Battle of Ingredients #3: Farmers’ Market Edition

Battle of Ingredients

The next Battle of Ingredients happened this past weekend.

Here in Canada, we had our Victoria Day long weekend. Montreal was also full of festivities as the city celebrated its 375th birthday. A lot more festivities are on the way as Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday as well. If you do want to ask about the 375th birthday in a 150 year country, Montreal was a French colony and established before Canada was was formed under confederation. That is the short form of the explanation. Since I do get asked that question once in a while, so just in case you are curious 🙂

This edition is all about Farmer’s Market. A fantastic idea from my collaborator for this series, Phoebe from Starry Traveler’s Road who also happened to have written a great post on the Montreal celebrations. Montreal has a few markets strewn both on the island and in the suburban areas. As some of you may have gathered, we do venture frequently in the suburban surrounding cities of Montreal and this edition’s highlight will be some of the items we bought and the local businesses from Le Marche des Jardiniers located in La Prairie, Quebec. It also happens to be Lobster season so we made a pretty last minute decision to pick up two lobsters at the supermarket and try our hand at it.

Let’s check out our menu for the evening!

Our Wine of the Evening

Appetizer
Bread from L’Amour du Pain

L'Amour du Pain

Main Meal

Phoebe: Oven-Baked Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages & Portobello Mushrooms

Sausages are from Charcuterie Frick

Sausages here are 4 flavors:
– Herbes de Provences
– Blueberry Maple Syrup
– Smoked Meat
– Shallots & White Wine

Being a mother of a toddler, Phoebe’s learnt the concept of efficient cooking. Fast and easy to put together. She had done this dish before a few months ago. The concept is to use the oil/fat in the sausages to also give flavor to the mushrooms at the bottom.

My tie for sausages are the blueberry and maple and shallots and white wine. They all tasted great just a preference to those two flavors. Mushrooms turned out perfect as well.

Kim & Phoebe: Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

Endives were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Honey-Thyme Endives

 Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Honey-Roasted-Belgian-Endives-and-Parsnips

I have only made endives once before (same applies to fiddleheads below). My memory was blurry on how I made it in general. Pinterest gave a simple recipe on putting this together: salt, pepper, honey, fresh thyme and oil/butter for marinade which had to be warmed first then drizzled on the endives before popping it in the oven.

For this dish, I have to do some reading on how to cut endives and prepare them. There was still some bitterness left in it and it has to do with what to remove to prevent it. However, the sauce was pretty good. I did have to modify it to a lower portion because we had less than what the recipe asked for.

Kim: Roasted Fiddlehead

Fiddleheads were bought at Le Petit Marché de Johanne

Roasted Fiddlehead

Recipe via Pinterest: http://homemadeandyummy.com/roasted-fiddlehead-ferns/

Fiddlehead ferns are in season right now. They also happen to be a pain to prepare because of all the washing and cleaning that it takes. With the said, this called for a simple recipe to compensate.

When things get crazy, my mind runs off. This is what happened to the roasted fiddleheads. They ended up being forgotten in the oven a few minutes more and got crispy. It was like fiddlehead crisps which because of the simple salt and pepper worked for myself however, might not be for everyone.

Kim & Phoebe: Boiled Lobster

Boiled Lobster

Lobsters probably aren’t supposed to be the star of the night but it was because it took almost everyone and a few recruits to help us with chopping and cleaning and cooking and plating. Phoebe ate these with garlic butter however, I ate them just like that and it was delicious. Most of the credit goes to her in completing this lobster cooking task.

Dessert

Kim: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Recipe via Pinterest: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/strawberry_rhubarb_pie/

Finally, my forte! Fresh rhubarb from the garden and frozen strawberries yielded this pie. I did use store bought pie shells and this somehow felt a little defective as it had a fold in the shell before going into the freezer so there was a gigantic side opening and that is where the juices and excess water leaked out. While this seemed pretty watery, this recipe is solid. I was worried that the rhubarb wouldn’t be ripe enough and be too tart but turns out it worked out pretty great.

That is a wrap for Battle of Ingredients!
A huge meal and great teamwork got this done and ready for everyone. Plus, it highlighted some of our local vendors which is always important.

Addicted to Screwball Blogathon: Addicted to Love (1997)

Today is the anniversary of Addicted to Love and in honor of that, Paul at Pfeiffer Philms and Meg Movies has put together this Addicted to Screwball blogathon event. You read more about it here or by clicking on the banner above.

Now, before I start, I do want to be completely honest that I really have a lot of classic movies to catch up on and seeing as the rise of screwball comedy also lies in a lot of these iconic titles that i haven’t seen, I am almost completely unfamiliar with this subgenre. However, Paul did give me some suggestions and I ended up choosing to write about Addicted to Love with Meg Ryan.

Lets check it out!

Addicted to Love (1997)

addicted to love

Director: Griffin Dune

Cast: Meg Ryan, Matthew Broderick, Kelly Preston, Tcheky Karyo, Maureen Stapleton

Maggie’s and Sam’s former partners are in love; she wants revenge and he wants his lost love back, so they work together to break up the happy couple. – IMDB

If screwball comedy is what Addicted to Love is, count me in for more. Addicted to Love is such a great film. It is a ton of fun to watch with a lot of great characters. I love Meg Ryan and this movie is exactly why. She is so versatile in her acting capabilities. In Addicted to Love, there is a completely different side to her that we don’t see in some of the other romantic comedies. Let’s face it, maybe I don’t know how to talk about this in the whole screwball comedy spectrum but I’m watching this because there’s Meg Ryan.

Addicted to Love

Here’s a good time to switch over to talk about the characters and performances on Addicted to Love. Our leading lady here is Meg Ryan who delivers a great character, Maggie who is the opposite that needs to accomplish this sabotage plan. On the exterior, Maggie is calm and calculated with the plan. She is determined to achieve her revenge on this man that used her and broke her heart. A lot of who she is is already shown to us by how she makes her entrance into the movie as she breaks in and appears in her motorcycle get up and starts getting straight to work. Deep down, there is a softer side and as the story goes on, she has these layers that we see. Now that I am done fangirling over Meg, Matthew Broderick also delivers quite the performance. I always have a hard time pinpointing where I have seen him before in movies but his role here as Sam is a lot of fun. Sam is the opposite to Maggie in many ways. He really is calm but also a scientist so he believes in charts and predicting when certain signs will mean a breakup. He believes it will end naturally until he realizes that everything he believed in doesn’t apply in love. Sam’s character breaks out of this shell and becomes more daring as he turns into the guy who starts off lacking discretion and letting his feelings get in the way of the plan but turns into the guy who hatches the ultimate plan.

Addicted to Love

Addicted to Love is charming because of these two leading roles however, the charm extends to the outrageous scenes that are set up here. While Kelly Preston plays the not very special Linda, playing opposite her is the odd French chef who seeks perfection, Anton. Anton does catch most of the heat in the situation as they make him suffer mostly and creating the most unbelievable situations for him to explain his way out and create suspicion. Anton himself gets more screen time and much more focus in the last third of the movie when things start spiralling apart from the revenge/stalker plot of the exes team-up. The dynamic was turned around and we actually get to learn more about this character of Anton. The goal is not to care about him but rather to guide Maggie and Sam to realize what they have/feel for each other.

Overall, Addicted to Love is a really fun romantic comedy in the veins of a revenge of the exes storyline. While many things are still foreseeable, the charming cast particularly Meg Ryan’s Maggie shines as she takes on a fun and tough role opposite Matthew Broderick as Sam, an astronomer who breaks out of his own shell. There is a good blend of outrageously fun scenes and a lot of humor.

Blog Tour: Before the Tempest (UK Crush Series #4) by Tani Hanes (with Giveaway)

Blog Tour

Before The Tempest
(UK Crush Series Book #4)

by: Tani Hanes

Before the Tempest

Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult Romance/Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

Aileen Foster, poor, orphaned, musically gifted, never imagined her life could change so much, so fast, but getting a job as interpreter for boyband UK Crush pitched her headfirst into tumult and a glamorous life she never thought she’d have. Now, engaged to band member Theo Shelley, and having survived her audition to Hamilton Conservatory in Manhattan, she’s off to the Bahamas with the boys while they write their new album. Life has never been easy for her, but she’s trying.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34664760-before-the-tempest?ac=1&from_search=true

About the Author
Tani Hanes

Tani Hanes was born in Yokosuka, Japan. She spent the first few years of her life traveling back and forth between Japan and the US, making the permanent move to the Central Valley of California when she was five. She visited family in Japan on a regular basis, and attended college in Tokyo for one year at ICU before getting her degree in Language Studies from UC Santa Cruz. She has two children, and was a substitute teacher for fifteen years. Hanes currently resides in New York City with her husband and cats, Moss and Lily.

Previous books in the UK Crush Series

Author Links
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tanihanesauthor/
Website: http://tanihanes.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaniHanes
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Tani-Hanes/e/B01M4PYCA6/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1493136660&sr=8-1
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16028512.Tani_Hanes
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/tanihanes/
Swoonreads: https://www.swoonreads.com/a/tani-hanes/6QA49L/

Buy Links
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Before+the+Tempest+by+tani+hanes
Pre-order Link for “Surviving the Hurricane” Book #5: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072HKLYYV?ref_=pe_2427780_160035660

Giveaway:

5 digital sets of the UK Crush series and 1 complete print set of the UK Crush series, signed by author

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f4/?

Archie, Volume 2 by Mark Waid

If you missed the review for Volume 1, you can find it HERE.

After a whole ordeal of getting this book in my hands, it finally got here and after a tiring week (or weeks), I’ve been in the mood for lighter reads and comic/graphic novels fit that bill perfectly. I’m actually thinking of diving into my other comics sitting around the house for a change of pace. I do have a pretty cool TBR list for this year that I hope to complete. Maybe I should post it so that you all can keep me accountable.

Regardless, back on track, I enjoyed the revamp of Archie. I still like the old comics and they give me fond memories and so much nostalgia when I see them around but the first book impressed me. I’m ready for the second one.

Let’s check it out!

Archie, Volume 2
By: Mark Waid (writer) & Veronica Fish (illustrator)

Archie, Volume 2

In the second volume, we are back to somewhat of a more traditional familiar territory. Archie is now determined to find any way to convince Mr. Lodge that he is useful and worthy of Veronica. At the same time, Betty amd Archie’s friendship is still cracked.

While I love the original Archie comics, Volume 1 did capture me quite a bit. Modernizing the characters but keeping the essence of their personality still there is probably incredibly hard and they did do a great job in the first one. It have us a look again at who everyone is and sets the stage for the story which is good for old and new people starting this series. Volume 2 was so much fun to read and I finished the book excited for the next one. This book had a lot of the silly Archie bits and showed us a story arc for Archie and Veronica while still giving space for Betty’s side. It worked really well.

Visually, Volume 2 still has wonderful illustrations. The color palette and the environment help with the tone and atmosphere. There are some pretty dramatic moments and it does a great job and reflecting it.

Overall, I don’t have a whole lot to say but I do urge those still unsure to give it a shot. It feels like the writer is truly finding his footing as to where to take the story and I am excited to read Volume 3 which was just released a few days ago and since my bookstore here had an online discount, I already put in my order for it. Hopefully it will be on its way.

On the same note of Archie, I have also wrapped up Season 1 of Riverdale and the TV binge post is coming up.

Have you read the modernized Archie comics? What do you think of it?

Podcast: Lamb Tracks #4 Jurassic World Commentary

Hey my lovelies!

Just a quick post today!

A few weeks ago, I got asked by my fantastic Game Warp co-host Elwood Jones to join him on the Lamb Tracks podcast that he hosts. Lamb Tracks is a new show that does commentary on different franchises or category of movies each season. Season 1 was kicked off by the Jurassic Park franchise. I’ve had a ton of fun listening to their commentaries while rewatching the franchise and I was ecstatic about joining him for Jurassic World. Being a newer release, this was only my second viewing however, I still remember a lot of it.

This is my first time doing commentary and I personally rarely listen to them even when they are bonuses on DVDs or Blurays however, it was a ton of fun to record. Hopefully you will enjoy it as well. If you didn’t read my review of Jurassic World, you can find it HERE.

There is no embed player so use the link to jump to the podcast episode. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/lambcast/episodes/2017-05-15T04_47_25-07_00

Did you like Jurassic World? Have you seen it yet? If not, do you intend to?
Are you excited about Jurassic World 2?

Dessert: Classic Brownies

Mother’s Day was this past weekend. My husband made a request to bake some brownies for my mother-in-law.

Last year’s Food Network magazine came incredibly handy as it was all about chocolatey desserts. This is the recipe that I used. Do note that this is the full recipe that they had and I halved most of the ingredients as I used a square pan which was maybe 8 by 8 inch or so.

CLASSIC BROWNIES
(from Food Network magazine Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook)

Brownies

Makes: 36

Ingredients
Cooking spray
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with foil, leaving a 2 inch overhang on two sides; coat the foil with cooking spray. Melt the butter and chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat; let cool slightly. Stir in sugar and eggs. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
  2. Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack, then cut into bars.

The only substitute used here was the semisweet chocolate was instead semisweet chocolate chips. Also, I forgot to set low heat when melting the butter and chocolate so not sure if that changed the consistency. It might have since I felt like the recipe didn’t make as thick as I’d like but it did rise a little in the oven.

However, we did leave before my in-laws had a chance to try this out. My husband told me they said it was delicious and liked it. My only concern was not that it wouldn’t taste good but that while adjusting the recipe to a lesser portion, it would change the consistency. It did look like it had a decent consistency if not thinner than usual brownies.

 Do you like making brownies?
My next project is to make vegan brownies. Hopefully I’ll work on that soon! 🙂

Double Feature: The Fitzroy (2017) & Suicide Squad (2016)

The new structure for here onwards will be double features, my lovelies. If you want great full-length movie reviews, I can refer you to a ton of bloggers. At least it will be spoiler-free guaranteed as always. There may be some exceptions but for now, this will be the format for the most part.

This week’s double feature starts with one of the first projects that I backed on Kickstarter that finally made its premiere and as I am not in the UK, I received a 48 hours access to watch it digitally. Next up, we jump into a more action and comic variety of villains turned heroes in a way with Suicide Squad.

Lets get started! 🙂

The Fitzroy (2017)

the fitzroy

Director (and writer): Andrew Harmer

Cast: Cerith Flinn, Jan Anderson, Kenneth Collard, David Schaal, David Gant, Stuart McGugan

The Fitzroy is a live action black comedy set in an alternative post-apocalyptic 1950s. The world is covered in poisonous gas, and the last place for a traditional seaside holiday is The Fitzroy hotel, an abandoned submarine just off the coast of England. The film centers on Bernard, the hotel’s bellboy, cook, maintenance man and general dogsbody, as he faces a constant battle to keep the decaying hotel airtight and afloat. But when he falls in love with a murderous guest, he is thrown into a mad day of lies, backstabbing and chaos. As Bernard struggles to hide her murders from the other guests and suspicious authorities, his world literally begins to sink around him. – IMDB

One promise that I make is when this comes out officially and I actually receive my copy of it that I’ll write up a full review on this. The Fitzroy arrived on a pretty busy weekend and we managed to squeeze out some time late at night to watch it. The Fitzroy is a compelling movie to watch. Its a tad predictable but the characters are so fleshed out along with a well-written and entertaining script that it has a lot of laughs and fun characters to watch come alive on screen. There is no doubt that The Fitzroy is indie though. There is a lot of charm to the movie along with creativity for the world they have set. Plus, it really is almost all set in one enclosed area with a few exceptions. The danger is also in its environment. The movie is extremely quirky and I mean it in the best way.

Kickstarter projects are always a toss of luck and I don’t remember when this project launched why I backed it and I am sure over the years, my taste on movies have shifted however, I had a great time watching this one.

Suicide Squad (2016)

suicide squad

Director (and writer): David Ayer

Cast: Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Viola Davis, Cara Delevingue, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Jay Hernandez, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Leto, Scott Eastwood

A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – IMDB

Once again, in case you are new here, I need to start with the fact that I have not read any comics so if this is based on any source material of that variety, for myself, this is a standalone. Also do know that I have not caught up with Man of Steel or Batman vs. Superman so while I feel like the mention some of those events, I don’t know if there is a link however, Suicide Squad feels and is standalone for myself.

The best way to describe Suicide Squad is with the word fun. There is a lot of fun. Humor and a ragtag team of villains and fighting and the likes. With the cast they got, its pretty entertaining. However, my husband described it the best the end as he called it very comic-like in the way its made. It isn’t criticism since many movies do a great job using that approach. It is why it keeps it rather light. Suicide Squad also works as an intro to these characters in case we don’t know them: their stories and what motivates them to stay alive. It works because for myself, it didn’t feel like we were invading someone’s story.

Perhaps the best part of Suicide Squad is its cast. Will Smith is fantastic as Deadshot, Margot Robbie was incredibly entertaining as Harley Quinn: other familiar villains like Killer Croc has a role. I love Viola Davis a ton so her role here fit so well with her. I think if I was to rant a little would be the underuse of The Joker because it was played up so much in the publicity about how he did a fantastic job when he was there for like 5 minutes (or what felt like that). At least not enough for me to think that he did a particularly good or bad job. There’s so much here that is much more than that and that has to go to finally not focusing around The Joker which is something that us over at Game Warp have appreciated in some of the Batman games because its gives space for other villains to grow as well.

Suicide Squad still has a rather predictable flow of events however, the script gives these characters a little more than fluff and while it is very comic-like, it is really just an entertaining time.

Have you seen Suicide Squad or heard of The Fitzroy?