Browsing: Food & Travel

Jerusalem – A CookBook

October23

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We invited a friend of ours to dine with us recently. We know that she loves Ethiopian food but I confess that I have not mastered those culinary skills. She has also been to Palestine recently so I pulled out my beautiful Jerusalem Cookbook. I have only prepared a couple of recipes from the book so I looked at the occasion as a great excuse. She was familiar with the book, not because she has cooked from it but because she read it like a regular non-fiction work instead of a cookbook. The narrative reads that beautifully.

Every single ingredient that I purchased for the dinner was from the produce department. I pulled a bag of shrimp from my freezer and a can of clams from the pantry.

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I prepped everything that afternoon. The sweet potatoes and eggplants were ready for roasting, the red peppers and onions were ready for sauteing and finishing the sweet potato dish, the tomatoes and oregano were ready to submerge and then bake the shrimp.

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The sweet potatoes called for fresh figs that are already out of season so I substituted them for little jewels of pomegranate.

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The recipe indicates that you leave the potatoes unpeeled and although I was skeptical of this, they were perfect. The dish was completed with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. The spuds were even delicious cold.

The shrimp baked with clams, tomatoes and feta were also a hit. I mixed the leftovers with a pasta a couple of days later and it too was exceptional. Perhaps my new tomato sauce recipe will simply include oregano and sugar as this one did.

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If you are a regular visitor to this space, you will know that I love eggplant. Pictured above are the scored eggplants ready for roasting with Chermoula. Confession time…I misread the directions of the recipe and baked these with the topping that I had prepped in advance, when in fact they were to be roasted “bare naked” and you were to spoon the topping on after they came out of the oven. Unfortunately some of the raisins got too well cooked in the process. I had tasted the topping before I had baked it and knew that it would be fabulous on its own.

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I didn’t have Bulgar so I used a mixture of a variety of rices (brown, wild, long grain) which had been pre-cooked in my rice maker. To this I added pre-soaked raisins and slices of green olives for that sweet and salty combination that I love. Fresh tastes came from ribbons of fresh mint and cilantro. A silky olive oil and generous squeezes of lemon added the acidity and finished the dish beautifully. I made this up on a Sunday night to enjoy for lunches for a busy week.

I sent our friend home with leftovers as the recipes were of generous potions. She returned the container with a gift and this note:

In Kenya, I learned one does not return a plate (or container) to its giver, empty. I share with you my sister’s wonderful Masala Chai jelly-the bite comes after the fact! but so good. And a little memento of Jerusalem.

We enjoyed a taste of the jelly yesterday on our toast. And so the circle of giving and sharing was complete.

Kath’s quote: You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces — just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEI Trip Day Three

October22

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We were enthralled with the various cruise ships that appeared in Charlottetown harbor every day of our stay. It meant that when we were waiting for food or ice cream, or joined others on a food tour, we met people from all around the world. They were all loving Charlottetown and PEI and even with our short visit, we could certainly see why.

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Vintage buildings housing restaurants and shops are everywhere in the downtown area, making it a delightful place to stroll and browse.

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In the morning en route to the Sunday market, I hopped out of the car to get a photo of low tide. These canons remain from time gone by, aimed right at the narrow mouth of the harbour.

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We did quite a bit of walking that morning so we restored our energy levels with Lobster Rolls and fabulous fries from the Chip Shack. The lobster mix was plentiful but short on mayo, celery and green onions as we prefer. We continued our quest for the perfect Lobster Roll.

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For dessert we walked a short distance to Cow’s Ice Cream, reported to be the best ice cream in the world. I could happily attest to this with my choice of vanilla ice cream mixed with salted toffee and chocolate covered potato chips!

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We sat here for a spell to savour every single lick.

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The afternoon turned into a bright and sunny one so we walked the neighbourhood again, admiring the fine homes.

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I could never tire of being so close to the ocean.

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A quick drive to the country foretasted what we would enjoy the following day. The rolling hills dotted with trees (some of them cypresses) sure reminded me of Tuscany.

Kath’s quote: “I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty”. -Wendy Liebman

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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.

 

 

 

 

Jatujak, Thai Street Style Food, Kingston Rd, Toronto

October3

The part that I love most about being a food blogger are the friendships I have made over the years. They happen quite by accident like the morning a beautiful tall and shy redhead asked if she could sit in the seat next to me at my first blogging conference in Toronto. Little did I know that years latter we would still be kindred spirits. She calls me her angel, a title I don’t take lightly.

She lives in the same neighbourhood that I stayed in last weekend so it was easy for her to pick me up and find a spot not far away. Asking if I liked Thai food, I responded with a resounding yes!

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We started with a Mango salad appetizer. The ribbons of mango were perfectly sweet and the slivers of red onion and crushed cashews added appropriate crunch. Acidity came from freshly squeezed lime juice and the freshness popped out with the subtle use of cilantro. I would visit Jatujak a 1,000 times for the taste of that salad!

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My favourite Thai soup arrived next. I am not used to a red Tom yum but the carefully simmering of a variety of hearty ingredients was soothing and delicious.

I had read that Jatujak was one of the best Thai restaurants in Toronto, and the culinary measuring stick is often Pad Thai.

Jatujak brings street-style elements to its pad Thai dish. Made with stir-fried rice noodles, with egg and a house tamarind-based sauce. You can get the Pad Thai with just the noodles, or with the option of adding tofu and vegetables, chicken, beef or shrimp.

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I added chicken and tofu also made an appearance. It appears under the Lunch Special section of their menu and this enormous portion was only $8.95! It was so good, I am vividly remembering the tastes now that I am back home in Winnipeg.

Although the time was brief with my lovely friend, our hearts connected once more.

Kath’s quote: “Food makes travel so exceptional, because you get to taste what it’s actually supposed to taste like. To eat the real Pad Thai or finally have a proper curry is something pretty amazing”. -Meghan Markle

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Love never fails.

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