Posts Tagged ‘show’

Allan Gardens Christmas Flower Show 2013


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.

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

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.


Tony’s Chicken Korma: A Meal Fit for Two Princesses

Tony’s specialty is pizza which he serves up at his local & organic Magic Oven pizza restaurants. However, Tony reached back to his Indian roots to cook up a much more sophisticated dish–Chicken Korma–which he told us was considered a delicacy because, unlike a straight-up chicken curry,  it features ingredients like cashews, raisins and cream that were traditionally more expensive and harder to come by. Tony patiently teaches his daughters some essential culinary techniques like making a bouquet garni loaded with aromatic Indian Spices and patiently waiting for oil to rise to the top of the dish before declaring it done. The girls were great students, checking in with their dad to make sure they were “doing it right.” And he helped build their confidence by assuring them that they were right on track

The recipe for Tony’s Chicken Korma is right after the video

Tony’s Chicken Korma:


  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1cup diced tomatoes
  • Whole spices for the bouquet garni- 3 bay leaves, 6 cloves, 6 black pepper corns, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 green cardamom, 2 black cardamom (wrapped in cheesecloth)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 4 breasts of skinless boneless chicken diced
  • 1/2 litre cream
  • 1tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1 tbsp cashews
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • Place a pot on stove top and add oil to cover the surface
  • Heat oil. When oil is heated add onions till they become golden brown
  • Add tomatoes and cook until moisture starts to evaporate and tomatoes become mushy
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic and cheesecloth wrapped bouquet garni
  • Once oil from the sauce rises to surface, add 4 diced skinless boneless chicken breast
  • Continue to sear the chicken and wrap the sauce around the meat. You will be able to tell that it is cooked once the oils rise to the surface
  • Add 1tbsp garam masala and 1 tbsp of cumin powder and reduce heat to medium
  • Gradually add cream
  • Add 1 tbsp of raisins and 1 tbsp of cashews for texture
  • Once chicken is cooked, serve and garnish with a sprig of cilantro



David’s Just-Right Jerk Chicken

David’s Jamaican roots haven’t translated into a full-on love for hot and spicy food. But David does loves his Jerk and demonstrated how to make the sauce from scratch (who knew? I thought it only came in a jar) using milder jalepeno papers. David’s son Jason likes a decidedly hotter version using scotch bonnet peppers, Like his dad, Jason is an avid cook who isn’t afraid to take a good thing and run with it. It was great fun watching David and Jason work through their different styles and approaches in the kitchen–a microcosm of the parent/child dynamic at its best. The good news is that the results were delectable. And now there’s one less sauce you need to buy from a jar.

The recipe is right after the video

David’s Jerk Chicken 


  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 3 or 4 coarsely chopped green onions (white and light green parts only)
  • 2 coarsely chopped jalapeno peppers or 1 scotch bonnet if you prefer
  • 1 T. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2-3 lbs fresh skin-on chicken (eg thighs or boneless breasts cut to similar size as thighs


Make paste

  • Place dry ingredients including brown sugar, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, in a small food processor or blender
  • Add the wet ingredients including vegetable oil, lime juice & soya sauce
  • Then add fresh ingredients including green onions (excluding dark green parts), chopped jalapeno peppers (or 1 scotch bonnet if you prefer hotter) and chopped fresh thyme
  • Mix at med-high speed until a smooth paste is formed

Prepare Chicken

  • Score chicken (cross-hatch) skin with a sharp knife about 1/4″ deep (this helps paste penetrate chicken better)
  • Spread paste all over all surfaces of chicken and refrigerate for 3+ hours
  •  Grill, preferably on barbecue, lid down 6-8 minutes per side on med heat, preferably turning only once



Phil’s Brodetto (Best Served over Mama’s Old Pasta Board)

To say Phil and Anna Maria’s home exuded warmth would be a major understatement. I was ready to move in. This is a family clearly made from good ingredients like cherished memories, mutual respect and love of good food. While there were two generations in the kitchen, Phil’s mom was there in spirit–a presence that Phil paid homage to by serving the brodetto and polenta on the board she often used to roll out dough for fresh pasta. It’s amazing how food can create vital connection between generations. Phil’s grandsons Lucas and Adam were clearly thinking of their great grandmother as they dug their forks into the middle of the table to grab a scoop of brodetto on a warm summer afternoon. What a delight.

You’ll find the recipe after the video


Brodetto, Italian Fish Stew


  • 2 Sweet onions
  • ½ Cup celery, chopped
  • Butter                                
  • 3 Cups chicken stock
  • Olive oil                                                              
  • 1 Cup baby carrots
  • 1 red or yellow pepper                        
  • Salt and pepper, fresh parsley, 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Cups small potatoes                      
  • Hot sauce, Worchestire sauce ,oregano to taste
  • 1 Lb. white fish, basa, halibut, in chunks
  • ½ Lb. squid, in chunks
  • ½ Lb. mussels or clams                         
  • ½ Lb. scallops
  • 1 Lb. shrimps                                                     
  • 1 Cup white wine


  1. Fry onions in butter and oil, in a soup pot
  2. Add carrots, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, celery and chicken or fish stock
  3. Continue to cook at a simmer
  4. Add all spices and herbs and cook for at least 1 hour, until potatoes and carrots are tender
  5. Add all fish including cooked mussels, cooking for about 15 minutes (note: when cooking mussels or clams, first throw out any that are open before cooking.  Wash with cold water and salt and scrub with a brush. Boil for 2 minutes in salt water.  Discard any that do not open.  Put open mussels or clams in stew)
  6. Add wine and cook for 5 more minutes
  7. Serve topped with fresh parsley and if you like, Parmesan cheese.

**A Note From Phil: “When I was a kid, my mother would serve us a special polenta; special, because it was not served on dishes.  Instead it was served on her large wooden pasta board which sat in the middle of the table and upon which was poured the polenta.  It would form a circle about 2 feet in diameter.  It was usually topped with fish stew or a bean sauce and cheese.  We would sit around it and eat with a keen eye on the various shapes we were forming with each forkful.  The fuller we got, the more creative the shape of what was left.  It was delicious fun. Who says you can’t play with your food?”

Leo’s Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, Without Lobster, but With Yaya’s Love

Leo knows his way around the kitchen. He’s had a log career in the hospitality industry with long hours to boot. Leo laments the fact that his work often keeps him away from his family and the kitchen. That’s why he relishes the time he spend with his kids, and especially with his lovely granddaughter Audrey, cooking and hanging out while chopping and stirring. Watching them cook together is a reminder of how food can build a bridge between generations–a chance to pass along cherished recipes, but most importantly, a chance to spend special time together.

You’ll find the recipe after the video

Leo’s Shrimp in Lobster Sauce


  • 12 shrimp
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  •  6 oz pork
  • 12 oz.water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp green onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp black bean sauce
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 1/2 oz corn starch
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce


  • Peel shrimp leaving tails on
  • Place shrimp in boiling water and remove almost immediately. Set aside for later use
  • Heat wok and add canola oil
  • Add ground pork
  • Add cooking wine, black beans and minced garlic to the wok
  • Add water and seasonings except soy sauce. Cook until contents are boiling and have thickened
  • Add soy sauce and shrimp
  • Add the egg into the middle of the mixture in the wok. Remove the wok from heat
  • Mix the contents of the wok and pour onto serving plate
  • Garnish with diced green onion