Monday, March 27, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 27, 2017

Cider Day Saturday, Apr. 1 
Crossmount Cider Company is hosting Cider Day Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm, Apr. 1. There will be cidery tours, guided cider tastings, and a spring craft market. Be sure to check out the newly opened Apple Crate Café while you’re there.

Sweetsugarbean’s Book Launch, Apr. 24 
The countdown is on. Renée Kohlman will be launching her cookbook, All the Sweet Things, at 7 pm, Apr. 24, at McNally Robinson Booksellers. There will be treats from the cookbook, drinks from Living Sky Winery, and a reading. Additional events are listed on the sweetsugarbean website.

Imprint Plant-Based Foods
Imprint Plant-Based Foods is a new Saskatoon start-up. Their goal is to offer alternatives to animal-based foods. They’re currently offering four vegan cheeses and plant-based protein burgers.

April at The Local Kitchen 
The Local Kitchen has started to list its April cooking classes. Lindsay Janzen (Prairie Bella Gourmet Pasta) will be demonstrating how to make gnocchi on Apr. 11 and the first of the chef’s tables, private dinners with a guest chef, will be held on Apr. 2.

Signs of spring in Wales:
Wild Garlic
Caws Teifi Nettle Cheese

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).

Saturday, March 25, 2017

6 Months - 1 Very Small Suitcase

I’ve just spent 6 months house and cat sitting in France and the United Kingdom starting out in Corsica and southern France where I needed summer clothes followed by rainy winter weather requiring a hat, gloves, and a jacket. Spring is warmer but still wet. I’ve stayed in large cities but also rural villages.

No problem, you say, just take a large suitcase. But I would be travelling by bus and train to 20 different locations and I have a weak back. The suitcase had to be small, supplemented by a backpack which was primarily for my laptop, iPad, and electronic gear.

I’m nearing the end of my time abroad, and I’m relatively content with what I packed. And the total weight was less than 18 pounds (12 for the suitcase and less than 6 for the backpack).

Here’s what I took:
2 pairs of shoes (1 dressier pair, 1 heavy waterproof pair that could handle mud)
2 pairs of black pants (1 casual, 1 dressy)
2 sweaters
Lightweight black skirt and matching cardigan (invaluable in the hotter weather)
Sleeveless, fast-drying shell
Silk t-shirt with ¾ length sleeves
Sleeveless turtleneck sweater
Long-sleeved nightgown that doubled as my at-home, watching-television outfit
7 pairs of underpants and a camisole
Socks, including some heavier ones that served as slippers in the evenings
2 shawls (a light-weight, easy-to-pack alternative to a sweater)
Bathing suit (shipped home once I left Corsica)
Hooded rainproof winter jacket

Clothes had to be mix and match and the variety of tops allowed me to layer as the weather required. Scarves and necklaces provided some variety. Most European homes don’t have clothes dryers so I chose lightweight clothes that wouldn’t take forever to dry.

You have to be ruthless if you want to keep the weight down. Toiletry items can take up a lot of space so I made sure I had the smallest possible containers (I didn’t say small; I said smallest!).

I did laundry on average once a week so my clothes got worn several times before they were washed.

I avoid buying souvenirs and anything I do buy gets mailed home immediately. My only books were on my iPad.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 20, 2017

Food Films Night, Mar. 24
Saskatoon Food Council is screening 11 short films about food at 7 pm, Mar. 24, at Station 20 West.

Food Unites ALL of Us, Mar. 26 
Food Bloggers of Canada are hosting potluck dinners across Canada to celebrate diversity. Noelle Chorney is hosting a dinner in Saskatoon on Mar. 26. Bring a dish that represents your family and your heritage.

Co-op Liquor Tastings
Co-op Liquor has a great line-up of tasting events. There’s Italian wine on Mar. 24, Regina’s Rebellion Brewing beer on Mar. 25, Sherry on Mar. 31, Bourbon on Apr. 1, and Prairie Bee Meads on Apr. 8.

Our Farm is growing and planning to sell artichokes. Artichokes are a perennial in milder climates. In Saskatoon, they have to be replanted every year and tricked into believing they’ve experienced a mild winter. Find out all the details on Our Farm’s Facebook page.

Canada’s History in Cuisine
From pemmican and tourtière to perogies, ginger beef, Yukon gold potatoes, and wild rice, this article recounts Canada’s history through its food. There were some surprises for me. Who knew that Hawkins Cheezies became a uniquely Canadian product in 1960 and that 50 years later, they’re using more or less the same recipe and the same equipment. And Pablum was invented by a group of doctors at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in 1931.

Japan’s School Lunch Program
More than 10 million children eat a healthy school lunch every day in Japan. The ingredients come from local farmers or the school’s own farm and are cooked that day. In addition, the kids take turns serving the meal, cleaning up, and recycling.

Dirty Dozen - Clean Fifteen
Strawberries and spinach top the Dirty Dozen list of produce containing the most pesticides. Also on the list are nectarines, apples, peaches, celery, grapes, pears, cherries, tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, and potatoes. If possible, buy organic.

On the other hand, organic is less important if you’re purchasing from the Clean Fifteen list of produce least likely to contain pesticides: sweet corn, avocados, pineapples, cabbage, onions, frozen sweet peas, papayas, asparagus, mangoes, eggplant, honeydew melon, kiwis, cantaloupe, cauliflower, and grapefruit.

Meals on Wheels with a Difference 
A Montreal Meals on Wheels program operates its own farm, delivers by bicycle, composts, and cans its own produce. In their efforts to reduce waste, they even make meals from leftovers and operate a small store.

The higher the percentage of cocoa solids in your chocolate bar, the more intense the flavour. However, even if the bars list the same percentage, they may differ greatly. The amount of cocoa butter, sugar, and milk or cream also make a huge difference. “The key thing to remember is that cacao percentage is a measure of quantity, not necessarily quality.”

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, March 15, 2017

St. David's Revisited

St. David’s is a pretty little town with a cathedral hiding in a valley. I had visited last year but was eager to return.

It was much warmer this time, so I was able to comfortably wander some of the green lanes around the cathedral and admire the flowers.

I was surprised to see what looked like white bluebells. A little online research informed me that they are Three-Cornered Leek, a non-native plant that spreads almost too readily. Various parts of the plant are edible.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 13, 2017

Veggie Options at Boffins 
I'm pleased to see a variety of vegetarian/vegan dishes on Boffins’ new lunch menu. There’s a pasta dish with squash, chickpeas, almonds, Portobello mushroom; a kidney bean patty with walnuts and corn salsa, and vegan harissa cheese; a halloumi and winter vegetable fritter in a sweet potato naan; and housemade paneer in an eastern spice blend. Additional veggie options are displayed on their website. Now – if they could just improve their evening menu!

Downtown Grocery Store 
City of Saskatoon staff has been asked to study the market for a downtown grocery store. Let’s hope the results are encouraging.

Think Outside the Bean
My brother and his wife picked up a package of Wize Monkey coffee leaf tea at Dad’s Organic Market. Apparently, coffee leaf tea has been consumed in Ethiopia and Indonesia for over 200 years ago. It doesn’t taste of coffee and is supposed to be rich in some rare antioxidants. The Vancouver-based company has made personal contact with a coffee farmer in Nicaragua and believe their product can provide year-round employment rather than a short coffee bean harvesting season.

Subtle Soup
I’ve noticed that a lot of prepared soups in North America are spicy (chili, curry, hot and sour, Thai). In Europe, there are more subtle flavours. My favorite in Great Britain is fresh pea and mint. In France, I discovered a lovely zucchini, hazelnut, and parmesan soup. Inspiration for future soup-making.

Is Organic Food Better For Us? 
A recent report from the European Parliament has concluded that organic food systems offer clear health benefits. “Their findings are clearest when it comes to minimizing exposure to pesticides and to antibiotics used in livestock production. But the report also found that organically grown produce tends to contain less of the toxic metal cadmium—which the authors note is ‘highly relevant to human health.’”

Another report argues that organic farming is better than conventional farming in some important ways (farm workers are exposed to less pesticides and the food has more vitamins and is slightly healthier). It’s also friendlier to bees and other wildlife. On the other hand, “Lower organic yields mean that more land is put to work. And for the same amount of food produced, organic farms also tend to release more nitrogen pollution than conventional farms.” The report ends on a positive note: “Organic farming is helping to drive a move towards sustainable agriculture by encouraging conventional farmers to adopt environmentally friendly practices.” 

Energy-Efficient Food Transportation
“In the US alone, diesel fuel accounts for about 25% of total energy consumed within the food system. To cut down on this, all farms will have to adapt to energy-efficient transportation methods, such as electric or hydrogen fuel cell trucks.” Interestingly enough, this means that “A French wine can have a smaller carbon footprint than wine from Napa Valley since the ocean transport has a smaller footprint than a cross-country trip by diesel truck.” 

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).

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Sea Breezes and Signs of Spring

The weather in Wales is wet and mild. I take advantage of any dry (maybe even sunny!) spells to go for a walk.

And every time I do, I see more signs of spring.

There are still masses of daffodils and snowdrops, but I’m also beginning to see primroses and bluebell leaves.

Lesser celandine is also blooming.

And there are buds on the trees and bushes.

Look what I discovered in the pond beside the house! Soon there will be lots and lots of tadpoles.

One of my favorite walks is down at the parrog (harbour).

I took a new route to town today and crossed two streams – the first on a narrow plank bridge and the second via large flat stones. This is the view from the stepping stones.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Flavourful Saskatoon, March 6, 2017

Go Local, Mar. 12 
The College of Pharmacy and Nutrition is hosting GO LOCAL!, a nutrition student initiative about the local food system and bridging the gap between producers and consumers, from 2-5 pm, Mar. 12.

Seedy Saturday
Seedy Saturday is happening now around Saskatchewan. Check out the dates and venues here.

Floating Gardens
Floating Gardens is planning to have community garden plots behind their greenhouse in Osler this summer.

Local Feta
Balkan-style feta from Coteau Hills Creamery is available at SaskMade Marketplace.

Cutting Down on Waste 
The University of Saskatchewan has installed a food dehydrator to handle food waste from the Marquis Hall dining room. They hope that the machine “will turn roughly 2,500 pounds of weekly food waste into a nutrient rich material that can be added to its compost mixture.”

Warman Collective Garden
This sounds like a great program: “The Warman Collective Garden focuses on creating community through programs and education that connect people to local food. . . . Numerous classes at the high school use the garden as an educational tool. . . . Unused home garden space can be donated and is then planted, maintained and harvested by Collective Garden members and volunteers. Another way that community members help the garden is through the donation of extra fruits and vegetables from their own gardens and yards. . . . [Kids in the Garden] summer program teaches kids gardening, cooking, food preserving and marketing skills using fun and interactive activities.” 

Food and Travel
If you’re planning a trip to the United Kingdom, be sure to check out this list of the best places to take afternoon tea in London, from the traditional to the eccentric. And here’s a list of the 13 best bakeries in London. Here are 10 good places to eat in Paris (in French). And if Barcelona is your destination, here are 10 of the best market restaurants.

If you’re in Vancouver, baker Annabelle Choi’s charcoal sourdough kamut loaves and Earl Grey muffins sound delicious and are available at Matchstick Coffee. Both specialize in slow food.

If you’re planning to stick closer to home, here are 12 small towns in Saskatchewan that are recommended (many with restaurants or festivals).

Luxury Tea 
“Canada – where the average tea drinker has 11 different varieties in their kitchen cupboards – has a particularly progressive tea-drinking population, which Euromonitor attributes to immigration from countries with strong tea-drinking cultures (China, India, the Middle East and Russia), an interest in being health conscious, and a penchant for learning about different varieties. Sales of tea reached $1.3-billion in Canada in 2015 – a 23 per cent increase over the year before.” 

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, March 1, 2017

St. David's Day Daffodils

I'm very happy to be housesitting once again in Pembrokeshire and spending time with one of my favorite cats.

The gardens and roadsides are bright with daffodils and other spring bulbs. Tiny birds flock around the bird feeders and the fields are oh so green.

March 1 is St. David's Day honouring the patron saint of Wales and daffodils are certainly a Welsh trademark. So I'm sending you all a bouquet of daffodils to share at least a little of this lovely place with all of you.

And, in case you're feeling ambitious, here's a recipe for Welsh cakes, which are absolutely delicious. They're not really cakes - more like a flat scone with lots of raisins and spices.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!