After going to the Planted Expo event here in Vancouver over the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to post my favourite vegetarian recipe.
This is a hand me down family recipe from a woman in India given to a friend of a friend and finally handed down to me. You won’t find this in any Indian Restaurant because it takes too long to cook. I like to keep things fairly simple these days but the extra effort is well worth the end result.
It takes some time to prepare it all, but once everything is in the pot you’ll find it most flavourful. Not only is it super delicious but it’s healthy too. A win-win for those who love Indian curry.
Follow these steps:
Soak 3 cups of organic dried chickpeas in water overnight (some of the water will absorb – the rest you use in the recipe).
Two carrots, one mesh packet of ginger, 4 Tbsp of toasted sesame oil, for spices use 1 ½ teaspoons each of dried turmeric + ground cumin.
Sprinkling of cinnamon.
Squeeze 4 organic lemons (including pulp)
You can add fresh green chillies if you wish (fry them with the ginger).
Get the oil hot then fry the spices in the oil first for a few minutes then fry the sliced ginger strips until they get a bit crispy – about 5 minutes. Then add half of the sliced carrots. Cook a few minutes more, then add the chickpeas with soak water.
Cook over a boiling consistency for at least half an hour. The water has to reduce. When the water boils down you add the rest of the carrots until they’re cooked. You have to watch the dish so that the water doesn’t boil down too much so that you’re left with a nice tangy gravy.
When the chickpea curry is thickened but not boiled down all the way you can add the lemon juice. You put it in last because the lemon juice should not over cook. It’s to add flavour.
The end result should have a gravy like consistency.
Serve in bowls and add a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt. Leftovers (if there’s any left) are always yummy.
You can also call it mindful eating. Plant based eating has become very popular and even though I’m not really vegan, I prefer to incorporate more veggies and an overall healthful eating regime into my daily life. I have several completely vegan friends though. And let me say that it is more challenging to accommodate them. For instance I love cheese and I’ve had a hard time (until now) finding a cheese that isn’t really cheese as we know it, but tastes like it. Do you know what I’m talking about?
But as of only yesterday I’ve discovered a world of wonderful substitutes that are as tasty as they are non-dairy. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least with all the various vendors and not knowing which way to turn or what to eat first. That’s not to say that I’m going to give up on buying my regular weekly grab bag of French/Swiss/German/Canadian/Worldly cheese from Les Amis de Fromage anytime soon. It’s just that I’m willing to adapt and experiment with plant based types of foods which keep getting better and better as they merge into the mainstream food chain.
The foods we eat have a significant impact on the health of the planet.
I just attended the second annual Planted Expo here in Vancouver which took place over the past weekend at the Convention Centre West downtown – the place for large events. This event was much larger than I expected. Infact, it’s the largest event of its kind in Canada.
The need to talk about the benefits of eating a plant-first diet is at its peak. British Columbia is the province with the highest share of vegetarians and vegans and we know meat and dairy alone account for 14.5 percent of global annual greenhouse gas production—so it’s no surprise that for a while now, Canadians have shown interest in cutting back on meat. Committing to eating less meat however is easier said than done. It’s time-consuming to figure out how to best create a well-balanced, nutritious meal.
A few examples below taken from vendors at the show and from the blog of plantedlife.com
Ready made meals for everyone (not only Vegans):
Marie Grapé is co-founder of Manna Sacred Meals. As a Filipino-Canadian woman, she grew up being used to a heavy animal-based diet. When she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, she decided to take a step back to consider how her food habits were affecting her health. “I felt compelled to defy traditional medicine and normalize my disorder so that everyone moving to a plant-based diet for health reasons can do so easily while enjoying the same breadth of variety in flavours and textures as everyone else.”
“The first challenge is that the change seems really daunting when the majority of us have been conditioned to have meat with each meal. A second challenge is a process by which people shift. Often people shift overnight and end up blaming the lack of nutrients on the plant-based lifestyle. This is why we launched Manna, we take the burden away and allow people to fall in love with the benefits and flavour of great plant-first meals!”
The team at Kove (Silver Sponsor at Planted Expo) is developing the tastiest, most delicious foods made with Cascadia Seaweed, seaweed grown in the pristine waters of the Pacific Ocean in partnership with First Nations. By simply cultivating seaweed in the ocean, Cascadia and Kove are working to solve some of the biggest challenges humanity is facing today; climate change, economic instability and food security. Kove’s first product powered by Cascadia Seaweed is its furikake style signature seaweed seasoning SEA SPICE which is available in retail stores and online. We put the sea in seasoning, so you can put it on EVERYTHING you love to eat. Salty, crunchy, garlicky, sea-weedy, and absolutely yummy. Good for the Planet, Good for the Community, Good for You. The sustainable way to snack.
Guilt Free (and “Free”) Chocolate:
I bought the last bag of Drop Naked Salted Nut Caramel Chocolates.
Not only delicious but hand made with limited ingredients like dates, cocoa butter, Madagascar vanilla, hazelnuts and raw cane sugar. Made by Matan Volach. email@example.com
At the time I didn’t realize that I’d be eating a satisfying lunch with dessert there. My friend Lynda accompanied me and she ate just as much.
Karl Otto Lagerfeld’s contribution to fashion is enormous.
The son of a wealthy businessman, he was born on September 10th, 1933, in Hamburg, Germany. Following his family’s emigration to France, he initially was educated at St. Anne’s school. Lagerfeld completed his education at Lycée Montaigne, where he focused on drawing and history. He made history before he died on February 19th, 2019 (aged 85) in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France.
Making His Story:
The latest Met Gala honoured the late designer, famous for giving re birth to Chanel at a time when fashion fanatics were starting to turn away from the classic brand in favour of more modern looks. Especially when Coco Chanel died in 1971 and the company was heading towards a fate of brands (like Balenciaga) starting to fail once their founders were no longer in place. Lagerfeld was determined to change that.
“I’m very much down to earth. Just not this earth.” – Karl Lagerfeld
He shifted the brand’s focus from fragrance to fashion.He ended up modernizing the classic pieces and making them once again, the most desirable in any woman’s wardrobe.
He also served as lead designer at Fendi for more than fifty years, as well as his eponymous line and a stint at Chloé and Patou.
Among his many talents, he was also a photographer, preferring to shoot his own ad campaigns. He wrote a book “off the record” – with photographs and sequences over the years shot in black and white. Often with models and costumes, his photographs are stylish, sensuous, literate, and full of fantasy and desire.
He was also the first to do a collaboration of 30 pieces with H&M in 2004. The entire line sold out in minutes, and led H&M to collaborate with a variety of other designers including Balmain and Moschino in following years. I was one of those to purchase a few choice fast fashion finds of Isabel Marant at H&M. Thank you Karl for that, and for my real Chanel treasures that I’ll never part with…because you made them desirable and timeless.
And now The Met Costume Institute’s spring 2023 exhibition will examine the work of Karl Lagerfeld (1933–2019). Info on A Line of Beauty:
Can’t beat the energy of a crowd of crowd pleasers at an uplifting concert with an outstanding performer with a story to tell. Such was last night’s gathering of dressed up girls and the dazzling performance by one Shania Twain and company at her “Queen Of Me” Tour.”
It takes a village. Aside from the obvious fact that Shania is beautiful and extremely talented, she is surrounded by world class musicians and a stage production staff who set up what can best be described as a glittery Las Vegas style production. Not surprising, as she had a prior residency in Las Vegas.
Rock, Country, Country Rock and bridging the gap in between:
Twain received the Music Icon award at the 2022 People’s Choice Awards. As the top-selling female country pop artist of all time, Twain was honoured for her record-breaking career which has spanned over four decades. With enormous hits like “That Don’t Impress Me Much” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” Twain has expertly bridged the gap between country and pop music, leaving an everlasting impact on the music industry and pop culture.
Shania and Live Nation have announced that $1 of every ticket purchased to Shania’s “Queen Of Me” Tour will be donated to SKC. Established in 2010 by Shania Twain, SKC provides services that promote positive change in children’s lives in times of crises and economic hardship. SKC provides children with one-on-one consultations, academic support and group activities, as well as nutritious snacks and meal programs where needed, all while in the safe, confidence-building environment that is the Shania Kids Can Clubhouse. These children are learning the skills to cope with and overcome family hardships which, in turn, improves their ability to succeed in school. For more information about Shania Kids Can, please visit:www.shaniakidscan.com
Watch herDocumentary: Shania was not without family hardship. Her life story and what it took for her to own her power and rise above adversity and despair is as heart breaking as it is compelling. She is so deserving of her fame and fortune. She works hard for the money. And she’s generous.
What a privilege it was attending the opening night of the very last show of the 2022-2033 opera season – Richard Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” presented by Vancouver Opera; the largest opera company in Western Canada.
There is only one show left -on May 7th. See link below for tickets.
The performances always take place at the spectacular *Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The theatre is a perfect setting to complement the range of productions that are staged here with an atrium that has sweeping staircases, gorgeous chandeliers and reflective surfaces. Snacks and wine are available to purchase before the show and during intermission.
Sidenote: you guessed it – the theatre was named after its most famous patron, the late Queen Elizabeth II, who attended a concert here when the theatre opened in July 1959.
Turbulence at Sea
The Flying Dutchman is a haunting story based on a European maritime legend about a sailor and his daughter who encounter a ghost during a storm at sea.
The Dutchman, who has been condemned to wander for eternity, is searching for a bride to finally bring him peace. This tragic tale of love and sacrifice is the composer’s first masterpiece and features magnificent orchestration of Wagnerian proportions.
Not to jump ahead but I’m really looking forward to next season’s productions which will begin with Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” followed by “Don Pasquale” and finally the towering opera classic “Carmen.”
With my friend Rosa who is an avid opera enthusiast. I can always count on Rosa to be my plus-one for an opera date and we enjoy a glass of wine before the show and a late night snack afterwards – usually at Joey’s on Burrard (fyi: the kitchen there closes at 1:30 am)
*Built in 1959 as part of an international design competition, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre served as a prototype for more than a generation of theatre complexes across Canada and the U.S. The architects’ vision was to create a “strong, unitary building” that gave “maximum delight and spatial excitement”.
Isn’t it nice when a new month begins on Monday? Like another new beginning and a fresh start to the week and month ahead.
Aside from the International wine tasting itself and an exceptional wine pairing dinner to celebrate wines from Uruguay (the festival focus this year was on South American wines), this is the first time during VIWF that I attended two master classes to do with wine making. The first was called “Defining the Root of BC Terroir” and the second was “California Wines: An Era in the Making.” Very fitting since I spend my time divided between BC and California and enjoy wines from both places when in each location.
These classes were very educational because no matter how much you enjoy drinking the wines from the Province of British Columbia and the State of California, both areas are very different in the way they make wine because of factors like weather, location and what kinds of grapes are best to grow in each unique location. Congratulations to anyone becoming an actual sommelier. There’s just so much information to take in on every level if you’re so inclined.
The wineries in discussion are focusing on exceptional quality over quantity rather than mass produced wines.
Defining the Root of BC Terroir – a bit about the class
Being grounded is where it all begins. This masterclass featured 11 British Columbia wines from across the province. The professional panelists took a deep dive into the unique growing conditions of each wine growing region’s distinct terroir. The discussion touched on what BC winegrowers are doing in the face of climate change to continue making exciting quality wines with a sense of place; from terroir that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The class was sponsored by Wines of BC. Our panelists were the individual wine makers and our moderators were Maude Renaud-Brisson (Apéro Mode) and Christina Hartigan (Wine Director at AnnaLena. AnnaLena Court of Master Sommeliers.)
Featured wines for tasting and analysis were:
Unsworth Vineyards (Cowichan Valley; Vancouver Island): Charme de L’ile Rosé NV
Bench (Naramata, Okanagan) 1775 Viognier 2021
Nk’Mip Cellars (Osoyoos) Pinot Blanc 2021
Ex Nihilo Vineyards (Okanagan Valley) Pinot Noir 2020
Chronos (Okanagan Valley) Cabernet Franc 2020
OsoyoosLarose (Osoyoos) Grand Vin 2012
Lake Breeze (Naramata) Reisling 2018
Moraine Estate Winery (Penticton) Syrah 2020
Laughing Stock Vineyards (Naramata) Syrah 2020
Corcelettes Estate Winery (Keremeos) Syrah 2020
Cedar Creek Estate Winery (Kelowna) Platinum Jagged Rock Syrah 2020
As you can see, we sampled three different syrahs from the exact same year but in different locations to taste the distinction between the three. In another post I’ll talk more about this.
California Wines: An Era in the Making
California’s unique geology, soil and climate combine to create multi faceted and expressive wines. Leading educator Elaine Chukan Brown unearthed secrets behind the region’s complex and distinctive wines. Sharing how California’s wine industry is committed to creating a sustainable future. She spoke about the science behind the soil, climate and geology. Some vines have a harder time searching for water; unlike BC. Fascinating! We tasted what makes California wines unique. As much as I favour Cali Chardonnay, there were none for the tasting. It is well known that California produces award winning chards but they preferred to focus on the lesser known Cali Sauvignon Blancs for our tasting. Which was a good thing because I’m familiar mostly with Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and these were right up there. In the couple hours we were there I scribbled down so much information that I’ll have to share some of it in another post down the road. Sponsored by California Wines. Featured wines:
RAENPinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2019
*WALTPinot Noir, Gap’s Crown 2018
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs NV
Spottswoode(Napa) Sauvignon Blanc 2021
**Ridge VineyardsGeyserville Zinfindel 2019
Dry Creek Vineyard (Sonoma) Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2020
Black Stallion EstateWinery Limited Release Zinfindel, Napa 2019
***Robert Mondavi Winery to Kalon Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
*Gap’s Crown Vineyard is located in the heart of the Petaluma Wind Gap area of the Sonoma Coast Appellation. Gentle slopes, heavy fog, and rocky soils produce these exquisite wines of great depth and richness.
**Geyserville is home to the oldest vines farmed in California. The “Old Patch” section of the vineyard contains vines that are more than 130 years of age.
***Between Highway 29 and the western hills of Oakville, in the heart of Napa Valley, there is a vineyard called To-Kalon, “the place of highest beauty.” Two roadside signs signal arrival, but like all mythic places its exact shape is hard to define. FYI – Mondavi is leading the way with farming electric – already they have six Monarch Tractors.
In closing; I have to say that tasting the wine and loving wine in general is only part of the whole experience. As you can see from the notes above, no two wines are alike. I’m very fortunate to have been all over beautiful British Columbia stopping at wineries along the way in and around the Okanagan Valley, Lake Country, Osoyoos, Vancouver Island and Fraser Valley. Same for California: Napa, Sonoma & Sonoma County, Lodi, Paso Robles, Temecula and Santa Barbara. It’s all very breathtaking. And yes; I’ve sampled plenty.
I highly recommend taking master classes during any wine festival if they’re offering them. It was extremely educational and you get to sample a handful of outstanding wines.
At the Vancouver International Wine Festival2023 – a world of wine awaits us, with a focus on South America.
It started with a launch at Joey’s and it’s not over yet. A few master classes, the festival tasting itself and about last night…
If you’re a food/wine lover nothing can beat a wine pairing dinner.
And if you’re the adventurous type, you’ll travel to the ends of the earth to discover a unique wine in a unique location. That’s what we did last night – me and my new friends sitting around a round table at Hydra EstiatorioMediterranean restaurant downtown Vancouver. And what a magnificent restaurant (more on this later).
Okay, in truth we didn’t travel very far to discover this new finding. However, someone else did so that she could offer around 97 guests an exceptional 7 course dining extravaganza along with award winning wines from what was considered the Southern Hemisphere’s best kept secret – until now. I don’t like to give secrets away but I can’t hold it in any longer: I’m telling you it was the Best of Uruguay: from Bodega Garzón. Who knew? I certainly did not realize how excellent these wines from Uruguay are and in general I was not even aware of what kind of wines they produced, if any. Luckily I’m not alone.
Having been to Argentina twice I was familiar with Mendoza wine region and Malbec wine. What a shame that I didn’t travel a little more distance to Uruguay to check this out for myself. I certainly wouldn’t bypass it next time. Not after last night!
Each pairing was thoughtfully curated by Hydra’s Executive Chef Brad Scharien (formerly of Italian Kitchen & Coast) to wow guests. And that he did. It was amazing.
Former wine maker and enologist Mele Sosa (born in Uruguay and raised in Uruguay and Chile) was our vivacious, charming, funny and knowledgeable host with the most. She was great with a mic while darting in and around tables explaining about all the fabulous wines we had the privilege of sampling and answering questions.
One of the wines is called Balasto – a 2017 iconic red wine made from Tannat (the national red grape), Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot grapes. This big, beautiful bold wine was paired with braised short rib stifado (which was a tasty dish of short rib with caramelized pearl onion, confit garlic potato puree + pickled mustard seed). As you can guess, it was wonderful. And the whole evening was like one big food and wine fest of its’ very own.
A little more about Mele: Mele’s role entails traveling through the United States and Canada, to champion Tannat (she even sang about it), Albariño and other wines produced by Bodega Garzón through media work, trade and distributor training, winemakers dinners and wine events.
After this evening I can say that my new favourite white is called Albariño and my new favourite reds are called Tannat and Balasto (also I love saying these new to me names). Also I’m quite picky with rosé but I loved their Estate Pinot Noir Rosé de Corte 2021 which was very elegant and expressive – not too sweet, not overly dry – just perfecto!
Here’s a bonus – they’re all available at Legacy liquor store in Olympic Village, Vancouver (link below).
Below is taken from the brochure
About Bodega Garzón; Uruguay:
When Alejandro Bulgheroni and his wife Bettina discovered Garzón, they had a family dream come true: to have the most emblemetic winery of modern viticulture in Uruguay and premium wines with an intense personality and a deep sense of belonging to the land. With the advice of international enologist Alberto Antonini, they apply their philosophy focused on producing wines that are a true expression of their origins. Experts on viticulture, environmental care, gastronomy, hospitality and tourism complete a team committed to this unprecedented project.
Named after the beautiful culinary Greek Island in the Aegean Sea, World Class Chef-driven Hydra Estiatorio Mediterranean & Bar is a Greek Seafood restaurant. Hydra applies Greece’s time-honored ingredients with traditional cooking styles, focusing on quality Mediterranean dishes such as vine-ripened tomato salad with flat parsley and feta, alongside exquisitely-tender grilled octopus garnished with lemon juice and olive oil, or lamb chops served straight from the grill with hints of garlic and oregano.
What a perfect way to end a near perfect season in Palm Springs. A Margaritaville Yappy Hour to benefit Animal Samaritans complete with canines, caftans, cocktails, appies, music and water sprinklers surprise! Some pics:
If there’s any city in the world who knows how to throw a classic car parade, it’s Palm Springs.
And for me personally, leaving the city soon, it was an excellent way to end an already amazing season.
Incorporated in April 1938, this year marks the city’s 85th anniversary.
And what better way to celebrate than to lineup 85 classic cars, one representing each year since the city’s incorporation in an attempt to achieve a new world record.
FUN FACT: The Guinness Book of World Records was on hand as no city has ever accomplished the feat of having so many cars marking 85 years in one place! Canadian owned Jim Pattison Group purchased the GWR organization in 2008. Coincidentally, my sister works for this group owned by Vancouver business magnate, Jim Pattison.
Many famous faces were sitting inside the cars. These photos are in no particular order.
And then there was Nancy Sinatra as the official celebrity grand marshall for the parade. It doesn’t get more Palm Springs glamorous than that!
“Our 85th Anniversary Classic Car Parade & Show is sure to go down in the history books,” organizer and founder of Palm Springs Exotic Car Auctions Keith McCormick said. “No other city that I know of has ever had 85 cars representing 85 years all in one place.”
Attendees were encouraged to photograph themselves with the vehicle representing the year they were born.
The Opening Ceremony began at noon in front of the Forever Marilyn statue with Ava Lynn Thuresson, recent contestant on NBC’s “The Voice”, singing the National Anthem. She was amazing.
It ended with an Elton John tribute band in the downtown park. Kenny Metcalf (as Elton) played piano, sang the classics and was really, really good.
Somehow in all the excitement leading up to the concert I completely forgot about the “dress your pet like your favorite Hollywood celebrity” for the dog costume contest. Too bad because Layla could’ve gone dressed up as Jane Fonda in Dogarella.
Got to give it up for Palm Springs. The city sure knows how to throw a party.
Our wonderful group of seven enjoyed a fabulous meal at Wally’s Desert Turtle in Rancho Mirage last Friday, while models wearing local designer wear from some of the shops on El Paseo walked around while we ate lunch and chatted.
There was also a little pop-up shop inside the restaurant where we could buy some of the fashions as well as local jewellery. Which of course, we did.
What a wonderful concept!
Especially at the most highly awarded restaurant in the desert, designed by famed interior designers Steven Chase and Randy Patton. With bevelled mirrored ceilings, Peruvian artefacts and hand-painted murals, the restaurant has a refined ambiance and a classically trained chef to enjoy all the special culinary creations.
In the evening there’s live music in the Sahara Lounge which has been enjoyed by countless celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Tom Hanks.
If you’re curious about the funny name it’s because Mr. Wally Botello was the Founder of the famed fine-dining Velvet Turtle chain. The restaurant is now owned and operated by Wally’s son Michael and granddaughter Maddy.
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