Archives: bbq

100 years of AGH

A few weeks ago we celebrated the Art Gallery of Hamilton‘s one hundred years of existence at a free BBQ picnic in their sculpture garden.

The BBQ was followed by a slew of kid and family friendly activities.

AGH tshirt printing

AGH printing stamps

The kids were loving this; printing old car and machine parts onto T-shirts!

AGH inking up

AGH tshirt print

Although Omi was a little young for the art activities and the guided tour of the gallery that didn’t stop us from doing our own self directed toddler-mini-tour.


Phantom Hunter William Blair Bruce

William Blair Bruce -The Phantom Hunter 1888

While on our wanderings, I was glad to have gotten a peek at the William Blair Bruce exhibit. Bruce was a born and raised Hamiltonian, who established himself primarily as Canadian impressionist painter, recognized and celebrated throughout Paris, North America and Europe.

I later learned that following Bruce’s death his collection was donated to the city of Hamilton, which at the time did not have a municipal gallery. The collection would in turn play a critical role in the foundation and establishment of the Art Gallery of Hamilton. It’s possible that without Bruce’s collection the AGH may have never materialized. My guess is it’s no coincidence that the Bruce exhibit coincided with the celebration of the AGH’s centennial.

The Bruce exhibit runs at the AGH until October 5th. It’s the largest Bruce exhibit to be shown with 100 works; some of which have never been publicly exhibited. Definitely a must-see! (FYI first Friday of each month admission is free!!)

I’m so thankful that Hamilton has the AGH. Happy one hundred years!

*Art Gallery of Hamilton, 123 King Street West, 905.527.6610, @theAGH


market pit stop to guelph

Typically on a Sunday, if heading to Guelph for a visit, we would’ve likely made a stop at the Aberfoyle Antique Market.  But having recently come to know of Mizener’s Antiques & Flea Market (while en route to a day trip to Christie Conservation Area earlier in the week) we thought it would be nice to check out another market that just so happens to be a short 10-15 minutes drive from Hamilton.

It is definitely a scaled down version of Aberfoyle with cheaper prices, fewer people, and a needed keen eye to find those vintage gems.  Mizener’s is the perfect kind of place for breezing through in and hour or two leaving ample time for visits to surrounding areas: local farms, Webster’s Falls, Christie Conservation Area, or wherever it is you’re heading to.

While at Mizener’s we stopped for a classic market bite to eat: peameal bacon on a bun, and fresh cut fries. AND we found a steal of a deal with a stall that was getting rid of its inventory of antiques -an already priced to go vintage 60′s dresser with 40% off.  We grabbed it for $25 dollars just barely fitting it into the car.

Here it is in its new home in our bedroom (the dresser I had before was from when I was a kid, it was definitely time for an upgrade).

We got to Guelph with time for a pit stop for ice-cream at the Boathouse Tea Room before heading to a backyard BBQ for our friend’s birthday.

I sometimes forget that when we go to Guelph to visit this crew of friends that the ratio of children tends to exceed the number adults.  At this particular event I believe that there were over twenty kids under the age of six! The backyard was perfectly suited for little ones, painting, dirt, shovels, a wheelbarrow -what more could a kid want?

When it was time to get the BBQ going the call went out for little hands to help in shucking the corn.  The kids were so awesome and enthusiastic to lend a hand.  SO adorable seeing nearly twenty little hands shucking away. That corn was ready to go in no time!  Oh sweet summer corn.  We feasted on tandori burgers, sausage, sweet corn, and a homemade blackforest cake! A perfect summer time feast -thanks so much for the BBQ Ben and Christina!!

the weekend of the bbq

The weather was devine this past weekend.  We enjoyed three consecutive lovely outdoor backyard barbecues!  The third BBQ was at our place with some old friends from Toronto.

I planned the food around the theme of a summery Caribbean meal.  For the starter, I made my first attempt at coconut shrimp.  It was pretty easy, just shell and clean the shrimp, pat dry, salt and pepper liberally, coat in flour, dip into egg and then cover with unsweetened shredded coconut and deep fry.  I used a hot pepper jelly as a dipping sauce.  Overall I was pretty pleased with the turn out -crispy, quick and savoury sweet.

deep-fried coconut shrimp

I had to do a bit of research on how to make jerk-chicken (another culinary first for me).  I combined two recipes (recipe one & two) and did a trial run once with a few tweaks and improvements.  As a base I marinated the chicken in a homemade jerk-chicken paste of green onions tops, red onion, garlic, all spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, scotch-bonnet peppers, molasses, brown sugar, a splash of dark rum, and fresh ground black pepper, and thyme leaves.  I ground up the ingredients into a paste and let chicken marinade for 24+ hours.

jerk chicken marinade ingredients

We cooked the chicken on low heat on the barbecue but with all the marinade and chicken juices dripping into the flames, there was some serious blackening of the chicken.   In the end this worked perfect for the look and taste of a proper jerk chicken.

The scotch bonnet peppers in the marinade were pretty hot!  So for a nice complement I made a cool mango, papaya, avocado, cucumber, coriander, mint and lime salsa.  I had a bean salad left over from the day before’s BBQ, and just added some potatoes to make another cooling side dish.

mango salsa homemade

mango salsa & bean potato salad

For this meal I had to plan in advance to make sure I had ripe mangos, avocados, and plantains.  Plantains take some time to ripen nicely and I wanted them to be in their optimal pan-frying condition.  I discovered that the riper they are the faster they brown and the easier they are squish (with a fork or rolling pin) for a tasty pan-fried delight.  All this was served along side a pot of hot coconut rice.

pan fried plantains

The first dessert, made by our friend Andrea, was a gorgeous flan with raspberries, and blackberries on top of a layer of custard.  Note the letter “S” on the cake (for the S’s of Steve and Seema). So cute!  The dessert was perfect -fresh, light and summery!

Our friend Vern brought some homemade butter-tart squares which were gooey, and amazing.  You need to take a peak at Vern’s blog!  She has some mouth watering recipes and great posts about her dining discoveries plus her all time restaurant favourites.

butter tart squares

A gorgeous weekend enjoyed with friends and family!  I’m looking forward to many more culinary delights this summer in our backyard!

backyard delights

This weekend I had my ultimate Korean bbq dream come true.  My friend Vern had suggested a Korean bbq themed backyard party at our place.  Such a good idea!

I made Japanese gyoza dumplings of 3 varieties (chive, dill, & garlic scapes).  I picked the  herbs right from our garden to complement the ground pork, chopped cabbage, and crushed garlic gyoza mixture.

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

 japanese food, homemade gyoza, dill, chives, garlic scapes, pork dumplings

I gathered this year’s first home grown bouquet for a table centrepiece. I threw in some fresh mint, lavender, and even some little yellow blossoms that came from our bok choys (they’ve already shooted and started running hence the blossoms).  So far I’m loving the early summer harvest of fresh flowers, & delicious herbs.

garden picked fresh flowers, mint, lilis, lavender,

Here’s mine and Vern’s combined spread of a mixture of Japanese homemade tsukemono and Korean pickles and sides, plus the pan fried gyoza, fresh cold tofu with grated ginger, green onions, and soy sauce (super refreshing).  The table was already ram-packed, and the bbq’d meat was still to come!

Korean BBQ side dishes, gyoza, tofu, tsukemono, pickles

Vern brought Kalbi short ribs, that she marinated Korean style for 2 days.  I put together Japanese yakitori chicken sticks, marinated over night in a reduced version of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, and sake.  I saved the left over marinade to glaze on top while bbq’ing.

calbi, short ribs, yaki tori, Korean BBQ

calbi, short ribs, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce

Fresh picked lettuce from the garden to wrap meat in, after dipping in sauces and adding kimchee or pickles.

yakitori, Japanese food, chicken stick, green onions, BBQ

pork belly, Korean BBQ, fresh garden lettuce, kimchee

Homegrown lettuce with samgyupsal (bbq'd pork belly), dipped in a savoury sesame oil sauce, with kimchee, and baby sugared dried anchovies.

Korean BBQ, calbi, side dishes

Hite Korean beer

black sesame, goma, icecream, strawberries, mint, condensed milk, dessert

Dessert black sesame ice-cream with garden fresh mint, strawberries and condensed milk.

holy mackerel it’s spring

First dinner of the year in the backyard.  A home cooked, Japanese, mega power meal; sake, rice, miso soup, grilled mackerel, tsukemono (homemade Japanese pickles), horenso no goma ae (spinach and sesame), and kimpira gobo (burdock root and carrot).

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