Happy π Day!!

Hi Folks:

Happy Pi Day (3-14)! Today, devotees around the world dedicate themselves to the pursuit of all things irrational, and of course, really good desserts. BTW, if you want to know what the first 1,000,000 digits of π are, you can find that at the link.

As we have in previous years, we’re going to celebrate today with some pi(e). Since Marcia has grain sensitivities we’re going to forego the crust, and since we’ve already profiled Michael Smith’s wonderful Potato Bacon Cheddar Tart, we’re going to choose something equally savoury instead: shepherd’s pie. The recipe we’re using today comes from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen, here: Cast Iron Shepherd’s Pie.

NB: They did provide this recipe free for two days, but that period is now over. You can still view it by signing up for a free trial. That of course is up to you. As for us, it’s been so long since either of us have eaten ground beef we don’t remember the last time, but shepherd’s pie has been a comfort food recipe in both of our families for generations. We thought of using ground turkey instead, but we thought we’d go all out. We’re using organic corn instead of peas and while we usually replace potatoes with yams, we did find some lovely organic potatoes to use here. We’ll see how it goes!

Cast Iron Shepherd's Pie
Cast Iron Shepherd’s Pie

Okay, that’s it for now. Enjoy Pi Day, however you celebrate it! For more of our Pi Day posts (and recipes) click here.

Remember to hug the ones you love today. If you can’t hug a stranger, then at least offer them a smile. 🙂

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. While you’re wandering around the Cook’s Illustrated site, watch out for their Cast Iron Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe!!

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 →