Waking Up In Canada

Time Out Just To See

Food glorious food December 26, 2011

Filed under: Christmas — wakingupincanada @ 8:38 pm
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I do love food, and Christmas is full of it. We came home from work and sat to eat another big meal, with dessert, this time lovingly reheated in the microwave. Afterwards our bellies pushed outwards and, following 48 hours of go-go-go, I lie on my bed to relax, quieten, have my quiet time. I do this while savouring some peacandoodles, a chocolate I’d never heard of before Christmas and I am now a devotee.

Food, cooked with love and care is always a pleasure. My long standing memories of my mother as a child is the smell of dinner cooking as I came in from school. When my university friends and I get together it begins with a meal around the table. When it comes to Christmas, the food is where it is all at, and it was no different with my other family this year. It begins with making sure everyone has something they want on there: their meat or their potato or their vegetable. It moves onto the team effort of preparing it. Then, we sit and eat. Afterwards, there is the clean-up. It is like a book well written, with the foundation, the drama and struggle, tears and laughter, the climax as we savour and share and talk and then, the resolution, tidying it all away.

Even with my nearest and dearest, there will be tensions. Why are we making that when only A likes it? Why is B still lying in bed while we are rushing to serve? Why is C hogging the ovens and why did D use the last roasting tray when E needs it more? Yet, when it is plated up, and everyone has more than enough of all that they love, we are happy and content. Yesterday, we all jumped to help with the tidy-up: 9 people, 4 sinks, 2 bins and 2 fridges nicely packed with left-overs.

We will be eating left-overs until Wednesday I think, which is the added bonus: Lovely food for 3 days without cooking.

Christmas, a festive feast.

 

Alberta Complete October 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — wakingupincanada @ 8:12 am
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Last night a friend and I treated ourselves to the ultimate Banff experience: Dinner At The Grizzly House. I love my food, but I was concerned that this restaurant would be more of an experience than a good meal.

Their speciality is Fondue, which up until this point, I believed to be sticking bits into melted chocolate. The sign by the entrance defined fondue as “a Hottub for Roadkill” by the Bare Naked Ladies. Slightly concerned, I eased my fears in the security that there would be dessert. The wooden restaurant was homely with low lighting and examples of their food displayed on the wall: I asked for help to distinguish between the buffalo head and the caribou head.

The soup and salad were a mere warm up before the first fondue arrived and placed on a hot stove on our table: bread with cheese fondue with something called bunderfleisch on the side. We weren’t sure what kind of meat that was but it added beautifully to the cheese. When the waiter asked if we wanted to scrape the cheese from the bottom, we laughed. He was being serious, but I could eat no more.

I ordered the Alberta Complete, determined to experience the Province’s Best. The raw meat was served, we’d have to cook it ourselves. Isn’t this the point of restaurants, to save us from cooking? At least we didn’t have the washing up ahead. A hot rock was placed before us, a slab of rock that sizzled as soon as our server dropped the garlic and herb butter on it. I had a side plate of beef, buffalo, elk and venison. He advised they were in alphabetical order and I tried to distinguish one from the other. I knew I should feel guilty: I love seeing the deer around the park. At home, deer run as soon as they sense you but here, they will not move, claiming their own territory and making you walk around them. Only 2 days ago, I saw 3 elk up close for the first time. However, I was raised on milk fresh from our own cows and never minded eating beef, and so had no problem skewering my meat and dropping it on the slab.

We were given approximate times for cooking and I asked my friend about food poisoning, just in case. I worked my way around the meat and for me, the cooking of it was the learning experience. I liked my meat well done until I was served a medium rare once at a Christmas Party and loved the fleshy inside and real taste. I used the rare opportunity to have 12 pieces of good quality meat to work out how well I liked my meat cooked. The beef was beautiful medium to rare, as was the buffalo. The elk and venison I preferred cooked for longer. I smiled at my meat-loving ways. I rarely eat red meat anymore and this was a massive and delicious splurge.

The dessert came, a beautiful copper pot half filled with toblerone chocolate mixed with cream. My friend asked our server why it was not as big as the cheese pot and he laughed. We were being serious. We wrapped the fresh fruit and wafers in generous coatings of the beautiful warm chocolate. When they were finished, we asked for spoons and savoured the chocolate on its own.

We sat happy and full finishing our wine and chatting in the after dinner glow. It was getting cold outside and it felt quite luxurious to be in a beautiful restaurant on a random Thursday night, for no special reason, just to enjoy. The simple food, the different experience, the great company; a wonderful evening.