Browsing: Food & Travel

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.

The Local, Kits Beach Vancouver



We were awake early on our first full day in Vancouver. Perhaps it was our excitement, perhaps the time change or perhaps because we had slept like babies in the comfortable beds and were refreshed for our time ahead. We were up before the sun and then were able to appreciate it in all its splendour looking east over the mountains.

Kits Beach was our first destination in our trusty rented Jeep that made us look as if we fit right in to the hardy outdoorsy Vancouver lot. Indeed on this morning there were joggers, a number of people walking their dogs (and not doing a very thorough job of watching if they were squatting anywhere), elderly couples strolling arm in arm to help each other with their footing I suspect and many, many moms pushing strollers in pairs and sipping their ventes from Starbucks. The latter also had their opportunity to stop their highly functional (expensive) strollers at a spot where mats were laid out and other moms were doing their stretches while babies and toddlers slept or occupied themselves in strollers parked nearby.


It had been years since I had visited Kits Beach and was struck by how the skyline over English Bay had changed in that time. Looking in the opposite direction, the Kits skyline had altered as well. One time a place occupied by:hippies: and students of UBC, the skyline was now dotted with sleek condos and upscale shops.


The Local opened at 11 and since we had decided that we would have an early lunch and then head to our one responsibility of meeting up with one of D’s suppliers in Burnaby. The Local seemed to us to be the perfect hang out for, quite obviously…the locals.  On this day there were a couple of workers from the area in for a pint with their. D was pleased with the local and craft beer selections as he commenced his beer tasting tour of Vancouver and Seattle.

The menu was what captured my imagination with local fish offerings and a fusion of Mexican and Asian tastes.


We started with a tortilla chicken soup which I had hoped would taste somewhere close to the version that we continually enjoy on Isla Mujeres or at the very least, the version from Chili’s that I remembered from years prior. First tastes did not live up but as I took a few more slurps, it started growing on me in a more subtle manner.

Being a stickler for freshly cut, double cooked fries, I was hard pressed to order the ones with truffle mayo even though, as my readers know, I am crazy for truffle oil. With a little coaching, D talked me into trying the Local’s version because they were provided by his company (GFS).


The burger was tasty.


As were the tuna tacos.

And we were off on our further adventures!

Local on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” 
 Jack Kerouac, On the Road


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

The Seahorse Grill, Crescent Beach, BC


Dinner at the Sea Horse Grill began twenty years ago. Let me explain. You know how friendships ebb and flow in our lives? Well I had known this particular friend for thirty some years but the last time we had seen each other was 20 years ago. At dinner that evening, we just picked up where we had left off.

More specifically the evening began with our arrival that afternoon at Crescent Beach where we had a chance to stroll the promenade and bask in the surprisingly warm (for January) BC sunshine. Once we were settled in to the bedroom that our host had vacated (she slept in her quest cottage), she poured out glasses of persecco and put out a couple of delectable nibbles. We were joined by another old friend who had another commitment that evening but was able to squeeze in a short visit.


Thank heaven we hadn’t spoiled our appetite because we were in for a real treat that evening. On duty in the kitchen that evening was Chef Jeff. When he heard that we were from Winnipeg, he remarked that he had lived in Winnipeg when he worked the Via Rail Train route from Winnipeg to Vancouver as a train cook. D had done that very same job when he was putting himself through Tourism & Hospitality School.

D is torn between his two shellfish loves- prawns and scallops.  As a result he ordered a special prawn appetizer for us to share at the table. I was negligent in getting the details of the ingredients because I was too busy getting caught up on more important details-the ones of 20 years of life.


For his entrée he could not resist the Pan seared scallops in lemon grass sauce accompanied by fregola pasta and market vegetables. The taste of the enormous scallop that he shared with me as absolutely delectable-sweet and silky, just like a fresh scallop should taste.

Friend Nance ordered what she claims she cannot resist with each of her many visits to the Seahorse Grill-the Linguine Vongole. She offered me a swirl and I know that if the opportunity is afforded me in the future (and I am currently making those plans), I would certainly order her selection. The freshest of clams were poached in white wine broth, olive and plenty of garlic and then perfectly heaved together with el dente linguini.


My Smoked chicken and pasta choice was perfect with generous slices of chicken breast and a bone in cuts as well, the dish was laced with garlic and beautifully paired with a hearty pasta. At about this time, another old friend made a second appearance and the evening was complete.

Kath’s quote: A woman or man of value doesn’t love you because of what he or she wants you to be or do for them. He or she loves you because your combined souls understand one another, complements each other, and make sense above any other person in this world. You each share a part of their soul’s mirror and see each other’s light reflected in it clearly. You can easily speak from the heart and feel safe doing so. Both of you have been traveling a parallel road your entire life. Without each other’s presence, you feel like an old friend or family member was lost. ” 
 Shannon L. Alder

Seahorse Grill on Urbanspoon


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Fat Hen, Seattle


I love happy endings. Even though I am not absolutely certain that this is the case with the story of the married couple who met at Cordon Bleu cooking school. I feel that I have had a glimpse of their joy and their “happy ending”.


We were leaving Seattle after a wonderful weekend with the Iflands.  Rebecca had declared a couple of evenings earlier, whilst at their dining table “If only we had more time, I would have loved to have taken you to “The Fat Hen””. She then shared the story of a Seattlite who’s mother was a graduate of the prestigious Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris and how her daughter also attended the school and met her Italian husband Maximo while there.


Fast forward to this morning, Maximo was in the tiny café kitchen where he whipped up the most decadent and rich breakfasts for D and I. His wife had baked all the pastries that were featured in the restaurant including the perfectly bubble filled baguette that I used to sop up every single bite of my delectable sauce.


Rebecca who hails from our province in the middle of Canada had declared that even though she would not normally indulge in a Benedict, the Fat Hen’s version was the best she had ever tasted with its heavenly hollandaise sauce. Since we were in seafood territory, D chose the Benedict with wild Alaskan smoked salmon. The petite roasted new potatoes were a delectable accompaniment.


I needed help with my baked eggs alla boscaiola where two eggs had been plunged into a bubbling solea tomato sauce with sausage, mushrooms and mozzarella, to finish the cooking process. At least, this is how we guessed the dish had been prepared. The more quickly you broke into the egg, the softer the yolk was that had been poaching in the hearty sauce. By my last bite the egg was fully cooked.


We spotted Maximo as he efficiently let down a counter to cover the doorway to the kitchen to lovingly plate and complete his delicious fare. He was obviously the handsome Italian chef that had smitten his fellow culinary student. He was shy (and busy) but came out for a moment to shake our hands in greeting. His wife was home with their children. They are open from 8-3 Tues to Sunday, a schedule which seems to perfectly suit their regular customers as the place was chock full at 10 am on a Tuesday morning. From what we guess, their timetable also supports their young family and this is where the happy ending comes in. Living a life where you can love what you do but at the same time have the freedom to do so around life’s most important things, like family.

The Fat Hen on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Cookery is not chemistry. It is an art. It requires instinct and taste rather than exact measurements.”-Marcel Boulestin


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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