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Whats Cookin' Miramichi Blog

Spring has sprung!

Sara KGBB - Monday, March 21, 2011
Once the celebrations for St. Patrick's Day have finished, we begin planning our Spring menus - have already enjoyed some delicious braised lambshanks with creamy 'squashed potatoes'.  Our newest white wine, an Italian Verdiccio, is currently being profiled with much enjoyment. A light, 'green' wine perfect with fish, chicken, and any vegetarian entree. This week we also baked a luscious Lemon Cake, with 3 thinly sliced lemons boiled until soft, then blitzed in the food processor to be part of the wet ingredients in a cake batter.  I have to admit, it is heavenly, and can't wait to try it with oranges. We also tried the "perfect asparagus' recipe profiled by the Cake Boss - tender asparagus stalks, trimmed and placed on a baking sheet, sprinkled with salt & pepper, a dusting of fresh parmesan, and then bread crumbs. Into the oven for 10-12 mins. and then under the broiler to brown the breadcrumbs.  Fantastic! We served it with salmon and a little hollandaise sauce, along with some roasted winter root vegetables, and everyone cleaned their plates. Amazing how a little sunshine can stir the creative juices!
I'm off to Fredericton today and hopefully will have an chance to check out Market Square to see what's available from local growers & farmers to add to our table.

February 2011 Update

Sara KGBB - Monday, February 28, 2011

February 2011 Update


What – more snow!! We must have 3-4ft of hard packed snow on the ground and more in the forecast!  I have become ‘one’ with my snowblower though, after 2 years of minimal use and much cursing I have mastered the ‘pushbutton start’ at last!  Who knew the darn thing had to be plugged in! I still refer to it as ‘The Beast’ and just don’t think I will ever really warm up to using it.  My trainee chef, Jamie just loves it and can’t wait for it to snow so he can get out and use the blower. Gotta be a guy thing!

Had a busy month with Weekend Couples Packages and a romantic Valentines Dinner here at the B&B.  Had a chance to preview some new menu items – Roasted Winter Root Vegetables with balsamic vinegar, Herbed Basil Shrimp marinated, grilled and served over pasta, and Braised Beef Shanks in red wine and beef broth . . .yum! We’re still experiencing a big demand for our Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes and introduced a Lemon Custard Cup along with a guilt-free Angel Food cake with berries to our dessert menu. And our ‘Murder on the Menu’ mystery dinners have proven to be so popular, we’ve had to extend them through the month of April.  Usually we stop in March, but now have bookings to April 30th so we must be doing something right!

John and I had our own Valentines date on Feb 13th at the White Gold Dinner concert and enjoyed listening to the fabulous musical talents of some local musicians and singers. It never fails to surprise me just how much talent we have so close at hand.  I think that was the first time John has been out socially for weeks and sure enough, picked up a doozy of a chest cold that he’s still suffering with. My but he does hate winter! But living in northern New Brunswick, you’ve just got to embrace it and get out and enjoy it! But having said that, we’ve had a guy here 2 weekends in a row removing the accumulated ice/snow pack on our roof edges. In some places it was easily 3ft thick and with the heat of the sun melting and then re-freezing it into layers, it was a potential hazard. Even so, we have had water damage on the western gable window in the attic leaking down onto the 2nd floor. We had it sprayed with an anti-fungicide and have commercial fans blowing in the 3rd floor and hopefully have restricted the damage just to the hardwood floor in our guest lounge, and not in any of our guest rooms. Oh the joys of a century home!

And now my CFO (otherwise known as John) is valiantly trying to input all of our data into Excel in order to send it to the accountant to do our 2010 taxes. He would prefer to use a pen and manually enter debits and credits into a ledger, so you can imagine his frustration level! But he’s completed May 2010 so far, and I’m sure with enough encouragement, will finish it before mid-April

Winter 2011 January Update

Sara KGBB - Monday, January 10, 2011
Finally time for an update. We managed to get back home after our trip to Victoria, BC on Dec 20th to spend Christmas with our daughter and the 2 grandkids.  But on the return trip - Victoria, Edmonton, Toronto, Moncton on Dec 26th, we got stuck in Toronto for 3 days, courtesy of Mother Nature and the wicked winter storm moving up the eastern US and Canada . Fortunately, WestJet provided hotel and food vouchers so we didn't have to sleep at the airport, but after 3 days of waiting for the next flight, we were ready to try anything to get out of there! We did manage to get a couple of hours with our other 2 grandkids in Brampton on Tuesday afternoon before getting out on the first 'rescue flight' to the east coast.  Unfortunately, we missed the wedding reception scheduled for Dec 28th here at the B&B, so thankfully our event coordinator, Caroline and new trainee chef, Jamie, managed beautifully.  So nice to be able to make a phone call and know everything will be taken care of! Now we have a Murder Mystery dinner scheduled for Jan 15th and a private function later in the month to prepare for, and I surely do miss Caroline.  Sandy, Jamie and I will just have to manage on our own.
December was a whirlwind of pre-Xmas events and Murder Mystery dinners.  I think there might have been  5 evenings in the entire month that we didn't have a function.  So you can imagine how happy I was to get a weeklong break at Christmas. In the kitchen, we've prepared a new Winter Menu for some upcoming events, but retained the Dark Chocolate Lava Cakes as one of the favourite desserts and added our Lemon Custard Cups.  Jame has indeed mastered the art of creating these delectable treats. Some new items we're offering are Italian Wedding soup, baby spinach and fresh basil salad, and a creamy shrimp pasta dish for evening in addtion to our regular items. The beef strip loin, halibut fillet, and stuffed chicken breast are still favourites on the menu, and we update them seasonally to make best use of what's available locally. 
Now I'm making myself hungry, so better sign off for now! 

Pre-Christmas Preparations

Sara KGBB - Sunday, November 28, 2010

 Well as you can see, we’ve been a little bit busy over the past few weeks, and unfortunately our blog has been neglected!  But the good news is we’ve added a couple of key staff members to our roster, with the recent acquisition of an event coordinator and a trainee chef. Both badly needed and to date demonstrating excellent skills to keep our business running smoothly. Caroline has transformed the entire house from Fall to Winter with a seasonal Christmas theme evident inside and out.  What a powerhouse of energy and ideas! And Jamie has produced some wonderful concoctions in the kitchen to add to our festive menu offerings, with the biggest hits being the Carrot & Ginger Soup, and Chocolate Lava Cakes.  Darcy stays on top of everything in his own inimitable and professional way, and always wow’s us with his plate presentation. Jamie is certainly learning from a master chef! The feedback from our Murder Mystery diners and Christmas events on the food has been extremely positive and encouraging for everyone.

So as we enter the Christmas season, we have meal bookings every Wednesday through Saturday, with some brunch dates as well as evening dinners, and Murder Mystery dates through to Dec 18th. We're in the midst of holiday cookie baking, made some fantastic (if I might say so myself) Christmas Puddings substituting the suet and mixed peel with shredded carrot and apple. Served with a Brown Sugar sauce and maybe just a hint of brandy - heaven on a plate!  
We’re hosting a Food Service Graduation luncheon for 13 guests on Dec 7th to celebrate the successful completion of the inaugural class. And since 2 of the graduates are now installed at the King George, we could not be more proud to be associated with this program. Although just how we’re going to prep for this event, while attending the ceremony remains to be seen! Time to get all slowcookers operating for a special Beef Shanks in Red Wine entree, preceded by our signature Spinach Pear & Pecan salad. and followed by the luscious Chocolate Lava Cakes.  Then on Dec 10th, we're catering a Soup Buffet Supper at the Douglastown Community Centre for the Miramichi Yoga Club - 3 hearty soup choices, 2 salad selections, and an assortment of seasonal pastries for dessert. 
Now you can see why we're working full-tilt in the What's Cookin' kitchen, with little or no time for our custom cooking classes! But rest assured, they will resume again in the New Year!

October 2010 Fall & Winter Weddings

Sara KGBB - Monday, October 25, 2010

October 2010
A surprise wedding night gift in early October began an unexpected but enjoyable group of newlyweds staying at the King George! We've hosted a number wedding guests and bridal parties since then, and can only surmise it must be our unique status - or possibly because no one assumes the bridal couple would be staying with us. Some were just given the keys to their room and had to locate their place of accommodation, and others wanted complete secrecy from their guests.  We have another one this Friday evening, and a family-only special Christmas wedding reception to arrange. In any event, it gave us an opportunity to refine our Wedding Package options which now includes: rose petals scattered in a heart-shape on the bed, a bottle of bubbly and 2 glasses (chilled and waiting) and our own hand made chocolate truffles in a gift box. We can also customize your breakfast menu and serve time to best suit you.

Needless to say our herb garden was amazing this summer and although we’ve had frost 1-2 nights recently, my parsley, sage, rosemary and tarragon plants are the size of small bushes.  And my good friend, Evelyn, donated 2 huge bags of sweet cherry tomatoes which we are just finishing up in the kitchen. Our own 2 plants produced huge beefsteak tomatoes with the final few ripening up nicely in the south-facing sunporch. What else tastes as good as a fresh tomato sauce over pasta?A summer with such fine weather, we’ll surely remember it for a long time.
Now we’re working on some new ‘comfort food’ recipes with an emphasis on using the slow-cooker for our upcoming What’s Cookin’ menus.  The Classic French class was received so well, we’ve been asked to run it again for those who missed it in September, so expect to see it repeated in November. Who can resist homemade French Onion soup, Pan-Roasted Sirloin Trip followed by Apple Tarte Tatin?  Or perhaps butterflied boneless chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and goat cheese, potatoes Anna, and crepes Suzette?  The list is endless!

Apple Picking Time

Sara KGBB - Thursday, August 26, 2010
Aug 22nd, 2010 and the sun is shining, the temperature is 26C and my crab apple tree is weighted down to the ground with fruit.  Time to get picking so we can begin making jelly! I had my initial jelly-making attempt last year and was pleasantly surprised with how easy it is to achieve such spectacular results, so can't wait to do so again.  While I was outside picking, I had an Elvis impersonator providing background music from either Ritchie Wharf or Coronation Square as part of the continuing summer afternoon/evening concerts, so life could not have been sweeter! My second pick will have to wait until later in the week sometime, since we're booked solid with guests at the B&B through Sept 7th so lots of laundry and dishes to be done. 
Monday we took a break and drove to Fredericton to visit Scott's Nursery in hopes of obtaining some fall planters to replace my poor old icicle pansies that have been out since mid-April but starting to look a bit blowsy now.  What a great place!  Picked up an entire flat of ornamenatal kale/cabbage and some individual baskets already planted with fall coleus, mini-mums, corn spikes, and sedum. Instant fall garden!  But I did spend a few hours on Tuesday planting the kale & cabbage along the front retaining wall.  Must remember to take some photos and post them on the website.
And every once in a while, some unexpected events just happen and Monday evening was one of them.  We had just walked in the door at 5:30PM from Fredericton to pick up a call from 4 guests on their way from PEI, confirming their booking with an evening meal and to notify me of their late arrival @ 9:00PM.  My records showed them arriving on Tuesday (not Monday) so we did have some last minute scrambling to do to throw together a meal for 4!  Thank goodness we managed to serve up a Spinach & Pear with Pecan salad, Chicken Pot-Pie, and Lemon Cream cake. My guests did mention that they may have made a mistake given the fact that they originated from the US and with the Bar Harbour - Yarmouth boat cancelled the day they were departing, had to reshuffle some arrangements. Just happy to have been able to oblige!

I’ve been busy making & baking Chocolate Zucchini bread thanks to my organic gardener/farmers, the MacNeils in Bartibog Bridge.  Every few days I receive an email from Angela advising what’s she’s picked in the garden so I can put in my order.  We’ve been fortunate to sample (in addition to the zucchini) some wonderful yellow & green beans, wild strawberries and blackberries, and some Purple Haze carrots.  I served all of this fresh local produce to some Norwegian guests along with some locally raised Black Angus beef steaks and new potatoes for dinner last Saturday, and they absolutely raved about it.  Nothing improves cooking like good local food! My tomato and herb garden is at its peak right now, just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen up.  I can almost taste it already!
John is on his way to Baie St. Anne today to pick up a case of bottled lobster to sustain him through the winter.  He's even built shelves in the basement to store the bottles! I'll be surprised if it lasts him through to Christmas!  Remember this is the man who eats lobster everyday when it's in season!

Summer 2010 August

Sara KGBB - Saturday, August 07, 2010

With the great summer weather we've enjoyed, our garden is just bursting with abundance.  I have a bumper crop of sweet tomatoes just waiting to ripen, along with some superb basil, tarragon, chives, thyme, sage and lettuce. It's a delight concocting menus to utilise as much of this produce as possible.  I found some rainbow carrots the other day, and also have a local grower of some heirloom veggies that keep us well supplied with organic produce.  Our grandchildren have been fishing at the hatchery and loved the fresh trout we cooked up for supper one evening, with fresh raspberries and ice cream for dessert.  What's not to love about summer!

Now we’re turning our attention to creating a new plot and characters for our ‘Murder on the Menu’ mystery dinners that start up again Oct 30th,  in addition to proofing the copy for the 2011 Official Tourist guide featuring the ‘Miramichi Mystery Food Adventure’ experience.  You book a 2-night package with us and source your dinner from our local suppliers.  Not only do you get a great meal  but you’ll meet some wonderful local characters.  Not too sure just how that’s going to work in mid-winter, since I'm not a big fan of smelt, but like everything else at the King George, it will be a challenge!

Summer 2010

Sara KGBB - Sunday, July 04, 2010
A whole month without an update, just goes to show how busy we've been!  We did win the provincial tourism award for "Excellence and Innovation in Marketing" on May 27th in Edmunston and I have to say that John did an admirable job accepting it on my behalf. I was, of course, at home entertaining and cooking a lobster dinner for guests and was totally surprised when I received the call notifying me of the prize!  In any event, it's still a 'best-kept secret' here on the river, since no local press reported it, but it's spreading via word of mouth.  We are anticipating a busy summer season with guest bookings and start off with a bang July 1st weekend, with little vacancy other than the occasional Mon - Tues evening.
We had a great visit with my Mum, brother Tim, and S-I-L Jean in mid-June and were delighted she was able to make the trip via car from Orangeville, ON.  Tim & Jean continued on to St. Andrew's and PEI while we entertained Mum; showing her all of the highlights of the Miramichi in summer.  She had difficulty staying awake during the day, and everytime we caught her napping, she'd say 'Must be the air here!'
After a weekend filled with Canada Day and Rock'n'Roll festival activities, duck races, fireworks, dancing at Richie Wharf, etc. we're heading out to the brother's for a fish fry. John was also the big $1000 cash winner at the Legion's Canada Day draw, so he's going to buy a lotto ticket since he's on a roll now!  First the 10lbs of fresh lobster in May, then the $1K cash, and who know what's next!
We're sweltering in a 32C  heatwave today, but thunderstorms are expected before evening to cool things down a little. Thank goodness we have air conditioning in all the guest rooms, as well as the main floor living area.  I've now been introduced to the local game of skill known as 'Washer Toss' and am working on obtaining one for our own backyard. Thanks to the MacNeils weekend invitation to the Bartibog!
We've also been busy de-weeding the back and frontyards as the grass grows back, but somehow those dandelions keep reappearing! If we were paid by the pound, we'd be wealthy!  And my project to restain the interior foyer door has finally ended!  John sanded it and I stained and varnished it, so we're ready to have it re-installed.  Given that it's a 100+ year old door, it's not fantastic, but it sure looks a lot better than it was!  And naturally, today was the day my Sourdough Starter was finally ready and we're baking sourdough bread!  I guess Mother Nature just takes control of everything.  .  .I've been waiting for that starter to bubble and blossom for a whole week! Must be something to do with the warm temperatures and the humidity!
I will keep you posted as to the outcome of the bread!

May Events

Sara KGBB - Thursday, May 27, 2010
After our trip to Ontario to visit with family and friends, we arrived back in Miramichi on Sunday, May 2nd to find we have been nominated for the Tourism New Brunswick's 'Excellence and Innovation' award!  Unfortunately, I can't attend the awards ceremony and gala in Emundston on May 27th since I have a couple from Calgary checking in for the "Dowhome Lobster Dinner' package and someone has to be here to cook it!  But our friends, Rod & Irene Maloney have graciously agreed to accompany John to this event and accept the award on my behalf, should we actually win!  The Maloney's are spending 3-4 days with us in late May and it's always a pleasure to have such a handyman around the house. We have a long and evergrowing list of things to keep him busy.
In the meantime, Paradise Landscaping has removed a fence, installed an interlocking stone patio and walkway, and cleaned and tidied all of the flower and planting beds.  The edible and flowering crab and apple trees are in full bloom, and the lilacs are competing with them for Best in Show!  The scent of the lilacs is absolutely intoxicating, and not to be missed.
With the arrival of such an early Spring here on the river, we've had some unusually hot temperatures of 28 - 30C and the Victoria Day weekend was superb! We even had another family member visit with the sole intention of purchasing river front property so she can retire and fish to her heart's content.  I firmly believe there is something magical in the Miramichi River that permeates the very soul and is irresistible! I'll keep you posted if we win anything at the TIANB Gala.

Mother's Day G and Tea Specials

Sara KGBB - Friday, April 23, 2010
Apr 24, 2010 - As we head up to Ontario for a few days with family & friends, we're also looking forward to our upcoming May events.  Especially our 'Mother's Day G and Tea' dates beginning May 8 through May 16th on just the Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  I will be on the lookout for more 3-tier serving dishes to try to make our afternoon tea as authentic as possible.  We also have a trip planned to Ikea and a few lighting stores to obtain the final fixtures and fittings for John's 'spa' bathroom.  In our absence, our contractor will proceed to install the roof skylight over the shower, and then the plumber can finish the rest. Richard, our landscape designer, has remedied the worst of the damage done to our front retaining wall, and along with his trusty helper, Dave, they've cleaned out the backyard pond, installed a new pump, and made a cascading waterfall.  And even recycled a couple of cedar trees that survived the winter to make the waterfall look as natural as possible. When we return, we're expecting to see some new planting material and our bulbs in bloom.  I keep telling John, " Just wait until the lilacs bloom, they're the talk of the town!"

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