Saturday, December 14, 2013

Snowstorm Coming

Hey all. Sorry I've been so quiet lately. Not a whole lot going on. I can't believe it will be Christmas in less than two weeks. I've got most of my cards done, though I've chopped my card list big time this year. Every year it seems to take more of an effort and this year moreso than most. Up until the last few days, work has been crazy busy and I just haven't had the time or the energy to stand in lines and shop for things. Christmas has become way too commercial. This year will be fewer cards and presents and decorations and more cooking and spending quality time with friends and family. The way it should be, I guesss.

In other more exciting news, Brad will be going skiing out west for a week in late January, and I - along with good friends Paul and Ron - am heading back to Miami/South Beach in February for a week of sun and fun and the South Beach Wine and Food Festival! Can't wait!

I especially dreaming of the South Flordia sunshine today as it is bitterly cold here (wind chill of minus 34 C here this morning) and we are expecting a major snowstorm tomorrow and Monday. I stocked up on food at the grocery store and brought in a lot of wood from the garage to feed our fireplace insert tomorrow. A warm fire and lots of cooking - the making of a perfect snow day!

Stay warm!

Saturday, November 09, 2013


It was twenty-three years ago today that Brad and I met. November 9, 1990. Wow. We're going out to dinner tonight to celebrate.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Making of... Royals

Jeez, I am really liking this gal! And she is just barely 17... What an amazing talent. Madonna, Gaga, and Adele got nothing on her!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


The Lorde Version:

And the Canadian Borde version:

Coffee anyone?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


This clip really cracks me up. Apparently the 6-year-old daughter is thowing a tantrum, which has been going on for almost an hour according to the mother, or originally posted the video. I think the girl is still in her room and can't see her father, but she sure hears her brothers laughing! Dad is an amazing lip-sync!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Indulge 2013 (contd)

So our Indulge Weekend continued the next morning with me walking Jasper first thing and then Brad and I having breakfast at the Inn. Nine times out of Ten I will go for the Eggs Benny, which is what I did both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Delish. Complimented by just a few homes fries and some fresh fruit. We then hooked up with Paul and Ron at the Market and walked around there, taking in all the sights and sounds and smells! After a bit, Brad decided he wanted to try to find a rental cottage that we might be interested in renting sometime in the future. We all parted ways and agreed to reconnect at the liquor store at 1:30, which was the time the wine trail started. A wine trail is similar to a pub crawl, except that it's done in daylight and generally, more wine than beer is involved. We decided to start at the liquor store as it was at the end of the street and make our way down from there. It was all kind of ho-hum until we happened upon a place with beer on tap (mostly Austrian), which was very good, and they also had some GREAT nibbles! Lots of great bread and yummy charcuterie (Shhh - some of us still pretend to be vegetarian!). Then it was off to a place where they had single malt scotch. Nice and peaty - yum! We then ended up at the best stop of all on the wine trail, where Mission Hill wines (from B.C.) were on offer. The pours were generous and the reps (Tyler and Jill) were great! Mission Hill recently won an award for having the best Pinot Noir (in the world, I think?). The white wine was also good. There were real glass wine glasses and, as I say, nice pours! We stayed for a couple of samples! Eventually, Brad left to go back to the Inn to let Jasper out and give him his supper. We agreed to meet up at the last stop on the wine trail, which was also the place where we would be having dinner that evening. In the interim, we also connected with some of Paul's friends and had a drink with them. Then, it was on to dinner! It was all set up in one of those gigantic tents with windows. Bales of hay with planks on top for sitting. Tyler and Jill, the Mission Hill reps whom we had met earlier in the day, ended up sitting right beside me. (Let me just say, as a result, the wine flowed freely all evening! :))The tables were beautifully laid out and the food was absolutely delish: Beausoleil oysters (done 4 ways) with Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Grigio; Smoked salmon terrine with canadied Acadian Sturgeon (with Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir); Roasted buttercup squash soup with spiced pumpkin (with Mission Hill Perpetua Chardonnay); Merlot slow-braised short ribs with purple shiso-chives blue cheese "gnocchi", parsnip crisps, nasturtium oil) (with Mission Hill Compendium - and man, I must say, if you get a chance to grab a bottle of this, by all means, go for it!); topped off by a dark chocolate mousse cake with hazelnut feuilletine for dessert (with Henkell Trocken sparkling rosé). Uh-huh...

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Indulge 2013!

So once again this year Brad and I headed down to the beautiful town of Saint Andrews for the 2013 editon of the Indulge NB festival. I think this was our third time to attend the decadent weekend on the coast. Usually it's held the weekend after Canadian Thanksgiving (which is this weekend, incidently), but this year the organizers decided to hold it the weekend before Thankgiving (Oct. 4 to 6). As usual, we went with our good friends Paul and Ron. We took last Friday off and arrived in Saint Andrews around 4:00 p.m. Brad and I and Jasper checked into our room at the Inn and then hooked up with Paul and Ron, who were staying in a cottage down the street a bit. The weather was beautiful (sunny and warm) the entire weekend, by the way. Between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Friday, a lot of the shops and restaurants on the main street had appetizers and wine and other drinkables on hand for $2 a pop. It was a great idea, but we ate more than we should have, as we had a 7-course meal booked back at our Inn at 6:45.

Here is the menu from Friday night:

Glass of sparkling wine served with
Buttercup Squash purée
(vanilla infused, parsnip crisps, prosciutto dust, parsley oil, micro greens)

Glass of Sauvignon Blanc served with:
Croque Madamme
(crushed baby potatoes with olive oil, crisp bacon, chiabata crouton, arugula, soft poached egg with mustard ice cream)

Lobster Cake
(wasabi sour cream, potato "swiss cheese", corn shoot)

(prosciutto wrapped pork terrine, Waldorf salad, Sauce Cumberland)

Bay of Fundy Scallop
(Bay of Fundy scallop, quinoa tabbouleh salad, sweet potato silk)

Glass of Shiraz Cabernet served with:
Surf & Turf
(Pork tenderloin filet in parsley panko crust, blueberry jus, scalloped potatoes, blackened salmon filet, saffron beurre blanc, baby carrots)

Glass of ice wine & brandy served with:
Sessert Sampler Trio
(Rote grütze with crème Anglaise, Baileys cheeze cake, hazelnut truffle)

All that was just $75 (including drinks), and for good measure, we had another couple of bottles of wine to wash it all down. Needless to say, by the end of the meal we were stuffed! Brad and I walked back to Paul and Ron's cottage for a night cap and made it back to our Inn around midnight.

I'll recap Saturday soon!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Tennis Court

Music by Lorde:

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

More Cookbooks!

I indulged my cookbook addiction on the weekend and ordered two new books from Chapters online. One was "Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing" by Anya Von Bremzen. It's written as an autobiographical story and has no recipe pics.

The second book was "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi - co-author of "Jeruselem," a book I bought last year and is great! Plenty is completely vegetarian, and I've been wanting to pick it up for some time now. It's got all the bells and whistles as far as recipe pics go.

They arrived today. I can't wait to read and make dishes from both!

Cheers and Bon appétit!

Monday, September 23, 2013

What are You Reading?

I just finished Neil Gaiman's "The Ocean at the End of the Lane," and I recommend it highly. A very quick, but thought-provoking read. The author was recommended by Chris Kluwe (you must know who he is, right?). His book, which I also read this summer, "Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies," is also a TERRIFIC read.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Hopeless Wanderer

Neat ditty. For my Brad.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Busy summer weekend!

Hey all. Just checking in quickly. Brad and I have had a very busy weekend; making hay while the sun shines, so to speak. And shine it has for the past couple of days (after seemingly unending weeks of rain). Yesterday and today have been magnificent- sunny and warm with a great breeze to keep the bugs at bay while outside. I got up early yesterday morning and walked Jasper and then went to the local farmers' market. I made only two purchases: fresh garlic and 4 bunches of basil. I'm sure those of you who've been reading for a while know what I did with those purchases! You got it, more pesto! I made two batches this morning; one for the fridge and one for the freezer, so we can have a little taste of August some cold December day. I've got two batches frozen so far and may try to sock away another couple before the season ends. I also made a blueberry pie yesterday, which Brad claims is the best I've ever made! I had a tiny sliver and do admit, it's pretty gall darn good.

Last night and tonight as well we dined al fresco on the back deck. On offer last night was local corn on the cob (which I claimed was the best I've ever eaten) and Swiss chard (with blueberry pie for dessert). Tonight, it was pasta and pesto with a little canned tuna and some of Brad's homemade pita bread. Yum! I really have to start taking more photos!

Brad has been in the kitchen from noon on and he's still there as I speak, making pickles. Dilly green bean pickles, beet pickles, pickled carrots, etc. He'll be pickling away for most of the evening, as well, I think. Smells amazing, and I definitely will take a couple of pics of the finished products!

Oh, and then Brad cleaned all the downstairs windows yesterday and I mowed the back lawn today. Like I said, a very busy summer weekend!

Here are some basil/pesto pics. Cheers!

Sunday, July 28, 2013


Will wrap up our trip to Spain in the days ahead, in the meantime, I simply cannot resist putting this out there! Shaun doing a cannonball jump into our pool at the villa! Good stuff!

I also send out my condolences to the friends and families of the victims of the recent train wreck in Spain. So very sad. And there, as they say, but for the grace of God, go I. We took a number of high-speed trains when we were in Spain.

More soon....

Saturday, June 29, 2013


So, after our lovely week at the villa, we packed up all our stuff, including Brad's bike, and drove back to Malaga where we would drop off the cars (and bike) and catch the train to Sevilla. We had the route back to the train station/car drop off point all mapped out, and we were doing very well, until we missed a crucial turn-off in Malaga, which thew all of our well-laid plans into disaray. We pulled both cars over and had a consult. Maps were check, there was some humming and hawing, and in the end, we decided it would probably be best to ask someone familiar with the city. A short time before, we had spotted a gas station/convenience store, so we made our way back there where the attendant, thankfully, knew how to get to the train station and she spoke some English. Bonus!! Following her directions, we carefully made our way to our destination. We parked the cars in the underground parking lot, dropped of the keys, and Brad took his bike back. This time in the Malaga train station, we felt like pros. We knew where the washrooms were, where to get a quick bite to eat, and where to go to catch our train to Sevilla. Soon enough, we were on our train bound for the capital of Andalucia! It was about a 3-hour trip, then there we were at the Santa Justa train station in Sevilla. Brad turned on his internal GPS and, following his lead, we and our suitcases clackitty clacked through the wending streets and alleys to our 3 bedroom, 3 bath apartment in the heart of the Santa Cruz neighbourhood, which is the city's old Jewish quarter. The pleasant agent met us at the door, led us through the place, gave us our keys, and bid us adieu. The apartment was nice, but not as nice as it had looked in the pictures on the Internet. We were on the second floor and the main rooms consisted of a small kitchen, a large living area/dining room, a powder room, and one bedroom, which also had its own bathroom. It was decided that Shaun and Mary would take that bedroom. Don and Marlene and Brad and I had bedrooms off a corridor overlooking the inner courtyard. One floor up, there were also two large roof-top terraces, which were apparently shared with other apartments in the building, though we saw no one else there during our 4-day stay. The terraces were really quite nice and we spent a lot of time up there, dining al fresco several nights.

After settling in a little, we went to a tapas restaurant just down the street for some lunch. We sat outside under an umbrella to shade us from the sun. I forget what everyone else had, but I had a whisky tortilla of some sort. You couldn't taste much whisky, but boy was there a LOT of garlic in it! Tons of it! Gooy, sticky, roasted garlic! My favourite! Brad looked mortified... He knew he'd have to sleep in the same room as me that night! The others caught on fairly quickly as well, and generally kept their distance from me for the rest of the day! (Just kidding, though the following day, Mary told me that I still stinked of garlic!)

Sevilla was a great spot and we enjoyed our time there. We ate out several times and cooked at the apartment as well. Mary even had pig cheeks!! The first meat she had eaten in like 17 years! She liked 'em too! One afternoon, we did a walking tour with an English ex-pat living in the city. He was nice, it was informative, and we got to know our way around a bit more. It was he who told us about the tapas restaurant where we had the pig cheeks. Underneath the mushroom-like structure you see in the pics below was a market. We picked up vittels for dinner there, including a shark steak, which looked very good, but none of us knew what it was until I looked in my menu decoder back at the apartment. Was the first time I had had shark, and it was very tasty, though I wouldn't make a habit of eating it because sharks are very intelligent and basically at the top of their food chain. The kind of icky-looking things in one of the pics from the market are snails, which the Spanish are mad for. Didn't try thiose, I'm afraid.

As a day trip, we all (except for Brad) hopped on a train to Jerez. Our main goal was to do some Serry tasting, and that we at at the Sandeman Bogeda.It was a beautiful sunny day and we had a lot of fun. I didn't take the camera, so no pics unfortunately. But it is definitely a city I would return to for a couple of days.

Back in Sevilla, I bought a colourful ceramic sugar dish to replace a small square tupperware dish that we've used to sugar for the past 20-odd years, and a nice ceramic jug as well, which, unfortunately, I've since discovered, doesn't pour very well. Oh well. It looks pretty!

After 4 nights, we again packed up our belongings and headed back to Madrid for one final night. I'll have a wrap-up of that in my next post. Stay tuned and enjoy the pics below. :)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Villa (continued)

Just a few more pics from the villa. Sevilla is up next!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Spain! (part 2 - the villa)

So... Now that I have your attention... After we arrived in Malaga, we picked up the cars and bike and drove to our beautiful villa, which was about 50 minutes away, close to the small town of Salobrena. We made our way down the tiny narrow street to the villa. Malcolm, the caretaker, was there to greet us and show us around. It was a HUGE property. Three bedrooms, three baths, large dining room, adequate kitchen (minus the very low fan over the stove, which everyone kept banging their heads on), and an amazing garden, multiple decks, and, of course, the swimming pool. There were a few bugs to get worked out as we were apparently the first guests of the season and the owners, who had been there the week previous, had switched EVERYTHING off before they left, i.e., the toilet for my and Brad's room and a few other necessities. Malcolm had done his best to get everything back up and running, but for the first few days we had no hot water in the kitchen (or dishwasher), and there was limited hot water upstairs and down. In the end, everything got worked out and we had a lovely time there, cooking at home every night. From here we went to Grenada for the day and visited the Alhambra, which was amazing. Don and Mary did an amazing job driving - with the exeption of Mary almost backing over an embankment/hill (?) in one of the small towns we visited. Yikes! That was quite the moment. Unfortunately, no one thought to take a pic of our car dangling over the precipice. Thankfully, there were a couple of nice Spanish dudes hanging about who, after some deliberation, helped us push the car up and over the edge. Just another drive in the country, according to Mary! Ha! I saw my life flash before me! LOL! Just kidding, but I was very relieved once we were back on the road and headed back to our villa overlooking the Med. The only downside was that it was here that we learned of Oliver's passing. That was very hard for us, especially for Brad. He was very, very close to returning to Canada the next Tuesday. Thankfully, he decided to stay, but there will always be a very sad part on the south coast of Spain where dear old dogs go to die. (Cue the tears here - sorry.)
Here are some pics: