Browsing: Food Events

Summer 2019 Update

July12

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As I was enjoying my first cup of coffee this morning and getting caught up on the world via social media, I got a call from a friend who is in the same business as I am. She was inviting me to an upcoming event. Little did she know that it was a wake up call for me.

I spent the latter half of last week working on a media pitch and the start of this week wearing my food stylist hat (more on that below). My work is so varied and although it is always exciting and stimulating, I often have to put aside fun projects for the work that pays the bills. In fact, I didn’t actually make any money on that media project but I did make the “potential” for making some. I enjoy approaching a challenge with a big picture perspective-blue skying nuances that will take an existing client and make it fresh and new again.

The food styling gig was a particular joy because I received a call quite out of the blue. I rearranged some personal time and was available to work with one the continents’ best food stylists. She was very grateful that I was available to assist her on a movie set. In truth it was me that benefitted by watching her tricks and skill, assembling a well-loved family recipe of ours, and holding it for two hours without it looking anything less than just pulled from the oven. The work was very physical and quite stressful but the experience was another significant time of learning for me. I cannot believe that I still have these rich experiences so late in my career. Not to mention meeting the handsome star of a Hallmark Christmas movie….

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Between then and now I have savoured the moments with the Wee Ones and their baby sister up at the lake. When I wasn’t reading The Lorax or a favourite Robert Munsch book, I was colouring with them in their “Incredibles” colouring book, pushing them on the swings or walking with them to the beach. Typically Poppa or Auntie Boo are their favs but this week they would run full speed down the road to be grabbed and swung around in my arms, they would want to sit next to me at the dinner table or whisper “I love you Glamma” when we were snuggling after a bath or a swim.

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In addition, I still have scads of photos and musings about our time on Isla this year but my days of notes and pics are out of sync and I messed up the chronology of my trip reports. Ah me, I will just have to start over again in the middle of my annual stay. Another reason, not an excuse for why I haven’t posted here lately.

So where does the “wake up call” come into play? I have been so busy living life, I haven’t taken any time to reflect and write about these recent adventures. I have gotten out of “habit” of posting in this space. And….my cell phone needs a new battery so I haven’t been able to use it for any Instagram posts either (it feels like my right has been chopped off without it-sad I know)!

So with this post, I am back after a brief hiatus. I am eager to get our Mexican sojourn wrapped up so I take you with me on another adventure-Italy again this fall!

Kath’s quote: “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”― Jodi Picoult

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

PEI Trip Report Day Two

October16

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After leisurely coffees on the front porch, we piled into M’s gorgeous car to hit the local Farmer’s Market. I loved the car so much that a picture of me kissing it was captured!

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I was fascinated by these PEI potatoes. I asked the growers if they had removed the potato eyes to make the product easier to prepare. “No” they said. “They grow that way!”

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Peppers were plentiful in all shapes and sizes.

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A beautiful sea of sprouts.

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The colourful carrots also caught my eye.

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We also went “home” with some delicious gluten free bread as well as a product we had never previously heard of -PEI Potato Garlic Jam. We haven’t found a use for it as of yet.

We intended to visit the PEI Shellfish Festival on the Saturday of their four day run. Tickets that we had purchased for a “Signature Experience” included admission to the Festival itself. Our intent was to visit the site until the time came to hook up with the tour leader . I will be frank, we were surprised when we arrived at the festival grounds that the entire event took place in one tent, it was a very large tent, mind you.

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We visited the stalls and then found a spot to drink our Clamato Caesar and Moosehead Beer.

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Of course we had to have food to go along with our libations so D scouted out some mussels and fries.

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As we ate our late breakfast, Chef Lynn Crawford gave a seafood cooking demonstration. Actually she had members of the audience do the cooking as she supervised. There were some hilarious results to this.

So it was not long until we left the festival grounds and hooked up with our exceptional Experience PEI tour guide for a three restaurant shellfish tour of the waterfront.

The first stop was Lobster on the Warf where we could smell the saltiness of the bay.  Our tour guide first took us to the retail area where we learned more about PEI Lobster including how to determine a male lobster from a female one.  The attached restaurant was bustling with their late lunch crowd.

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Our first taste was of Malpeque oysters. They are PEI’s most famous oyster and are grown wild in Malpeque Bay. Their taste was briny but not overly so and they easily slid down our open throats. The correct manner of this was demonstrated by one of the managers of the Lobster on the Wharf. The oysters came with a wedge of lemon and a couple of unique sauces.

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The second seafood offering at Lobster on the Wharf was of both soft shell and quahog clams. These too were served with a wedge of lemon and salty melted butter for dipping. Both varieties are native to the eastern shores of North America from Prince Edward Island to the Yucatán Peninsula.

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A short walk along the harbour took us to Peake’s Quay where scallops were the shellfish offering. If you wish to know what a scallop shell looks like, think of the logo of Shell gas stations. We are purists where scallops are concerned, loving when they are allowed to caramelize in a hot pan of butter. Peake’s Quay’s version were bacon wrapped and good too.

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Our last stop on the tour was right next door at Brakish which you might think was an odd name for a restaurant. Blue mussels were the shellfish offering there. Next to scallops, mussels are our favourite as their subtle flavoured flesh take on whatever they are cooked in be it white wine, garlic and/or fresh herbs. Remember though, this was our second feed of mussels for the day!

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PS What did we have for supper that evening? Pan fried scallops!

Kath’s quote: “I like seafood in general. I feel when you have really good quality Canadian seafood; you don’t really need to do much to it. It’s just some of the best in the world. It also has this kind of briny, salty quality to it, that you don’t have to season much. You can use the natural flavours of the ocean to your benefit”.- Chuck Hughes

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Food Bloggers Canada 2018 – The Great Canadian Road Trip

October5

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Last year at the wind up of the 2017 Conference in Ottawa, the announcement was made to expect a different twist for 2018. Instead of filling a banquet room up with hundreds of food bloggers for three days, a decision was made that the FBC team would come to us. I was faced with a troubling dilemma. D had purchased tickets for us to go to Charlottetown on the weekend that the team would arrive in Winnipeg. I hastily made additional arrangements to catch up to the tour on their final stop in Toronto.

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One of my many blogging friends who have come to Winnipeg over the years.

I have always contended that my favourite part about an FBC Conference are the relationships that come to be as a result of the gathering. This year, we had less time to make the rounds. Sitting to one side was Fables + Foccacia curator Jenny Arena as well as Stacy Blair from 27th and Olive. Both were a delight and I hope that we find a way to meet up again.

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I was particularly impressed with two of the speakers. Suresh Doss of the CBC Metro Morning Show is an expert in the suburban food of Toronto, stating:

“We’re talking about places that are not your ‘typical’ restaurants,” Doss said. “They offer food that reminds people of life back home. They’re often times the best places to get good food.”

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I understand that his back stories are fascinating tales of the lives of new Canadians and how they ease into the transition of settling into a new country by sharing familiar food from their home.

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Afrim Pristine was the final speaker of the day and therefore the last presenter of the Great Canadian Road Trip. Afrim is a passionate lover of food and his family business: The Cheese Boutique. I was thrilled to come home with his new book: For The Love of Cheese.

“Afrim Pristine may possess the most distinguished professional title a cheesemonger could ask for–maître fromager–but if you ask him what business he’s in, he’ll tell you he sells happiness. That’s because cheese is inextricably linked to wonderful memories and celebrations for so many of us. No matter the occasion, cheese and cheesy dishes are always greeted with a smile.”

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The highlight of the day was a tutorial and cheese tasting with Afrim. I loved them all but was particularly proud of the smoked Gouda from Manitoba’s own Bothwell Cheese.

My husband D and I are always trying to figure out what are the best varietal cheeses to place on a cheese board and how many ounces of cheese to allocate for each guest. Afrim’s book answers these questions and more. D was thrilled that I arrived home from FBC 2018 with this fabulous reference and cookbook. Having just gotten home a couple of days ago, I haven’t had a chance to make and serve any of the scrumptious looking recipes but this one caught my eye…

Cheese Boutique Very Much Alive Pasta

Entitled “Very Much Alive Pasta” it contains rapini, orecchiette pasta with a creamy goat cheese as the star of the show. Thank you Penquin Random House for hosting us and for permission to use this gorgeous photo.

Every year I come home from Food Bloggers Canada inspired to devote more love and attention to my blog and this year was no exception.

Kath’s quote: Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”― Ronald E. Osborn

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

Friends for Life-Ladies Luncheon in support of Jocelyn House Hospice at The Fort Garry Hotel

June18

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Recently I received a late in the evening email asking if I would care to attend a luncheon at the Fort Garry Hotel the next day. A friend had been invited to attend at a sponsored table and asked if I would like to come along as well. The detail that our lunch was already paid for didn’t even matter as the invite would provide an opportunity to visit with this friend and enjoy the fabulous food of the Fort Garry Hotel.

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When I arrived I realized that I would be exclusively in the company of women, a pleasure I truly love. Whether it be my daughters, my sisters or the “Media Mavens” I love the company of women. In fact one of the Mavens was unexpectedly there as well as a number of old friends. It was a truly lovely assembly of beautiful females.

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The chicken and poached vegetable salad was simply exquisite, enhanced by hazelnuts and goats’ cheese. The inclusion of fennel and beets were lovely and the chicken breast was perfectly prepared.

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While we finished up with gorgeous fresh fruit tarts, the Manager of Volunteers, Spiritual Care and Development began to share her personal story as well as the reason she is so devoted to the work of Jocelyn House Hospice.

I was very moved by her story, partially because I am about to have my 2 year cancer check up (there but by the grace of God go I), but also because of how inspiring Jacqueline’s personal journey was.

I am what is known as a “fixer”, always wanting to solve the problems of those I love, even when they might quite simply need only a sympathetic ear. That’s the down side of being a fixer. The upside is that I really feel compelled to contribute my time to the work of Jocelyn House in some way. Right now I am trying to discern in what manner.

In the mean while, I will continue to gravitate to the company of women, in beautiful places, sharing lovingly prepared food.

Kath’s quote: “The best kind of friendships are fierce lady friendships where you aggressively believe and defend each other and think the other deserves the world.” -Ashley Hall

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Love never fails.

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