Archive for October, 2013

Events to look out for in Vancouver this November 2013

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Here is a look at some of the events to delight us during November….tis the season to be Jolly as the festive season begins to influence us at the end of the month….enjoy!

DIWALI FESTIVAL
This annual event that happens in October and November is more commonly known as ‘The Festival of Lights’ Diwali also Deepawali to many has its roots that hark back to ancient India, the festival is a celebration of light and life!

When: October 29 – November 8, 2013.

Website: http://vancouver.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=vancouver&cdn=citiestowns&tm=1339&f=00&su=p284.13.342.ip_p554.23.342.ip_&tt=2&bt=8&bts=0&zu=http%3A//diwalifest.ca/

CHARLES EDENSHAW AT THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY
One of the most celebrated artists from the Pacific Northwest and recognized as one of the most prolific artists of his day and now in history. Through his Art you will get to see the Haida peoples culture as it is and as it was, you will learn to see how the lives were shaped and hardships that the Haida peoples endured through his creations.

When: October 26, 2013 to February 2, 2014

Website: http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_edenshaw.html

CHOR LEONI – MEMORY ETERNAL at ST ANDREW’S WESLEY UNITED CHURCH
In commemoration of the fallen during the World Wars this musical and theatrical tribute will lead you on a journey in memory of these terrible events that cannot be forgotten. This journey will inform and unite everyone together.

When: November 11th (Remembrance Day)

Website: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/events/details/6738

VANCOUVER CHRISTMAS MARKET
The Vancouver Christmas Market is back for its fourth year at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza!
Enjoy our expanded offerings of delicious food items and find your unique Christmas gift! Enjoy seasonal music and a great entertainment program of authentic folk groups!

When: November 22nd to December 24th

Website: http://www.vancouverchristmasmarket.com/

PEAK OF CHRISTMAS at GROUSE MOUNTAIN
Celebrate Christmas in this wonderfully snowy setting at the top of Grouse Mountain, this is a great time to bring the family young and old to kick off the Christmas festivities with plenty on offer to entertain everyone, some features to look out for….SOS Children’s Gingerbread Village, Santa’s Workshop, Visit Prancer, Outdoor Ice Skating, Mountaintop Sleigh Rides and much much more….

When: November 23rd to December 24th

Website: http://www.grousemountain.com/events/the-peak-of-christmas-2013

BRIGHT NIGHTS – STANLEY PARK CHRISTMAS TRAIN
During the holiday season, Stanley Park sparkles with two million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early at this time of year.

When: End of November till Early January (Closed Xmas day)

Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

Indulge yourself at the Festival of Chocolates, and make some Brownies too….

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

On these cold foggy fall days that we are currently experiencing in Vancouver, its time like this when its just nice to curl up with a Hot Chocolate as the fog drifts by. As it happens, this is also the time when the annual ‘Festival of Chocolates’ festival comes to the city, what can be better than a festival that lets us indulge in one of the most popular delicacies around. We do not know many that do not enjoy chocolate.

This festival showcases the very best chocolates around, you will get to experience a wider range of varieties and will also get to learn how to make various chocolate recipes and more…..if you are interested in the Culinary world and specifically the sweeter side of cooking, then this will be the festival for you!

For more information, please check their website to see what is happening
http://www.festivalofchocolate.ca/

And to get you into that chocolate mood, how about trying out this recipe…

Ultimate Chocolate Brownie
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons golden flax meal

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda

7 Tablespoons cocoa powder
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
¾ teaspoon salt

¼ cup boiling water

1 ½ cups sugar
6 Tablespoons (80 grams) Regular Butter or non-hydrogenated stick margarine, melted (not tub margarine)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

1) Prepare the flax meal, your oven and your baking dish
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the water and flax meal. Let it sit for about 10 minutes so the mixture gets goopy. Place your oven rack on it’s lowest position and preheat your oven to 350F. Line an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper allowing excess parchment paper on opposite sides so you can pull the brownies out of the baking dish later.

2) Whisk together the four and baking soda
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the all-purpose flour and baking soda. Set aside.

3) Mix the vegan brownie dough
In another medium mixing bowl add the cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate, espresso powder and salt. Add the boiling water and using a spoon, mix in the ingredients into a paste, making sure that all of the chocolate pieces are melted. Add the sugar, Vegan Butter, vanilla extract, flax meal mixture from Step 1 into the chocolate mixture and mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the walnuts if you’re using them. Using a spoon, mix in the flour until well combined. The mixture will become extremely thick and you may need to use your hands to mix. Refrain from mixing this dough with an electric mixer at this point; this will overwork the dough and activate too much gluten, negatively affecting the texture of the brownies.

4) Transfer the brownie batter to a baking dish and bake to perfection
Transfer the batter to the baking dish. You may need to use your fingers or a spatula to press the thick dough into place. Bake for 35 minutes on your oven’s lowest rack. Transfer the baking dish to a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool for about an hour.

5) Allow the brownies to cool completely
Transfer the brownies to the wire rack by lifting them out of the baking dish by taking hold of the exposed parchment paper on each side. Allow them to cool completely before slicing into squares.
This recipe makes one 8 x 8 inch baking dish of Ultimate Vegan Brownies.

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN – Why we Carve Pumpkins at Halloween…

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

As Halloween is fast approaching it is time for us to get creative with the Pumpkin carving! At the hotel, we are putting our heads together to think of cool images to carve into the pumpkins – we will also love for you to help us out -what kind of cool imagery do you want us to carve into our own Pumpkin? If you have any ideas please let us know and even better, share your photos of the cool carvings you have created for this occasion!

In this blog we will discover the origins of pumpkin carving and as to why we continue this tradition every year.

THE ‘WILL-O’-THE WISP & the JACK O’ LANTERN Connection
The tradition of carving pumpkin has various origins and the most popular in well known folklore are the stories of The Will-O’-the Wisp and Jack O’ Lantern.
The ‘Will-O’-the Wisp’ was created by a natural phenomena that happens to occur when plants are decaying over Swampy or Peat Bog areas and are in the process producing a Phosphorescence Glow .
During the 18th Century tales of folklore were created to personify this ghostly apparition and tales of Pixies and Sprites were soon born to explain what was happening. The Sprite was said to form wispy flames of light around it and would lead foolish travelers astray by luring them towards the swampy bogs – where ultimately some may have gotten themselves stuck in the dark murky swamps.
In Latin the light is known as “Ignis Fatuus” which translates “foolish fire.” The reference of the name “will-o’-the-wisp” has been extended to any impractical or unattainable goal.

On the subject of the Phosphorescence Glow there are many common occurrences of this that you can see for yourself, materials such as Paints, Glow in the dark toys and Clock dials are all examples of a man made material that presents the Phosphorescence glow processes in opposition to the chemical states happening naturally.

The Jack O’ Lantern is related to the Wisp, but in modern times when we follow this tradition the Lantern seems to be a more common phrase that comes to mind.
The origins of this are from Irish and Scottish Myths and Legendary Folklore that come in various incarnations. In short, the tales usually involves a man ‘Jack’ Who has an undesirable trait wether he be stingy or a thief and has played a trick on the devil which never bodes well for his Soul. As punishment, Jack’s Soul after passing is generally to be found in Limbo as the devil agrees too spare it, yet, unbeknownst to Jack it means the soul cannot be entered into Heaven nor can it be let into Hell in part due to his lifestyle decisions and as well as the experience with the devil itself!!!

The images portrayed into the Pumpkins are of a ghoulish nature for these reasons, and over the years that we have traditionally celebrated the tradition, there have been many pranks played into the custom too – so the evolution of some of these Lanterns portray humorous looking Ghouls and imagery.

Below are some Lanterns that were created with some friends on a Halloween excursion to Seattle…..what do you think of them? Cool eh!