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KITCHEN CHRONICLES: Fiona tackles her father’s priorities. PLUS The definitive roast chicken dinner

  1. Father knows least

Fiona’s father fills the sink with hot soapy water, eschewing her offer to use Luc’s rubber gloves. She was astounded when he’d insisted on washing the dishes. Since when has he done household chores? she wonders. The possibility that maybe she doesn’t know him very well enters her conscience.

—   Great dinner, Fiona, her father says. I love a roast chicken. It’s been eons.

Doesn’t Lorelei cook? she thinks. Then checks herself for having such a politically incorrect thought.

—   I’m glad you liked it, Dad. It’s one of Gavin’s favs, too. Did you notice how he makes a well in his mashed potatoes and fills it with gravy? He used to call it a volcano when he was little, and he’d pour the gravy in it until it overflowed! It’s so cute that he still does it.

—   He’s at that half-way stage, one foot in adolescence, one in childhood, says her father. He’s a very nice boy. So like you at that age: studious, serious.

He begins washing the glasses then rinsing them under steaming water.

—   I’m glad we have this time, just the two of us, he says. Although it’s not good that Luc has to work in the evenings. Still, it gives us the chance to talk about that letter you sent.

—   About your will.

—   Yes. It was nicely written by the way. Believe me, I’ve seen lots of these.

—   Writing is my profession, says Fiona.

scrambled-eggsNo need to mention the mediator’s help, she thinks.

—   Yes. Well, I talked it over with Lorelei, because of course she’s affected the most. We had quite the discussion.

He pauses in his washing, turns the tap off and faces Fiona.

—   Actually, we had a big blow out over it. The upshot is that it’s not just about her; she wants to be able to look after her children too, which is understandable. But as I pointed out to her, they have their own father. They aren’t my kids, so I feel my responsibility is limited in that regard.

Fiona’s heart quickens, seems to expand to fill her chest. Her kids! What about us! she thinks. Is he leaving us a legacy of bitterness? She can’t look him in the eye, and concentrates instead on drying a wine glass.

—   She has how many kids? Fiona asks with an effort at calmness. Ask simple questions to buy time, she thinks.

—   Three. And they don’t really seem very capable of looking after themselves. Two went all artsy, but they don’t really have the talent, which has to be supremely disappointing to them. One’s a chronically unemployed actor and the other does weird digital photography — which costs a fortune to produce, what with the fancy computers and programs and giclée reproductions and all — and it never sells. I mean who’d buy something that can be endlessly reproduced?

He holds up his soapy hand.

—   Don’t get me started.

—   And the third? Fiona asks.

—   He’s a perennial student. Thirty-three and still working on his doctorate — nine years now. And of course the funding has long since dried up.

—   And you’re supporting all three? Fiona asks, thinking of all the years she and Luc saved for the house, all the compromises they made.

He shrugs.

—   To some degree. Mostly Lorelei takes care of them. She makes a decent salary teaching, and even if she has to take early retirement because of her arthritis, she’ll still have a good pension.

—   So, what’s the problem?

—   She’s worried that after I’m gone her pension won’t cover everything, propping them up financially, plus her own living expenses and travel and whatnot. I assured her that wouldn’t be a problem, that there would be plenty. Then it emerged that what she’s really worried about is what will happen to them later, after she dies. She wants to make sure they’re well taken care of.

—   And so her kids take priority over yours? says Fiona bluntly.IMG_4300

He pauses.

—   It’s not that simple, Fee.

—   Isn’t it? she asks, meeting his eyes. It seems pretty straightforward. You have a son who is mentally ill, who can’t support himself. And it’s not like he chose this. Like he wanted to be an actor, but failed, or a visual artist. He’s ill. Right now he’s living in a temporary half-way kind of house, but he’s only allowed to stay six months. That’s not long enough. And if he doesn’t get financial help he’s going to wind up living with Mom again, which would definitely set him back. He’s so isolated there. And I know him, he’ll just fall back into old habits.

—   If it’s so dire, why hasn’t he said anything to me? her father asks.

—   He’s not comfortable doing that. He doesn’t think you care.

—   I do care.

—   Well, look at it from his vantage point Dad. From mine too, come to think of it, she adds quickly. We get the annual phone call at Christmas and a cheque in the mail. That’s it. No call on our birthdays even. And it’s been like that practically since you left.

—   I had Neil out one summer.

—   Yeah, and you left him alone in your apartment all day while you were working and half the night while you out with Lorelei. Some fun for a fifteen-year-old.

He shrugs.

—   I can’t be responsible for entertaining him, he says defensively.

—   No, maybe not. Anyway, that’s all water under the bridge, she says. The fact is he needs you now.

—   You have to look at this from my perspective too, Fiona. Your mother didn’t exactly make it easy for me to see you. I was just the money machine. I was given one week a year with Neil. That’s it. And then that ended.

—   You’re the one who moved across the country, says Fiona.

—   Yes, I did. But that doesn’t mean I couldn’t have seen him more often. I offered to fly him out so many times and she always said no. She wouldn’t even put him on the phone so I could ask him if he wanted to visit. I admit I could have done better that one summer. I blew it, okay. Is that what you want to hear?

—   I don’t need to hear it, says Fiona. It’s Neil you should talk to.

—   And what about you? he asks.

 

*The definitive roast chicken dinner

Serves 6

 

Five pound roasting chicken (free range)

Salt and pepper

1 lemon, cut in quarters

½ onion, peeled and cut in thirds

Handful parsley, washed

6 parsnips, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

8 potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

¼ cup (or more) milk

1 chicken bouillon cube

flour to thicken

 

  1. Take bird out of fridge two hours ahead of time. Get to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 °F.
  3. Wash inside cavity, pull out excess fat and other stuff. Dry inside.
  4. Shake salt and pepper inside cavity. Stuff with lemon, onion and parsley. Fold pinion (small part of wing) under the bird and tie legs loosely with cotton string (not plastic!).
  5. Insert thermometer in thigh.
  6. Position in a roasting pan and roast 15 minutes (turn fan on high; there will be smoke!).
  7. Meanwhile, parboil the parsnips and carrots for five minutes.
  8. Turn oven heat down to 400 °F. Add potatoes and carrots around the bird.
  9. Roast bird until thermometer reads 160 to 180 degrees.
  10. When the bird is nearly done, cover potatoes with water in large pot, bring to boil. Add salt and cook until tender. Drain, retaining water, and mash with butter and milk.
  11. Move the bird from the pan to a platter, cover with tea towel and let rest 20 minutes.
  12. Turn off oven. Put vegetables in an oven-proof dish and place in the oven.
  13.  To make gravy, drain fat out of roasting pan, keeping 2 or 3 tablespoons. Place roasting pan on stove, over medium-low heat. Scrap edges of pan, add crumbled bouillon cube and flour to thicken. Cook thick paste a minute or so. Gradually whisk in potato water. If the gravy is lumpy, strain it in a sieve. No one needs to know!
  14.  Carve chicken, serve with parsnips and carrots, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable or salad. Pass gravy at the table.

 

MALL MADNESS! The details behind Rideau, Bayshore, and St. Laurent renovations

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

With the opening of the Rideau Centre food court Dining Hall later this month, and the excitement buzzing around such openings as Express and Victoria’s Secret at Bayshore, SHOP TALK surveys the big players — and fine details — in Ottawa’s mall scene.

Rideau Centre - Exterior

Rideau Centre

How much will the renovation cost:
Total value of the redevelopment project is $360 million, including Nordstrom (opening March 2015), the new Dining Hall (opening August 2014), interior and exterior renovation, and the expansion area that is due to open August 2016.

Size of redevelopment in sq. ft:
Adding 230,000 sq.ft. of new leasable area in the expansion

What big brands will you be bringing in:
Simons, Victoria’s Secret, Nordstrom, J.Crew, Zara Kids and Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Express, Purdy’s

What’s cooking in the new food court? 
Dining Hall will feature 16 units and 850 seats, as well as a new design. Environmentally friendly features include reusable dishware, cutlery, and glasses, and full recycling facilities, including organics.

Fancy details:
All new Italian quartz flooring in the common area. Tile imported from Verona, Italy

Any environmentally friendly aspects to the new building?
In addition to the Dining Hall features mentioned above, the expansion will be LEED Certified

Things you won’t find anywhere else:
9,000 sq.ft. of original artwork commissioned for the building exterior, installed on three facades and illuminated at night

Any new parking spots?
Approximately 550 new underground parking spaces below the expansion

DAYTRIPPER: Visit Perth for cute shops and foodie finds

By DAYANTI KARUNARATNE

Once voted the prettiest town in Ontario, Perth is dotted with specialty shops and restaurants, many in century-old stone buildings. Go for the boutiques, antiques, and good eats — all just an hour’s drive from the city.

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen.

Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen.

Backbeat Books & Music
6 Wilson St.
613-466-0663
Finally, a used-book store that doesn’t feel like a cramped closet. This cozy spot sells new and used books and vinyl. On one side, there’s a careful selection of new fiction and non-fiction titles (and a couch). Mosey over toward the cash to find high-end turntables and well-organized shelves of records, from vintage and re-releases to indie albums from rising stars like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Click the thumbnails to see more places to visit in Perth:

 

 

 

 

 

THE (WET) WEEKENDER: 5 watery events happening in and around Ottawa this summer

By CINDY OLBERG

Photo by Rod Beauprie for Bring on the Bay.

Photo by Rod Beauprie for Bring on the Bay.

Bring on the Bay 3K Swim
July 12
For the eighth year, swimmers of all levels will take part in the Bring on the Bay 3k Open Water Swim. Proceeds from the event go to Easter Seals Ontario, which raises money for children with physical disabilities. Registration from $50. Nepean Sailing Club, 3259 Carling Ave., bringonthebay.com

 

The Ultimate S.U.P. Challenge
July 18-20
The Ultimate Stand Up Paddle Challenge at Owl Rafting in nearby Forester Falls is the first of its kind in Canada. All levels of stand-up paddleboarders are invited to take part in whitewater and flatwater races. Cash prizes total $2,500, and clinics with instructor Dan Gavere will be big draw. A portion of reg- tration fees will go to Lupus Ontario. Registration from $45. 40 Owl Lane, Foresters Falls, 801-554-2236, theultimatesupchallenge.net

The starting line of the Morrisburg Tubie race. Photo by David Trattles.

The starting line of the Morrisburg Tubie race. Photo by David Trattles.

Tubie Festival
Aug. 2-3
At one point, the much-loved Tubie Festival was in danger of being cancelled. Luckily, the South Dundas Chamber of Commerce swooped in and saved the day. So blow up your homemade watercraft, and head to Morrisburg for a fun weekend of tube races and family fun. Free. Waterfront Park, Morrisburg, 613-543-3982, southdundaschamber.ca

National Capital Regatta
Aug. 9-10
The National Capital Regatta is one of the oldest annual events of its kind in eastern Ontario. Over one weekend, the Britannia Yacht Club hosts a number of friendly compe- titions between novice and experi- enced sailors alike on a range of sailboats. There will be three separate courses for those who want to hone their skills; see page 37 for more information. Registration from $80. 2777 Cassels St., 613-828-5167, byc.ca

Dunrobin Kids of Steel Race
Aug. 25
Sanctioned by Triathlon Ontario, Kids of Steel (KOS) races give children and youth the opportunity to try out the popular sports event in a fun and safe environment — the open-water swim is in the Ottawa River; the bike race is along well-paved, closed roads; and the run is through fields and on dirt roads. $50. 1620 Sixth Line Rd., 613-323-5255, bytowntriathlon.com

MOST WANTED: The Ottawa Fluevog

Photo by Luther Caverly

The Ottawa Fluevog. Photo by Luther Caverly

When celebrated Canadian shoe designer John Fluevog opens his first boutique in the national capital, one style is sure to sell out fast. The Ottawa shoe (above) is sensible and sophisticated, with an ankle strap and a short heel. Only 30 pairs will be made — and they’re available only in the new ByWard Market store at William and George streets. And to make the scramble just a little nuttier, that store opens its doors on Canada Day. Serious shoe lovers and city devotees, mark your calendars.

$270. 61 William St.
613-241-3202, fluevog.com

 

SHOP TALK: Pink Palladium shoes for summer

Shop Talk is written by Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, Ottawa Magazine account executive and fashion maven.

Palladium2

Love this look! Check out more Flex Collection stylings at http://www.palladiumboots.nl/look-book/flex-collection

Let me say off the top that I’ve always been wary of colourful shoes. While I have yet to do the Middleton nude pumps, I always figured that black, brown, or metallic shoes offered more bang for your buck. At my desk I keep my “work shoes” — right now I’m looking at three brown heels and one pair of black flats. (Can you say bo-ring?)

Flex Lace Palladium shoes in Pink Lemonade

Flex Lace Palladium shoes in Pink Lemonade

So when the kind people at ZOI agency offered to send me a pair of the new summer canvas kicks from Palladium, I balked at the colour choices. I admire people who have the guts to embrace colour, I just question how to wear colourful shoes. Do you try to match? Do you make them the highlight of an outfit? It’s the kind of wardrobe detail that makes one late for work! So I put them aside.

That was, until I broke my toenail. I won’t bore you with the details except to say it didn’t happen in any cool way and I swore a lot. But the darn thing didn’t fall off, and I’m not one for self-inflicted pain (unless, perhaps, there’s a prize to be won). So I bandage and soak — and walk carefully to prevent the whole thing from falling off.

Pink and green feels like spring!

Pink and green feels like spring! Photo by Sarah Fischer

In this case, physical pain overrides wardrobe anxiety and I looked to my pink Flex Lace Palladiums. With a nice big toe box I was even able to do some lunges without bashing that tender big toe, and they put a smile on my face. (In truth, having  a little girl to dress has endeared me to pink.)

And, as often happens when we’re forced out of our comfort zone, I found these shoes added a skip to my (albeit cautious) steps. They made me feel like a kid again — I grew up at a time when canvas shoes were the thing to wear in those perfect last weeks of school. And most of all, I found they went with everything from girly summer dresses to jeans to shorts. Sure, I take a moment to colour-check, but mostly I’m having fun pushing the envelope with these fun flats.

See how my pink shoes match so nicely with my kid's hoodie-dress? She's wearing off on me.

See how my pink shoes match so nicely with my kid’s hoodie-dress? She’s wearing off on me.

SUMMER 2014: Get Outside! An al fresco summer

Sum14cover_400pxI shall not mention the winter months, but suffice it to say that I am welcoming summer with extra-wide-open arms this year. In fact, I’m betting that more people will spend more time outside this summer than ever before. I know I will be. Craving sunshine on my shoulders, I’ll be out the door at the break of dawn to explore the city, returning home to the laid-back satisfaction of a backyard barbecue. I’ll be building up my vitamin D, and my memory bank, for use during that season that shall not be mentioned.

Given this enthusiasm for enjoying the warmer months outside — and our growing food scene — we tasked our food writers with putting together their ultimate picnic spread, one that spoke to their favourite bites as well as their personal alfresco style. The results will treat readers to tastes from across the city and reveal the cravings of these four experts. We round out the “Take It Outside” feature (page 57) with products, events, and books, plus a playlist of favourite summer songs supplied by city notables, in an effort to help you maximize your picnicking pleasure.

And there’s no better way to immerse yourself in summer than by taking to the water. Its all-encompassing nature, its capacity to both scare and excite, and the way it stays with you after the fact — physically and in the mind’s eye — make it a crucial summer experience. In this issue, we explore local waters in a variety of ways, from Ron Corbett’s examination of water-quality issues (“What Lies Beneath,” page 28) to our water-sports pack (“Life Aquatic,” page 35), featuring stunning photography and plenty of tips to get you out on the water. And don’t miss Corbett’s ode to the Ottawa River in “Our Forgotten Soundtrack.”

I can’t close this letter without calling attention to the unique fiction offerings in this issue. Scott Randall takes us to all too familiar territory with a car-pooling story about retirement from the public service, while former Ottawan Peter Norman transports us to a mysterious empire with an excerpt from his debut novel, Emberton. It’s such a pleasure to indulge in short stories and novels. In fact, we had so much fun with it this year that we plan on hosting a short-story contest — the winners will be published in our Summer 2015 issue. Watch OttawaMagazine.com for details.

Dayanti Karunaratne, Editor
feedbackottawa@stjosephmedia.com

THIS CITY
Secrets on the Hill • Printing paradigm with Ecotonus• The Juice on ByWard Market openings• Readying for the RedBlacks 

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ON NEWSSTANDS! Eating & Drinking 2014 features new food shops, best restos, wine + beer, plus chef recipes and more

 

On the cover, Chorizo at Chevre Noire's Jos Louis, from Shawna Wagman's Trend series. Photo by Giulia Doyle.

On the cover, Chorizo at Chevre Noire’s Jos Louis, from Shawna Wagman’s Trend series. Photo by Giulia Doyle.

EAT
New and Noteworthy: Fifteen of the tastiest new additions to the culinary landscape.
By Shawna Wagman | page 13

Best Restos
Our authoritative guide to dining in the city features 25 must-try restaurants.
By Anne DesBrisay | page 21

Trends By Shawna Wagman
Veggie Love | page 23

The Iceberg Wedge | page 27

Throwback Desserts | page 29

Jalapeño | page 33

Chocolate | page 69

 

 

Festive gourmet: An overview of the next 12 months of finger-licking celebrations. | page 28

Chloé Berlanga's recipe for Paella Mixta is featured in Ottawa Magazine's 2014 Eating & Drinking Guide. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

Chloé Berlanga’s recipe for Paella Mixta is featured in Ottawa Magazine’s 2014 Eating & Drinking Guide. Photo by Christian Lalonde.

By Sarah Brown

Budget gourmet: Dishes that are easy on the pocketbook and pleasing on the palate. | page 32
By Robin Levinson

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KITCHEN CHRONICLES: Of wayward husband and guilty friends. PLUS truly amazing Channa

Kitchen Chronicles is a weekly series by Barbara Sibbald — novelist, award-winning journalist, and long-time contributor to Ottawa Magazine. Visit Kitchen Chronicles every Sunday for a new instalment — and a tested recipe.

Gal pals

—   It’s so sweet to have you all to myself, says Fee.

 

—    It’s been ages, agrees Anne. I was tempted to go to the game with the guys — it’s not every day you get to hang out in a box.

—   It was really kind of you to invite Luc and Gavin. They were thrilled.

—   Georges idea. He does have his generous moments. And I’m glad I didn’t go. Night in with my gal pal is just what I need.

—   I know what you mean, says Fee. I love my new job but the social whirl is a bit much. At the end of the day I don’t know these people and they don’t know me either.

—   And I spend all day listening to people’s problems, says Anne. No one goes to their doctor because they’re feeling great!

—   Yeah, and then there are certain things, you just don’t talk about with your husband, says Fee.

—  And that’s as it should be. It’s like that old saw about not putting all your eggs in one basket.

—   Speaking of food, I’ve made channa* and bought some sag paneer. I’m too lazy to make that!

—   Hey I couldn’t even manage the one dish. You’re a whiz with the Indian. 

Fiona grins and bows slightly.scrambled-eggs

—   That’s quite the compliment from the master chef! So what have you been up to, Anne?

She shrugs.

—   Mostly work and trying to pull things back together with Georges. We’re sleeping together again. Not having sex exactly, but sleeping at least. I figured if I didn’t at least let him back in our bed we’d have no hope, but maybe it’s too soon. He doesn’t seem to be interested in me sexually.

Fee seems to recall Luc told her that Anne and Georges were having sex again. So Georges is still lying, she thinks. This time to protect his ego.

—   Guilt’s not exactly an aphrodisiac, says Fee.

—   True enough. It’s quite a switch though. When he was having it away with wonder girl he couldn’t get enough of me.

She sighs.

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EVENT PREVIEW: Ottawa’s Foodie Challenge is back! Sign up now for June 1 event

Foodie alert! If you are always looking for the next great meal, obsess about seasonal veggies, and swoon at the sight of Instagram meals, you might be a foodie, and the Ottawa Foodie Challenge is coming up — so mark your calendars!

pelican grill

Challenge participant Madison O’Connor at Pelican Fishery & Grill during a challenge clue. Photo by Carolynn Lacasse

The Foodie Challenge takes place on  Sunday, June 1st. For the admission price of $50 per person, it’s a full day of palate-experimentation that’s sure to get your taste buds tingling.

It all starts at 9 a.m. at Shopify (126 York St.) with a breakfast provided by Lunch. After that, expect the unexpected.

The Foodie Challenge scavenger lists will be given to every team of two entered. Teams have until 4 p.m. to complete as many challenges on the list as possible. We talked to event organizer Carolynn Lacasse about what participants can expect this year.

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