Afternoon Tea, Inukshuk Style

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It’s hot and humid in our neck of the woods, so we’re celebrating the Arctic to chill out.
We built a rough stone cairn – an Inukshuk – and we’re taking our tea beside it.

Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

Inukshuk are built by the peoples of Canada’s high Arctic regions and by the inhabitants of nations sitting atop the Arctic Circle. This pile of stones erected without benefit of adhesives is the mainstay of tundra travel. Tundras lack any discerning physical characteristic, so their singular feature are the Inukshuk – a navigation tool, a point of reference, a communication tool – FaceBook, Twitter and blog rolled into one platform of the high Arctic.

These architectural forms are perhaps the oldest objects humans have placed on the Arctic landscape. The form can be short or tall, skinny or fat, one stone or many stones – each form tells a distinct story. For example, a form with arms or legs lead to an open channel for navigation, or a valley for passage through the mountains. A form without arms is a marker for a cache of food.

Peter Imiq, Inuit cultural activist, explains the meaning of the Inukshuk. 

Some interesting Inukshuk factoids:

  • There are over 100 Inukshuk at Inuksuk Point, on Baffin Island. In1969, Canada declared the area a National Historic Site.
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Inuksuk Point, Baffin Island; Wikipedia

  • Inukshuk are also a cultural symbol. For example, an Inuksuk (singular of Inukshuk) is on the flag and on the coat of arms of Nunavut Territory.
Flag of Nunavut, Canada; Government of Nunavut Territory

Flag of Nunavut, Canada; Government of Nunavut Territory

  • On July 13, 2005, Canadian military erected an Inuksuk on Hans Island to one up Denmark with whom Canada has a longstanding beef over the small Arctic island.
  • Inukshuk have been erected throughout Canada to commemorate special events:

Battery Park, on Toronto’s lake shore for World Youth Day in 2002.
Vancouver for Expo 86
Whistler Mountain north of Vancouver for 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Lamoureux Park, Cornwall, ON, to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Olympic torch passage through town

  • Officials in various wilderness parks throughout Canada routinely dismantle Inukshuk constructed by hikers and campers, for fear that they could misdirect park visitors from other markers that indicate hiking trails.
  • There are a couple of authentic Inukshuk gifted by the government of Canada around the world:

Canadian Embassy, DC, Government of Canada

India; Government of Canada

India; Government of Canada

 

Brisbane – Australia’s Bicentenary; Government of Canada

 

Monterrey, Mexico; Government of Canada

Oslo - Norway Centenary;  Government of Canada

Oslo – Norway Centenary; Government of Canada

 

 

 

Happy birthday, Alice Munro

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Today is Nobel Laureate Alice Munro’s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Alice! We at Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas wish you a very special day.

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young and CBC online

A literary giant from way back when, Alice Munro is the Canadian author known for her short stories and for creating a whole new architecture for the short story where time and space as well as character build the story. Her books are perennial nominees and winners of prestigious literary prizes, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, the Man Booker International Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2012, she announced that she was retiring from writing.

Afternoon Tea and shortbread for Alice Munro

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Photo: Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

The Classic Pound cake: Afternoon tea classic

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What would any self-respecting afternoon tea be without cakes and biscuits?

Her Ladyship (that would be me!) is at a loss to explain!

We’ve introduced our simply splendid lavender shortbreads sometime ago, so today we are pleased to introduce our Simply Splendid Signature Pound Cake.

Lore has it the pound cake originated in northern Europe and when you consider the ingredients, it is certainly a cake that would ‘stick to your ribs’ and keep you warm through a winter’s night. A  pound cake is rich; very rich, as it contains a pound, or equal weights, of each chief ingredient, typically flour, butter, and sugar and of course eggs.

Over time, bakers started to experiment and added ‘adornments’. For example, Her Ladyship always grates the zest of a lemon into the batter; or adds a cup of fresh blueberries; or dices Australian crystallized ginger and pops about half a cup into the batter. Sometimes Her Ladyship tosses in the zest of an orange and toasted chopped almonds for the same textured cake but a totally different taste. And because Canadian tea drinkers prefer a more moist cake, Her Ladyship has been known to add a little buttermilk to the recipe.

So without further ado, here is Her Ladyship’s recipe for the basic pound cake (without adornments).

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Simply Splendid Signature Pound Cake

  • Servings: 10-12 slices
  • Time: 1hr 30mins includes baking time
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

POUND CAKE

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter

1 2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 eggs

METHOD

Sift flour, baking powder and salt; set aside

On a a medium-high setting on electric mixer, cream butter; add sugar slowly and incorporate with butter

Add eggs one at a time and beat well until totally incorporated before adding the next egg
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla

Gradually add flour into wet mixture and beat lightly to incorporate

Pour into two greased loaf pans

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour – test at 50 minutes

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Pair a slice of this most decadent cake with a rich citrus tea – the Grey family of teas spring to mind: Earl Grey, Baroness Grey and Lady Grey.

IMG_2698Earl Grey is a black tea containing oil of bergamot as a flavouring. The Grey family history states the tea was specially blended by a Chinese mandarin for Lord Grey to suit the water at Howick Hall, the family home in Northumberland, using bergamot to offset the lime in the local water. Lady Grey used Earl Grey tea to entertain  and this tea proved so popular that Twinings began selling Earl Grey Tea as an international brand.

Lady Grey tea is a variation on the famous Earl Grey tea. It is a black tea scented with oil of bergamot (though in lower concentrations in Lady Grey) and it contains lemon and orange peels. Lady Grey was the wife, of the Earl for whom Earl Grey tea is named.

Lady Grey tea is a modern invention, created by Twinings in the early 1990s to appeal to the Nordic market, who found Earl Grey tea too pungent. It first went on sale in Norway in 1994 and in Britain in 1996.

Baroness Grey Tea, the signature tea of Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas, is a black tea with cornflower petals, lemon peel, rose petals, and bergamot oil

 

Theatre 20′s production of Company is a gem

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As promised in an earlier blog, Her Ladyship attended the July 2 performance of Toronto’s Theatre 20 production of the Stephen Sondheim’s play, Company, and she is pleased to report the play was a triumph.

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The cast, consisting of many Theatre 20 founding artists, was superb. Each actor enthralled and emoted with vocal gusto as the story of love, relationships and marriage took its predictable, and unpredictable turns, in song and dance, in pitter patter and playfulness, in seductiveness and snarkiness.

Special shouts out to Chris Porter, the stage manager, who did yeoman duty keeping the production rolling along smoothly and to the the five-piece band led by Scott Christian who enabled the production admirably.

For Toronto readers, Company is at the Berkeley Street Theatre until July 13. Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

The List for July 2014

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At the start of every month, we offer you a short list of pleasant activities to inspire you; some are focussed on afternoon tea, some not.

Herewith five suggestions for July 2014.

PENTAX ImageResolve to drink more tea.
Hot tea.

In India, hot tea is a staple of the daily diet, year in year out. Science shows that as the internal body temperature rises through consumption of hot fluids or hot food – think curry – you will feel cooler. Over a billion Indians can’t be wrong!

 

Drive a Convertible

We’re indulging ourselves by renting a drop top for a July weekend. Hey it’s summer and the livin’ is easy!  Here are some choices we are considering: Mazda MX-5 Miata, VW Beetle, or perhaps a Mini Cooper, but then, the Jaguar Type E does appeal.

Photo courtesy The Telegraph

Photo courtesy The Telegraph

 

Our fave street street festivals for July are in Toronto and in Pamplona.

Salsa on St. Clair is a week-long celebration of Latin music, dance, food and culture throughout Toronto.  It is the biggest fiesta north of the U.S. – Canada border, and runs from July 12-20 culminating with the big enchilada, the 10th annual muy calliente Salsa on St. Clair Street Festival on July 19-20.

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The Fiesta de San Fermin, is a deeply rooted, annual cultural festival running  July 6 – 14. The renowned street party inludes concerts, awesome fireworks, assorted parades and the running of the bulls.

The events of this festival were central to the plot of The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. It has become probably the most internationally renowned fiesta in Spain. Over 1,000,000 people come to participate in this festival.

 

Exploring The Purple Road …. in our rented convertible

The Purple Road of Ontario groups the many and varied lavender farms in Ontario into regional road trips where you can meet lavender growers, cut your own lavener, picnic and photograph, buy plants and lavender products and be refreshed with a pot of lavender tea.

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery

Bonnieheath Estate Lavender and Winery

Echolane Lavender Farm and Fibre Arts

Echolane Lavender Farm and Fibre Arts

  A treat for Canada Day, Independence Day 2014

Canada and the United States share national holidays within the same week  July 1 and July 4. To celebrate, we’re offering The Nanaimo Bar - a dessert  of Canadian origin and popular across North America. Named after the City of Nanimao on Canada’s west coast where legend has it the dessert was invented by the ladies of the local Womens Institute (The women of the WI featured prominently in the movie Calendar Girls!) and consists of a wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing and covered with melted chocolate. Here is the authentic recipe from the kitchens of Kraft Canada.

Pair these delicious bars with a single estate tea like a Darjeeling, which incidentally is known as the champagne of teas for its flavour and light colouring.

 

Nanaimo Bars

  • Servings: Depends on the size of your bars
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

6 oz. Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, divided
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. butter, softened, divided
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups Honey Maid Graham Crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp. Bird’s Custard Powder
3 Tbsp. milk
2 cups icing sugar

Heat oven to 350°F.

Microwave 2 oz. chocolate and 1/2 cup butter in large microwaveable bowl on MEDIUM 2 min. or until butter is melted.

Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Blend in egg and vanilla. Stir in graham crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press onto bottom of 9-inch square pan.

Bake 8 minutes; cool completely.

Mix custard powder and milk in medium bowl with whisk until blended.

Add 1/4 cup of the remaining butter; mix well.

Gradually beat in sugar until blended.

Spread onto crust. Refrigerate 15 minutes.

Microwave remaining chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl 2 to 3 min. or until butter is melted.

Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Spread over custard layer.

Refrigerate several hours or until chilled before cutting into bars.

Nanaimo Bars courtesy of Kraft Canada

Nanaimo Bars courtesy of Kraft Canada

Carly Street IS GOOD Company

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The first reviews are in!

On Friday June 27, we posted an interview with Carly Street, an up and coming young Canadian stage actress. Carly plays the role of Amy in Theatre 20′s production of Sondheim’s Company. The play has opened in Toronto and the weekend reviews are in: Her Ladyship’s conviction she was taking tea (digitally!) with a great and versatile actress is confirmed by early reviews. Her Ladyship is delighted!

Carly Street is good Company
In last season’s Canadian Stage hit Venus in Fur, Carly Street starred as Vanda, a fearless actress/dominatrix. Her latest role, in Stephen Sondheim’s Company, has her swapping black leather for white satin to play Amy, a bride-to-be who’s freaked out by the prospect of marriage. “Amy way over-thinks things,” says Street of her neurotic character, “which is problematic when it comes to relationships. She’s certainly very different from Vanda, who’s living right in the moment.” Martin Morrow, TO Gird Read more

Company: A happy hit for Theatre 20 to build on
“Theatre 20′s revival of Company, Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1970 musical about modern marriage, easily justifies its existence in four minutes flat. Those are the sharp 240 seconds or so that Louise Pitre’s Joanne takes to sing her perfect, pitiless rendition of Ladies Who Lunch – the show’s famous skewering of rich and unemployed women …  Carly Street, star of Canadian Stage’s recent Venus in Fur, provides the musical comic high not long after as Amy, Globe and Mail  Read more

Other reviews, too many to follow, include this accolade:

” … Carly Street also does a knockout job as Amy, who decides on her wedding day she’s not crazy about the idea of “Getting Married Today,” in Sondheim’s psychotic notion of a patter song. Street delivers it with amazing conviction and even better diction. You have to love a woman who’s got all her theatre tools working in such excellent shape. …”  Toronto Star

Carly Street as Amy in Theatre 20's production of Company; credit TO Grid

Carly Street as Amy in Theatre 20′s production of Company; credit TO Grid

 

Afternoon tea with Carly Street, brand new Best Actress Dora winner

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Dear readers and tea lovers everywhere:

Welcome to a regular feature of our blog,
‘Afternoon tea with …. 
people of note’

carly head and sholdersToday we’re taking afternoon tea with Carly Street, a superb actress who is well known on Broadway and in her hometown of Toronto. And she is the newest minted winner of a Dora Award for Best Actress for her role in Venus in Fur.

The Doras are the Canadian equivalent of Broadway’s Tony awards and are named after Dora Mavor Moore, a Glaswegian who immigrated to Canada in 1896 at the age of eight and devoted her extremely productive life to creating theatre and theatre companies in Canada.

Carly has appeared in over 50 film, television, theatre and radio productions. In addition to her Dora for best actress, she has garnered three best actress nominations for her stage roles in Into the Woods, the world premiere production of The Lord of the Rings, and Bloodless: The Trial of Burke and Hare. Here, Her Ladyship (that would be me!) must divulge that she thought Carly’s dramatic presence coupled with her singing and comic turn in Bloodless were stellar.

Since 2010, Carly has lived in New York City.  Her U.S. credits include the Tony-nominated Brief Encounter, the world premiere of Dead Accounts, the Tony-winning Clybourne Park, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tovarich.

Carly has chosen her favourite tea – Irish Breakfast. This is a blend of Assam and several black teas, grown at, or near sea level and known for body, briskness, maltiness and strong, bright color. Many Assam blends are known as “breakfast” teas because of their heartiness and higher caffeine content. Her Ladyship (that would be me again!) has brewed some Irish Breakfast tea in a fine china teapot and the requisite steeping time has passed. Two cups of tea are poured – Carly has a little milk and a little sugar with her tea and Her Ladyship takes her tea clear. We settle back for our conversation.

You are from Toronto, but live and work in New York. How often do you return to Canada?
I come home at least once a year to spend time with my family and as I am a founding artist of Theatre 20,  I return for productions. As a matter of fact I am in Toronto right now for Theatre 20’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company.

The show was huge on Broadway …
Yes, the musical was nominated for 14 Tonys and won six. The story takes place in upper-middle-class Manhattan and unfolds through a series of vignettes. Each character and scene are linked to Robert, a single man unable to commit to a steady relationship; the married couples who are his best friends and his three on-again off-again girlfriends. The artistic vehicle linking all these stories is Robert’s 35th birthday. I play the role of Amy, one of Robert’s married friends.

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The cast of Theatre 20′s production of the Sondheim musical, Company.

It is widely held Company ushered the age of today’s musicals. Her Ladyship will see Company on July 2 and will report back. For Toronto readers, Company is at the Berkeley Street Theatre until July 13.

What is Theatre 20?
1391471656It’s a Toronto-based company and it is the artists themselves who drive the company. We champion new Canadian musicals, especially those based on stories, as well as young Canadian artists and composers. I’m truly honoured to be part of the founding group of artists. This summer, I’ll be onstage with some of the country’s finest performers.

 

Who or what led you to co-found Theatre 20?
The seminal founding artists invited me to join and I like the philosophy of putting artists in control of the artistic process. The core group felt I had a unique voice in the community. I was, and am, excited about putting artistic control in the hands of the artists.

You mentioned you have a unique voice in the community …
I definitely have ideas about what plays are produced, and how they’re produced. In other words, I talk a lot at meetings!

How old is Theatre 20?
The company marked its debut in 2012 with Bloodless: The Trial Of Burke And Hare. The central figures, William Burke and William Hare, are 19th-century serial killers who sell their victims’ bodies to a medical school. “It’s a story filled with lust, murder and the desire for power,” says Carly who played Janet, an 1820s Edinburgh prostitute. “But while the material is dark, the show is delicious fun, sophisticated and filled with great tunes.”

Where did your artistic training start?
I became interested in the arts thanks to my mother who took me to theatre performances when I was a girl. School was another driver. I went to schools where the music and drama programs were great and in my last two years of high school, I transferred to the Etobicoke School of the Arts. 

You are  a graduate of the famed National Theatre School in Montreal. Do you remember your audition?
Oh gosh yes! But then not very well! I remember three auditions. At the first audition, I had to perform two monologues – I chose one from the Jacobean-era play, Maid of Honour, and the other was Portia from Julius Caesar. For the second audition, I was required to choose a play and perform a three-minute condensed version of it. I chose Sondheim’s Assassins. My final and third audition was to perform the same piece but in front of a blue chip panel of judges, which included the late Heath Lamberts, himself a graduate of the NTS and who worked extensively on the stage, particularly at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals and on Broadway.

Another cup of tea?
Yes please, that would be wonderful.

What is your favourite role to date?
Vanda in Venus in Fur. Vanda is a young actress, who wants to land the lead role very badly. She sings and acts her way through a spellbinding performance –the performance ‘of her life’ as it were – and it’s both subtle and forceful and a very fine balance between fantasy and reality.

Carly as Vanda in the Canadian Stage production of Venus in Fur

Carly as Vanda in the Canadian Stage production of Venus in Fur

Her Ladyship notes this interview was conducted a few weeks before the Dora Awards were announced, so Carly had no inkling she was going to win the best actress award for her portrayal of Vanda.

What  role would you like to play?
The Fool in Goldoni’s Servant of Two Masters. Also Richard III – I’m interested in male roles.

What is your go to method to cheer yourself up?
I call my parents.

What is the best criticism you received?
A lot! All interesting and helpful!

How do you make the life of an actress less stressful?
I keep a really clean house!

If you could choose any person from history to teach you any topic, who would it be?
Joséphine de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s first wife. I admire how she overcame so much adversity – living through terror, her divorce, her penury, and disappointments in general all through her life. And yet she had a full and active public life. I would like to learn her adaptability and survivability.

What is your favourite work of art?
A Sunday afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Seurat.

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Who is your favourite author?
Virginia Woolf.

How do you celebrate big moments?
I call my parents in Toronto; also I turn off the critical voice in my head.

What is your fondest childhood memory?
Fishing with my family.

What would you consider your best ever adventure?
New Zealand with my sister.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I love math puzzles; also can’t resist red wine.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Talk less, listen more.

Toronto Symphony or Tegan and Sara?
Toronto Symphony.

What is your workout philosophy?
My philosophy is to workout more! I do have a workout routine, but it has to change every now and then to deal with injuries. I also do Bikram Yoga.

What is your favourite article of clothing?
A little pair of black ankle booties.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Gilda Radner, if she were alive.

What is your favourite virtue?
Strength of character.

What are the principal aspects of your personality?
Charismatic, sensitive, willful and loyal.

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Their generosity of spirit. I am blessed to have a lot of friends and I thank them very much for their generous spirit.

What is your idea of happiness?
Living in the present moment.

What is your idea of misery?
Living in the past; living with regret.

What are three little know facts about you?
I love math puzzles; I chew my nails as a zombie chews skin and I love accents.

What are your favourite haunts in Toronto and New York?
I love the Ceili Cottage  in Leslieville, a popular Toronto neighbourhood and Harlem Public in New York.

When you take a vacation, do you focus on luxury, adventure or relaxation?
Relaxation.

What is the most amazing thing you have ever done?
I moved to a new country on my own.

What is the best advice you would give your younger self?
You are just fine the way you are.

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Taking tea with Jill Fisher, lemonade purveyor to royalty

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Dear readers and tea lovers everywhere,
Welcome to a regular feature of our blog,‘Afternoon tea with …. 
people of note’

Today, we’re taking afternoon tea with Jill Fisher, lemonade purveyor to royalty. Mother of four, triathlete, Ironman competitor  and keeper of the family’s prized lemonade recipe, Jill’s family story is truly a message in a bottle.

pix of JillUsing a lemonade recipe passed down through generations, Jill has captured the essence of family, tradition and breezy summers days with her refreshingly natural elixir: Lighthouse Lemonade.

Jill hails from New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast; this means she grew up surrounded by water and lighthouses were a common feature of the craggy coastline.

Her Ladyship (that would be me!) is pleased to sip an iced tea with a zing of Lighthouse Lemonade. This is not Her Ladyship’s traditional afternoon tea, but given we’re finally enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer, she’s relaxing a bit.

DSCF0347What’s the story behind your lemonade?
The exact origin is lost in the mists of our Maritime ancestry. But I know it was a cherished drink of my great-grandmother, a spirited sea captain’s daughter named after one of his favorite ships. My great-grandmother, Vessie, often used her shipping trade connections to ensure a steady supply of lemons during the late 1800′s.

Wow, that’s going back a century or two!
Yes, indeed; over the centuries, gallons upon gallons of this lemonade were brewed and consumed at the summer cottages at Cape Tormentine, New Brunswick. It was the perfect refreshment for generations on both sides of my family.

Have the ingredients for the lemonade changed over time?
I make Lighthouse Lemonade with the simplest of ingredients and follow the original recipe that made visits with Vessie such a hit. It’s made with water, lemon juice and lemon zest. I add citric and tartaric acids – both occurring naturally in certain fruits.

There’s a connection to royalty – what is it?
Rideau Hall in Ottawa, the official residence of the Governor General, ordered Lighthouse Lemonade to serve at the royal reception for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. William and Kate, on their official visit to Canada in 2011.

How did Lighthouse Lemonade arrive at Rideau Hall?
Ahhh – long and interesting story of a light bulb moment and perseverance! A couple of years ago, I was watching the Canada Day celebrations from Parliament Hill on TV – and as it was July 1, you can imagine the heat. That was the light bulb moment. What could be more fitting on Canada Day than a traditional Canadian lemonade? I set my sights on Rideau Hall and started to work my network fast and furiously. After eons of emails, phone calls, the kitchen at Rideau Hall ordered a couple of bottles to sample. I almost missed the follow-up order as I was running and did not bring my Blackberry with me!

Why did you call your lemonade Lighthouse Lemonade?
I was wracking my brain for a name and my daughter Naomi – 11 at the time – got the idea as we were crossing the causeway by car for our annual family pilgrimage to New Brunswick. An old lighthouse stood at the end of the causeway. She had an epiphany only 11 year olds can have and declared the company and the lemonade should be Lighthouse Lemonade. I ran with that name! I’ve adopted the Cape Jourimain lighthouse, so central to my Maritime family, as our corporate logo.

Cape Jourimain Lighthouse

Cape Jourimain Lighthouse

Where in New Brunswick did you grow up?
In Sackville and my roots run deep in New Brunswick. I am a direct descendant of Charles Fisher who brought responsible government to New Brunswick and a Father of Confederation. He attended the Quebec and London Conferences that produced the British North American Act in 1867, when Canada graduated from colony to country.

So now you live in Ontario?
Yes I came to study at the University of Waterloo and now I live near Guelph.

How often do you visit New Brunswick?
I visit New Brunswick every summer.

You are a graduate of the famed Stratford Chefs School; why did you enrol?
I had been working in food-related businesses since I graduated from Waterloo; I just decided one day it was time to move forward.

You are an accomplished triathlete; how did this come about?
I
 was always involved in competitive sports; and after four children, wanted to reclaim my body and my independence. 12 years ago for some unknown reason, the local triathlon re-routed the bike route by our house. It was a turning point for me. I started to train and kept training and started to compete. I love the positive attitude in this sport. Can’t wait to start next triathlon.

What is you go to method to cheer yourself up?
It’s always exercise of some sort – bike, running in the woods, cross country skiing.

What skill would you like to learn?
I would like to have a mechanic’s skill & knowledge – to fix cars, machines and should take that sort of course.

What never fails to make you laugh?
It’s a comedy show from Quebec called Just for Laughs – I think the skits are absolutely hilarious.

How do you make the life of a successful entrepreneur less stressful?
Exercise a lot, get good early sleep and eat well.

What is your favourite work of art?
Horse and Train by the late Alex Colville. My parents knew him personally and I know the stretch of track that’s represented in the painting.

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Horse and Train by Canadian painter Alex Colville

Toronto Symphony or Tegan and Sara?
Niether. Tafelmusik, the Toronto-based Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir. I go to hear this orchestra as often as I can.

How do you celebrate big moments?
Going off to a quiet spot.

What is your idea of an ideal summer day?
Walking on the red rippled sandbars at Cape Tormentine, NB, and enjoying a gin and tonic with Lighthouse Lemonade in it!

What fictional character would you like to meet?
Captain Ahab.

What is your fondest childhood memory?
I have many; but one was getting out of bed as a three year old and sneaking into kitchen and watching my father shuck oysters; instead of sending me back to bed, my father showed me how to shuck oysters.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Anything with food! But especially crème au sucre, a dessert with whipping cream and brown sugar!

What is the best surprise you’ve ever had?
I keep having them.

What is your favourite Canadian city?
Halifax.

Which contemporary celebrity do you admire?
Don’t pay attention to celebrities.

What is your favourite virtue?
Generosity of spirit.

How do you describe your personality?
Driven, energetic, great sense of humour!

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Generosity of spirit.

What is your main fault?
Trying to do too much.

What is your idea of happiness?
Being able to accept myself: the good and the bad.

What do you bring on a long flight to make yourself comfortable?
Books; and a notepad.

When you take a vacation, do you focus on luxury, adventure or relaxation?
Adventure!

What is the most amazing thing you have ever done?
Completing my second Ironman.

What is your favourite daily ritual?
Getting into bed at night.

What is the best advice you would give your younger self?
Put in the hard work early to reap benefits later.

How do you indulge your inner kid?
Playing in the water.

And since we’re celebrating Canada Day next week, what is the best part of being Canadian?
Being well-thought of on the world stage; I can go to any country as a friend.

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Afternoon tea with Ellen Roseman, Intrepid Girl Reporter

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Dear readers and tea lovers everywhere, welcome to a regular feature of our blog,
‘Afternoon tea with …. 
people of note’

Today, we’re taking afternoon tea with Ellen Roseman, journalist, author, public speaker and well-known advocate for the Canadian consumer for nearly four decades. She’s the ‘it’ person at helping consumers fight back against injustices. Her Ladyship (that would be me!) knows this for a fact: if, when dealing with corporate customer service reps, Her Ladyship perceives she’s not getting full satisfaction, the mere mention, nay the mere whisper of Ellen’s name, seems to trigger a satisfactory outcome.

Ellen sticks up for ordinary Canadians. And we are grateful.

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fightbackmediumEllen’s columns, which focus on personal finance and consumer issues, appear in the Toronto Star’s business section on Wednesday, Saturday and Monday. Her latest book, ‘Fight Back: 81 Ways to Help You Save Money and Protect Yourself from Corporate Trickery’ is a must read for savvy consumers. All Ellen’s books are available from amazon.ca or through her website.

Ellen has been an editor and an associate managing editor. She teaches investment and personal finance at the University of Toronto’s continuing studies department and financial basics at Ryerson University. She is also well known for commentaries on CBC radio and television. She’s the first public representative on the board of the Financial Planners Standards Council and Chair of the board of Fair Canada, a foundation that addresses the lack of an independent, experienced voice in securities regulation.

Her books, Money 101: Every Canadian’s Guide to Personal Finance, and Money 201: More Personal Finance Advice for Every Canadian, are an easy-to-understand introduction to personal finance for those of us who are short of time and money. She’s the author of four other books, Ellen Roseman’s Money Guide for Modern Families, Canadian Parent’s Sourcebook, Canadian Consumers’ Survival Book and Consumer, Beware!

IMG_2698Today, Ellen’s preferred tea is Earl Grey, but truth be told, she has a very adventurous palate and recounts how she sipped a hot chocolate–macaroon flavoured tea recently and pronounced it wonderful, ‘tea and dessert in one serving’.

Her Ladyship (that would me) is way more traditional in her tastes, and opted to brew a pot of Earl Grey. Two steaming cups are on the tea table and we begin our conversation.

 

You were born and raised in Montreal. What are your best memories of growing up in Montreal?
I grew up in the Town of Mount Royal, or TMR as everyone calls it. TMR was very quiet, peaceful and only 10 minutes to downtown Montreal. So even though TMR seemed very suburban, it was also very multi-cultural because of the proximity to downtown Montreal. Here are some of the memories I have of growing up in Montreal: Greek food, nuns on the bus, Chinese food, my first pizza at Nello’s, the TMR public library – the original room above the fire station and then the new one named after long-time TMR mayor Reg Dawson and another memory is skating at the rec centre and my Dad whirling me about.

What or who inspired you to become a journalist?
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Definitely the McGill Daily (student newspaper at McGill University). I was looking for campus organizations to join and wasn’t sure where to go or what to join. I hated composition in high school so didn’t think of daily journalism as my forte. Somehow I found myself in the offices of the McGill Daily; I was made very welcome; I was taught the ropes and a month or two after signing on, I was sent on a reporting assignment. I overcame my fear … and fell in love with journalism. I spent more time at the Daily than in class!

You never intended to become a journalist?
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I started at McGill in Science – I thought I would become a scientist. But for one course – literature with Professor Louis Dudek – he opened up my brain – and because of him I switched to Arts. In my second year, I discovered philosophy courses and thought philosophy was the epitome of a critical education – small classes and smaller groups with a Teaching Assistant where it seemed I was arguing with Plato and Socrates.

How did you did end up in Toronto?
I did my M.A. in philosophy in Toronto because the University of Toronto had a one-year Masters program. That meant going to classes all year. After graduation, I stayed.

What was your first job?
I always loved books so I thought I would work in book publishing even though I knew jobs were scarce. I applied to every single publisher. Every single publisher replied ‘forget it’. So I had to look elsewhere for my first job. Through a family friend, I was able to get an interview with Maclean-Hunter, the parent company of several consumer and trade publications. I interviewed, underwent tests and landed an editorial position at Style. I learned a lot and from there I went on to several other publications, first on the retailing beat and then the business beat.

You own the personal consumer beat in Canada. How did this come about?
My interest started when I was with the Financial Post in the early 70’s. Inflation in Canada was running wild; the government of the day needed to do something very visible to address inflation so the Food Prices Review Board was established headed up by (the late, great, feisty and self-proclaimed ‘inflation fighter’) Beryl Plumptre. I attended the Board’s conferences regularly and saw the potential, and the merit, of marrying business and the increasingly vocal consumer. This is introduced me to consumer affairs.

What is the best criticism you received?
Someone once told me, “You’re looking at the world through Roseman-coloured glasses.” This criticism was meant to temper my optimism; however much I balance my optimism with pragmatism, I am essentially an optimist. I do not give up; I know change is slow and incremental but I have seen some companies work for the consumer.

Some more tea?
Yes, that would be great!

What are the principal aspects of your personality?
I like to help people so I use my access with companies to help consumers resolve issues. I also like stability – I’ve always worked in newspapers but lately I’ve started to teach and I enjoy it.

What took you into teaching?
An invitation! Teaching was not part of my ‘plan’. Someone at the University of Toronto saw me on TV and offered the opportunity. I took it!

What three words best describe your personality?
Passionate, curious, hard-working.

How do you tame butterflies before a presentation?
To tell you the truth, I’ve been making presentations for so long, I don’t have butterflies.

When you take a vacation, do you focus on luxury, adventure or relaxation?
Adventure!

What is the most amazing thing you have ever done?
About five years ago my husband and I travelled to China and Japan. I was fascinated by the contrast between the two countries.

What is you favourite daily ritual?
I love to walk outdoors and it’s a challenge in the winter but I walk as much as I can every day. I find the more walking I do, the freer my mind becomes. I often compose speeches while I walk.

What are your favourite haunts in this city?
I love the ravines. (Toronto is blessed with an enviable network of ravines). It took me a long time to discover them; they’re totally hidden and it takes an insider to introduce you to the ravines.

Roseman_Ellen_logo2012W.jpg.size.medium1.originalWhat is the best lesson you have taken from a mistake?
I have learned to say yes as much as possible to the many invitations I get to speak or make an appearance. Sometimes I used to decline invitations for any number of reasons; now I accept as many invitations as I can because you always meet interesting people – you never know whom you will meet.

What is the best surprise you’ve ever had?
Hmmm … this is a hard one because I get surprised every day by the exchanges I have with readers. I am always surprised by how grateful people are with whatever help I can provide.

What is you go to method to cheer yourself up?
Bookstores! I love browsing in bookstores.

What skill would you like to learn?
Learn to play the piano.

What never fails to make you laugh?
The Big Bang Theory. (Her Ladyship concurs).

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
A spirit of adventure; a willingness to try new things. Keeping in touch, especially with older friends because of the shared history.

What are your favourite places to unplug?
In the bathtub; also, at home, I never take my electronic gadgets upstairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Montreal Habs or Toronto Maple Leafs?
Habs for sure.

Toronto Symphony or Tegan and Sara?
Toronto Symphony.

How do you celebrate big moments?
A really great meal comes to mind. My husband and I like to celebrate with a meal in one of the many as yet undiscovered eateries in Toronto.

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
The late British novelist Anthony Powell wrote a series of 12 books, titled A Dance to the Music of Time. I would like to meet the hero of the series, Kenneth Widmerpool.

What is your workout routine?
I go to a personal trainer once a week and I also go to the gym on my own.

What is must see TV for you?
I especially enjoy the singing and dancing reality shows – I love the athleticism.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Linda Kelsey who played Billie Newman, Intrepid Girl Reporter, on the Lou Grant show.

Your favourite virtue?
Patience.

What is your idea of happiness?
Reading a good book in a lovely location out of doors, perhaps with a cool drink and lots of time.

What is your idea of misery?
Running out of books to read; and being shut in because of the weather.

What are three little known facts about you?
I have a philosophy background; I like being a member of a book club and presenting books; I completed the Marine Corps Marathon in DC in 2004 – this was a thrill, as I never intended to enter the marathon. My family was there to welcome me at the finish line.

Do you collect anything in particular?
I collect books.

Best advice you would give your younger self?
I should have had children earlier; we love our two boys and if we had known how much fun they would be, we would have started a family sooner. I would be a grandmother by now!

 

 

Necessity is not the mother of invention: Pear and Cranberry Crisp

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They say necessity is the mother of invention. Not so in my book. I think a sense of taste is what invention is all about.

A few years ago, a famous American chef unveiled his brand new (and now surely famous)  apple – cranberry cobbler recipe on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah drooled. We drooled. The famous chef drooled and beamed.

We immediately set to work with the famous chef’s recipe, which Oprah posted to her website. And yet …. and yet we thought: why apples and not pears? Why just a little lemon juice? Why not zest a whole lemon? And why not add some toasted slivered almonds to the topping? Why not indeed!

A little tweak here, a few more tweaks there and now we have our very own delicious invention: our Simply Splendid Pear – Cranberry Crisp. In winter, we offer a plate of this crisp warm, paired a cup of Darjeeling or Assam tea; in summer, we offer the crisp cold or at room temperature, paired with a pitcher of iced Baroness Grey tea.  Vanilla ice cream is always optional in winter or summer. Or a dollop of real Devon Clotted Cream.

The only difference between the winter and summer versions is than in the summertime we go a little lighter on spreading the topping – this allows the fruit to really kick your taste buds!

The Simply Splendid Crisp going into the oven

The Simply Splendid Crisp going into the oven

This recipe has become a family favourite at Christmas and a go to recipe for afternoon teas in the winter months. For the BBQ circuit, we’ve introduced single portions and here’s the best tip of all: this is such a simple recipe to prepare that you can whip it up anytime and feel free to innovate yourself. We’d love to have your comments.

Simply Splendid Pear - Cranberry Crisp

Filling

Pears: 5 Bosc pears, cored, peeled and cut up into bite-size squares

Cranberries:  1 cup, fresh or frozen

Sugar:  1/3 cup

Corn starch:  2 tablespoons

Lemon:  1 for the zest; and 1/2 lemon for juice

Topping

Rolled oats:  1 cup

Flour:  1/2 cup; we have used white flour as well as whole wheat flour – both flours work very well

Butter:  2/3 cup; cold and cut up into small pieces

Brown sugar:  2/3 cup

Cinnamon:  1 teaspoon

Cloves:  a pinch

Almonds:  1/2 cup – slivers or a little sticks

Method

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Grease a deep dish pie plate

Combine and blend all the filling ingredients in a large bowl then transfer to pie plate. Even out the filling across the plate.

In a food processor, combine the topping ingredients EXCEPT the almonds. Pulse several times until topping resembles coarse corn meal. Remove bowl from food processor and add the almonds. Using a wooden spoon mix the almonds into the topping mixture.

Mound topping over the filling and spread to cover filling thoroughly.

Bake 40-45 minutes until the filling is bubbly.

 

Fresh out of the oven

Fresh out of the oven

The Simply Splendid Pear and Cranberry Crisp ready for the outdoor BBQ circuit

The Simply Splendid Pear and Cranberry Crisp ready for the outdoor BBQ circuit

Why we love this cookbook

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Nettie Cronish, our fave vegetarian goddess and Pat Crocker, Canada’s culinary herbalist, have teamed up to write a new cookbook.  And we’re the luckier for it.

flexappealcover_Multi-Image-page-001The book, Flex Appeal, will please every home cook, especially the one with some family  members who think fast food is good food.

The book contains favourites recipes from both households and is all about getting delicious and healthy meals on the table within 35 minutes.
“As a hockey mom of a 15 year old, time is often limited. Being able to prepare a tasty meal that isn’t eaten in the car can be a challenge,” says Nettie.  The book has recipes that are easy to prepare, contain accessible ingredients and are crowd pleasers for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. For the conscientious and ethical shopper, the recipes use local, farmer’s market friendly, Fair Trade and organic ingredients. We say, ‘Yeah!’

 

The Toronto book launch takes place on Friday, June 13th, at All The Best Fine Foods at Yonge and Summerhill from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pick up your signed copy and enjoy bites from recipes in Flex Appeal.

 

The List, June 2014

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At the start of every month, we offer you a short list of pleasant activities to inspire you; some are focussed on afternoon tea, some not.

Herewith five suggestions for June 2014.

 

Nothing says summer like an outdoor festival

miltonCoachella, Lollapalooza, the Calgary Stampede, Tanglewood, Ravinia, the Edinburgh Festival, the Galway Oyster Festival … We love them all, but our favourite is the kinder, gentler cousin to the blockbuster festivals – the humble street festival. The warmer weather seems to mobilize entire communities to frolic and show off in public. On 07 June, we will be attending the Milton Street Festival in Milton, Ontario, where we’ll enjoy local community groups, buskers, artisans, street vendors, the imaginative Kidz Zone and the live entertainment. Did we mention a special visit to the local tea rooms too?

 

Father’s Day is 15 June

Fathers day sconesSpend time with Dad. Talk. Reminisce. Take a walk. Treat dad to classic English scones. Lather scones with genuine, imported Devon Clotted Cream and preserves. Eat. Talk some more.

Back by popular demand – our sold out Mother’s Day Brunch Tradition of Classic Scones, Devon Clotted Cream and Preserves – is reprised for Father’s Day.

Avoid disappointment. Place your order Today for GTA delivery on Sunday 15 June. Twelve Scones, Devon Clotted Cream, Preserves, suitable for 6-8 Guests; $25.95 + taxes, delivery.

 

Thank the teacher. Celebrate the grad

Tea and cookies of the month

Photo credit: Jenn Borsuk, http://bakeandbemerry.wordpress.com

No one can influence a young mind to aspire and achieve as a good teacher. Show your appreciation with a truly great gift – a Tea and Cookie of the month subscription. A gift that truly says “Thank you” over and over.

And don’t forget to celebrate the grad with a personalized tea tray from Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas.

 

 

 Tea in the garden

tea in the Garden

Linen-clad garden tables take a Downton Abbey allure. Ladies in hats nail the look. Sandwiches splendidly prepared, trimmed and quartered tease you into believing you’re at Downton Abbey. Tea cakes and classic scones conjure visions of Mrs. Patmore. Transport yourself and your guests to another era. No time machines required.

 

 

Photo credit: Toronto Zoo

Photo credit: Toronto Zoo

Summer can be a good time to channel your inner child

Visit a local zoo and let the animals and their antics awe you … again, just like when you were a kid.

Modern zoos house animals in penned, natural environments so the animals live their lives with wild abandon and without inhibitions. Modern zoos are also great places to hike as most are laid out over vast acres of land. Some zoos we recommend: Toronto, Taronga, Berlin, Bronx, Washington, DC, Copenhagen, Singapore and the Durell Wildlife Park in Jersey, Channel Islands.

 

 

Afternoon tea with Chris Klugman, chef and social entrepreneur

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Dear readers and tea lovers everywhere,

Welcome to a regular feature of our blog,
‘Afternoon tea with …. 
people of note’


close up of ChrisToday, we’re taking afternoon tea, virtually, with Chris Klugman.  Chris is a chef, a sommelier, a professional photographer, a professor, and as president of Paintbox Bistro and Catering, a social entrepreneur. And he’s a mentor to many and a community leader. After a stellar career as opening chef, chef, or executive chef at Toronto culinary landmarks such as Bistro 990, Oro, Winston’s and Summerhill Market, the opportunity to provide meaningful support to a community in rebirth led Chris to establish Paintbox Catering and Bistro.

The re-born community is Regent Park, a “Failed post-war social housing experiment that had outlived its theory,” said Christopher Hume, Canada’s pre-eminent urban renewal and architecture journalist, in the Toronto Star. Hume continues, “As Toronto’s most successful city-building effort in more than 30 years, the Regent Park remake is one of few projects in which we can all take pride. Not since … the 1970s has local officialdom managed to pull off such a bold and innovative scheme. When done, it will have improved the lives of thousands of low-income tenants and made the city a better place. The solution, simple but brilliant, … rebuild the neighbourhood on a mixed-income, mixed-use basis.”

Paintbox venuePaintbox Bistro is a certified B Corporation – a new kind of social enterprise harnessing the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. It’s is a global movement to redefine success in business – success in its most fundamental meaning. These corporations meet higher standards of social and environmental performance and are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on all stakeholders, including the environment.

Chef Chris likes Earl Grey tea – black and on the stronger side. Her Ladyship (that would be me) pours the first cup for herself, as she prefers her tea on the weaker side. The tea leaves continue to steep for another minute, a second cup of tea is offered and the conversation begins.

You were a chef at some of Toronto’s most blue chip establishments; why did you transition to a B Corporation enterprise?
I’ve been moving into the field for a while with Evergreen, an organization devoted to mobilizing action to green cities – in fact its motto is ‘green cities, healthy planet’.  When conceiving Paintbox Bistro, I was researching charities and while doing this research, I came across B Corporations. It’s a good model and in keeping with the Regent Park redevelopment.

What are the steps to become a certified B Corporation?
Fairly straightforward but not easy. We had to recognize all constituents in our articles of incorporation. Then we moved forward based on the social and environmental principles of B Corporations. We had to be open and operational for six months to walk the talk, then Paintbox Bistro and Catering got its B Corporation certification.

How do you put into practice the principles of a B Corporation?
We provide employment, training, and career development to residents of Regent Park and other close-by marginalized communities. Almost all our charming staff is from the neighbourhood or close by, and have been offered the opportunity to study in the Chefs programme at George Brown, one of North America’s top 10 culinary schools.

Chef Chris w fresh vegHow would you describe the Paintbox Bistro?
A restaurant that strives to sustain a community’s hopes! A playful celebration of local abundance, full of inspiration from the community. It’s a balance of culinary technique and whimsy. Paintbox prides itself in being innovative, offering food and service that is unfamiliar to Toronto, and truly thinking outside of the box! Paintbox doesn’t aspire to be trendy; we are a high volume restaurant producing beautiful dishes and maintaining a strong social mandate. Paintbox is an expression of what is going on in Regent Park – we empower those who have become isolated.

Where did the name “Paintbox” come from?
The name relates to the organization we are; the name connotes creativity, fun and a large amount of playfulness. It’s really the nature of our enterprise. It’s also the name of the condo building we’re in.

When did you decide to become a chef?
It came about in my 20’s – I was living in the country and growing food and raising meat and by the by, I became a freelance chef.

How do you make the life of a restaurateur less stressful?
Haven’t figured out that just yet!

What is your go to method to cheer yourself up?
At this time year, it’s got to be gardening.

What skill would you like to learn?
My music ability – the Paintbox is also a live music venue with vibrant music offerings in the evenings; it also has a reputation for live jazz, so I gained a lot of affinity and respect for musician.

What never fails to make you laugh?
Puns!

The best criticism you received?
Feedback from my staff.

Toronto Symphony or Tegan and Sara?
I love the symphony but I tend to opera.

How do you celebrate big moments?
With champagne!

If you could meet any fictional character, who would it be?
Dr Who.

What is your fondest childhood memory?
I have many memories, but I guess one of the best would be cooking an orange meringue pie from the Joy of Cooking at age 10.

What is your best adventure ever?
Three years ago I went on a trip to Scandinavia and Russia – awesome.

What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m a Clamato juice junkie.

What is the best surprise you’ve ever had?
An incident that changed my life. I was working in a restaurant in the early 80’s and a new cook was hired to assist me. She kissed me at end of the shift – she’s now my wife Mimi.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Mitchell Cohen.

What is your favourite virtue?
Patience.

What is the principal aspect of your personality?
Patience!

What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Loyalty.

What is your idea of misery?
A tragedy that could be avoided.

What is your idea of happiness?
Making difference in some else’s life.

Chris w black hat

While sipping a second cup of Earl Grey, Her Ladyship wishes Chris well and promises to dine, and catch a show, at the Paintbox Bistro very soon.

Our Simply Splendid chocolate-cayenne shortbread

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Chocolate-cayenne pepper shortbread

 

We are excited, and honoured, and gratified

Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas developed the chocolate-cayenne shortbread because the owner and chief baker, (that would be Her Ladyship), fell in love with chocolate chili ice cream … while touring Toronto’s historic Distillery District, one hot, muggy summer night.

Surely such a seductive ice cream could be translated into a shortbread, thought Her Ladyship.

And it was!

And now comes the icing on the biscuit, as it were: We have been invited to participate in a demonstration at the 2014 Hot and Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront, Toronto’s famed waterfront complex.

This hot and fiery food festival has set Toronto palates on fire for a weekend every summer for the past 15 years. Held at Harbourfront Centre, the Festival celebrates hot, hot, hot culture – music, food, dance and crafts. On Saturday August 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lakeside Terrace venue at Harbourfront, we will be demonstrating our Simply Splendid chocolate-cayenne shortbread.  This demonstration is part of the For the Love of Spice series, which asks chefs to prepare their spiciest dish for the audience to taste.

So, to our dear readers within the GTA – and beyond if you are visiting Toronto this summer – sharpen your taste buds, find out the back story to these seductive shortbreads, sample the shortbread, get the recipe and   prepare to fire up your taste buds!

 

 

The May 2014 List, from Simply Splendid Victorian Afternoon Teas

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At the start of every month, we offer you a short list of pleasant activities to consider, some focussed on afternoon tea, some not.

Herewith five suggestions for May 2014.

Bike rides
I think we can now safely say, “Grab life by the handlebars”! Pump some air into the tires, oil the chain, check the brakes, open the garage and roll out the bike. Take some iced tea along for the ride. We’re promoting cycling because it’s economical; it reduces traffic congestion; it improves your health and it’s a lot of fun. Find out more about the ins and outs of cycling by joining a local cycling group. We belong to the Toronto Bicycle Network, an excellent group that provides lots of group rides, lots of good information about all aspects of cycling. Check out the TBN if you live in or around Toronto.

Five Boro Ride
logo_bikenyIf you happen to be in or around New York City on Sunday 04 May, you can cheer the TD Five Boro Bike Tour. 32,000 cyclists will bike through Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island on streets totally free of traffic. The event is co-produced by Bike New York and the New York City Department of Transportation with proceeds 
funding Bike New York’s free bike education classes. It’s way to late to participate in this year Five Boro Ride, but bookmark the Ride link; registration opens in mid-January 2015. Is there a better way to experience the Big Apple than by bike?  On the roads that are yours, across bridges that are yours and a city that is totally yours for a day. We think not.

 

May is whiskey month.jpg[ProductMain]May is whisky month
Enjoy Highland hospitality. Throughout this year, Scotland welcomes the world to Homecoming 2014. In addition to the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, the year-long programme of events and activities will showcase the wonders of Scotland: Mouth-watering food & drink events, lots of great outdoor activities and spectacular arts, cultural and ancestral heritage to explore. join us and be part of Homecoming Scotland 2014

 

SconeService240-1May is Mother’s Day
The influence of mothers in society is huge; just check out the ancient matriarchal societies to women today who tend the familial and societal bonds. Sunday 11 May is Mother’s Day. In whatever way you are going to celebrate Mother’s Day this year – whether with your mother, mother-in-law or the women who influence you, make it special with a favourite meal, a cake, or scones and clotted cream. Our readers in the Greater Toronto Area can order 12 Classic scones, Devon Clotted Cream and Preserves.

Book your scones today for delivery in the GTA on Sunday 11 May
12 Scones, Cream and Preserves, suitable for 6 to 8 guests
$35.84 includes taxes and delivery
Order desk open 8:00 a.m. — 6:00 p.m. (Eastern) 416.407.6837
Offer valid in the GTA only

And a Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and women of influence!

Spring Birding Festiva
peptbologo2
The Prince Edward County Spring Birding Festival takes place 10-19 May. This is surely a confirmation that spring is actually going to happen. Week-long festivities include workshops; a photo contest; banding demonstrations every morning; daily guided walks at various times of the day and early evening and culminating with the County Birding Tour on Sunday  18 at 8:00 a.m. The Birding Festival takes place at or near the Prince Edward Point Bird Observatory,  a migration research station located along the eastern tip of Prince Edward County about 30 minutes southeast of Picton, Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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