Browsing: Food Events

Christmas Party in a Box

December15

When Christmas comes it is so lovely to be able to carve out some extra time with good friends. Sometimes this is hard to do when one of your besties has a medical job where she is on call on a regular basis. With some advance planning though we were able to pull it off.

We were celebrating a Christmas birthday as well as exchanging Christmas gifts. The festivities were planned to take place at the home of one friend who has recently had knee surgery. By bringing supper and gifts to her place, she was able to be comfortable and stay put.

We had thrown around some ideas for a simple supper and then I struck upon the solution. I had been invited to the annual “party in a box” hosted by the Manitoba Chicken Producers the evening before. D was given instructions to stay out of the boxed goodies that I stacked up and brought home. As a result of his self-control, I was able to supply three wonderful chicken appetizers for the evening. In fact, we enjoyed the appetizers with a festive salad adorned with roasted sweet potatoes, goat cheese and cranberries and were delighted with our light supper.

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Blue Moon Chicken Bites (recipe link here) were delectable chicken meatballs that we dunked into an easy to assemble mixture of hot sauce, ranch and blue cheese dressing.

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A second dish was Curried Chicken & Cashew Bites  where chicken breasts were slowly roasted in cream and then tossed in mango chutney and a coating of crushed cashews.

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My favourite were Chicken Tartlets topped with Cranberry Salsa.

As we assembled our plates of chicken treats and salad we congratulated ourselves on our festive meal that was also wholesome and nutritious. We saved our calories for dessert which I also had been gifted the evening before.

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Christmas sugar cookies had been beautifully decorated by High Tea Bakery. We each chose one to go with another treat of Bernand Callebaut chocolates.

We didn’t linger at the table long because we had presents, presents and more presents to exchange and open.

Clean up was a breeze and I packed up the leftovers so that D could indulge in the tastes he had resisted the previous evening.

Kath’s quote: “The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things”. -Thomas S. Monson

Xmas Decoration

Love never fails.

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.

 

 

 

 

Poutine Cup 2017

September18

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Even though the Poutine Cup has been enjoyed by many over the past couple of years, it was our first visit. We arrived at Fort Gilbraltar later than we had anticipated and it had started cooling off, so D in his shirt sleeves was a wee bit chilly. We made a quick lap around to visit as many vendors as we could and then took some time to warm up in the fort itself. The room holds a special spot for us as our daughter’s wedding reception was in the cozy room.

But to the food…

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We were impressed by the addition of cucumbers and carrots to the Promenade’s duck poutine. The veggies layered Vietnamese tastes onto rich French ones.

Chew topped their poutine with fermented pepper sauced chicken and then fennel/celery slaw and seaweed. The tastes were so exotic.

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I am crazy for figs so we included The Grove Pub & Restaurant on our rounds. Besides fig jam, braised lamb shank, pickled cauliflower, crispy quinoa and cashew cream topped their poutine.

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Loving bold Mexican flavours, we appreciated Underdogs’ chorizo gravy, grilled mango salsa tequila lime guacamole and crispy black beans. It was the sparkling cilantro that made their entry most surprizing. I understood that Underdogs took top prize.

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In our humble opinion One Great City was the winner with Chicken yakitori (skewered chicken), togarashi (chili pepper), wasabi aioli, green onions, tobiko (similar to caviar) & nori (seaweed). You would think that the creator was a Japanese Chef-an indication of his varied skill.

Mark your calendars now for the 2018 Poutine Cup. It is one of Winnipeg’s culinary events that should not be missed.

Kath’s quote: “When I am in Canada, I feel that this is what the world should be like”.-Jane Fonda

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Love never fails.

Picasso Feast at The Winnipeg Art Gallery

June1

You may have heard that the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting a special exhibit of the works of Pablo Picasso this summer. In celebration of this fabulous exhibit, the restaurant at the Gallery, headed up by Chef Mark Andrews is hosting a special dinner and gallery tour entitled “Feast: Picasso & Mediterranean Cuisine”.

“Feast” is both a noun and a verb. Recently some of my social media friends and I were treated by the WAG (Winnipeg Art Gallery) to a Picasso Feast. This was in celebration of the unique opportunity to view the “Picasso in Canada-Man & Beast” exhibit. We feasted upon three Mediterranean Cuisine courses as Picasso was born in Spain but lived in southern France for much of his life. The dishes themselves were exquisite to look at and we feasted with our eyes.

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We commenced with a first course of omelette nicoise, cherry tomato gazpacho and root vegetable ravioli. I chose this option and was delighted by the tartness of the gazpacho to balance the savoury ravioli and omelette.

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The non-vegetarian option featured a lamb rib instead of the ravioli.

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Our Main Course was free-range chicken with lemon paella cake, baby spring vegetables and the piece de resistance: saffron balsamic syrup! The vegetarian entrée substituted a wild mushroom and mixed bean paella.

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Stuffed to capacity, I do not know how I had the room for dessert but somehow managed to slurp down a banana caramel custard topped with sherry and coconut. The dinner from start to finish was absolutely delectable and enhances the Picasso exhibition with symbolic food choices. See if you can connect the significance of the cherry tomato gazpacho to the Picasso story.

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Our subsequent feast for the eyes was moving to the upper galleries for the Picasso exhibit. We were particularly blessed to have Rachel Baerg, head of education at the WAG along as our personal tour guide. Having studied the history of art as my second minor in university I knew that Picasso was a man way ahead of his time and was truly a genius artiste. Rachel’s enthusiasm absolutely bubbled over and I became to know more about Picasso the man, the husband, father and womanizer.

The installation is awe inspiring with hundreds of prints from The Vollard Suite as well as enormous and significant pieces on loan from other Canadian Galleries. I won’t tarnish your experience by revealing too much.  I had my favourites and so will you when you visit, and  visit you MUST!

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An artist’s (or a chef’s) hands have always fascinated me. How does the vision of the finished product move from the head, past the heart and into the fingers that then puts the piece on a canvas or a plate?

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I had never seen this gorgeous depiction of one of Picasso’s many muses. Her beauty is breathtaking and lovingly put to paper.

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My personal favourites were and always have been Picasso’s simple pencil drawings. He is so masterful that the simplest line is perfection!

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I also got a significant kick out of his self-portraits. What was it about this man that attracted younger lovers in a string over the decades?

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The exhibit is beautifully laid out.

The Feast at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Blvd.) is available June 8, July 6 and August 10th, 2017. Dinner is at 6 pm dinner and the tour at 7:30 pm. Tickets to Exhibit Only are $18, to the Feast & Exhibit $70 and $65 for WAG members. Reserve your spot at http://wag.ca/visit/events/specialevents/display,event/991/feast or call 204.789.1290.

Kath’s quote: “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”- Pablo Picasso

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

Mediteranean Fund-Raising Dinner at Mon Ami Louis

May16

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People find it increasingly difficult to find a unique way to fund-raise these days. Friends of ours came up with a brilliant idea but you would have to have access to an iconic restaurant and the talents of chefs to pull it off yourself. Our young friend is off to Greece this summer with an organization who works with fleeing immigrants by providing them assistance with their transition and some comfort as the process takes place.

Her boyfriend happens to be on Chef Luc Jean’s team at Mon Ami Louis. The latter graciously made his restaurant available in order to make the event a reality.

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In keeping with the Greek destination the evening’s theme was a Mediterranean one, commencing with a Greek Salad featuring premise-marinated olives that had been warmed to allow the full pungency of the olive to be experienced when tasted. I also detected some orange zest which I appreciated because I sometimes find the traditional recipe of olive oil and lemon juice too tart.

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Even when the salad was tossed around, the effect was beautiful. Mixing the salad allowed you to spear an olive, some feta and one of the veggies with each and every bite.

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Sister #3 who stepped in as Sous Chef always teases me that my life is a journey of searching for that perfect bite.

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The main course was a delectably stuffed Moroccan Chicken that the team managed to keep perfectly moist. The accompanying carrots and rice were topped with a cool dill sauce to offset the subtle spicy tastes of Moroccan spice. I did not see any plate retrieved by the volunteer staff that still had food on it. Everyone consumed every last bite. A sign of a meal well loved.

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Dessert was an espresso panna cotta (Italian cooked cream) with a raspberry coulis. The refreshingly thin fruit sauce complimented the rich panna cotta beautifully.

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In short, the meal was perfect but so too was the company and the setting. All this and creating a little bit of assistance to our lovely friend who is Greece bound.

Kath’s quote: “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give”.

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

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