May 18, 2015

Hope you had a great May long weekend!

May Long Weekend Gardening!


This may long weekend has been a blur!  Reno work.  Painting.  Gardening.  More Painting.  Get togethers.  More Painting.


Wouldn't change a thing!


Hope you had an amazing weekend!

February 27, 2015

Talking Food with Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar

I thought it would be fun to put a little rock and roll into my blog.  I got the chance to talk food with Gordie Johnson, lead singer of group Big Sugar. I have seen Big Sugar play during my University years and remember quite a few of their songs.  This week they played 2 sold out shows at Festival Place in Sherwood Park.

I had the option to do a phone interview but I really wanted to do an interview in person.  Festival Place is a wonderful, intimate venue for a concert and I got to come in during the sound check, which was a great experience for me.  Also, how else could I bring Gordie, a big foodie, treats from Duchess Bake Shop!  The whole crew could not wait for the box to be opened up.  

Gordie is really down-to-earth and easy to talk to.  He definitely loves food as much as music. Talking food with someone who loves it as much as you do is always a fantastic experience. 

Maki Interview with Gordie Johnson

I heard that you are a big foodie. I was reading that you grew with Italian food.

Italian food and Ukrainian food.  I grew up with 2 great schools of thought and it’s interesting because there are some places that it intersects.  Perogies are potato-filled ravioli. My father makes fresh pasta and my mother makes fresh perogy dough. They both have to roll them out, cut them into circles, fill them, pinch them and boil them so then... this is the exact same thing though we all know it’s not but at the end of the day, it kinda is.

It’s like how every country has their version of meat on a stick...

There are these things you eat your entire life and then one day you realize when you are looking at them … like my mother used to make Babka, which is a Ukrainian Easter Bread.  She used to let it rise and made it in a big ole coffee tin and it was this yellow, yeasty, cakey stuff with raisins inside.  The Italians have Pannetone on the holidays and I was at my mom’s house one day and I was looking at it thinking this is exactly the same thing. It’s not similar, it’s identical.

You cook a lot of Italian.  Are there specialties you make? You mentioned your father makes pasta dough.  Do you?

No, my father has the machine and the whole restaurant set up.  If I’m having pasta, I use the dry, I like it better. Hard to say what my specialty is… I’m the guy who makes the sauces once a week. I make my own pesto and tomato sauce. I make a giant pot of (tomato sauce) it and by the end of the week, we are down to just a little leftover which goes into next week’s sauce.  We have sauce that has potentially 10 year old sauce in it.

Do you experiment in the kitchen?  Do you make your own cheeses or yogurt? How adventurous are you in that sense?

In that category, I would say when I make Texas chili.  I can make Indian food, Jamaican food ... but living here in Texas, I have gotten into the whole science of chili making.  There are so many techniques into making chili, it can be very complex dish so I take an Indian approach by making a curry for my chili.  We use local peppers, I will dry them for 6 months, hanging them in the sun in my kitchen and grind them in a coffee grinder.  Chipotle peppers, Ancho chilies, which are very dry and raisiny, so when you grind them down to a powder, it’s amazing.

Big Sugar soundcheck Festival Place ShPk

January 20, 2015

Once Upon a Date Night: Corso 32

I has been a long while since my last post.  I left my blog on the sidelines, leaving it a low priority but I'm trying to get back on it.

First off, Happy New Year!

It has been a whirlwind these past 5 months.  Having spent 3 months abroad and returning in December made life very busy.  Getting children back to school here (where did I put your indoor runners and all your school supplies?!?) to splashing Christmas decorations throughout the house and gift shopping and social gatherings and well, you get the point.  Exhausting.  Now with the new year, we finally have a rhythmic routine going and the other day, the hubby says "We should plan a date night".

"When was the last time we had a date night?" we wonder, staring at each other with giant invisible question marks above our heads. I have no clue and neither does he.  Obviously it was a long time ago and we are very overdue.

Dinner at Corso 32

And that is when I was reminded about our night out at Corso 32.

October 19, 2014


(Beautiful autumn colors among the grapevines in Burgenland, Austria) 

I was hoping to get around to blogging but I am very much enjoying being away from the computer and the hustle-bustle of everyday life in Canada. 

My family and I are currently abroad in Austria. We have spent some time traveling with pit-stops in Iceland, Copenhagen, Germany and Macedonia. 

So this is why I have been AWOL and the blog will likely be on hiatus for another several months. I might post something here and there but I won't make promises. 

I post the occasional photo on twitter but as I said, I'm quite enjoying being away from the computer, so it's been pretty quiet. 

Catch up with you all later.  Probably in the new year ;)


August 19, 2014

Minecraft Ice Cream Birthday Cake

After a successful Minecraft birthday party for my son, my daughter wanted to do the same for her birthday. I was all set to make similar birthday and mini-muffins decorated with fondant when my daughter stated she wanted a Minecraft ice cream cake.  Ice cream in a minecraft theme?  Sure I could have made a simple ice cream cake with some cake toppers but I wasn't thrilled with that idea.  What was I going to do?


Well, I had a great idea.  A simple minecraft block that was hopefully do-able.  I sketched up my idea and then set out scout out materials.

I picked up the rectangular 1.89L ice creams in 3 flavours: mint chocolate chip, chocolate and cookie dough.  I bought 2 mint chocolate chip ice creams from 2 different suppliers so that they looked different.


Since the ice cream melts fast, you need to work fast.  Also, make sure to put the plate or platter into the freezer first so it doesn't melt the ice cream while you stack.  I cut out equal sized squares and stacked them in batches to prevent melting. Once I was complete, I wrapped the cube in wax (or parchment paper) and used small cutting boards to squeeze together the cube so to have the seams and cubes all line up and somewhat blend into each other.

I love when I come up with creative ideas that aren't a lot of work and are an instant hit with the kids!
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