Have you ever been asked to name a classic “Canadian” food? If so you will probably end up jumping on the poutine bandwagon, or half heatedly suggesting a butter tart, anything with maple syrup, a beaver tail, tortiere or molasses bread, or a Canadian re-invention of a traditional European dish that has been acclimatized by generations, influenced by local fare and adapted to fit the Canadian disposition.
Of course there is a cuisine that has been a part of this land for much, much longer, one that is finally getting its share of recognition and garnering unprecedented acclaim by the food cognoscenti; traditional Native Cuisine. Chefs like Aaron Joseph Bear Robe and his miraculous little Keriwa Café successfully married traditional native fare with high end flair and introduced thousands of Toronto diners to an amazing new world of regionally sourced cuisine that was at once rustic and sublime, local and exotic. Continue »
The traditional Christmas pudding of Dickens and Downton Abbey lore is something most of us have never tasted or maybe never even seen. Michele Chandler and Sue Buchanan decided to change all that. One pudding at a time.
“We started the business, Puddings Matter, because good Christmas puddings had disappeared from the store shelves. We had been making them for friends and family for a decade, one year we were up to 50 units and realized there may be something there. We also manufacture puddings in upstate New York, for a Dickens Festival in Skaneateles, NY. At this festival the characters walk around and talk about a Figgy pudding, but they had never had one. Another driver behind starting the business was the fact that Downton Abbey was the #1 show on PBS, so that also influenced my decision.” explains Michele. Continue »
When December in the city is gloomy, there’s no snow on the ground, and the sun disappears at four o’clock, Allan Gardens is a favourite winter destination. The Christmas Flower Show at Allan Gardens Conservatory does more than get you in the holiday mood. As soon as you walk in the door, the scent of flowers and thousands of growing things soothes your spirit. As you walk through the winding paths, a non-stop display of greenery and flowers unfolds.
Poinsettias and other greenery at Allan Gardens.
Right now, the show boasts a sea of poinsettias, massed in bands of colour: pinks, white, scarlet red and deep wine. I’ve ever seen so many poinsettias in one location, there are absolute rivers of them. If you’ve ever been underwhelmed by a single “office poinsettia” in a pot, do yourself the favour of experiencing them this way: They’re really at their best in this kind of abundance.
Pink cyclamen, scarlet fuchsia, and orange solanum pseudocapiscum
Other seasonal flowers brighten the space too. Delicate white, pink and red cyclamen flowers shimmer over whorls of patterned leaves. Paperwhite narcissus flowers perfume the air. Tiny orange globes of Solanum pseudo capsicum make an unexpected colour contrast with the pinks and reds. The way the floral designers combine plants is constantly surprising. I kept finding new colour and texture combinations everywhere I looked.
Topiaries and obelisks in Victorian themes, and evening candlelight add to the charm of the show. In the main palm room, a special display of green people sporting gorgeous duds made of succulents and moss stand next to a grand piano. Come often, every time you visit it’s likely to be a bit different, with new plant varieties coming into bloom. Admission is free. The show runs till January 12th.
Challah bread is divine. So rich and buttery, delicious as toast, as French toast, as bread pudding, in the supporting role on a meatloaf sandwich. Hannukah is here and that makes me crave challah more than usual. Also, it’s freezing out and my favourite way to heat up the house is to bake a lot of bread. Here are a whole bunch of challah recipes that I love. Continue »