Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

The Frenchman’s Home


Have you watched any of the “Focker” movies?  When the in-laws of an engaged couple, come together for the sake of their children, it is the pretense for hilarity to ensue.


Perhaps we are not as eccentric as the families in the movies, because our experience has been one of quiet chats and the opportunity to gaze into the inner workings of a loving family.  This past weekend I traveled with Reb and Seb to his hometown of Peterborough, ON.  We arrived early enough on Thursday for a light lunch and the Frenchman’s Mom began a weekend of loving us with food.


If any dish embodies a Mom’s love of her family, it is risotto-a dish that I will be frank and tell you that I have never had the patience to make for my own family.  The Frenchman’s Mom on the other hand, is more than willing to spend a half hour or more, committed to the constant stirring and ladling that is required to perfect this dish.


Every family members gets into the “act” of getting dinner on the big antique dining table.  More chairs are always welcome.


The pea and basil risotto was accompanied by savoury chicken breasts and asparagus spears.



Pea and Basil Risotto
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
A classic made with love and patience.
  • 2 heaping T butter, separated
  • 1 T canola oil
  • 2 c Arborio rice
  • 8 c chicken or vegetable stock, heated and ready with a ladle
  • salt to taste
  • ½-3/4 c freshly grated parmesan (Romano)
  • 1 c fresh/thawed peas or other vegetable
  • ½ c fresh leafy herb such as basil
  1. Melt 1 T butter and canola oil together.
  2. Turn up the heat add the rice and stir constantly for one minute until it begins to brown.
  3. Add first ladle of hot stock.
  4. Turn the heat down to a simmer.
  5. Keep stirring the rice as the first ladleful is absorbed.
  6. Continue to add the stock in this way until it is all used (will take between 15 -25 minutes).
  7. Taste the rice for doneness and salt-add time if necessary and adjust taste.
  8. When rice is cooked to your likeness, remove from heat and stir in butter and grated parmesan.
  9. Stir in peas or other veg.
  10. Stir in basil or other herb.
  11. Garnish and serve immediately.



After dinner we were going to take a stroll and then find an ice cream place until the Frenchman’s Mom volunteered to make the ice cream herself.  It utilized fresh strawberries and then she made her own chocolate sauce to ladle over top for an extra helping of love.


A full moon watched over us.


The next morning she was at it again with homemade waffles, bacon and scrambled eggs.


Later that evening, the family was hosting an engagement party for the happy couple.  Their spacious kitchen meant that when it was time to get dinner on the table, there was lots of room to maneuver.


Mother of the groom and yours truly.  In-laws that love to cook together.  This marriage will definitely not fail.


The Frenchman’s Mom made the Quinoa salad


and I assembled this spinach, strawberry, almond and feta salad.


She stuffed this pork roast with delicious results.


My favourite was the chicken roasted in a tajine (I can’t wait to get one).  This clay casserole has a chimney-like cover which produces a chicken which is moist and tender.  They supposedly do a great job with lamb too.


Love-on a plate.

Speaking of love-dessert was an amazingly refreshing and light lemon filled cake.  As pieces were being distributed to all the guests, we shared marriage and relationship tips with the bride and groom to be.

Kath’s quote: “Cooking is an art and patience a virtue… Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch Master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love.”-Keith Floyd


Love-that s all.