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Rotary Radio Bingo

The Rotary Club of Charlottetown's Rotary Radio Bingo is played Tuesdays at 7 pm on 95.1 FM CFCY. Fo [ ... ]

Diversity Workshop

NDP PEI will hold a Diversity workshop for members and supporters of all genders. The event will foc [ ... ]

Ho Ho Ho Yum Yum

Finding seasonal inspiration at the Kent Street Market

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

For me, there is nothing more Christmassy than food. You can take your fir trees, your candles in the window, your crowded shopping malls. Just give me something good to eat—a turkey dinner or a nibble of something savoury and I will feel as if the season is upon me. Eating good food and giving good food seem the very best way, to me at least, to inhabit a season of gifts and warmth.

Plus food opens up a whole new set of challenges in the gift department. You have to really think about who you are giving to and what they like. Does your healthy eating pal secretly long for just a little Chef Boyardee? Will your vegan friend really be as excited as you are about duck sausages?

For a little help and a little inspiration, the new Kent St. Market in Charlottetown is a good place to start. It’s the sort of spot where you could go all local or go all exotic and find, in both cases, something thoughtful.

Mila MacLean Homburg is one of the proprietors of the market and has a lot of ideas. She’s quite taken, at the moment, with spices from a Montreal company called  Spice Trekkers. She pulls out a lovely tin and pries open the top. It’s a steak spice but it’s complex and interesting aroma suggest it could go anywhere. There are also kits—the fisherman’s kit, for example, which seems kind of appropriate. They don’t seem to have frankincense but somehow a lovely tin of spice feels very seasonal.

For seasonal in the other direction she suggests fancy cocktail ingredients. You could get all the stuff for an extra special Caesar including the justifying famous Canadian made Walter Caesar mix. Because this is a market, you could even get a lemon to stick in it. Or maybe an exotic tonic for a g&t or some fancy bitters, if you recipients the sort of mixologist who uses them.

There are lovely olive oils and special balsamic vinegars which will make even a winter salad taste beautiful. There are sweets: dolce de leche, lemon curd or organic chocolate and hazel nut spread. Another fun idea: some of Papia Papa’s cold cuts, cheese, bread and an interesting condiment. It is my bet if you gave someone a sandwich for Christmas they would never forget it.

The point is to wander around the store—or any store. PEI is full of new and delicious food and it’s a bounty worth sharing. Think about the people you love, about how to make them feel happy and loved with a seasonal treat.

 

The Summer Kitchen

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

Over the past few years Charlottetown has been absolutely blessed with the type and variety of Asian foods that are available. Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, sushi…now you can add food from the Philippines to that mix.

The original owners of the Noodle House on Summer Street have taken over the kitchen again and, along with their signature fried noodles, they also offer Mabuhay or Philippine treats. The flavours of that part of the world are sour, sweet and savoury. On our first visit we tried Pork Adobo, which is tender pork with a deep, sweet sauce, served with rice and a boiled egg, which was perfect. We also had Pansit Bihon, which is noodles, pork and shrimp. It comes with a great hot sauce—not wildly hot but good and garlicky. We also had Sinigang na Hipon which is a sour soup with shrimp and vegetables. We were warned it would be sour and it was, but I loved it.

A friend had good old Szechuan noodles and they are as reliably delicious as they were when the place very first opened.

The restaurant has already become a mecca for Philippine guest workers who are here on this Island and are missing the flavours of their Island at home.

The owners are still on a soft opening; they’re waiting for some more supplies to arrive. In the meantime, they’ve renovated and brightened the place up. And you can go there now and meet up with some interesting new dishes or say hello to some old familiar friends.

The Summer Kitchen is at 31 Summer St. in Charlottetown.

Mediterranean breakfast

Kettle Black has a new morning menu

Chow
by Ann Thurlow 

Michael Drew (photo: Ann Thurlow)I am a big fan of the Brighton Clover Farm, otherwise known as Norman’s. Norman is, of course, the longtime owner of the store and a man intensely interested in food, especially the cuisine of his beloved Lebanon.

A few years ago, I stopped in early one morning and found Norman about to have his breakfast. Here’s what was on the plate: olives, a boiled egg, cucumber and toast. It looked delicious—a little protein, a little carb, a bright fresh kick from the cucumber and that salty bit we always seem to crave in the morning. I resolved to try it at home and I did and I loved it.

But old habits die hard, especially first thing in the morning. I slipped back into my regular breakfast routine. 

But earlier this month, I stopped in to The Kettle Black for a coffee and there, on their new menu, was Mediterranean Breakfast. I couldn’t believe my luck; I ordered it.

On the plate came a fancier version of what Norman had. There were olives, cucumbers and a boiled egg. But there was also fried halloumi cheese, a falafel patty, tomatoes, hummus, a green salad and, very most wonderfully, tomato jam.

Are you hungry yet? You should be. This is a breakfast to be savoured slowly while you enjoy your coffee and chat to your friends. It hits all the flavor notes and keeps tempting you until it’s gone.

We North Americans have an odd habit of eating breakfast fast. It’s the time of day we are likely to stuff things into ourselves that aren’t especially good for us. But this meal has taught me that you don’t have to do that. In exchange for a few extra minutes, you can have something delectable and super nutritious. You can wake up in the morning and have your first thought be “Oh boy! Breakfast!”

How I learned to cook: Maxine Delaney

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

Chef, restaurant owner, caterer, creative culinary spirit, Maxine Delaney’s name is associated on PEI with wonderful food.

“I grew up on a farm in Alberta. My dad had a lot of heavy equipment and he got a contract to clear some bush up north. He took a crew up and I decided to go along. When we first got there, the camp cook went into town for supplies and just never came back.

“My dad asked me if I’d be willing to take on the job and I said I’d try it.

“Someone had dropped off four chickens so I figured out how to butcher them. Then I made a nice coating with flour and spices and I fried them. Trouble was, they were old laying hens, so completely inedible. But the guys complimented the coating.

“The next night I found an old Betty Crocker cookbook and tried to make Sombrero Pie. But I used chilis instead of chili powder. Of course it was too hot to eat.”

Find of the month: Papia Papa

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

This one is strictly for meat lovers—the sort who are not averse to a bit of fat running down their chin. Papia Papa make a chorizo sausage that pushes its way to the front of the line. It is rich, meaty and dense and full of enticing, flavor carrying fat.

I first had them barbequed but they are also good just cooked on the stove. You can buy them in the frozen food section of the Kent St. Market. They aren’t cheap but you can get away with not eating a whole one. One bite is pure decadent pleasure.

 

Seasonal greetings

One Great Thing
by Ann Thurlow

Down where Euston Street becomes Brighton Road, there is a garden of astonishing beauty. Every time you see it, it’s different: it’s seasonal, it’s festive, it’s somber, it’s celebratory. A mysterious someone has taken the time to turn a tiny front yard into a gobsmacking gift. Is their own private symphony they’re hearing? Or is this an offering to random passersby? Whatever, you can but notice it and smile. We all get our little bit—of money or of time or of front yard. Nice to imagine we could spend part of that just making other people happy.

For grown-ups

One Great Bite
by Ann Thurlow

When your name sounds like a mean old lady, you’ve already got one strike against you. Parsnip. The perfect word for something with warts and pasty yellow skin.

But ignore all that. A roasted parsnip is a smooth and delicate thing. Sweet, but with an enticing bitterness behind. Like coffee and dark chocolate, this is food for grown-ups. You can mix them with carrots if you must. But to me that’s for pikers, rubes. The sort who wouldn’t bother to look beyond a woman’s crusty scowl.

How I learned to cook: Debbie Hennessey

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

Debbie Hennessey is the owner and cook at the Grafton Street Café in the Polyclinic in Charlottetown.

“Back in the ‘sixties I got an Easy Bake Oven. That was my first experience with cooking and when those tiny cakes came out of that little oven I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

“A few years later I took Home Ec at Queen Charlotte. I remember we made a meatball skillet and I was pretty impressed by that. I think at that point I realized I really liked to cook.

“Before I had my own place, I worked in a lot of restaurants so I got to see how a kitchen works. I love to read recipes and try them out or to make them my way, to experiment. What I like is home cooking so that’s what I do. I make a great roast chicken dinner.”

Events Calendar

November 2018
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Some Upcoming Events

Free Solo

November 16–20
City Cinema PG, language may offend, scary scenes
Dir: Jimmy Chin/Elizabeth Chai Vas [ ... ]

What They Had

November 26–December 2
City Cinema PG, coarse language
Dir: Elizabeth Chomko, US, 101 min. Hilary S [ ... ]

Light Up the Dark

Confederation Centre holiday show December 14
Homburg Theatre Confederation Centre carries a long t [ ... ]

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Acadian showman

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