Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall - My Renewal Time of Year

September is (nearly) here, already. It seems like the the previous school year just ended, and now here we are gearing up for another year. Fall has always felt like a time of renewal for me. I always looked forward to the beginning of a new school year - a time to see old friends, and how much they'd changed over the summer, new classroom, new teacher, new clothes and brand new school supplies. It really felt like the beginning of a new year, more so than the calendar New Year.
I had to sneak in this pic of my oldest son when he was one, taken at Kitsilano Beach (where we lived at the time............sigh).

Now, Fall marks the beginning of the new set of cooking classes after taking a reprieve over the summer. If you haven't seen the new schedule , you will see a few changes. There is less of me in the schedule, and the addition of classes taught by two Red Seal Chefs, Chef Brent Lloyd and Chef Simon Reynolds. My personal life (ie. my children's lives) has become busier and it has become increasingly difficult to 'meet the demand'. Both Simon and Brent bring their own style, both personal and cooking, to the mix. On my homepage, you will see a Class Description page. You will find the overview of all the classes being offered this term - of course, if you have any questions, just ask! There are a few dates left for custom (private groups) cooking classes - if you are interested in booking something, I recommend you do so soon!

So I hope you all have had a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you in an upcoming class or at the Market! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Saltspring, At Last!

Part Deux of my vacation post - our excursion to Saltspring Island, to take in the Farmer's Market.

Galiano Island (where we were staying) does have its own Farmer's Market, albeit smaller. The Saltspring Farmer's Market is, I believe, amongst the biggest/best known in British Columbia. To not go there, whilst in such close proximity, would be just pure silliness.

There is only one possible water taxi to take to the Market, and only one to get you back, so tardiness is not an option. We arrived about 20 minutes early, as advised by the owners. There was already a good handful of other people waiting around. I had no idea how many seats the 'taxi' would have - I knew it is used as the school taxi during the school year, so I was thinking 15, maybe 20? When it arrived, I was relieved to see that it sat ~50. It first stopped at Mayne Island, and then it was off to Saltspring. The trip there took a little over one hour. It seemed like a long time to spend getting to school, but then I realized that thousands of kids all over Saskatchewan spent that muc time (or more) on a bus each day. As we were approaching Ganges Harbour, we all couldn't help but gawk at a yacht that begged to be gawked at. I don't know enough about boats to talk specifics - but this is what you would envision when you think of the ultra-rich. It had a helicopter - a HELICOPTER!! crazy

Once we docked, we scrambled up to the Market - we were all hungry, so we stopped at the first place that looked good. It turned out to be a little wagon run by two elderly ladies - their fare consisted of all things fried - we got a potato on a stick (the potato was sliced into spirals using an attachment on an electric drill - ingenius! The slices were then put on a skewer) They had the equivalent of what we call elephant ears. And then there was the Dog on a Stick. I was thinking something along the lines of corndog, but that was naive. It was a wiener, wrapped in dough (like elephant ear dough), and then deep fried. Bad, bad...........but oh, so good!

Assured that our hearts were still pumping, we ventured on. We took a quick walkabout. Lots of artisans, not surprisingly - everything from children with craft-art, hand-crafted soaps, professional artists to all the fine (fine!) foods. Fresh produce was noticeably absent - we saw one vendor who had organic microgreens, but really, that was about it. The attendees were a little more reminiscent of the 60's (some of which lived through them, most of which would not have yet been a twinkle in their daddy's eye ;)

The Saltspring Island Cheese Company was a beehive of activity - so many varieties! We chose chevre topped with truffles.

I had to check out the Mustard vendor (of course), Joy and Alan Coupland - she had about a dozen or more varieties - I selected Herbed, and Lemon. Aside: We had a wonderful time trying to get through security with the two jars (they were taken from me - mustard does not equal mustard gas....................don't get me started) - just as I was beginning to create an 'incident', my husband unhappily volunteered to go back through security & check the two little terrorist threats. About 20 minutes later, he reappeared, and they did end up coming home with us.

I bought a lovely sunflower print, painted by Sherren MacLeod. Turns out she also runs a B&B on Saltspring (the running of which is where I'm heading, in about a decade, give or take a few years, and most likely on Galiano).

My boys were entranced with a guy performing with 'devil sticks'. I ended up buying them each a set to play with (there's good margins in tape-covered sticks). As I was walking through the park area to find my family, I heard music coming from the bandshell, it was 'oh mister sun, sun, mister golden sun, please shine down on me'. I thought, isn't that nice, someone is singing Raffi. As I made through the crowd, I could see the stage, & it WAS Raffi!! How cool is that?!

We had the opportunity to sample the food from a new vendor at the Market - a Japanese rice ball vendor. If you are unfamiliar with rice balls, they are a pizza-pocket style version of sushi (different fillings), packaged in the most clever way to keep the nori from getty soggy.

It truly was a great Market experience. We saw it all - the people, the products, the music and the wonderful foods made for wondeful memories. I'm so glad we took the time to get there - I was worried my boys would not feel the same, but they really had a blast.

With those happy memories in my head, while on our way back to the Harbour to take the water taxi back to Galiano, I took an unfortunate tumble down a couple of split-stone steps and sprained my ankle (which is still swollen to this day!) I'm just glad it happened at the end of the day, and at the end of our trip. Now I need to get it better before heading off to Paris in October!