Irish Game and Wild Boar Stew

Irish Game and Wild Boar Stew

Ingredients:
2 lb venison leg or shoulder cut in 1 inch cubes*
1 lb wild boar leg or shoulder cut in 1 inch cubes*
To taste salt and pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dry thyme
1 onion, chopped
1 – 2 pints your favourite lager
1 1/2 lb baby white potatoes
3/4 lb mushrooms
1 lb carrots peeled and cut in chunks
1 – 2 pints water

*The less adventurous can substitute the wild boar and venison with regular pork and beef. Lamb is another great option. 

Method:
Put an 8 quart pot on the stove to heat up. 
Season the wild boar and venison in a bowl with salt and pepper. 
When the pot is nice and hot, add the oil, swirl it around, then add the meat and brown it over maximum heat for 10 minutes. 
Add the onions, stir and sauté for 3 minutes. 
Pour in a pint or two of your favourite lager. (This decides how much water you will need to add later). > Bring to a boil then add bay leaves and dry thyme. 
Simmer for 10 minutes. 
Add the potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. 
Top up with water, season with salt and pepper. 
Bring to a boil, turn down to low, stirring occasionally. 
Cover and leave for 8 hours. > Serve with bread and pints.

To thicken this wonderful Irish delicacy, mash some of the potatoes in the broth and this will bind all the flavours together and make for a heartier consistency. If you are an al dente vegetable lover then may we suggest that … 

Whatever you call it, Canadians love it

Whatever you call it, Canadians love it

Heinz Canada is Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. No matter how you squirt it, Canadians love their ketchup. In fact, we Canadians have the second highest per capita consumption of ketchup in the world, second only to Finland and ahead of the US.

On average Canadians in home consumption is 1.4L of ketchup each year! While we use ketchup predominantly as a condiment, more than a third of our ketchup is used in recipes such as Shepherd’s Pie, Meatloaf, and Sloppy Joes.

Heinz, with more than an 80 per cent share of the ketchup market in Canada, produces over 31 million bottles of ketchup every year for Canadians, using more than 250,000 tons of tomatoes grown locally near its southwestern Ontario plant – the second largest Heinz plant in the world.

Ketchup trivia

• Eastern Europeans eat ketchup on their pizza while in Sweden people eat it with pasta.

• Ketsiap, as it was known, was first used in China and was made from spiced fish.

• More than 7,500 truckloads of tomatoes are harvested and delivered within a 60-mile radius of the Heinz plant where they are used to make ketchup, tomato juice, chili sauce, BBQ sauce, canned pasta, and beans and more.

• 48 local growers process tomatoes for Heinz Canada, accounting for 45 per cent of Canada’s commercial tomato crop.

Russels up some laughs

Russels up some laughs

What do you get when you mix impeccable wit and timing with a comedian who has a knack for taking any subject, no matter how taboo, and making it hilariously funny? 
Simple. You get Russell Peters. 

As one of the most entertaining characters currently on the comedy scene, Canada’s own Russell Peters is definitely having the last laugh, selling out arenas and comedy venues worldwide in a matter of minutes, and leaving audiences everywhere in stitches. He has the distinct honour of being the first comedian to sell out the Air Canada Centre, not once, but twice and has had over 25 million viewers watch him do his thing on YouTube. 

So how exactly did this Brampton-raised boy manage to make such a booming career just by standing up and telling a few jokes? Part of his success could definitely be attributed to his no-holds-barred approach to comedy. Rather than spewing out joke after joke, Peters uses bang-on impressions and sardonic observations about race, culture and class to get his laughs, and is often so spot-on about it, you can’t help but bust a gut. While you might think those topics would have him constantly walking a very fine line between amusing and offensive, the people who are often at the brunt of his mockery don’t seem to mind. In fact, they tend to be his biggest fans.

The Awards
Besides being able to brag about selling out shows wherever he goes, Peters, who will be celebrating his 20th year in stand-up comedy this year, has plenty of notable notches on his belt. He’s appeared at some of the world’s most buzzed about comedy festivals, including Montreal’s acclaimed Just For Laughs Festival, HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival and The Las Vegas Comedy Festival. His Comedy Now! performance remains one of the network’s most popular and most talked-about shows. 

Peters has also taken part in numerous USO Tours, entertaining troops stationed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti and Greenland, and has been honoured with four Gemini Nominations, nabbing the award for Best Host or Performance in a Variety Series after hosting the Junos in 2008. Apparently, he enjoyed the experience so much, he’s coming back for another round, returning as host again this year. 

So, What’s Next?
Currently in the middle of a worldwide tour, Peters will be returning to home turf this June for his 20th Anniversary Tour, and promises to show you the funny, bringing loads of new material, mixed with some of your old favourites. Tour dates are scheduled across Canada, check out ticketmaster.ca for more information. 

It was also recently confirmed that Peters signed a deal with FOX to produce a show revolving around his experiences in Canada, which he promises will be “honest and funny.” Add all that to the small movie roles he’s got slated for 2009, and it’s safe to say Peters is laughing – all the way to the bank. 

10 Irish Pubs to Try

10 Irish Pubs to Try

According to the Department of the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) 70 million people worldwide claim Irish ancestry. History tells us that in the 18th and early 19th century, significant numbers of Irish immigrants began to arrive in Canada. By 1867, 20% of the Canadian population was made up of people of Irish descent (outnumbered only by the British and French-Canadians). Regardless of our ancestry, what do we all like to do? Eat, drink and be merry – what else?

Looking for somewhere to get your Irish on for St. Paddy’s day or just a great meal any day of the week? Here are a selection of Irish pubs across Ontario to try:

McReilly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant
The only authentic Irish Pub in Barrie, overlooking Kempenfelt Bay. Around special holidays like St. Patricks Day or Easter, they serve dishes to suit, like homemade Sheperd’s Pie, Green Beer and Roasted Lamb. The bar’s outfitted with 18 Draught Beers, both domestic and imported from England, Ireland, Belgium, and around the globe: Harp, Guinness, Kilkenny, Strongbow, Smithwicks, Rickards Lager & Red, Keith’s Lager & Red, Stella Artois, and more.
mcreillyspub.tk

Paddy’s Irish Pub – Gananoque
The Greatest Little Pub with the “Big Heart” where you feel like you’re in your own living room – except you’re actually hanging out in the two-car garage of Paddy’s house. This amazing house is set overlooking the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands with a verandah (Paddy’O) and an awesome view of the islands.
paddyspub.com

The Rebel’s Rock Irish Pub Hamilton
All food is freshly prepared from traditional Irish recipes and they guarantee that it’s worth the wait. 

The State of the Blues in Canada

The State of the Blues in Canada

As winter’s shorter daylight hours and the earth’s increased distance from the sun takes its toll on Canadians across the country, it’s of some comfort to realize that we’ve discovered other ways to beat the blahs: how better to do battle with the blues than by embracing them? It’s long been established that blues music – like sunshine – is a reliable way to make yourself feel good. 

Like supplementing our body’s need for sunshine with vitamin D, blues music has long had the power to pick us up and keep us going. Call it ‘cabin fever,’ call it Seasonal Affective Disorder (a real condition caused by lack of light) – Canadians rely on the blues to help them make it through life’s little speedbumps in the time-honoured tradition of their origin: hopeful that a better day is coming ‘round the bend. The only people who might have difficulty with this are those unable to identify blues music as an easily-defined genre. What began as a deeply-rooted form of personal expression by a people who endured ungodly trials and tribulations, has evolved from its original form into becoming the very bedrock of jazz, R&B;, bluegrass and rock’n’roll – so all the lines have been blurred. The blues have a historical perspective born of tradition but have become a true world music capable of reaching out and touching the emotions of us all.

And for those caught up in the origins of this great music: whether they trace its beginning to West Africa or name Hawaii as being the home of bottleneck guitar, they miss the point. 
Keep it simple and take your definition from no less than the man referred to as ‘the poet laureate of the blues,’ Willie Dixon, who said: “the blues are the roots and the other musics are the fruits.” Whether you cry them, swing them, rock them, moan them or party and dance to them, they’ll always pick you up when you’re feeling down.

The blues in Canada is a cross-country phenomenon as artists, bands and blues-boosting societies have sprung up everywhere to celebrate, and promote the blues. A case in point would be the recent Blues Summit IV, which is an essential blues networking event, held in Toronto every second year since its inception in ‘03 and sponsored by the Toronto Blues Society – who have connected it to its already-successful Maple Blues Awards – itself a cross-Canada celebration of the best in Canadian blues talent. 

Golden Retreivers

Golden Retreivers

Death, taxes and dogs. Three of life’s most dependable things, only, dogs are likely the one thing of the three we willingly accept in our lives. 

They’re unconditionally loving, unwaveringly loyal and always happy to see us, and those characteristics are exactly what have earned them the moniker of man’s best friend. Because you’d probably have a hard time forgiving your friends if they chewed your couch cushions, peed on your floor, or greeted you with an enthusiastic crotch sniff, but when it comes to your dog, you don’t think twice about it.

And welcoming a dog into your life is one of the best things you can do for yourself. According to the Ontario Veterinary Association, pet ownership boosts your emotional well-being, lowers stress levels, provides you with unconditional love and makes you a much happier person. A further study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health showed that pet ownership can even add years to your life. 

But choosing the right pooch pal for you isn’t as easy as walking into the pet store and picking the cutest puppy. Different breeds have different needs, and if those needs don’t fit your lifestyle, the relationship might not be a match made in doggie heaven. For example, if you prefer to lead a life of lazy leisure, bringing home a Husky or Border Collie – dogs who are programmed to want to run and then run some more – might not be the best idea. 

Earth Day

Earth Day

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, or have somehow managed to lead a life of blissful ignorance, you’re well aware of global warming and other environmental crises currently facing our planet. Even if you’re not quite ready to buy into what scientists, environmentalists and Al Gore are saying and jump wholeheartedly onto the global warming bandwagon, you just need to look around you to see that something’s gotta give. 

Air quality advisories are becoming a staple of summer days. Pollution and high bacteria levels keep us out of our lakes and rivers; we’re even hesitant about the quality of water coming from our taps. 

Environmental organizations worldwide say global warming is the single greatest threat currently facing our society, and in 2007, NASA scientist James E. Hansen stated that unless international efforts are launched within the next 10 years, species will disappear and the Earth will be a vastly less habitable planet by the end of the century. 

It’s all very scary and completely overwhelming. How are you, one person out of the billions on this planet, supposed to make a difference? Easy.

As much as you’ve been bombarded with scary facts about climate change, you’ve also probably been told there are loads of things you can to do make a difference, and that’s true. (Relax, we’re not going to ask you to go all granola.)