Thursday, December 29, 2011

get back to your roots

I love all the decadent feasts at Christmas but there comes a point when I just can't stand the thought of another meal rich in butter, creams or gravies.   This Root Vegetable Tagine has all the heartiness you want in a winter supper but without the heaviness or fat of the meals we've all been indulging in lately.  And if you're anything like me, you could do with a heaping plate of veg to counteract all those sweets and snacks. The preserved lemon along with the fresh herbs you toss in at the end give it a touch of summery brightness - and who doesn't want that when the wind chill is -21? The Spicy Chickpea garnish is definitely worth making - you may find yourself nibbling on it before it reaches your plate.

A big bonus with this meal is that it gave me a way to use one of the turnips from my most recent Real Foods Fredericton kitchen box.  I don't shun many foods but I've always passed on turnip.  But I figured I'd try it in this dish as I could easily pick it out if necessary.  Turns out that much like my parsnip conversion last winter, preparation makes all the difference. And like parsnips, the turnips are a great vehicle for cumin, coriander, turmeric and fresh herbs in this dish. 

A couple of notes on the recipe - I used vegetable broth instead of water and threw in a cinnamon stick because I couldn't imagine a tagine without it.  As well, the recipe neglects to tell you how much lemon you should simmer with the lemon juice and salt, I used one small thinly sliced lemon which seemed to work.  If you wanted to do a gluten-free option, you could easily swap out the couscous for a bed of quinoa.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


OK, technically #bringitdowntown was aimed at getting people into the heart of the city for pre-Christmas shopping but just because Christmas is over doesn't mean you should stop hitting our local Downtown Fredericton businesses.   If you're looking to recuperate from your turkey coma, catch up with friends or just get out of the house, why not grab a glass of wine at Corked?

Last week having survived this and then this, Caleb and I decided to spend what was left of my Downtown dollars to toast the season at Fredericton's newest wine bar.  A great addition to the re-energized block of Regent between Queen and King, Corked is both stylish and cozy; equally suited for a glamourous private function or for a quiet glass of wine with a friend.

My partner in crime for the night is an avowed white wine drinker so I eschewed my usual winter red in favour of Santa Rita's 120 Sauvignon Blanc. The Chilean winery earned the distinction of Wine & Spirits magazine's Winery of the Year in 2010 and the fruity and fresh 120 Sauvignon Blanc earns pretty consistent raves for a great white at a good price point. I only found this out later, all I knew at the time was that it was a great burst of summer on a cold winter's night. 

And because Caleb is a bit of a history buff, no night out would be complete without a little history lesson.  So I was not as surprised as you might think when he announced while reading the label:  
 "This is revolutionary memento wine!"

Here's the story from the winery:

According to legend, 120 patriots, exhausted after a long, hard battle during the fight for Chile’s independence, reached the land belonging to Santa Rita. On that fateful night in 1814, these forces of liberty found refuge in the estate cellars. Today, within these same cellars, our award-winning 120 wines are crafted to honor their heroic character. 

Revolution may not be on your agenda but why not cap off a day of post-Christmas Downtown deal-hunting with a stop by Corked?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

it snowed

Meaghan Smith's It Snowed has been in pretty constant rotation around my house since mid-November.  Like her debut album The Cricket's Orchestra (which earned her the Best New Artist Juno), It Snowed is playful, nostalgic and charming. So of course I jumped at the chance to see her in concert at the Charlotte Street Art Centre just a few days before Christmas.  If you don't own The Cricket's Orchestra and It Snowed, get yourself over to iTunes and remedy this immediately!

Meaghan Smith by Heather Allaby on Grooveshark
It was a perfect winter's night with a light dusting of snow and the converted school auditorium at the Centre was a cozy setting for Meaghan's sweet and funny stories and songs. Was there a dry eye after her adorable story about her grandpa?  She even gave a shout-out to Fredericton shopping (ahem, #bringitdowntown!)

Can't imagine a better way to kick off a week of holiday celebrations! Thanks for a great evening, Meaghan!

(Oh, and her fetching chapeau is courtesy of Oh Dina! you'll want to check out those creations!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

christmas movies

Phew! now that I've finally wrapped up Christmas performances onstage and behind-the-scenes I can finally settle in to my own holiday celebrations- catching up with friends, spending time with family and lots of cider,egg nog or hot cocoa while watching Christmas movies and planning menus, wrapping presents and finishing last-minute gifts.  Last year (when apparently I had more time to write about such things) I put together a list of my 12 films of Christmas.  Not sure I'll make it through all of them over the holidays but here is a look back at my top picks:

I'd love to know: what are your must-see Christmas films? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

stick to your knitting

If you've been following this blog for long you know from posts like this and this that I love knitting.  And while my schedule this fall hasn't allowed for a lot of time to pick up the needles, there is no way I could bring the love downtown without a stop at Yarns on York

From classic worsted to luxurious hand-dyed yarns,owner Trish Campbell has a treasure trove of inspiration in store for shoppers.  New shipments arrive regularly so there's always a reason to pop in.

No visit to Yarns on York is complete without saying "Hi!" to Aubrey.
So how did I end up spending my Downtown Fredericton dollars? As delicious as all the brightly coloured skeins were, I opted for this luxurious madelinetosh in french grey.   I've been knitting a lot of lace projects this year but I'm thinking something a little different for this one.  This will be a great New Year's project to pass the long January evenings....