Saturday, September 27, 2014

Yellow Barns - Experimental Farm, Ottawa

I can see a couple of areas I could have worked differently, but this paper feels like it's had enough.  I will try this one again.

Yellow Barns  8"x8"

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yellow Barn - Experimental Farm, Ottawa

Same view as previous exercise 'Blue Farm'.  Working with yellow forces me to use one of my least favourite colours!

Watercolour.  8"x12"

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Exercise - Watercolour Class Week 2

Exercise #1 - Monochromatic, 4 washes with a 5th layer for the darkest details.  I need to work on flat washes, gradient washes and working in one direction.  It was awesome to see how lovely everyones' example turned out, all blue and yet all different.  The image was provided by the instructor.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Begin at the Beginning.

Have started a watercolour class in the city.  Starting from the beginning is always good!  working from a photo I took at the Experimental farm last summer; a monotone study. 7"x4"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Biking: Osgoode Pathway Review

Sun was in the forecast, with high 20's for the temperature.  Also, it was Sunday.  So really a perfect day to take our new bikes out for a good ride, break them in so-to-speak.  The Mister has been riding his to work for the week, so clocking 30k a day means his is already broken in, but I really needed to get out on mine.   The difference between this new Escape RX w  and my old Town and Country KHS is tremendous!  it is soooo light.  It really begged for a longer ride.
Luckily, while googling random ottawa info, I came across a page describing the Osgoode Pathway.  It starts not far from our house and is a solid 20k to the village of Osgoode on a former rail bed.  There is a cafe in town that does brunch, so it seemed like a great Sunday morning trek.

The signage is easy to spot and there is a parking lot at the pathway entrance.  USE IT!  We rode from home along Albion Road and Leitrim Road.....NEVER AGAIN.  The roads are so bad on the way there, I honestly wondered if I was going to make it.  The shoulders are slanted and chunky, but riding close to the white line is taking a huge risk as the road is in terrible shape and very narrow.  My hope is that as Findlay Creek grows, the municipality will no longer be able to ignore the condition of Albion Road south of Lester.
The beginning of the trail:

Check out how lovely and flat it is!!  The trail is also wide and sparsely populated, which meant we could ride side by each and actually talk to one another!  That was a huge bonus.  The few folks we did encounter were friendly and courteous - no Tour de Francers here!   At times the canopy of trees almost touches above and other times they spread out to reveal scenic rolling famers fields.

quiet, calm and peaceful.

This trail stays remarkably flat and straight the entire way, thus is perfect for novices hoping to add some kilometres to their ride.

Is it also clearly marked with kilometre markers and signs indicating the Red Dot Cafe!  I had already checked them out online to ensure that they were indeed open and we did not need to bring food with us other than some granola to nibble.  Brunch was our destination and it looked like we were among many with the same idea!
20k later and here we were.

The tricky part was, that once we were at the Main street in Osgoode, we didn't see any sign of the cafe and I had assumed ( bad, I know!) that it would be fairly evident where it was from all the signage on the actual path.  For no good reason, we decided to ride along the main road to see if we could find it.  Eastward somewhat, we became a bit confused as we seemed to be running out of town!  Luckily, we were so close - tucked in a strip mall and overwhelmed by a grocery store - was our cafe.  They have a small outdoor patio, the food was varied and plentiful, the staff friendly and thank Fate - they had Keith's on tap!!!!
I am thrilled we found this trail practically in our own backyard.  Ottawa is so full of surprises and I love that there are so many opportunities to get outside and get some fresh air.  My only reservation is that the connections to these destinations are fraught with difficulty - many of the main roads in South Ottawa are dangerous to bike and awful to run with the onslaught of construction vehicles and unending cars.  I hope the future sees more thought towards building streets that can accommodate more types of transit than just the car, so that getting from point A to point B can still be enjoyable.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Fish Tacos - Banh Mi style!

It was time for an experiment in our efforts to eat 'clean'.  I've been seeing fish tacos everywhere on the 'net, but haven't had the chance to try one - nor have I been losing my mind over it.    However, 'Tac -O-The Town'  Taco Fest is right round the corner and that has got me thinking...... about making a soft taco that has lots of bright, lovely flavours that aren't trying to be a fajita.

Banh Mi!!!!  and Tacos!  I love this sandwich so much.  I don't care what the protein is, it's the cilantro and the spice and the ....etc, etc.

So here goes.  There are a couple of elements to this, that you can do the day before, making this light work.  Make some sriracha mayo.  Easy Peasy.  Add a couple of tablespoons of sriracha to a 1/4 cup of mayonnaise.  Like it less hot?  add less.  Set this aside.

Then you need some pickled carrot.  I am not talking pickles like your gram made.  Just grate up a carrot or two (if they're small) add half a chili, seeded and minced, a tablespoon or two of rice vinegar, a tablespoon of sugar and a minced clove of garlic.  It would be great to add some daikon radish, but I didn't have any, so I used a regular radish - just one - that I peeled and shredded. You can do this ahead as well and just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to assemble.

Then you need to marinate your, whatever.  Steak, pork, chicken, tofu....I chose cod because of the whole 'fish taco' thing and also because it was really inexpensive and I've never eaten cod before.  The marinade is simple as well. 

Marinade - adapted from Gordon Ramsay's Great Escapes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk of lemongrass
2-3 tablespoons veg oil
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
solid grinding of pepper
*original recipe called for ginger, but I left it out for The Mister

To get ready for your taco eating, have ready; 
~hot (steamed or grilled) soft tacos
~your pickled carrots and spicy mayo
~fresh cilantro leaves
~thinly sliced cucumber
~fresh salad greens
~thinly sliced chili - if you like it hot!
~and a finished pan of hot, marinated yummy whatever

Fry, grill or broil your fish or chicken or steak however you like. Warm up some little soft corn tortillas. Spread them with your spicy mayo and start layering your ingredients.  Fish, roughly chopped cilantro, thinly sliced cucumber, field greens, pickled carrots. 

 Fold it in half and ENJOY!

as an addendum.....The Mister really didn't like the cod.  I was neither here nor there about it, but I am definitely trying this again, perhaps with some