Food Musings

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

Outside Eats


Even though the evenings are chilly at this time of year, most of this last cabin weekend was spent outside. Friday night we celebrated a niece’s birthday with nachos and cupcakes around a fire pit.  Saturday we watched “Babies” and “This Is It” on a big outdoor screen.  These were chosen for their lack of complicated story line because we had two brand new international students from Bejing, China in the crowd.  We had the fire pit going that night too and also got out blankets and toques.  Popcorn and penny candy was passed around to the 25 of us assembled on the cabin front lawn.

In spite of how much our family loves traditions, even to the extent of annual dinners, Sister #2 took a risk and made a decision to simplify the menu for this year’s Labour Day Weekend Beach Barbecue.  She usually makes skewers of pork, chicken, beef and shrimp and then veggie skewers.  But the prepped last year just about did her in.  She headed to the beach about half an hour before the rest of us to light the live coals in our two little grills.

While the burgers cooked, she had red pepper hummous, artichoke and jalepeno dips, as well as her own delicious concoction of cream cheese, Imperial cheese and strawberry preserves.  These were accompanied by a vermouth, soda and lemon cocktail.  Beer and Shiraz were served with the prime rib burgers.

Besides sauteed onions and bacon, she had made pesto basil and sun dried tomato mayonnaises.  She also put out huge bowls of potato salad, Greek pasta salad and Caesar salad.

We delayed dessert until much later in the evening (as we were literally groaning over our supper) when we  reassembled around a fire back at the cottage.  Cranberry oatmeal cookies and fire grilled blueberry, apple and raspberry pies were a wonderful snack later in the evening.

Kath’s quote:  “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the stomach.”-James Beard

Just Soup-Little Saigon


I have watched with envy in various cities but especially New york, when the supper hour arrives and people pop in on their way home from work to pick up supper.  This has never been a part of our lifestyle until recently.  I was on my way home from my baby hugging shift at the hospital and D’s tennis game had been cancelled due to rain.  I decided to stop at the Little Saigon Restaurant for soup-just soup, I kept telling myself as I remembered my favourite menu items and even their menu numbers by heart:

#1 Spring Rolls, #5 Charbroiled pork with rice vermicelli and fresh vegetables, #21 Deluxe Won Ton Soup and #80 Salt & Pepper shrimp with the shell off.  Just soup, just soup.

I did it.  I placed the order for 2 portions of #12 Deluxe Beef & Rice Noodle Soup.  They had to pack the containers in a handled bag for me to carry it out to the car.  And that bag was heavy!

Two containers included the lovely, rich broth with slices of spring onion floating on top.  The other two packages (where the weightiness came in) were filled with the noodles, bean sprouts, rare shaved beef, a lime and a sauce of spicy hoisin.

We placed our fixings in the bottom of a huge pasta bowl and poured the broth over top.  It took 2 hands to carry each bowl to the dining room table without spilling.  Savoury, so satisfying and amazingly, it was just soup.

Little Saigon Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us…..”-Marcel Proust

Inland New Orleans


We love  New Orleans.  The city, especially the French Quarter is a fascinating place to stay and the eating adventures are unequalled.  So when we were invited to a New Orleans themed party recently, thrown by CN to celebrate the success of the Canadian Women’s Open, we were thrilled to attend.

Upon arrival at a banquet room at the Delta Hotel, we were escorted down a cavern filled with card readers and fortune tellers.    The next stop was to dress up in beads and boas to further set the tone of the evening.  Overhead were persons “of the evening” calling out to us and throwing more beads.  From there we girded up with a cocktail called a  Hurricane, served in impressively tall glasses (but not quite so tall as the ones we were permitted to roam Bourban Street with).

There were duplicates of restaurant fronts reconstructed around the room with cafe tables set out as if out on the patio.  We choose a high bar table by a fountain.  From there we took turns going back and forth with samplings for each other.  There were little brown bags of chips and breaded pork along with sliders and sausages at one;  chicken skewers, jambalaya and cajun shrimp served in a jester’s chalice at another.  Fried banana peppers added some firey pops and BBQ meatballs and ribs made for deliciously messy eating.  For us though, the highlights were the prawn poh-boys, corn bread in a savoury broth, fried bananas in spiced rum sauce and bread pudding with Carmel sauce.  Alas, no oysters on the half shell…..

Saxophone and horn players wound through the crowd and on stage was a band flown in from Louisiana.  It was hard to believe that we were still in Winnipeg when we left the hotel that evening and drove up to the cottage.

Kath’s quote:  “New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.”~ Mark Twain



I have had the pleasure of being associated with the 2010  CN Canadian Women’s Open held in Winnipeg this past week at the St. Charles Golf and Country Club.

Many years ago when D was  studying at Ryerson in TO, obtaining his degree in Tourism and Hospitality, he came home one summer to apprentice at the St. Charles.  He had the pleasure of shadowing the renowned Chef Tony who has been on the Canadian Culinary Olympic Team and is a member of the Order of Canada.  Chef Tony as well as many of the food service management team have been loyal to the St. Charles for 35 years.  And it shows.

As a guest of CN I was pleased to sample the Club’s unique fare made from local ingredients.  The Lake Winnipeg pickerel was rolled and simply baked to bring out all the flavour that seems to burst and sparkle with each mouthful.  The freshly baked pie of wild blueberries was also a special treat, the pastry staff knowing that the berries can stand on their own without a high concentrate of sugar.  The sugar topped crust was a nice touch though that my mother- in- law also employs (and she’s the best pie maker that I know).

I’ll get onto the golf,  but not before mentioning that we also sampled Mike Weir’s signature wines. The Cab Merlot was exceptional, holding it’s own with the Chilean Merlots that I am so found of.

Out on the course I had the pleasure of following Michelle Wie on her pro-am practice round.  She has the beauty of a gazelle and her power and concentration is animal-like as well.  I also saw her the next day, coming in on the 18th after earlier hearing the roar from the gallery as she made her notorious hole in one.

The event was first class in every way but especially significant because it raised $800,000. for the babies that I snuggle at the Children’s Hospital.

Kath’s quote: “Berries thrive here. From these they make a wonderful dish combined with syrup and sugar, which is called ‘pai’. I can tell you that is something that glides easily down your throat; they also make the same sort of ‘pai’ out of apples or finely ground meat, with syrup added, and that is really the most superb.”-An immigrant living in Beloit, Wisconsin, wrote to friends back in Norway (November 29, 1851)

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Celebrating Life with Food -Part 3 Recipes


Baked Swordfish Siciliana

1/3 c olive oil

2 T lemon juice

2 1/2 T chopped basil

4 swordfish steaks

60 g pitted black olives, chopped

1 T baby capers

1/2 t finely chopped anchovies in olive oil

14 oz tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped

2 T dried breadcrumbs

Mix half the olive oil with lemon juice and 1 T basil.  Season and pour into a shallow ovenproof dish, large enough to hold the swordfish in a single layer.  Arrange the swordfish in the dish and leave to marinate for 15 minutes, turning once.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the olives, capers, anchovies and tomatoes with the remaining olive oil and basil and season well.  Spread over the swordfish and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over top.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the fish is just opaque.  Finish off by placing briefly under the broiler until the breadcrumbs are crisp.

Char-grilled Eggplant

2 large eggplants, thinly sliced lengthwise

2 cloves of garlic, crushed, 2/3 c olive oil

red chili flakes (to taste-approx. 1/2 t)

1 t dried basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle a couple of T over a baking tray.  and place the eggplant slices on top.  Drizzle with a little more oil and cook the eggplant until soft.  As you remove the slices from the pan, put them on a plate on top of each other-this helps them steam a little and soften further.  Whisk the rest of the ingredients into the oil.  When ready to serve, roll an eggplant slice into a cilender.  Drizzle the flavoured oil over top.

Kath’s quote:  “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely, the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.”    –Bible, Numbers 11

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