Finally — it’s official — spring is here. It’s time to put down that remote and get yourself out of the house. There are streams to ford and mountains to climb!
But I know you. You’d rather be exploring an untried market or whipping up a quirky new omelet or foraging for fresh vegetables or being inspired by an eccentric new restaurant.
Well, fortunately for foodies in Hamilton, there are so many food-centered enterprises in store in the near future, that my heart is pumping with excitement and my head is spinning with anticipation. Here’s an overview of some of the events that you might like to attend in the next few weeks:
First in line, of course, is to check out our Late Spring, Early Summer, Go Cooking Events which came on view on Wednesday. Experienced clients know very well that with these sessions, “you snooze, you lose”, so the first thing to do is to plot your course and book your favorites. You may prefer to choose the tried and true, menus that always give good value and wonderful dinners, like Nellie James and La Piazza Allegra, or — why not experiment with an exciting and innovative newcomer to Go Cooking like J. Anthony Grille and Catering? A very special treat in June, will be an evening with Chef Nick Bhalesar from India Village. This sounds like great fun — a “hands on” cooking session where patrons will learn all about exotic spices and will be invited to take part in the preparations and take home their own handiwork. And we’re thrilled to have Quatrefoil back, one of the premier restaurants in our area.
Also imminent is our Nutrition and Wellness Expo, this Saturday, April the 26th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Spectator auditorium. Tickets are available at the door ($4.00). The exposition centres on food preparation ideas, fitness, mind/body/spirit wellness, beauty products, alternative therapies and much, much more. You probably have been reading the vendor profiles in our blog and for a complete list of vendors check out http://www.thespec.com/news-static/2532709-nutrition-and-wellness-schedule. A special feature is an open forum and panel discussion which is planned around the topic of “Local food systems: Attainable, Sustainable, Affordable.” Panelists include Dr. Melissa Lee, ND, Chris Krucker from Manorun Farms, Chef Ken Lefebour from Nellie James Gourmet to Go, Karen Burson, initiator of Hamilton’s Good Food Box program and Damian Wills, Local Foods Manager at the Mustard Seed Cooperative Grocery Store.
I have just happened to read an essay in the Guardian with a “contrarian” view that questions our never-ending quest for the local. The piece is titled “Does local, seasonal produce really taste better?” and ponders our obsession with the home-grown. You might like to read it, before attending the panel discussion, which I’m sure will be lively, educational and entertaining. Here’s the url for the article: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/apr/22/local-seasonal-produce-taste-better
So, now that you are healthy and educated, why not relax on Tuesday night at the Royal Botanical Gardens. “Spring Uncorked” promises to be an evening for grownups, with inspiring mini-entrees and snacks from award-winning regional restaurants, along with fifteen participating wineries and artisan brewers listed on their website. Peter Kline, our favourite sommelier, from Bacchus Sommelier Services will be wandering about giving advice on wine and food pairing, and, no doubt, other weighty subjects. And you can eat as much as you like without feeling guilty because it’s all for a good cause. The evening is a charitable event sponsored by the Rotary Club of Hamilton with the worthy intent of advancing literacy and benefitting Hamilton’s neediest kids. For more information: http://springuncorked.com/
But that’s only until Wednesday. Keep in mind that next weekend, on May 2nd, Sew Hungry will be holding its giant restaurant and food truck rally. At last count, 35 food trucks have been awarded a spot on Ottawa Street.( http://sewhungry.com/) This is an all day affair – from 11 – 3 p.m. and 4 – 8 p.m. and the whole family can attend. And this year, Go Cooking is going to be doing some special demonstrations at the event, as well. What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, or evening — trying out the food and shopping in the fascinating local shops and galleries.
And don’t get too tired or wear out your walking shoes. Because this is also the weekend for Doors Open Hamilton, (May 3 and 4 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.). Doors Open(http://www.doorsopenhamilton.ca/ )is a celebration of landmark and heritage buildings in Hamilton and gives visitors a chance to poke around in places that they may have never seen before. This year, the Spectator will be taking part and there will be tours of the building. No food, but our Go Cooking kitchen will be all set up and ready to be viewed as part of the experience. In case you have some friends who have never attended our cooking sessions this would be a great introduction for them.
Okay — we’re getting exhausted. Here’s a little snack you may like to try, if you don’t have any cholesterol problems.
from Michael Smith’s “Fast Flavours”
1 cup (250 ml) or so of brown sugar
Lots of freshly ground pepper
1)Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. (200 degrees C.) Turn on convection fan if you have one.
2) Nestle the bacon slices tightly against each other in a single layer on a nonstick or parchment-paper lined baking sheet.
3) Sprinkle with the brown sugar, evenly coating. Top with lots of freshly ground pepper.
4) Bake until the bacon crisps and infuses with sweet caramelized sugar – 25 or 30 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes while the bacon candy hardens. Do your best not to stand there and eat it all — exercise restraint! Serve and share!