Already finished this longer February of the leap year, we are getting closer to the end of winter (or that’s what I am hoping here in cold and icy Canada). This month has been quite exciting for me, for both culinary experiences and travelling. Let me share with you what happened on February.
I am going to events: Nova Scotia Ice Wine Festival
One of the largest wine festivals in the Annapolis valley is the ice wine festival. It’s called ice wine festival, but you can taste all types of wines produced in the province, sparklings, whites, reds… Moreover, food pairings are designed by each winery and their collaborating chefs. This makes it quite appetizing. This year, the festival was hosted at Lightfoot & Wolfville winery, which has a breathtaking winter view, and a cosy atmosphere.
A nice surprise was waiting the people who dared to go outside, 2 amazing ice sculptures representing wines of Nova Scotia. We did went out to take some photos, it was definitely not the warmest day of the winter, but nothing that a warm outdoor fireplace cannot fix! (Still would be a better idea to put back on the jackets, though.)
I am eating at: Le Bistro by Liz
I’ve found myself craving for a French onion soup, and that’s how I discovered this cute bistro in Halifax city center: Le Bistro by Liz. It has such a lovely decoration, it looks even more French than some bistros in France.
The onion soup was full of cheese I can say that it has more cheese than onion. It was definitely the star of the meal. As main dish, we have chosen the crêpe with seafood, with scallops, shrimp and salmon. I would have liked it better with less cream in it, which didn’t give a good texture in a crepe. Moreover we had some Digby scallops served with potato puree and veggies. They were very well cooked and delicious.
I am cooking: Lamb shanks in oven & Pecan Pie
This month I’ve cooked 2 dishes that I’ve never done before. First one is from classical Turkish cuisine; the lamb shanks in oven. First, I have seared them on a hot pan to give crispiness and a 2 hours in conventional oven to achieve high level of tenderness. The results was incredibly satisfying. Crispy outside, since, juicy and tender inside. Again, traditionally it’s served with orzo, but I’ve served it on the bed of another traditional delight; pilaf of bulgur, and added some onions and tomato paste to enrich the flavors and colors. The result was absolutely beautiful, and made great pairing with a glass of Carmenere from Aconcagua Valley of Chile.
The second new plate to me was a pecan pie. I actually wanted to bake a pecan pie for couple of years now, and I finally achieved it. It was very successful being the first time.
I am reading: Street Foods of Turkey
I borrowed two books from library this month. First one was Street Foods of Turkey by Hande Bozdogan.
What I loved the most about this book was that it was divided into seasons, and it was explaining what is sold in each season at the streets in Turkey. More than the cooked food, the focused was on seasonal fruits and veggies, for example watermelons in summer, quince in winter, pumpkins in autumn and artichoke in spring… After every fruit and vegetable some local recipes with these fruits and veggies were given. What I didn’t enjoy a lot about this book was some of these recipes, which were not local, such as pumpkin pie, banana bread or vinaigrette which don’t reflect the Turkish cuisine very well in my opinion, if that was the aim of the book.
Another interesting part of the book was the stories of the vendors. The story of the vendor who carries a big basket of quince in his back and walk around the city was very impressive: He would sell different produces each season and provide them from where they come the best. Overall, it was a very interesting book to learn more about the rich agriculture produces of Turkey, and how the momentum is on the streets.
The second book was called Yashim Cooks Istanbul, written by Jason Goodwin. Unfortunately I didn’t have chance to finish this one. Surprisingly, I am not the only person who is interested in Turkish cuisine, so somebody requested that I return it back to the library. I will try to borrow it back in the next round.
I am travelling: Niagara Falls
I finally get a chance to see Niagara Falls. Everybody was telling me that I should definitely see it, so I knew that it was going to be pretty – but I wasn’t imagining this much. I started to cry the moment I saw it first from my hotel room window. Before arriving there, I had no intention to go closer to it – I thought it would be so icy and dangerous for the winter time. But when I saw it from my hotel window I was so impressed that I just found myself putting my coat on and going out to see it.
Luckily where I was staying was very close to the falls, I just passed through the Niagara Lock Bridge and took the Falls Incline Railway to go down. It cost me $ 6 in total to go down and back up. I would probably not take it if it wasn’t winter. I have passed through the visitor center and went out to the front. It was just amazing. So powerful, yet calming how the water moves, it gave me a different energy to be around this natural beauty.
I am tasting wine: Wines from Niagara VQA
I will definitely go back to Niagara Falls for as a tourist. This time I could only drive along Niagara Stone Road and passed through some wineries and vineyards. I also had a chance to visit the teaching winery of Niagara College and tasted some wines that they are producing under VQA.
We have tasted most of the single varietals they make to have an idea of the styles, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. We have started the tasting with a traditional method Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine, from 2014, and aged on lees for 4 years. If didn’t have only a carry-on luggage I would definitely get a bottle of the sparkling. Very integrated aging aromas and you can still feel the nice fruitiness of Chardonnay. I was surprised to learn that it is sold for $27 (if I remember correctly) if you happen to visit the Wine Visitor + Education Center situated at Niagara College. And we finished the tasting with obviously an ice wine, which had an impressive bouquet and palate.
Thank you for reading!
All images © 2020 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.