Monday, January 21, 2019

Flavourful Saskatoon, January 21, 2019

Bow Barley Showcase, Jan. 26 
Local craft brewers have been collaborating with crop scientists and farmers to grow a barley that meets all their needs. The brewers will be presenting their Bow Barley beers at a showcase on Jan. 26 at Winston’s English Pub.

Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Prairies, July 19-21 
Edible Landscapes Permaculture Designs & Consulting in Regina is offering an 18-hour course from July 19-21 in sourcing and growing local edible and medicinal plants.

Make Your Own Cream Cheese
You can make your own cream cheese with a Cultures for Health starter kit available at Dad’s Organic Market. My brother tried it out and said it isn’t too much work, tastes good, and spreads easily. You can choose whether you want a low- or high-fat version and whether or not you want to add flavourings.

Making a Difference 
Former City Councillor Tiffany Paulsen showed her kids how individuals could make a difference by buying groceries for people who looked like they could do with a helping hand.

Food Waste 
More than half of all food produced in Canada is lost or wasted. Here are the main causes:
“Consumers buying food at the grocery store, particularly when there's a sale, and throwing the surplus away. 
• Consumers and retailers throwing out food near or past its best-before date, despite the fact product dating practices 'have no correlation to food safety' and the food can often still be eaten or donated. 
• Produce being left to rot in the field due to labour shortages, or low prices creating an environment in which it is no longer worth it for farmers to harvest. 
• Thousands of acres of produce being 'plowed under' due to cancelled orders. 
• Fish being caught and tossed back into the water to die if they don't match a quota.”

Healthy & Sustainable
A recently released report provides a simple recipe for a healthy diet and sustainable food production: fill half of each plate with fruit, nuts, and vegetables; eat whole grains; and consume less animal products. The Guardian newspaper published a a week's menu based on the guidelines. It certainly looks healthy, but despite being vegetarian, I would have to work hard to be successful.

Life, Death & Fermentation 
I highly recommend this long article about the philosophy and culture of fermented foods: “If you think about it this way, there’s something very political about fermentation. Our work life makes it difficult to form daily habits. The modern food system has atrophied our cultural knowledge and traditions of food preservation practices. It makes sense that so many people find it hard to integrate into everyday life. To create a world where fermentation is the norm, we’d need to change the world.” 

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

All Points East: Ipswich

I’ve been heading east for the last couple of weeks. From Torquay on the south Channel coast, I moved to Lapworth and Birmingham in Britain’s industrial heartland. I then headed further east to Ipswich on the southeast coast (leaving tomorrow to head all the way back west to Appledore in North Devon).

the former post office

Ipswich is the oldest town in England dating back to Anglo-Saxon days when it was called Gippeswic. It’s a modern city nowadays with a thriving pedestrian town centre, but there are still some lovely old buildings.

The Ancient House dating from the 15th century has some extremely detailed pargeting (ornamental plastering). A sculpture commemorating Carl Giles, the cartoonist, adds a comic touch to the town centre.

There are also some modern buildings, including one designed by Norman Foster in 1974, which resembles a grand piano with a garden on top.

With a river emptying into the North Sea, Ipswich was an important shipping port for centuries. As with many waterfront communities, it has switched from shipping to condos, restaurants, and marinas in recent years.
the former Customs House

I've been looking after 4 affectionate, elegant Bengal cats. Here are the males, telling me they haven't eaten in days, maybe even weeks!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

The North Sea at Felixstowe

I took a 24-minute train ride to the seaside today (the British complain about their train service, but, oh, how I envy them!). I am currently staying in Ipswich, which is very near the east coast but not on it, so I decided to spend a few hours visiting Felixstowe.

Felixstowe was a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century as Victorians travelled here to partake in the healing thermal waters. There is some lovely Victorian architecture to remind us of the town’s former grandeur, although the train station has been turned into a mall and reduced to one short platform.

The architecture also indicates the nordic influence. It's easy for North Americans to forget the importance of North Sea Baltic trading.

The seafront gardens were initially developed in the early 1900s and it’s easy to picture Victorian ladies and gentlemen strolling through the gardens, stopping to greet their acquaintances, or take in the view.

There is a long promenade along the seafront, an amusement arcade (obligatory), but the pier is unfortunately closed.

Don’t be deceived by the elaborate villas and quaint beach huts. Nowadays, Felixstowe is the UK’s largest container port.

And now for some fun: a few of my favorite beach hut names!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Flavourful Saskatoon, January 14, 2019

Pasta at The Boot Inn, Lapworth

Zero Waste 101, January 15
Meg Dorwart will share how she’s lived waste-free for the past 2 years from 7-8:30 pm, Jan. 15, at the Frances Morrison Library as part of the Sustainable Speaker Series organized by the Saskatoon Public Library and the Saskatchewan Environmental Society.

Shop Online at Daybreak Mill
I was surprised to discover how many products are grown, made, or distributed by Daybreak Mill. In addition to organic grains, cereal mixes, and flour, they sell Einkorn Pasta, Spelt Flakes, and Chickpeas as well as much, much more.

Mexico City Street Food Vendors
If you’ve ever thought about setting up a food truck or food stand, check out the experience of some of Mexico City’s street food vendors.

Vegetarian kebabs in Barcelona

Vegan Makeovers
This past weekend’s Guardian newspaper devoted an entire section of the paper to vegan recipes. What I particularly like is the emphasis on using real ingredients, not fake meat, and the mix of original recipes and makeovers. Check out Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for Kohlrabi Noodle Salad; Crispy Couscous with Pumpkin, Tomatoes, and Cinnamon; and Tangerine Doughnuts. Celebrate French cuisine with a Veg Bourguignon or a Tarte Moutarde-Tomate. Family favorites include Macaroni Cheese and Shepherd’s Pie. And, last but not least, there are vegan makeovers of Tiramisu, Chocolate Fondant, Cheesecake, and Carrot Cake.

Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?
Eric Holt-Giménez, author of Can We Feed the World Without Destroying It?, argues that technology and better food waste redistribution are not enough to create a sustainable food system; it will require systemic reforms in how we produce and consume food.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events.

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner).

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter

One of the things I most enjoy about housesitting is that I end up in delightful places (Appledore, Lapworth, Lens, Quillan) I’d never heard of and would never have visited if it hadn’t been for Trusted Housesitters. Similarly, I would normally have avoided a big, industrial city like Birmingham if I hadn’t needed to be here for a dental appointment, and that would have been a shame as the city has some hidden gems.

Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter was the centre of Great Britain’s jewellery trade for over 200 years. At one point, over 80% of the country’s jewellery was fashioned in this one small neighbourhood, along with buttons, pens, and coffin fittings. In 1913, there were 70,000 people employed in precious metals businesses.

It was a self-contained community of goldsmiths and silversmiths where everyone knew everyone else and relied on each other’s specialist skills. There were no outsiders so 14-year-old girls could safely take valuable jewellery to the post office.

The Museum of the Jewellery Quarter offers a one-hour guided tour of the original factory of Smith & Pepper jewellery manufacturers.

When the owners closed their business in 1981, they left the factory intact with all the equipment, paperwork, and materials in place. Even the jam jar and Marmite they used for their tea and toast breaks are still in place. The guide demonstrates how the equipment worked, how they collected and recycled the gold dust, where the sales director met with clients, and where the apprentices worked under the close eye of the owner.

There are also two floors of exhibits, which offer an interesting insight into life in the area. A little girl wore the frock on Armistice Day. Pub-goers filled her skirt with coins in honour of the celebration.

W.E. Wiley Pen Factory, 1863

Monday, January 7, 2019

Flavourful Saskatoon, January 7, 2019

Happy New Year! There’s no shortage of new ideas in this week’s edition of Flavourful Saskatoon

For Sale – Grandora Gardens Greenhouse 
Grandora Gardens has been a key member of the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market for many years, and Pat and Fred have played an invaluable role in mentoring and supporting novice farmers. Pat and Fred will be sorely missed, but we wish you all the best in the next stage of your lives. Let’s hope someone buys the greenhouses and continues to produce wonderful tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers!
Picaro & Cohen's
Picaro has moved to a new location around the corner from its old location – just off 20th Street on Avenue A. In their old location, you’ll find Cohen’s Beer Republic with over 70 different varieties of beer and an international assortment of whisky.

Soup of the Week Club 
Here’s an interesting idea from Sarah Galvin of Swift Current. Every Tuesday, she’ll post the two soups and a bread she is making. Sign up if you’re interested for pickup or delivery the following Tuesday. Maybe someone could start a similar service in Saskatoon.

Are Young Farmers the New Starving Artists?
Have you ever thought of making a living growing fruit and vegetables? It can sound ideal – fresh air, your own boss. But talk to a farmer and you may see it in a different light – long hours, limited income, the high price of farmland, and the lack of a social life.

Fast Food & Health 
Immigrant and refugee children are more likely to face long-term health problems after arriving in Canada due to cheap fast food and a lack of time to prepare proper meals.

Children’s Books to Inspire Future Food Producers & Consumers 
FoodTank has prepared a list of 12 children’s books that explore where food comes from, how it’s grown, and the importance of urban green space.

Pub Lunch at The Navigation, Lapsworth

Forage-Friendly Public Park 
A Bronx city park offers medicinal plants, pollinator-friendly plants, fruit trees, nut trees, and berries – and they’re free for the taking.

Add Avocado Stones to your Spice Rack 
Now here’s a novel idea. Grate the pit from your avocado to add a touch of bitter to your Mexican mole sauce.

Solar-Roasted Coffee 
Imagine starting a business with nothing more than a satellite dish, 100 plastic mirrors, and a broccoli strainer.

Flavourful Saskatoon is a weekly Monday feature. I also post articles about food that is good, clean and fair; travel; and books. You may also enjoy EcoFriendly Sask profiling Saskatchewan environmental initiatives and events. 

You can follow Wanderlust and Words on Facebook, Twitter, or by email (top right corner). 

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Packwood House & Garden

You need a car to get to most of the UK’s stately homes and gardens, so I feel doubly fortunate that two National Trust properties were within walking distance of where I was housesitting in Lapworth.

Packwood House was originally a Tudor farmhouse. In the early 1900s, it was purchased by Baron Ash. Now Mr. Ash had made his fortune in the galvanized steel industry, but he longed to be considered a member of the nobility. He set about renovating Packwood House, salvaging furnishings and tapestries from stately homes across Europe.

He particularly liked sundials so there are lots scattered around the property.

Packwood House is particularly well known for its topiary garden.

There is another large walled garden where Baron Ash invited the public to performances of Shakespeare.

The alcoves in the garden wall used to hold wicker bee bowls, a form of beehive.

This wall was heated to prevent the espaliered fruit trees from freezing in winter.

The kitchen garden is quiet at this time of year with just a few last brassicas.

See also: Baddesley-Clinton Manor House