Happy Hallowe’en!!

Halloween YodaNever before have we seen a lighted, inflatable Yoda holding a Boo! bucket (at Bridgeman’s West Coast Eatery, in Port Renfrew, BC). Our lives are now complete. 🎃

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. In years past we’ve shared different pumpkin recipes for post-Hallowe’en enjoyment. We sadly don’t have any new recipes to add right now, but you can find our existing pumpkin-related posts here.

Happy Pi Day!!

Hi Folks:

It’s that time of the year (3-14) where we get to celebrate all things irrational, and so as we’ve done for several years now we thought we’d add a recipe or two. Mike’s Auntie Dona – at various stages in her life – ran a bakery, a restaurant, a catering service for several small airlines, and a cooking school. She was also quite a character. Wherever she is now, she likely has flour in her hair. These recipes are hers.

In case pastry has become your bête noire, here’s the one I used in the bakery and still do.

5 cups flour, 1 lb. lard, 1 tsp. salt… blend with pastry blender. Break 1 egg into a cup, beat and fill with water. Add to flour and stir and knead until it’s ready to handle. Seeing as how you’ve got that great lump of pastry there, make a pie or two, some butter tarts, turnovers (apple pie filling, zipped up with cinnamon and a few raisins) or raisin squares or just bake the shells and store them on a shelf. They’ll stay good for ages.

Now about those butter tarts. This recipe I gleaned from an old Mennonite cookbook and have used constantly over the years. Surprise, no butter in butter tarts.

Dona’s stolen recipe for butter tart filling

2 eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 cup brown sugar, handful of raisins. Beat the hell out of the eggs with your balloon whisk. If you don’t have one, stop right now and go and get one. I mean, really. Then put in the sugar and beat until you have big glutinous bubbles on top. Add your vanilla and raisins, put in tart shells and bake. Do use a 2-lb jam can to cut out your tart shells, 4-lb size for turnovers. Don’t bake butter tarts or anything with an egg base in a high oven. 325° at the most. I find 325 is best for these as a nice crust will form and they look beauteous. Gravy ladle fills the easiest. The amount makes 1 dozen.

So there you go. Have some fun with it! And since you have pastry dough left over, maybe put together a pumpkin or lemon pie or something. Check our Food section for more recipes.

Hugs,
M&M

President Austin: Superhero

Hi Folks:

Things have been a little quiet around here of late while we’ve been organizing Rainbow Mouse and friends, but we came across this article from CBS News this morning and just had to share it with you.

Mild-mannered four-year-old by day, once a week he slips into a convenient phone booth, dons his cape and shares food (chicken sandwiches), hugs and appreciation. “Share Love” is his slogan, and it’s one we would all do well to adopt. The link to the full article is here: 4-year-old superhero using his power to feed the homeless – CBS News or click on the image below to see the video of Austin in action.

President Austin: Superhero

Share Love indeed. From Victoria, we send you hugs!

M&M

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

That most special day of the year is upon us once again! While it will be another 97 years before we’ll have a really special Pi Day (3-14-15, 9:26:53), any excuse to eat baked treats is a good one!

Since the idea of combining irrational numbers and desserts is a bit nutty, we thought we’d offer up two slightly nutty recipes for you today. The first comes from the oldest cookbook we have on the shelf (so far): The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (© 1942, edited by Dorothy B. Marsh). Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Kelowna – Masala Fusion

Hi Folks:

Last weekend we left our island hideaway for the Okanagan valley to celebrate Mike’s mother’s birthday. As part of our stay we stopped for dinner at Masala Fusion. It’s a small restaurant on the NE corner of Harvey and Cooper, across the street from Orchard Park Mall and beside A&W (although we recommend the former rather than the latter for food!)

Masala Fusion

Masala Fusion Restaurant, Kelowna, BC

When we walked through the front door we immediately felt welcomed. It was like being wrapped in a favourite warm, fuzzy blanket… 🙂 We took a table for two at the back, but when we delivered our order to our server she pulled over an extra table for us. We expected to have leftovers, but (somehow) we managed to eat everything! It was just that good. We had a bit of deciding to navigate Marcia’s food allergies, but we did just fine.

We started with Chicken Tikka for an appetizer. From the menu: “Chicken breast marinated in ginger and garlic paste, hung yoghurt and spices, then slow roasted in clay oven.” The flavours of chicken and garlic and cilantro and more enveloped the mouth without overpowering. 

For the main course we chose Tandoori Salmon, Vegetable Korma, Garlic Naan and a side of Cucumber Raita. As mentioned, we thought that was probably way too much, and we couldn’t believe we ate the whole thing! When we ordered the main course items our server asked us if we wanted mild, medium or hot. Since Marcia is a little more sensitive to spices, she decided on medium and it worked out perfectly. There was enough spice to provide flavour without being overwhelming. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for dessert (next time!) Mike had an iced tea, and Marcia had a soda water with a slice of lemon.

If you’re visiting Kelowna this is well worth a visit. We told our server the food was almost worth moving back to Kelowna (but we can do without the 37°C summers!)

Hugs,
M&M

Eating Our Way Through Victoria…

Hi Folks:

It’s been a while since we did a food post, so it must be time for another one! We had two delicious meals out in July and we thought we’d share a bit of information with you…

John's Place

John’s Place

John’s Place

We’ve eaten at John’s Place before, but only for dinner. As we’ve mentioned, breakfast is Marcia’s favourite meal out, so on a sunny Sunday morning we wandered down to Pandora Avenue for some brunch. Now, normally that time of the week would have a line-up down the street for many of Victoria’s fine restaurants, but coincidentally we timed our arrival with the beginning of Victoria’s 2017 Pride Parade. As such the restaurant was still packed, but with most folks out watching the parade we only had to wait a few minutes to be seated.

What we love most about John’s Place is the laid back atmosphere. It’s very much like being in someone’s country kitchen (albeit with a bunch of friendly strangers). John’s place is open, loud, and it is not pretentious. The staff are great and John’s Place prides itself on serving free run eggs, butter (not margarine) and the freshest ingredients they can source. This shows in both the delicious scents and the taste! They serve LavAzza coffee, so Marcia opted for the bottomless cup of drip coffee and Mike had a double Café Americano. For breakfast Marcia had the Free Run Traditional breakfast – eggs over, bacon and fresh fruit on the side. Mike opted for something a little different – the Valdy’s Frittata. It’s a 4-egg, open-faced omelette, served up with chorizo sausage, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. Both were excellent!! Victoria has a number of great breakfast places, and John’s Place is certainly one of them! (Psssttt… their staff give great hugs)

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21

Table 21 is located on the first floor of the DoubleTree Hotel, at the corner of Douglas and Burdett Streets. There is a bar/lounge seating, but they also have a large dining area. Table 21 mostly does tapas (small plates), and for a general recommendation one orders 1-2 plates per person.

We opted for four dishes and that worked out very well for us. First we ordered the Grilled Romaine Salad, which was an entire romaine heart divided in two and served with a house dressing, candied bacon and shaved Grana Padano cheese. For a vegetable dish we ordered the Ponzu Chili Zucchini Noodle, which was a blend of grated zucchini, peppers, chili sauce and garlic. To round it out we had Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus and Crispy Duck Wings. The duck wings were Marcia’s particular favourite – prepared Asian style with cashews, spring onion, cilantro and green papaya slaw. That was certainly ample for us! We passed on dessert, but Mike did finish the meal with an espresso. One thing to note: Show proof that you are a resident of Victoria and get 21% off your bill!

Victoria has so many great restaurants; these are two more to consider for your next meal out. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

Having Brunch Out for Mother’s Day(s)

Hi Folks:

For Mother’s Day this year we traveled up to the Okanagan to celebrate with Mike’s Mom. We had two days together so we got to treat her to two different places!

Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria – Breakfast Out

Hi Folks:

In Marcia’s family the favourite meal to eat-out has always been breakfast. On the road? Get up early, take on a few miles (or kilometres), then pull over and have a hearty meal.

Victoria is blessed with many fine restaurants that are open for breakfast, and today we thought we’d profile two of them. We only write about restaurants we like because if we’d had a bad experience somewhere it may have been the chef’s day off, the server was having a bad day or something else, but a good meal, shared, is something to treasure.

Without further ado… 🙂

Continue Reading →

Happy Pi Day!

Hi Folks:

It’s that one day of the year again (3-14) where we celebrate all things irrational by honouring the most famous of their brethren, pi (π). And as any mathematician worth his or her salt with tell you, nothing associates better with pi than pastry! It may be the perfect alchemical blending of flour and lard, egg and vinegar… or it may just be the homonym. No matter.

pi-blue-2400px

Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria – Terroir Tea Merchant

Hi Folks:

As mentioned in our last post, the end of February marked Victoria’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” for 2016. It’s a great opportunity for locals to get out to places they may not yet have discovered in the greater Victoria area. We had loose plans to visit a few places on the Friday afternoon, but they pretty much evaporated when we crossed the threshold of Terroir Tea Merchant (on Fort, between Quadra and Blanshard).

Terroir Tea Merchant

Let’s begin with what Terroir is not: They don’t sell coffee, bottled water, fruit juice, cookies or doughnuts. What they do offer are more than two dozen different teas from the various tea-growing regions, sourced wherever possible from the growers themselves. Our tea was carefully prepared by a tea master, a woman so warm and engaging we abandoned our loosely-knit plans and took up far too much of her time instead. Charity is a certified tea master with accreditation from Australia and her partner (in tea and in life) Jason is a tea specialist with a science background. They are equally open, incredibly knowledgeable and wonderful to talk with. Terroir comes from the French language and encompasses not only the soil of a region but also the climate, rainfall, sun, as well as the culture and heritage of that region as all of these and more impact the plants growing there. An Oolong tea from Taiwan and an Oolong tea from Nepal are not the same by any means. Even plants from the same region, growing at different altitudes or picked at different times will have different flavours to offer.

Charity and Jason also understand the true nature of the word ‘competition’: to strive together. If they don’t have what a customer is looking for, they’ll refer them to someone who might. They have and will continue to incorporate tea pairings with other local businesses, combining their tea offerings with chocolate, perhaps, or different cheeses. More information on upcoming events is available on their website. They’re also developing and offering courses and workshops for those interested in learning more about the art of tea.

We’ve already told several friends about Terroir, and their responses can best be summed up by our friend A. who replied, “Yes! Their tea is amazing! I’m glad you’ve discovered them too!”

Do drop by their store on Front Street, and while you’re there take the time to watch the tea being prepared in what may be the coolest tea-making machine in Victoria. It looks like a French press on steroids and is controlled via an Android tablet. The software allows the simultaneous preparation of four different teas, each brewed for a specific time and at a specific temperature. If a customer has a certain preferences – longer steeping time or difference in temperature for example, custom recipes can be programmed into memory. They wouldn’t say, but we’re reasonably confident it can also monitor and track several small satellites… 🙂

Do drop by; you’ll be glad you did!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. If you really want to know about the gummi bear tea (no, they do not sell it) well, you’ll have to ask. 😉