Good things to eat

Archive for the ‘Occasions’ Category

This Blog turns six!

So hard to believe it has already been six years, since I took those food writing classes, on those damp Winter nights back in 2011.

This blog was a class assignment.  I don’t know if any of you know this, other than blog writing people, that things that are posted on the internet, don’t really exist until you tell someone to look at them.

Click here to see very first post!

Sure, someone might randomly come across your post, but even that is unlikely unless you somehow  make it known to any search engine.  That’s why “tagging” is important or attaching it to thing like Facebook or Twitter.  So people can even know it’s there.

There are many tactics on how to get more traffic to your blog, like going to other like-minded blogs and “liking” stuff or commenting.  Then the other people who look at that blog see you and might want to check out what your blog is…..and so on and so on.

That’s why I say having a blog is kind of like having a bank account that you don’t really touch but it keeps getting interest.

In the last few years, life has gotten in the way of me being able to add and offer up things to the blog on a regular basis, yet every day, someone, somewhere, somehow takes a look at one or more of my posts.

That’s really cool.

Thank you for all the support over the last six years!  I wish I could promise to “get back at it” but we do the best we can with what we’ve got!

six-birthday

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The Nine Course Affair

Speaking of birthdays…….

From time to time, the Chef and I like to put on “special dinners”.  Usually consisting of  a several coarse tasting menu.  He does most of the cooking, while I do the arranging, the shopping, the decor and the clean up.  And if I’m lucky, sometimes I actually am allowed to make a dish or two myself!

 

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First Course:

Seared Tuna, Avocado and Red Pepper Sushi

I have to admit, the Chef does a nice sushi, which is good because I only ever eat sushi at home, what with the shell-fish allergy, eating it in restaurants is just too high risk.

 

Sushi

 

Second Course:

Belgian Endive and Mini Kale Pancakes topped with Smoked Gorgonzola and Candied Walnuts

This was a tasty one.

They don’t show up that well in this picture, but I made mini versions of my famous Kale Pancakes.  Then to add some freshness to it all, they were alternated with leaves of Belgium endive.  Then both were topped with a small slice of smoked Gorgonzola cheese and a chunk of candied walnut.

We often enjoy this as an anytime snack.

 

endive & kale pancake

 

 

Third Course:

Beet Carpaccio Salad with Arugula, Blood Orange and Shaved Boursin Cheese

I really like beets, so I always encourage the Chef to somehow incorporate them into our special dinners.

So on this occasion, he thinly sliced both red and golden cooked beets.  Then topped them with super thing slices of Boursin Cheese, ( I’ll tell you another time about how he does that, because if you have ever dealt with Boursin, you know that slicing it in any way isn’t easy!) slices of blood orange, arugula and then drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette.

Very refreshing.

Beet Salad

 

 

Course Number Four:

Halibut  “Fish and Chips”

This was a whimsical item.  The “fish and chips” refers to the halibut being roasted with grated yam on top and then drizzled in a balsamic dressing.   The yams form and nice crust (chips) and keep the halibut moist (fish) and then vinegar on top.

Halibut

 

 

Course Number Five:

Spinach and Pine Nut Stuffed Chicken Breast with roasted Celeriac Puree and marinated Red Cabbage

I hate to be judgemental, but I think this one was my favorite dish of the night.  The chicken was moist and flavourful, the celeriac both sweet and earthy at the same time and the crunch sourness of the cabbage just all really worked well together.  Oh and I didn’t even mention the delicious grainy mustard sauce in the title ( made it too long to look good on the page)!

 

Stuffed chicken

 

Course number six:

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

I actually got to make this course myself.  It is a favorite of mine to make and to eat and it often shows up on our special dinner menus.  But I can’t take the credit for it.

It is blatantly stolen from the menu at celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello’s Napa Valley restaurant, Bottega.

We tasted it there awhile back and I was determined to recreate it.  But luckily for me, they were generous enough to just post the recipe on-line!

So please do try it out for yourself.  It is surprisingly wonderful.

Brussel sprout salad

 

Course number seven:

Mediterranean Lamb & Bell Pepper Kebobs with Cous Cous and Kaffir Lime Leaf Scented Demi-Glace

It is a little joke we have with the birthday guest.  Inevitably whenever we go to her place for dinner, she serves lamb!  So it only seemed fitting that there should be a little lamb on her birthday party menu. The startlingly delicious item in this dish was the Kaffir lime leaves.

They don’t really show in the picture but they were in the sauce.  At this point in the evening ( course seven) sticking one’s fingers in the food and pulling out the lime leaves and sucking on them was clearly NOT frowned upon.  What a delightful taste, the tart lime flavour mixed with the luscious demi glaze.

 

Lamb

 

Course number eight:

Cheese & Apple

It seems we were just too delirious by this point to actually remember to take a picture.

We had retired to the lounge for a little reprieve before moving on to desert but just wanted to add this extra little treat to the mix.

Norwegian Ski Queen cheese, is just a delightful thing to try.  Although it is a cheese, it would remind you more of a really rich version of those caramel square candies that we used to get a Halloween. Perhaps those crossed with butter or some other unbearably delicious creamy substance.  You really do need to try it.  We find it in the speciality cheese section of most major grocery stores.

So our eighth course was slices of Ski Queen matched with slices of Ambrosia Apples lightly dusted with fresh cracked black pepper.

Really nice.

( No Photo Available )

 

 

Course number nine:

Raw Chocolate Tart topped with Pomegranate accompanied with fresh chunks Pineapple and Chocolate dipped Candied Ginger.

I also got to make this one!

If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I like to startle people from time to time with my “raw” dishes.  So after a somewhat decadent night so far, I thought why not toss in something a little healthy to end the evening and leave us feeling good about ourselves!?

 

Cake

 

It was a very successful evening.  Good times all round.

Stay tuned for when the next one happens.  Who knows, YOU might even get invited!

 

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Five Years Later

 

It’s true, this blog turns five years old today!

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As ledgend has it, it all started when I took a food writing class and one of our assignments was to start a food blog……you know….just to learn how to do it, set it up and the like.

I wonder how many people from the class still have theirs?

I’ll admit I’ve been a little lax with it over the last year, maybe two years, but not because I don’t like it.  It’s more a case of just running out of food to write about……or is it?

The real truth?  My computer is really really old and slow and drives me crazy, because believe it or not, writing a blog is kind of involved.  Adding pictures and formating and all that stuff.  So when your computer it crap, it is very discouraging and a great deterrent.

I know, just get a new damn computer!  I really suck at that.  I have tried so many times and just always chicken out, so worried I will get the wrong thing.  This one may be really slow, but at least I know how to use it!

Anyway……….

 

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The very first blog was called ” Can you really make pasta with a Juicer” and was featured right here on February 19th, 2011.

So I thought how better to commemorate the occasion than by seeing if I can “Make nut butter in a juicer”?

Natural nut butters are very expensive in the store.   Admittedly, so are nuts, but not as expensive as the pre-squished ones!  So why not make your own?

Well, sometimes because it is easier said than done.

I’ve tried making it a few times in Vitamix, the Cadillac of blenders.  I think on the right setting Vitamix might even be able to do your taxes!  But for nut butter, it grinds it well enough but because of the shape you really lose a lot of product that gets gummed up down in the blade area.

So then I tried the plain old food processor.  This seems to work well on most occasions, but on this one, something went wrong.  Perhaps it was because I was using frozen nuts?  Not sure what the problem was, but it just simply didn’t want to stick together and become creamy.

 

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So after grinding away at it for way too long, I looked up and spied the juicer sitting there.  I know that the juicer comes with a “blank” attachement, the same one I used to make the pasta.

I scooped the nuts out of the food processor and stuffed it down the feeder chute of the juicer……..

What came out……was even more dry and unpleasant than what had been at the bottom of the processor.

 

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But that’s the thing about food blogs, they don’t always have to be about the successes.  Sometimes it is good to share one’s failures as well.  You know, to spare the reader the same misfortune.

I tried to eat it anyway……but it really wasn’t very good.

 

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The point of all this?

Blogging is fun.  Who ever would have thought that any ol body, any ol where, can write about whatever nonsense is going on with them, and someone, some where WILL read it!!

Marvelous!

Happy Blogaversary to me!

 

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This Blog Turns Four!

Wow how time flies.

I always tell this story on the anniversary of the blog.  It was only supposed to be an exercise for a food writing class I was taking.  The assignment was to “set up a blog” and of course until anyone can actually FIND the blog, it sort of doesn’t exist.

But when I asked a couple of friends to check it out and comment to impress the teacher I got hooked.

I could write stuff and people could read it.  And some even said they liked it.

The first ever blog post was this one:  Can you really make pasta with a juicer? 

It was quite an involved project because again, I wanted to impress the teacher and wanted the inaugural attempt to be about something interesting.

I’ll admit I have been slacking on my posts in the last while.  Mostly because my computer is SO slow that I spend most of the blogging time yelling at it and threatening to toss it out the window.  But I promise, I’m going to do something about that very soon.

That and of course life getting in the way.  It’s also hard to keep coming up with interesting things to say.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still love to know about, read about, grow, cook and eat food and then talk about all those same aspects of food.  So hopefully I will get back to the writing about it part, real soon.

The other fun thing about blogs is that they are like having money in a good investment.  Even if I don’t post very often anymore, the old posts somehow still find their way to people to read.   In the four years since the blog started I have nearly 50000 hits!!

What’s really cool and completely by accident, is that is post will be the 400th post I have made, on the 4th anniversary.

 

Happy 4th Anniversary!

Happy 4th Anniversary!

Food Movies

There are a lot of movies that involve food.  I mean why wouldn’t there be?  As humans, eating is one of our favorite pass times, so chances are, if you add food to your movie.  It will make people happy!

I had three note worthy food related film experiences this Summer.

Just the other day we went to see The Hundred Foot Journey.

 

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It isn’t completely about food, there are some very touching human experiences involved as well, but food certainly would be nominated for “best supporting Actor”.

It is also very heartwarming and uplifting but warning, it will make you hungry!!

 

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And then earlier in the summer we saw the movie CHEF.

Although the title implies a heavy  food theme, it too has a warm and fuzzy human redemption story but is undoubtedly hunger inducing.

I was anxious to see this movie because in one of the episodes of  Top Chef New Orleans, the lead actor / director/ writer, Jon Faverau was the guest judge on the show.  He was in New Orleans doing research for the movie which is based around the whole food truck craze and in that episode of Top Chef, it was a food truck challenge.

I’m not sure how it did at the theatres, but if you should see it available on one of the many modes of movie watching and you like stuff food then check it out.

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But I think my most note worthy food film experience this summer was part of our local Foodie Film Fest.

Our Victoria Film Festival which usually happens in February branched out this summer to bring us something a little delicious.

A friend asked me if I would like to join her for one of the presentations.   Neither of us were completely clear as to what would go on.  The Film Festival sometimes puts on free movies in the park where you bring your blanket and a picnic so when we heard it was at a vineyard, we just assumed it would be the same sort of arrangement.

My friend has a fully equipped Westphalia camper van, complete with cooker stove and refrigeration.   So we went all out with the picnic aspect of the evening.   The movie wasn’t playing until dusk, so why not travel out to somewhere near the event, have our picnic and then attend the movie with our bellies already full?

We weren’t all together sure where we were going, so we thought it best to stop by and check out the location first and then go have our picnic.

Turns out it was at a gated estate vineyard, deep down a country road.  I guess because we were so early we sailed right though the gate and then drove up the long road to the top of the hill.  Up there we were met with a spectacular view and plenty of parking next to the wine tasting building and the location where the film showing was still being set up.

At this point we really saw no good reason to leave!

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We busted out our dinner and some wine and watched the scenery as the sun started to go down.  It was magnificent.

But then we started noticing many of the other guests, who weren’t fortunate to have arrived early, traipsing up the long hill with their lawn chairs and baskets.  Seems the gates had been closed.   Weren’t WE lucky!!

 

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But it got even better!

When we saw that enough people were starting to gather we decided to check out the situation and pick up our tickets. Only to find out that included in the price of admission was a snack box of fabulous treats!  Fresh bread slices, pates, succulent cheeses and pickles all provided by Charelli’s Cheese Shop. Had we known, we might not have eaten as much back in the camper!!  Oh well.

As well, they were doing wine tastings at the tasting bar and you could buy glasses of wine to have with your snack box while you watched the movie!   All terribly civilized!

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People were quite jealous of us because not only did we have nice chairs to sit in and warm blankets for our lap but we also had a convenient little folding table to rest our goods on,that my friend brought out from the van.

 

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And just when I thought things couldn’t get ANY better, the lady next to me insisted that I take a glass of wine off her hands because she had bought two thinking she was getting one for her friend, who turned out to have already got one!

Then, of course there was the movie!

Brasserie Romantique

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And it had English subtitles which made it seem even more romantique!

Again, a lovely little movie with delicious scenery!

 

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It’s all making me think  that perhaps a home “food movie festival” might be a great idea!!

Cook up some good snacks and have a food movie marathon with  your best buds!

 

What’s YOUR favorite food film??

Can you believe it is two??

I can’t believe that my little ol blog has turned two!

We have over 500 regular subscribers and to date just over 30,000 hits!

That’s just crazy!  And it all started as a little assignment for food writing class I was taking for fun.

I know I haven’t been quite as dilegnet lately, but you know how it is, life gets in the way.  Not to mention, I ‘ve already shared most of my favorite stuff with you!!

But that’s the beauty of food, it is always changing!   So hopefully I will be back at it regularly soon!

Thank you all for all the comments and support and for just taking the time to stop by!

Happy Birthday “What have we got here”!

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