Browsing: Food Celebrations

Food Bloggers Canada Conference-Ottawa 2017, Part Two

November7

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Day Two commenced with a satisfying breakfast sponsored by Ontario apples.

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I chose yoghurt with an array of fruit and nuts and a hearty muffin. I was set for a fabulous day.

Her Royal Highness (in the Canadian Culinary world at least)-Elizabeth Baird was our key note speaker. I was captivated by her every word and fascinated by her wealth of Canadian Food History so appropriate for our conference celebrating Canada’s 150th.

Soon after was our first breakout session. I had selected the group led by Thrive 360’s Zannat Reza and Will Lamont. I knew Zannat from previous conferences and Will remembered that I had taken on the food-styling for his client (at that time) Canadian Milk Produces and their cross country cheese winners.

I couldn’t miss out on Heather Travis otherwise known as Heather in Heels and her presentation. I first worked with Heather when she made me a Canadian Beef Ambassador. I hung onto her every word.

I also had the opportunity to hear the ensights of Laura-Jane Koers of The Rawatarian.

By then it was lunch…how did that happen? Lunch was sponsored by Half Your Plate. Their eating philosophy is that you should try to fill half your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables at every meal. Even though I find this a challenge sometimes, it was so easy at the conference.

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The zucchini spirals and fruit selection made up half my lunch consumption. I knew that I needed some protein to focus for the afternoon and sautéed shrimp and ahi tuna did the trick.

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I couldn’t ignore the date squares called matrimonial cake on the prairies.

At Canadian Food Bloggers in 2016 I toured Ontario farms with Farm and Food Care.

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I welcomed the opportunity to meet with more farmers directly. Having come from an Ag family, I have so much respect for Canadian Farmers.

Before heading out for an afternoon walk, I popped into the Cookina Popcorn Bar. I have many Cookina baking and roasting mats at home and was pleased to see that they also have cooking packs for a variety of uses including popcorn!

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At our dinner that evening we had assigned seating. I was sat with a variety of lovely folks including my old friend  from Canola Camp Mairlyn Smith and Carol Harrison.  Ironically, Carol and I go even further back then Mairlyn and we had tried and failed to connect all weekend. One of those serendipitous occasions.

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Dinner was the lovely salad above, a cleansing sorbet and a hearty salmon and potato pie.

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I intentionally saved room for dessert but how could I choose from theses masterpieces from Holland’s Cake and Shake. In the end the butter tart cake was the winner.

Our evening’s entertainment was home grown. Fellow bloggers Lindsay and Dana who recently launched their Feast Cookbook were in the house. I was impressed with their gumption to eat their way across Canada. But even better was their response to a question from the room: “What place was your biggest surprise”? With careful thought they said “Winnipeg-their culinary scene is amazing”!

Kath’s quote: “Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” ― Ruth Reichl

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Food Bloggers Canada Conference -Ottawa 2017, Part One

November3

The highlight of Food Musings’ year has come and gone. I have attended the FBC conference every year since its inception with the exception of the year that it was scheduled on the same weekend as daughter Boo and the Frenchman’s wedding day. The direct flight from Winnipeg was a breeze and because I was watching downloaded episodes of The Night Manager, I actually wished that the flight had been longer.

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I arrived before my roommate Bridget and was pleased with the view from our 17th floor window.

The afternoon started with a lovely Cabernet Merlot from Peller Estates as we fetched our swag bags.

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I chatted with the wine server about staying right next to the Peller vineyards when we visited Niagara on the Lake a couple of years ago. I had to run my bag back upstairs as it was bulging with loot.

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Green lentil and roasted garlic humus

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Sundried tomato and split pea hummus

Lentils .org was to be the sponsor of our first dinner and kick off cocktail party and they apparently must have thought that we needed a pre-cocktail party nibble and glass of wine. I for one was grateful. It helped me shrug off some stress and allow others to take care of me (not something I usually do).

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Bacon Chocolate Cookie Truffles

The official Cocktail Reception was in the penthouse of the hotel. I did a lap and found the most delectable morsel from the Ontario Pork table. They generously shared the recipe with me. It is below.

Bacon Chocolate Cookie Truffles
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Canadian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20-24 pieces
 
Bacon makes everything better, even chocolate.
Ingredients
  • 20-24 chocolate chip cookies (homemade or store bought)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 slices Ontario bacon, cooked, drained, finely chopped and divided
  • 2 cups chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
Instructions
  1. Crush 2 dozen cookies into crumbs into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add 6 slices of finely chopped bacon and cream cheese. Mix together until a ball of cookie dough forms. If dough feels dry, add 1 Tbsp. of cream cheese until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Roll into 2 inch balls. Place rolled cookie balls onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  4. While cookie balls are freezing, place chocolate chips and coconut oil into a microwave safe dish. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring between, until creamy and lump free.
  5. Dip balls into chocolate with a fork, allowing excess chocolate to drip off.
  6. Place truffles back onto cookie sheet and immediately sprinkle with a generous pinch of chopped bacon. Once all truffles have been coated, place in fridge to allow chocolate to set. Store truffles refrigerated in an airtight container.

Lentils.org also was the sponsor of that evening’s dinner. The organizers had assembled some of Ottawa’s best chefs. The intention was a dine-around atmosphere selecting small plates when we were tempted.

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Representing the Wellington Gastropub was Chef Chris Deraiche. He served a Lentil, Sweet Potato Pierogi, accompanied by Cider Pickled Cabbage and Crème Fraiche. I guess my Slavic roots were showing as I chose the pierogi as my favourite taste of the evening.

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A Lentil Sausage was created by Chef Kevin Benes of Carben Food + Drink.

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Chef Olivia Cruikshank of Pure Kitchen served a Green lentil Enchilada with Salsa Verde, Cashew Cheese and Split Red Lentil Garnish. Unfortunately, I missed out on Chef Joe Thottungal of Coconut Lagoon.

I was lucky enough to snag one of the few dining tables that had been set up. Because chairs were at a premium and everyone was pretty bushed from the day, we had a revolving door of visitors.

The beds at the Delta were divine and I was ready to settle in for the night.

Kath’s quote: “Lentils are friendly – the Miss Congeniality of the bean world”.-Laurie Colwin

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Love never fails.

 

Lakeview Hecla Resort-Thanksgiving 2017

October19

We had the date saved for eons: the wedding of daughter Boo’s good, good friend. In fact, we have enjoyed a three generation friendship with this family. They also have a summer home at Lester Beach so we love to spend time with them during the summer, often chatting on the beach or sharing a sunset.

We left the city mid-morning and were very hungry when we arrived at Lakeview Hecla Resort and checked in. This was easily resolved as we had to walk right past the restaurant to get to our hotel room.

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D and I shared our plates and neither of us were enamoured with the chow mien salad even though the sesame ginger vinaigrette was quite lovely. The noodles were too firm to the tooth and we feared they had not been cooked for long enough. Having said this, it was our only food complaint of the entire weekend. We loved the fish tacos made with our favourite fish: pickerel. The cilantro and squeeze of lime were the perfect foils to the sweet chili sauce.

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Our room had a beautiful view of the changing foliage and the lake beyond. You could gaze at it all right from our luxurious bed. Seriously, one of the most comfortable beds I have slept on in a long while.

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We spent a brief time settling in and then it was off to the little church in the village of Hecla.

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The wedding ceremony was poignant, giving the gathered an opportunity to bless the couple’s wedding rings and seeing them tie together a fisherman’s knot, a beautiful symbol of their new marriage.

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I am typically on the other side of the camera, but daughter Boo took this for us after the ceremony.

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We had packed a few healthy snacks for the car ride and since we hadn’t dug into them, I put them out for happy hour. With Little Brown Jug’s 1919, red & white wine and lovely attendees, it was the perfect little party. The rooms at Hecla accommodated our gathering beautifully, with a couch, office chair and perches on the bed.

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Soon it was time to gather for cocktails. We took ours out to the balcony to witness a beautiful blessing of the marriage-this rainbow. The wedding banquet was a joyous time of delicious food and touching speeches. We danced until late in the evening and then tucked into our cozy bed.

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Before hitting the road again, we assembled one last time in Seagulls, the resort restaurant. D enjoyed the Fisherman’s breakfast of pickerel and eggs

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and Sister #3 loved the eggs benedict, especially when they followed her “crispy English muffin” direction.

Of special note during the breakfast and at many points during the weekend, was staff member Steven. Being somewhat remote, the resort likely has difficulties attracting and keeping staff members. They have a “keeper” in Steven, that is for sure.

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After we had a chance to say our lengthy good-byes we were off again.. We dove south hugging the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, crossed to the east side of the lake at Selkirk and then made our way north. It was time to shut down our summer house for the season

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and to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wonderful family.

There were so many things to be grateful for this year-living in this beautiful province being high on the list.

Kath’s quote: “The land is the only thing in the world worth working for, worth fighting for, worth dying for, because it’s the only thing that lasts”…..Gerald O’Hara, Gone With The Wind.” – Margaret Mitchell

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Love never fails.

 

 

70’s Potluck

September7

 

Our immediate family has a cluster of six cottages together at Lester Beach with another not far away. We get together on a regular basis: sitting together at the beach or around a camp fire. We also take turns hosting Happy Hour. There was recently one where Bro #1 and his wife set up on their back deck and we were all so comfortable without mosquitoes, in the sun and enjoying the forest, that we lost all sense of time and ran over the dinner hour. We decided to go home, put together the items we had planned for our individual dinners, combine them together and call it supper.

The dinner topic over happy hour and this dinner was typical of our family-what we were going to eat next or in the near future! We started remembering old family recipes and the comfort food that we enjoyed and raised our families on: KD mixed with canned tomatoes, fried bologna, etc. The recollection was so much fun that we decided to have a 70’s Potluck Dinner. It took one of my SILs to get the ball rolling and the date was set for the Sunday of Labour Day Weekend after the Bomber/Rider game of course.

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Our family gatherings are so large that we spread out in the screen porch, on the deck and around the bonfire pit. Thank heavens the rain held off so that we could do so. You can spot the littlest Wee One to the right of the picture. We had a hoot watching her when she was drunk on Tang and supper had not even been served yet.

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This was the buffet table when it was in the process of being set up. There was: 7 layer dip, sloppy joes, tuna noodle casserole, fish sticks, calico beans, Swedish meatballs, jellied salad, pizza pops, tater gems, devilled eggs, beef stroganoff, etc.

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Plates were heaped with tastes and nary a veggie in sight!

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When we had had our fill of additives and preservatives, there was the dessert table. There were two kinds of cheesecake-one version with canned pie filling toppings, more jello, rice krispie cake, Twinkies, root beer floats and a candy bar!

Although we all had a great time together, I would not recommend that you eat in this manner on a regular basis. All seven of us felt bloated and gross after dinner. There were reports that other families felt the same. It was fun while it lasted though!

Kath’s quote: “I didn’t grow up vegan or vegetarian. I grew up with junk food! And because of the way I ate before changing my diet, I can truly understand the challenges of making changes and stepping away from foods that provided a form of comfort and happiness growing up, but finding out that most of what I loved was really bad for me!” -Kim Barnouin

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Love never fails.

Willard Lake 2017

September6

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Every summer, D and I get together with old friends from Toronto at their summer home on Willard Lake. Although we have lived in different cities for almost 20 years, our friendship has stayed strong with these annual visits and finding other reasons and places to connect as well.

We met when M and I were both enrolled in the Dramatic Studies program at the University of Winnipeg. We shared our second pregnancies and lived on the same street. In between, we both worked at The Keg ‘n Cleaver now known as The Keg Steakhouse + Bar. In addition to our meet up, I met husband D at The Keg as well. A third couple join us every year and what is our connection to them? Well she worked at The Keg Garry St. too.

Each year, we establish a theme for the Saturday evening of our weekend together. This year we tossed around a Canada 150 theme and then our host suggested that since we all met at and still love The Keg, we should have a Keg themed dinner. To acknowledge how long we have known each other, we add the 70’s to the formula. So even though some of our menu items are still on the Keg menu today, they had to have appeared on Keg menus in the 70s.

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Our Saturday afternoon began on the dock with decadent Silver Clouds, made with cream de cacao and amaretto blended with cream and then topped with whipping cream and Kahlua.

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From there we moved the short distance to an outside dining area where a blush wine was served with three traditional Keg appetizers:

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Escargot,

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Bacon Wrapped Scallops

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and Shrimp Cocktail. At this point we took a wee break, changed our clothes and moved inside. D (on the far left) had already gotten changed into his Keg attire.

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D was a broiler assistant in the 70s and so here he is pictured in a chef’s jacket with his hair slicked down as it would appear after an evening in the steamy broiler area.

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Here he is after a shower enjoying our next round of pre-dinner cocktails. This time Kamikazes!

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This is me in my full length dress like the ones we had to wear when I was a Keg hostess.

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This is former cocktail waitress M

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and her husband R, the Torontonians.

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L was a Keg bartender back in the 70s but you may recognize her as your more recent bartender at Winnipeg’s Palomino Club.

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Her significant other fit right into the 70s theme.

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But I digress, back to the food. M and L set up an abbreviated Keg salad bar complete with baby corn, which we decided not to take out of the can.

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Here is our Keg entrée: mushrooms served in an authentic mini iron skillet, a perfectly cooked medium rare steak, baked potato with the works i.e. sour cream, butter, chives and bacon (that had been cooked on the barbeque the day previous). We added some fresh beans to increase the vitamin content of dinner. As you can see, we always imbibed in a selection of red wines.

Full disclosure here: I was full after our appetizer course and had to cease eating my entrée after a couple of bites. BUT, there was more!

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Bartender L made us all Spanish Coffees

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to slurp along with our Billy Miner Pie!

When I think back to the day I landed my part time job at The Keg: who knew I would meet my future husband and so many lifelong friends? We worked our young butts off and partied hard. We also learned about teamwork, putting the guest before our personal needs and the difference that quality makes. Whatever The Keg had going for it in those early days has not changed a whole lot and I for one am proud of it.

Kath’s quotes: “Treat the guests of The Keg like you were inviting them into your own home.” -George Tidball, founder of The Keg

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

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