gatineau mountains and we honey-mooned in Quebec City and the Eastern Townships.  But let’s face it-I could just have the audio on and listen to his accent and emphasis on different syllables and giggle like a school girl.

Another Canadian show that has me hooked is French Food at Home hosted by Laura Calder.  She reminds me a bit of actress Laura Linney and is very understated yet kooky and spontaneous.  Her show style includes the shopping for fresh produce, very close camera shots of the preparation and instead of a long tirade describing what is happening as ingredients are added-silence and the food does the talking.

By Saturday night I was feeling well enough to sit upright on the couch and D joined me for Jamie Oliver’s Christmas at Home.  I have such a crush on Jamie, especially when he is captured teasing his 90 year old Nan or teaching his beautiful little girls how to make pancakes on a miniature wood stove.  Turns out Jamie comes from a pub family which explains his authentic real food recipes.  I get such a kick out of his expressions and saucy style.

Well I’ve rambled long enough-I’m a day behind on my “real” work.  But I am on the mend and have renewed enthusiasm to celebrate our health and well-being with food!

Kath’s quote: “Measure the girth of the chef and you can rate his restaurant.” -French saying

Love heals.

Not Moule et Frites


You must be thinking that I never eat at home…..untrue!  I do admit that I have enjoyed a long stretch of business lunches and catching up with friends, but my lunch calendar is empty for the month of December and the outings will revolve around family get togethers. 

I also depended upon my restaurant experiences to blog about as I seem to have run out of family favourites which is not surprizing as I am approaching the first anniversary of this blog’s existence.  BUT last night I invented a new favourite, trying to re-create a dish that we often enjoy at Inferno’s and Bistro 7 1/4.  I served it over rice and not with French fries or else it would be known as Moule et Frites.

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1/2 red pepper, cut into narrow strips

1 carrot, peeled and then using the peeler cut into very skinny strips

1/2 c sliced mushrooms

1 can coconut milk

2 dozen(ish) fresh mussels

In the bottom of a pan or pot that has a tight fitting lid, pour a glug of olive oil.  Add veggies and saute until onions are translucent.  Pour in coconut milk and bring to a slow boil.  Through in the mussels and securely cover.  Reduce to a medium heat.  Peak under lid after 3-5 minutes.  If the shells are all open-they are done.  Ladle onto cooked rice and serve with a spoon! 

Kath’s quote:  “It is not a matter of indifference whether we like oysters, mussels or clams, snails or shrimp, if only we know how to unravel the existential significance of these foods.”-Jean-Paul Satre

Love lifts us up where we belong.

posted under Entrees | No Comments »

Spuntino Cafe


If ever you are in River Heights over the lunch hour and need to stop for a healthy lunch break, Spuntino’s is the perfect place.  I was enjoying a business lunch with a colleague who also happens to be a marathoner.  The snow was coming down heavily that day but it was warm and cozy inside. 

We both started with bowl of homemade chicken soup to take the chill off.  Next came her Greek salad and my Lemon Brocoli salad and we both added a chicken breast.  The chicken was sauteed in a delicate lemon coating as well.  As a result I got the full nutritional benefit of garlic, lemon, lean protein and the broccoli.  I felt like that lady in the commercial  who is trying to get her calcium intake quota and is eating what looked liked pounds of broccoli.   In the end I could not finish the salad and took left overs home to feed Daughter #2’s BF.

The soup and salad was served with the most delicious honemade buns, piping hot out of the oven.  I’m talking so hot that we had to let them cool to open them for a butter application.

We also got a mini-workout after lunch by having to push my van out of the snow drift that accumulated in my parking spot over lunch.  Ahh winter on the prairies…..

Spuntino Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Mother: It’s broccoli, dear. —
Child: I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”-
E.B. White

love makes the world go round

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »