Monday, 3 September 2012

Fare and Sea-Faring. . .

Another lovely summer weekend in Liverpool which was just bursting with activity.  On Saturday it was off to Sefton Park and the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival.

Tons of local restaurants and pubs had booths cooking up tasty lunches and there was a lot of local produce and meat available for purchase.  Not to mention a Chocolate Heavenly Garden (with free samples) and wine and beer tasting. Some of the food on offer was quite um. . . let's just say, unusual.

I sampled some hot Malaysian curry and satay, washed down with fresh lemonade and a pineapple and coconut danish from a French pastry booth.  I also bought a lovely wooden mortar and pestle and a wonderful cookbook with recipes from dozens of Liverpool's restaurants.

While not as big as Toronto, Liverpool is definitely a multi-cultural city and this is reflected in its cooking.  You can get any type of ethnic food here and I love this cookbook not just for its recipes but as a handy guide to some of the city's best places to eat. In particular, Liverpool has Europe's oldest Chinatown which I have yet to explore but really must make a priority. There's also a section in the book entitled "Like Me Ma Used to Make" and yes, there is a recipe for the local delicacy - Scouse, a type of beef stew that when fully cooked should be so thick that a spoon can stand up straight in the bowl.  I'll be tackling that when the weather turns colder.

There were tents with cooking demonstrations and the big thrill was the Merseyside Bake-off with Paul Hollywood (one of the judges of my favourite food show - The Great British Bake-off) on hand to answer questions and declare the winners of each heat.

He was very engaging and entertaining.  The local contestants had to make scones (which smelled delicious coming out of the oven) and these are the efforts of a guy named Matthew.  I thought his scones looked wonderful, all puffy and golden, but Hollywood's a tough judge. These only got 4 out of 10.

Sunday it was off to Albert Docks for another celebration of Liverpool's heritage - the sailing of the Tall Ships.  They'd been in port for a couple of days and were heading out to participate in a parade along the Mersey en route to the sea.

There's something very majestic about seeing these ships in full sail.

Lots of activities dockside as well with people dressed up in period costume, as sirens, and as giant fish.

All to the accompaniment of music - I do love listening to a good old salty sea shanty.  I thought I would really miss all the cultural events that are constantly happening in Toronto but I'm pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of things going on in Liverpool and the support that is given to the arts both financially and in terms of crowd attendance.  And there's lots more to look forward to this autumn.  I hope all my friends back in T.O. have enjoyed a fun Labour Day Weekend. 

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