Friday, March 5, 2021

World Tour

As we all know in these pandemic times traveling isn't easy to do and likely won't be for awhile. One of the retail outlets that was considered essential throughout all of this was our liquor stores so I started looking through my local store at wines from other countries. When I started posting the pictures of the wine I was having with dinner, my brother jokingly asked if I was doing a world tour. 

But that got me to thinking about food from various parts of the world. You might have read in my blog about the dinner I hosted for my sister and brother-in-law (my bubble) based on The Ivy Restaurant in London.   I made a special dinner for myself from Scotland for Robbie Burn's Day of stacked neeps and tatties. I used hamburger for the base rather than haggis. 

I also made for the first time an Acadian Meat Pie. My mother always called them "tourtiere" but I've since found out that tourtiere use ground meat while my mother's recipe uses chunks of meat. Many Acadian meat pie recipes call for potatoes but my mum's only used chicken, pork and steak. I used just chicken and pork for my meat pie. It's a Christmas tradition to have meat pie; in our home we always had it on Christmas Eve; when I was much younger it was a late night meal after Midnight Mass. 

My last job before retirement had me as the Canadian Forces' representative to NATO for explosives safety so I got to travel a bit for work. One of the places I went to was Rome, Italy, I'm not a huge fan of pasta in fact I ate at my first Hard Rock Cafe in Rome just to get away from pasta. One thing I really did enjoy was the tortes that were on the breakfast buffet. One I especially liked was a chocolate and pear torte so of course I had to give it try making one. It didn't turn out too bad if I have to say so myself.

Another dessert I made was for our Thanksgiving shared dinner. I ate dinner at my sister and brother-in-law's house but we shared the meal with my neice and her family and had a video chat over dinner. My contribution for the dinner was Sambuca Shrimp and Swedish Crustless Apple pie.

But back to wine, one day I had a white wine that was from South Africa so I looked online to see if there was a relatively simple dish I could make and came up with Bobotie. It's a curried ground beef dish and was quite good. 

This past week, I had a wine from Chile so I again decided to try and find a Chilean recipe and came up with this corn and ground beef casserole, called Pastel De Choclo. It was very good, the savory and sweet tastes went well together. 

So I've been doing well in my world travels, Canada, Scotland, England, Sweden, Italy, South Africa and Chile. I live in Canada and have been in every province but haven't yet visited the territories. I've been to England, Scotland and Italy, so I guess I'll have to add Sweden, South Africa and Chile to the bucket list.  I wonder where I will go next?

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Winter Walk

Today was a perfect winter day, sunny, no wind and temperatures just above freezing. It's supposed to get really cold in the next couple days and then I hate to even take the dogs for a walk around the park so I decided to get out for a good long walk today.  

We went the Cumberland Heritage Museum. The museum is closed right now but you can walk around the grounds and there are dog-friendly trails in behind the museum.  We did one circuit around the museum grounds then walked part of the Wilson trail. 

As you can see only Liam looks at me when I take a picture. I wonder how long that will last.  I had forgotten to bring any treats so had nothing to get their attention.

I haven't walked any of the trails completely, I don't like to go too far when I'm on my own. Today I was just going to walk around the field where they had groomed the trails but ended up walking along Wilson trail by the creek that runs behind the museum property. 

I think the dogs enjoyed the walk, they learned quickly to stay on the trails or flounder in the snow. There were a few people there already when we arrived, even some with dogs. Luckily all the dogs we met were friendly but only one had a good recall.  I keep all of mine on leash. Next time I go, I should bring the long line with me so Teddy and Liam can run a little bit. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

For A' That

Last night was Robbie, sometimes pronounced Rabbie, Burns Night, so I decided to have a Burns Night dinner. I've never actually been to one, I don't care for haggis or for scotch either so I doubt I'd ever go to an actual dinner. I do like some of Robbie Burns' poems though.  I'm sure most of us in North America and much of Europe, I would think, know Auld Lang Syne but the first poem of Robbie Burns that I can recall that I really liked was My Heart's in the Highlands.

I found a blog post that had a recipe that stacked mashed potatoes and mashed turnip (rutabaga to some of you) on a slice of canned haggis and I thought I could do that but without the haggis. I had some pork sausage and some hamburger that I mixed together with some dry onion soup, cinnamon and nutmeg.  The blog post used the haggis can to build the stack and then pushing the stack through. I couldn't get the bottom of a can cut off so I decided to use the silicone rings I have for cooking eggs. It worked rather well. I only had mini potatoes so had to do a rustic mash for the top. 

This haggis, neeps and tatties stack is served with a whiskey sauce. I wasn't sure I had Scotch but it turned out I did have a couple small bottles. Neeps and tatties are Scottish slang for turnip and potatoes. The sauce was more like a gravy and consisted of sauteed onions, beef broth, whiskey and cream. It was very good. 

I decided to make this a fancy dinner night so I set my table and got myself dressed for the occasion. I had no tartan to wear so I fashioned a sash to wear with my dress shirt with some pins I got in Scotland set off with a brooch that belonged to my mother. The sash is actually a pashmina that Amawaterways presented to each of the ladies at the end of our river cruise.

Formal but casual

The wine was from Chile, I'm not even sure they make wine in Scotland. I know there are lots of distilleries.  Anyway I thought the name of the wine sounded somewhat Scottish.

I also made a Scotch Egg that I had for lunch today. It wasn't bad, I overcooked it as I wasn't sure how you would tell if the meat was cooked all the way through. It was pretty good; someday I'll have to try a real one. They are supposed to be deep fried but the recipe I used was for a baked Scotch Egg.  Mine split at the bottom, perhaps I could have turned it while it cooked. 

Burns has a poem that is somewhat fitting for these pandemic days called A Man's a Man for A' That. The last verse is especially appropriate. 

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an a' that.
For a' that, an a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.