Top 3 Canadian Food Dishes

Canada is known abroad for many things – great hockey players, amazing nature and really polite citizens for starters. It is not the first country you think about when “delicious cuisine” is mentioned, though. That is a shame! Canadian food dishes are definitely not known well enough and thus underrated by many. Have you ever heard about Canadian bacon or butter tarts? Read along for a quick ride through some of Canada’s staples and find out why Canadian cuisine is easy to love. First of all, if you ever find yourself in Quebec, be sure to try poutine. It’s a take on fries; that will change your way of thinking about potatoes forever. A portion of those yellow delicacies, covered with cheese and gravy. Yum! Another of the Canadian food dishes everyone must try at least once in their life are the aforementioned butter tarts. A crunchy and sweet pastry ideal for a dessert. And if you’re feeling particularly adventurous and bored with your standard chicken stew, try one made from caribou meat. A caribou is a type of reindeer found in the Canadian mountains and very popular in the surrounding regions. So why not try the taste of Canada?

Canadian food dishes. Try a strawberry butter tart!

Cooking meringue tips for perfect desserts

Cooking meringue tips: How to get them perfect every time

Does the thought of making meringues fill you with dread? If you follow a few simple techniques, they can be very simple to master, and you can impress everyone with gorgeous, mouth-watering desserts. Think chocolate meringue roulade, pavlova covered in strawberries, lemon meringue pie or Eton mess with thick cream and seasonal fruits. To start these cooking meringue tips, make sure that your bowl and equipment is absolutely clean. Use a lemon and then wipe dry with a paper towel to help ensure that the egg whites will whip well and reach their full volume. Do not attempt to whisk your egg whites by hand – always use a mixer and allow them to stand at room temperature beforehand for 20 minutes, this helps to produce lighter meringues. Use a low speed and keep whisking until the whites are foamy, then gradually increase the speed until the egg whites are in stiff peaks. If you are brave enough, you can turn the bowl upside down to check that the mixture is stiff enough. Add your sugar a tablespoon at a time and go slowly – if you add the sugar too quickly it can cause caramel bubbles during cooking. One of the best cooking meringue tips is to add half a teaspoon of white vinegar at this stage, to help produce wonderful chewy meringues with a crisp outside. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and put them in the oven immediately, baking for a minimum 30 minutes. Meringues are actually best slowly baked at a low temperature and once ready, left inside overnight, with the oven door slightly open. The best desserts are short and sweet, and I would be surprised if your meringues don’t disappear in one sitting! They really are easy so give them a whirl!

Cooking tips for beginners: How to become a great home chef


Ever wondered what those cooking tips for beginners are, that help makes the process of cooking enjoyable? Everyone starts somewhere, and although there can be a lot to learn for the novice, there are some tips you can rely on that will add a little touch to the whole process. Cooking tips for beginners are

  1. Preparation – Half of cooking is all about preparation or ‘prep’ as it is known. Do your prep the night before for ease of mind when you are in the kitchen.
  2. Seasoning – Always season meat as evenly as possible and avoid clumping, this ensures even cooking.
  3. Sealing the spices – Keep your spices sealed and stored in a dark place; spices lose their potency in light and heat.
  4. Take your own time – Try boiling pasta to one minute before the recommended time on the package, this gives a true ‘alienate’ result.
  5. Thaw the butter before use – For baking, let the butter stand for a few hours to become soft, this helps produce a better dough.

There are endless ways to become a great home chef; these are just a couple of tips to help you cook better.

How to cook perfect barbecue vegetable kebabs

How to cook perfect barbecue vegetable kebabs

Summer is the time for barbecues and being outdoors with family and friends. It is a fantastic time of year – from the weather to the clothes we wear to the activities we can participate in. However, every summer I become overloaded with steak and chicken and sausages on the barbecue. By the end of summer, I can feel myself craving some fresh vegetables and healthy treats. If you feel the same as me, this is the blog you need to be reading because I am going to tell you about the 5 Flavour Trends you need to try when barbecuing vegetable this summer. The very first one you need to try is barbecue vegetable kebabs. Barbecue vegetable kebabs are just like traditional kebabs except they are loaded with beautiful, healthy vegetables. The second tip I have for you to get vegetables in your diet this summer is to create a grilled vegetable platter with seasonal herbs and spices. You can add any vegetable you want to the platter and season to your own taste. Why not try bacon-wrapped asparagus as an entree at your next outdoor dinner party? You will keep the meat lovers happy and also fulfil your vegetable craving. There is nothing better in summer than corn on the barbecue, why not trying spicing things up this summer by adding cilantro-lime butter to the mix? For the fussy eaters in your life, you can’t pass up on pesto-filled grilled peppers. They are a hit with the little kids and infused with goodness. Happy barbecuing, and enjoy your time in the sun!

Kelley Armstrong and baked goodies: A match made in heaven

A Kelley Armstrong novel goes perfectly with cake

I love baking. Nothing beats the satisfaction of opening the oven door to reveal a steaming cake, pie or batch of cookies that you whipped up a little while earlier. Martha Stewart has some great easy recipes for beginners. One of the best things about baking is how easily you can vary your favourite recipes by using different spices, fruits, chocolates, nuts…. The varieties are endless. Like the best bakers, I love eating too!

On a rainy spring afternoon I enjoy curling up with a freshly baked goodie, a hot drink and a good book. At the moment, one of my favourite authors is Kelley Armstrong. A native of Ontario, she combines imaginative use of supernatural creatures with a backdrop of typical Canadian life, not to mention thrilling plots! A particular favourite of mine is the Women of the Otherworld Series. Although she is most famous for fantasy work, Kelley armstrong also writes non fantasy, particularly in the areas of crime, horror and romance. A word or warning: Kelley Armstrong writes some serious page turners. If you pick one up while you have something baking, make sure to set the alarm on your oven timer to full volume!

Best recipes for desserts – Pistachio Cupcake

Best recipes for desserts - Pistachio Cupcake

As is well known I am a foodie and I love desserts. In fact sometimes I forget which is main course and which is dessert. I keep a separate diary of my favourite recipes for desserts; I thought I might share some of those best recipes for desserts with you here. Today it is the amazing Pistachio Cupcakes. These cupcakes are easy to make and really tasty. Ingredients – 1 cup roasted pistachios, 1 teaspoon salt, 1.5 cups white sugar, 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup all purpose flour, 4 eggs, 1 cup cake flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla, baking powder, milk 500 ml. Method of preparation – Heat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Keep 24 paper muffin cups lined up. Now blend roasted pistachio with half cup sugar. Pistachio should be finely ground. Now mix the all purpose flour, cake flour and salt together in one bowl. Mix 1 cup sugar and butter together in a bowl using electric mixer. Add the 4 eggs one by one mixing it well with sugar and butter. Mix vanilla and milk in another bowl and stir well. Mix the ingredients of all the three bowls together. Fill this up in the 24 muffin cups. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes and the cupcakes are ready to eat. Top with cream and nuts and then serve. If you make them let me know what you think and if they would make your best recipes for desserts list.

Books and Giveaways.

Book giveaways on a number of sites along with ARC's

Well bit late in the day but I hope everyone had a super Christmas and New Year. I certainly did very traditional with lots of family time, quality food and drinking, mainly eggnog – I think I have mentioned I am a bit of a eggnog addict!

January is always a bit of a downer isn’t it but mine has been has been worse than normal as my car died! Yea sad really, got it fixed but cost me an arm and a leg thank goodness for payday loans, I used Ferratum Ca if anyone looking for a loan company I thought it was the best out of the ones I looked at and i have been very happy with their service. Other than that and a cold mid month everything is OK and I have had my new mini IPad 4 to play with. I downloaded Kindle for the IPad and since then I have been spending my vouchers and downloading a veritable library of must have books. I have also got myself signed up with Net Gallery. For those of you who have not come across this before it is a site where authors and publishers introduce new books. You can request to become an ARC reader. ARC – advanced reader copy lets readers have an copy of a book to review. You might have seen this on Amazon or Goodreads reviews…”I received this book in return for an honest opinion etc etc”. Net Gallery is one of the sites that this can be done. You can even get a badge but I am still in the early stages of this so will see how it goes. You write up your review on the site and they do ask if you will also place it on Amazon and Goodreads.  I have read three from there now, one I totally disliked (a first for me) and one that I stayed up all night reading enjoyed it so much; on the third book now. I don’t like to write the story when I review although a lot of people do. I prefer to give my impressions on the story how it grabs (or doesn’t grab) me, the style and the overall storyline. I would be interested in what others think is a good review, does it spill the entire story or simply conveys your reasons for liking or disliking the book? I am looking to improve my review writing so input would be gratefully received.

I have also discovered a great site with some free giveaways and chance to win a lot more. It is DiscoverScFi, really recommend you go take a look and get in with a chance of winning. I received the book Nomad when I joined and I am just about to start reading it. Will give you a review next time.

What Phone Apps Could you not Live Without?


A variety of Phone Apps we cannot live without, differ from person to person but what is the most popular?

Apps we cannot live without -really?

Well I have not done much reading so far this month, busy entertaining and making egg nog – and drinking it well laced with brandy, I prefer brandy to rum. Enough preambling..that sort of month so far for me! Any free time I have had this month I have done some internet trawling and of course spent some quality time on Pinterest ( love that site) getting ideas for Christmas.  One of the blogs I came across was from 2013 but I found the information interesting, all about the best five food apps a Canadian should have, now the five are:

  1. Eat Canada: Dining in Downtown Canada
  2. Whole Foods Market Recipes
  3. Parks Canada Heritage Gourmet
  4. Wine Picks & Pairings: Natalie MacLean
  5. MoodFood

Now the blogs explains them very well so I am not going too but I wanted to ask what foodie blogs do people use and why? My favourites of the above are the wine picks as I never know what to choose and moodfood as I just love that idea. I actually have not downloaded any as to be honest I don’t really use them. I have allrecipes app on my phone and that is enough. Mind you if I get a nice iPad for christmas then that could all change ( hint hint).  It also set me to wondering what apps do people put on their phones. Just phones for this exercise; I really only use mine for the normal, making calls texting, using Whats App (when it works!) and my Goodreads App, what could you not live without on your phone?? Let me know in the comments below.

Robin Mckinley and Strong Female Protagonists in Fantasy


Robert McKinley's The Hero and The Crown - one of my favourites

One of my all time favourites

I have had a bit of a reading binge this past month, not so much new novels but old favourites. I was in the mood for something on the empowerment of women, a strong female character that does not have to be saved. Ok so some stuff going on for me at the moment but don’t want to dwell on it, suffice to say I am dealing with it!

One of the first books I read in the fantasy genre was by Robin McKinley; not luck it was one of the first, I had a very interesting teacher who was a strong believer in women’s rights at a time when it was a topic of conversation not a fact. Ms McKinley has a reputation for writing about strong female protagonists who were definitely not without faults but they overcame difficulties that most of us can identify with. Ok you can argue the books are fantasy with vampire and strange surroundings but still the books describe how adversity can be dealt with, without the knight on shining armour.

I actually read Sunshine first but then I read The Hero and The Crown; this last book has proven popular within feminist literature. The book advocates a woman has the right to a say in her own destiny and a say in how it is achieved. Whilst this book comes under the genre of Teens/Young adult it makes an excellent read for an adult. I have recommended it many times to friends and always got good feedback. It also appears in a number of fantasy best read lists. If you have never read any of her work I recommend you start with this one, which is the prequel to Blue Sword. Sunshine I still love but vampire novels are not for everyone.

What do like to see in your female characters? Who is your favourite author, let me know and let the discussions begin…

A Visit to The Canadian Museum for Human Rights

Canadian Museum of Human Rights - fabulous eyecatching building designed by the architect Antoine Predock

Canadian Museum of Human Rights

How was everyone’s summer? Well August? I had a great time as had family over from France. Nephew and niece came over for the first time since they where little. Both are 18 now, where does time fly. So we did a few touristy things that was actually good fun. Seeing the city through new eyes is also a treat, I think you tend to forget what you have on your doorstep when you are living and working in a place. I thought I would give a mention to some of the places I have re discovered and I am planning to not ‘forget’ again in my next few posts.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights; this just has to be top of any visitors list, it’s a fabulous day out. I actually have never got around to visiting despite every time I saw its outline I would say,” I really must go and see what is happening there’. The architecture stands out, designed by Antione Predock, it is modern, attractive and certainly eye-catching. The museum states ‘it will take you on a journey of education and inspiration unlike anything you’ve experienced before’. It certainly did just that, we had planned a morning there but stayed more or less the whole day. Do not plan this in any itinerary without allowing enough time to appreciate what is included there. I enjoyed it so much I have booked for us as a family on the Mikinak-Keya Spirit Tour, which explores rights and responsibilities from the First Nations perspective. I am really looking forward to it. I guess I am gushing a bit over the museum but I cannot recommend it enough, I am not going to take you on a step by step tour you need to go yourself and experience it. The visit led to some very interesting conversations with the family. One fact I was not aware of was that women were not allowed o officially register for marathons before 1972, I really had not realised that, just seems something we have always done, I was quite shocked and I am not sure why?

Anyone else been to the museum, what were your experiences?