Browsing: Food Celebrations

Tradition, tradition! (Part 1)



At Easter we always start the long weekend by attending a Seder supper on Thursday night.  It is an evening steeped in tradition and the consumption of ancient, symbolic foods.  The first item was the karpas -greens illustrating life dipped into salt water representing the tears of life.    Horseradish follows which is a reminder of the mortar of the bricks that the Israelites made for Pharaoh.  The hagigah is a brown egg which represents burnt offerings.  Lastly was the zeroah -a lamb shank bone, a symbol of the first passover lambs.   

We did get to eat “real” food as well and this year it was lovingly prepared by our youth leader and her husband. 


We also symbolically spilled our red wine- a drop for each of 10 plaques as they are recited.



The unleavened bread called matzahs, which are made with stripes and piercings, are wrapped in a special cloth  called a matzah tosh which has three pouches.

Afterwards, we ascend to the sanctuary which has been stripped of all adornment, reciting psalms as we climb the stairs.  Scripture is read in the darkness, of Jesus in the garden, then the book is slammed shut and we leave in silence.

Kath’s quote: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” –John 3:16


Easter Goodies

I was going to give myself the weekend off from a blog post but then I got an email from Sister #3 who had just made these gorgeous Easter cupcakes.  I just had to share them.


“I had lots of fun making these. IMG_0003

I used a cake mix (white cake with pastel colour confetti sprinkles inside). I made the butter cream (1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cut shortening, whipped with 4 cups icing sugar and two Tbsp milk).”


Topped with various sprinkles and M&M Easter eggs. ”

Kath’s Quote: “Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”-Al Bernstein


Have a blessed Easter everyone.

Beaujena’s French Table


This entry was made by a dear GF who celebrated her first wedding anniversary with dinner at this St. Boniface restaurant.  Chef Randy sent her the details of the menu that night which I have included below.  She selected the corresponding pics as she did wish to diminish the specialness of the evening with photo taking.

“The whole evening was AMAZING and the atmosphere was casual yet romantic. The staff were incredible making you feel more like family rather than customers. Definitely would recommend this restaurant to anyone wanting a nice evening out with amazing food and company! ”

“A shrimp cake with green apple salsa and a crab/mahi mahi cake with tarragon aioli. The two cakes were similar in some ways but very different in others. The green apple salsa had a tartness that went well with the sweet potato base of the shrimp cake while the tarragon aioli enhanced rather than over-powered the subtlety of the crab/mahi mahi cake.”
Cream of Mushroom Soup 500
“Cream of mushroom soup. No, not like the kind that comes in a can. This soup used crimini and shiitake mushrooms, sherry and very little cream. It was actually kind of light.”
“Coriander rubbed and seared tuna with white beans and spinach. This was a recipe I got while visiting Costa Rica. I seared the tuna for exactly 30 seconds per side then served it on white beans over spinach. Diners really appreciated this dish, saying that they had never had tuna that tasted so good. That’s in large part because most restaurants over cook fish and dry it out.”
“Chicken with apple and leeks on a bed of parslied pasta. The sauce contained apple cider which, along with the apples themselves provided a hint of sweetness to an otherwise savoury dish. The pasta was, as always home made.”
“Braised lamb shank with a savoury bacon and olive cake. This lamb was cooked in the oven for three hours in a red wine marinade. Lamb can be gamey tasting but this preparation mellowed those harsh flavours in addition to making it fall off the bone tender. As for the cake, what isn’t better with bacon?”
“Spring greens with French lentils and diced red beets. A simple Dijon vinaigrette dressed this salad which served as a nice, light palate cleanser. “
“Chocolate upside down pear cake. Everyone has heard of pineapple upside down cake. Use your imagination.”
My friends also chose the five glass wine pairing. Menu prices, hours, address etc. are stated in this link: Beaujena’s.

Beaujena's on Urbanspoon

Kathryne’s note: In the month of March their menu is inspired bu Northern Italy and Southern France.  Since my husband and I holidayed there this fall I think we owe it to ourselves to check it out.  I promise I’ll take my camera (romantic dinners went out the window when I became a blogger!).
Kath’s quote of the day: Escargot – “Nobody is sure how this got started. Probably a couple of French master chefs were standing around one day, and they found a snail, and one of them said: ‘I bet that if we called this something like “escargot,” tourists would eat it.’ Dave Barry

Greek Food Lament


0905p50e-greek-islands-mI have only travelled to Greece once.  It was a University graduation gift to myself.  I was not a foodie then-okay I’ll admit it:  I was a spoiled brat as far as food went.  I would not eat tomatoes unless they were in a spaghetti sauce.  I would not eat cheese unless it was mozarella or mild cheddar and melted on something.  Feta?  Yuck-not on your life.  Olives? No way.  What is the wierd stuff in my lasagna?  It’s not lasagna-it’s mousakka?  Eggplant?  Gross.  I would pick through a Greek Salad and only eat the cucumbers.  OMGoodness-why was I such an idiot?

Danforth Ave.

I went with two girlfiends (and one gf’s Mom).  Both friends now live in Toronto but sadly I only keep in touch with one of them.  Very often when I visit her in TO we head to the Danforth where the Greek restauants are plentiful and fabulous.  There is nothing that I won’t taste now. Octopus and squid?  Bring it on!

I don’t know why we don’t go out for Greek fook more often in Winnipeg because there are many wonderful choices here as well.  It seems that the most of my Greek dining was in yesteryears.

I once worked at the Winnipeg Art Gallery when the Swiss Inn (now defunct) had the foodservice contract.  Manny was the Chef, and no he was not Swiss-he was Greek.  Ah I can still taste his Avgolemono (Greek lemon soup) now. Avgolemono I traced Manny to a restauant on Sherbrook called the Acropolis.  But I believe that is too defunct.  There was once a beautiful restauant on Grant called Matheos-gone.  I also loved Dionysis on Nairn-gone.

The owners of Dal’s Restauant used to be our neighbours and I have never been to their Transcona location.  I have been to Homer’s on Ellice and Niko’s on Corydon but it has been years.  I’va also been to the Pembina Village Restaurant and the Garwood Grill but only for breakfast and never sampled their reputed Greek menus.  Why, why why?

Greek Potatoes

Greek Potatoes

This weekend I cooked Greek Food for Valentine’s Day dinner.  I had never cooked Greek potatoes before and they were fabulous. Here’s the recipe that I used:  In a small bowl mix 1/3 c olive oil, 1 1/2 c water, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 c fresh lemon juice, 1 t thyme, 1 t rosemary, 2 t dried chicken stock and black pepper to taste.  Arrange 6-8 peeled and quartered potatoes in a baking dish.  Pour the oil mixture over top.  Bake 1 1/2- 2 hours at 375 degrees, stirring every once in a while.



My husband got out the barbeque for chicken.  Marinated in Carver’s greek dressing, grilled and then served with sliced and grilled tomatoes, sliced black olives and a crumbling of feta-yum.

Italian Memories Dinner Party


There were three couples assembled to relive the details of our separate trips to Italy.  One couple had kept a similar itinerary to ours and the other had spent extensive time in Tuscany.  The host served Mario Bateli’s Osco Bucco (recipes in link)–a regional Italian dish that I have never attempted.  She made her decision from five different recipes-an indication of the care that she puts into her cooking.  It was perfection-“fall off the bone” and yet did not tasted “stewed”.  She also prepared his Risotto Milanese (with Saffron)  but admitted that it tuckered her out and decided to forgo her dessert course of poached pears and Carmel sauce.  We had a delicious tiramisu instead.

The wines were beautifully paired and we took over limoncello for after dinner sipping.

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar

Our hosts in Amalfi-who served their own Limencello in their cozy bar


  • 750 ml bottle of grain alcohol
  • 7 or 8 large lemons (make sure they’re organic and not sprayed, you’re using the peel!)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups sugar


  • Wash the lemons thoroughly – scrub them clean of all residue.
  • Using a peeler, take off the skins being careful not to get any of the white lemon “pith” onto your peelings or it will add bitterness to your limoncello.
  • Put the peels into a large, open-mouth jar with the alcohol and seal the lid tightly. Put the date on the bottle.
  • Put the jar in a cool, dry place for one week – once a day, shake the contents well to remix everything. You’ll notice the color of the liquid changing to yellow and the color of the lemon peels fading.
  • One week later, dissolve the sugar completely in water by heating it on the stove. Then cool the sugar-water mixture to room temperature.
  • Strain the lemon peels out of the alcohol and then mix the alcohol with the sugar-water. Usually the color of the alcohol changes from clear yellow to cloudy yellow when it’s combined with the sugar-water.
  • Pour the mixture into bottles which can be sealed tightly and store them in the freezer. If the limoncello is kept “frozen” until serving it becomes thick and syrupy.

These make great gifts; just get some small, pretty bottles and label them yourself and you’ve got a great taste of Italy to hand out to friends and family.  I’ve not tried this yet, but this same recipe can be used with any citrus fruit – orange, lime, grapefruit, etc.

DSCF1036We also took over the antipasto.  It was a recreation of our favourite one while travelling.  Antipasti are very regional depending upon the local ingredients available.  Our favourite was in Ravello and it was primarily a selection of vegetables that had been cooked, marinated and served cold.

The restaurant was called Cumpa Cossismo and it has been run by the same family for decades.  All the dishes served were Netta’s recipes and she still supervises the cooking, greets all the guests and then it appeared that her most important role is collecting everybody’s euros before departing.


Netta has hosted the likes of Jacqueline Onassis and Mariah Carey.  Having been caught in the rain on this morning-I don’t feel much like a diva in this pic.

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