Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Food & Friends

Having a load of pears Mr.T and I decided to try out a Martha Stewart recipe for Pear-Cranberry Chutney. 

Cranberry, Pear Chutney

  • 3 Pears, Peeled & cored
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cups Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Orange Juice
  • ¼ Cup Raisins
  • 5 Dates, Pitted & Chopped
Toss the chopped pears with the lemon zest and juice in a bowl.
In a large saucepan over medium heat cook the cranberries and sugar until the berries burst and release their juices, about 8 minutes.
Add orange juice, raisins and dates to the saucepan.
Raise the heat to medium-high.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture bubbles.
Add the pears, cook, stirring until the mixture thickens and the pears are softened, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a month. 

After finishing the chutney Mr.D called inviting us out for dim sum. Sadly, all the roads were backed up with the Toronto Marathon so we made our way out to their place to meet them. Driving north we searched for a dim sum place finally settling on Shanghai Dim Sum on Sheppard Avenue. 

Located on a corner lot surrounded by an L-shaped parking lot the building was a small box that looked liked a converted donut or fast food place. Inside there were a few round tables and a couple of square ones all packed together really tightly. The place was packed and we waited for a table. The menu featured a selection of Shanghai inspired dim sum, which is heavy on the pork, lacking a lot of familiar shrimp & seafood options. The feature of Shanghai dim sum are soup dumplings and steamed buns filled with assorted fillings. The service was quick and the food delicious.

Feast Day of St.Divine

Dance of the Dead

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Blustery Fall Day

Today the temperature continued to drop and the winds picked up. It was a cool, fall, blustery day. Mr.T and I decided after our Saturday morning trip to Kensington to head up to IKEA to check out some sheets. Sadly, the subways were not working between Bloor and Eglington and we had to travel in between by bus. It made for a lot of people squeezing together in a small space. Once arriving on the Shepard line we decided to head out to Fairview Mall at the end of the line, checking out the mall. After walking around we made our way back to IKEA, not finding what we were seeking, then made our way to Canadian Tire. From there we made our way back downtown again having to disembark at Eglington station. This time there were even more people and the buses were become far to busy so we disembarked at Summerhill and then made our way over to Rashnaa for an early dinner. After all the traveling and crowds we were exhausted and decided after dinner just to head home. 

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Stag Night

Last night I attended my first COC performance of Verdi's Falstaff for the 2014/2015 season. This year I changed my seat from the 3rd ring to the main floor which made a great difference in my ability to see the whole stage. Falstaff was staged by Robert Carsen my favourite opera director. 

He chose to set Verdi's interpretation of this Shakespearan tale in post-World War II Britain. The curtain opened to reveal a wood panelled room in the Inn with a large four poster bed where Falstaff was recovering from a night of indulging in drink and food. All around him in the room were tables with food and drink. The feel captured perfectly a night enjoying his status. In the notes to the performance Carsen argued that post-War Britain was a good setting because it allowed him to play with issues of class and status. However the frequent scene changes necessitated long pauses between scenes when the house lights came up breaking the momentum of the piece. From a director who is a master of theatrical techniques it was unnecessary. After one long pause the scene changed to a 50s inspired yellow kitchen that received applause from the audience, but it was an ideal that was out of place for post-War Britain. The final act was more minimal in tone and saw some of Carsen's theatrical magic when a panelled stable gave way to a screen of stars. It was beautiful evoking the forest for the fairy queen, the chorus with stag horns and Falstaff's humiliation. Kudos also need to go to the lighting director who used lighting to create mood and setting. 

This was my first introduction to Verdi's Falstaff and the Falstaff of The Merry Wives of Windsor is a different character than the man in Henry IV and Henry V. That Falstaff is more tragic and less comic. But the vehicle allows Verdi to show off his mastery of multiple voices in a narrative tale. Bringing together so many voices in one piece allowed the COC to show a number of voices, including Gerard Finley as Falstaff. His voice was powerful, but I found myself wishing for a little more. The other standouts were Mistress Quickly and Alice Ford, while some of the supporting singers had voices that wavered in strength and beauty. It was a lovely way to begin the new season. 

Memento Mori