Browsing: Food Celebrations

The Frenchman’s Birthday

February20

IMG_4938

We are a family who loves to celebrate. In fact recently the eldest Wee One, listed the 7 birthdays between now and September. She leads the time of sharing where we go around the dinner table and tell the birthday boy or girl, what we love about them. With regards to the Frenchman, whose birthday we celebrated in advance last weekend, she declared that she loves him because she could hug him for hours.

The birthday person also gets to decide what we will share for supper and what dessert will be served. The Frenchman typically chooses pork ribs but this year he requested steak with hot fudge sundaes for dessert. The fudge recipe is D’s Mom’s and is often requested by the gang. But back to the steaks, D went out and purchased an entire strip-loin. He cut the steaks himself but decided that they should be marinated because he was concerned about a line of silver skin that he detected. The process took place overnight and added a ton of flavour as well as greater tenderness.

IMG_4936

He spent the day in the kitchen and assembled a complete dinner worthy of a high end steakhouse: Cesar salad with homemade croutons, garlic mushrooms, baked potatoes with green onions, sour cream, butter, and a pound of bacon made into bacon bits. Steamed green beans rounded off the plate. The Wee Ones had triple servings of them.

IMG_4934

I love this picture that I took as we got organized to sit down. You can see J’s baby bump. I will be a Glamma again in May!

IMG_4939

The youngest is three and not a baby any more.

So what do I love about the Frenchman? I love how devoted he is to our youngest daughter. I love how he fits like a glove into our family. I love his passion and perseverance. I love his heart-his enormous kind, tender, loving, compassionate heart!

Kath’s quote: “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it is a memory”. -Dr. Seuss

lakelife25

Love never fails.

 

Raw Almond 2019

February19

D has worked for a number of years importing flowers to be sold in many retail places. Many of the blossoms come from Colombia, South America and recently a gentleman from Colombia temporarily moved to Canada to assist with the business. Rodrigo marvels at the winters here and loves the beauty of the frozen landscape. D thought that it would be fun for him to experience Raw Almond where architects design a pop up restaurant right on the frozen river where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. And so it was that D invited another couple along and the five of us brunched together.

IMG_4906

Architects also design warming huts along the winter river trail and this one by a Chicago architect caught my eye. It kind of captures my reality. In a couple of sleeps, we will be in summer-like weather of Isla Mujeres, but this week we were brunching on a frozen river.

IMG_4912

From the outside, this looked like a mound of snow covered by a tarp and more snow but inside it was this lovely space with Jenga-like wooden slats pieced together perfectly. I was especially impressed by the arc of this one of two dining rooms. The temperature when we arrived was pleasant enough to doff our coats and by the time we left I was darn right toasty.

IMG_4920

We found places on the wooden slats to hang our coats and we shared one long communal table. This might not go over in many places in the world but on the Canadian prairies it has the same festive atmosphere as a church basement fall supper but elevated by the culinary creativeness of two local Chefs-Talia Shire and Ben Kramer. Having tasted their fare many times previously I knew that we were in for a treat.

IMG_4923

First up was a potato dumpling (we are the land of perogies after all), with shredded pork and a poached egg. The egg was topped with hemp gomashio (a typical Asian condiment or topping usually made with sesame seeds). Then the servers came around with thermal canisters of hot pork broth which got poured over top. The little bowl was very tasty indeed.

IMG_4926

This dish was my personal favourite.  A beet and yam hash was topped with poached pike and then with dill hollandaise. A kale cole slaw accompanied. We eat a lot of pike up at our summer house and I was very impressed with this version. The pike was meaty and perfectly cooked and the hollandaise took it up a good couple of notches to stellar.

IMG_4927

A handsome dollop of braised beef cheeks was perched on top of a creamy polenta. Grated manchego cheese (I eat a lot of it in Mexico)  and a hint of horseradish adorned the dish and the combinations were a resounding success.

IMG_4929

I was done by this time but could not resist the three pancake medallions topped with marscapone and a fruit coulis. A fun element was added-that of puffed grains (and not just wheat that you might have had as a kid). The dish satisfied the need for a Brunch dessert.

IMG_4933

We decided to walk off the four food servings with a stroll on the river. En route we found an ice bar where drinks were served in these stylish ice tumblers. The walk was pleasant in one direction but a bit nippy in the other. Remember we were accompanied by someone from Colombia. I believe that he was especially cold and so we headed back up to the cars and enjoyed the winter scenes from a decidedly warmer vantage.

Kath’s quote: “Going to a restaurant is one of my keenest pleasures. Meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilised life”.-Adam Gopnik

th4_heart

Love never fails.

 

 

 

Made with Love

February11

I have a dear friend who has a Christmas birthday. She is so busy throwing parties and giving perfect gifts to everyone in her life that Christmas kind of trumps her birthday. But I believe that you can commemorate a person any time and we were only too happy to celebrate wonderful her about 6 weeks after the date of her birth.

20190208_200116

The festivities were planned when her husband gave her five different bottles of Apothic as a gift (one of her favourite wines). The two decided that the best way to enjoy their unique tastes would be with courses and pairings. And so she sent out invites which we all gratefully accepted.

20190208_183902

We arrived on a frosty Friday to be warmed up with Strawberry Crush Cocktails. They were served in tippy scotch glasses that were a lot of fun but were a subtle warning not to imbibe too much or our worlds may look a bit tippy too.

20190208_184513

Cheese, fruit and biscuits were placed in a casual manner around their enormous kitchen island. A fine champagne gift was poured out next and shared all around. I am not partial to champagne but I sure can tell a good bottle of one!

20190208_195601

We sat down to a gorgeous table with a line up of glassware which included a map of the wine choices that would be served throughout the evening.

20190208_195954

Also at our places were menus of the rest of the evening’s fare.

20190208_201350

To accompany the delicious pear, pomegranate, butter lettuce salad with a honey balsamic vinaigrette was Apothic Inferno.  This wine boasted dark fruit flavours with hints of maple and spice.

20190208_210549

Apothic Red was paired with sautéed sea scallops. They were finished with brandy and cream and I savoured each tiny bite to make the luscious seafood morsels last as long as possible. The Red had a lighter body to offset the richness. The scallops were d.i.v.i.n.e.

20190208_213908

The robust tastes of Vietnamese lamb chops, coconut rice and snap peas almandine were complemented by Apothic Dark. Wine and food were perfect together, eclipsed only by the friends old and new, loving on each other and getting right to the heart of the matter; strengthening our bonds and intimacy.

20190208_222927

Dessert was prepared by the birthday girl herself. I had tasted it on another occasion and dearly hoped they would serve it again. The chocolate torte was delectable on its own; sublime when drizzled with a fine olive oil and sea salt. Apothic Brew was appropriately served with the final course.

20190208_224612

I think that I can easily say for all the friends that we felt pampered and loved. In deed, that was the secret ingredient in each and every dish. And this is the generous man (with his wife of almost 30 years to the right) who put the fabulous evening together so that we could delight in each other’s company.

Kath’s quote: “I love the way women friends have with each other. When I gather with a group of women friends, inevitably someone begins to rub someone else’s back. Hair gets played with. Merciful, tender, caressing healing touches are given.” -Stasi Eldredge

484

Love never fails.

Kids Birthday Party Menu

February5

When our family was young, there were a couple of standard offerings to serve a birthday gang: hotdogs and pizza. We always let the birthday child pick and because our family were a little bit more adventurous I could serve make-your-own subs, strawberry trifle and/or zucchini chocolate cake.

Boy has the game ever been upped since those days! This past weekend we celebrated one of the Wee Ones birthday with a Sunday brunch. When we entered the home of J1 and J2 intriguing aromas wafted by.

IMG_4870

As guests continued to arrive and get settled they served a bruschetta topped with whipped feta, brightly coloured cherry tomatoes, red pepper, purple onion and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Half the tray was topped with extra fresh basil. Absolutely delectable!

IMG_4871

For our main, there was a veggie stew that included a secret ingredient that added a subtle sweetness. My carb-loving self spotted the cheese scones which J1 said were a new recipe and they were extra crunchy, just the way I like them.

A festive (non-violent) piñata was opened by pulling on colourful ribbons. It contained brown rice krispie treats and the kids were delighted.

Dessert was a chocolate cake that the Wee Ones helped make. It was adorned with purple icing as “poo poo” is Wee Ones favourite colour (pink already being claimed by her big sister). The cake was served with ice cream and berries.

IMG_4872

The Birthday girl with Auntie Boo.

It was one of a couple of times that both sides of the family get together and we had lots to get caught up on.

IMG_4873

Gift time could have gone either way with the alluded to big sister wanting to help. But both Wee Ones handled themselves with generosity and grace. It was a special celebration.

Kath’s quote: “You are small in size, but you don’t even realize how much power you have to change our lives, Lovie. May God bless you and keep you safe in every step. We love you so much.”-Glamma

New York 15-Isla 16 1534

Love never fails.

 

Christmas Festivities 2018 continued

December27

xmas13

And so this is Christmas and what have you done?

I pick up on our many celebrations from where my Christmas letter left off.

xmas1

This was the crew which helped D cater a Christmas banquet which he does each year in early December. Pictured here are family members as well as C, R and D. The former are long time friends who now reside for part of the year in Sicily, the latter, one of our core gang that travels to Isla with us each year. After guests are all served, we eat together. This years menu was turkey, rosemary garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, gluten-free wild rice and broccoli stuffing, sweet potatoes topped with apple butter and the biggest hit-Mexican street corn. As I am not partial to turkey, it is my one feed for the season.

xmas2

The very next evening we hosted another dinner party for our small group. The good news here was that everyone brought a dish and I was able to serve leftovers potatoes from the evening before (I dislike wasting food).

xmas5

Our next Christmas celebration was with our bestie couple friends. We shared plates and lovely wine selections at Passero just off the Commons (pictured here) at the Forks.

xmas3

Poppa and I were invited to our first French kindergarten sing-a-long. I have to admit that I didn’t know all the words but I was a happy Glamma nonetheless, basking in the glow of this Wee One.

xmas7

When Christmas weekend was almost upon us, it snowed and snowed and snowed. In fact, this may be the first day without snow unless it is predicted for later today. But this is one of the beautiful reasons why we love living in Winnipeg. Whereas Vancouver and Toronto had nary a flake, we are living in a scene from a snow globe!

The Friday before Christmas we celebrated Grandma Jean’s birthday with Chinese food at her place. Her birthday is actually December 24th but we always try to eek out some special time for her. She typically hosts Christmas day but this year could be talked into dinner at one of her daughter’s homes.

xmas18

Having renovated their kitchen it was the perfect spot with room for everyone as we gathered around the peninsula for appies and later when we sat down for dinner.

xmas17

The Wee Ones got to meet their new (second) cousin, being held here by our Boo.

xmas12 xmas11 xmas8

The Frenchman and the irreverent Boo (see Santa message above) hosted us for gift opening and Christmas dinner.

xmas9

We started with charcuterie on a beautiful board which the Frenchman made himself! Then we went on to an amazing tortiere to reflect his heritage. There was so much butter in the pastry that when we arrived, we thought they were making popcorn!

xmas14

Our last family Christmas event was yesterday with my siblings and their families. There are so many of us that we assembled at Boo and J’s workplace that was closed for the day. It was perfect in that we had plenty of space with a kids area, dining space and everyone could see when it was time for our gift exchange.

xmas15

The Wee Ones got to be with even more (second) cousins and were pleased to do so.

xmas16

This is the youngest on my side of the family. Both D and I are so blessed to be parts of large multi-generational families. The little ones of course make Christmas so very precious.

Kath’s quote: “Another year over, and a new one just begun…” John Lennon

xmas19

Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

« Older Entries