Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cake day

The wind was rearranging everyones leaves this morning but the sun was shining and just for a moment it made you forget that it was the last day of October. It was also the last Farmers Market - it didn't take me long to stroll through and fill my bags with apples and onions and walnuts.
The park was very busy this morning as we sat by the river and enjoyed our breakfast with a view. The seagulls, feathers ruffled by the wind, went about their business on the sandbar even as flocks of Canada geese descended all around them.
The leaves were dancing right off the trees as I walked through the park. I had to resist the urge to pick up all the 'tree-droppings' such as leaves, acorns, and twigs. No time to make an autumn display for the front door.
I did find some time, though, to bake our favourite fall dessert - Cranberry sour cream pound cake. Even had time to take advantage of all this sun and wind and hang the laundry outside.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pomegranate season

There is nothing quite like the first crunchy spears of asparagus in the spring or the July cherries full of run-down-your-chin juice. But this time of year is my favourite. Why? Because the pomegranate is in season and there is no fruit to compare to this one. Slice one open (in a bowl of water of course) and you are rewarded with up to 600 seeds. Good for you and always a conversation starter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dutch baby in a birds nest eating apple pie with chicken

Just finished reading a great book - A homemade life by Molly Wizenberg. I had never had a Dutch baby so this morning I tried the recipe from the book. As soon as it came out of the oven I poured lots of lemon juice on the top and dusted it with powdered sugar. We ate it right out of the pie plate. Could have used more lemon juice.

When I saw this recipe on one of my favourite blogs - A day in the country- I just had to make them. Last time we went to Summerland we stocked up on jam so this is a great recipe for using up all those half empty jars of jam. I still have the card that HC sent to me when she replied to my letter. Very nice just like her cookies.

The birdbath was frozen this morning so this is the kind of day when you don't mind having the oven on. This is the first time I have made a piecrust with butter - I have been using the same recipe from someone named Martha for the last I don't know how many years. I have just met Prettylulu but decide to try her recipe. I follow her instructions except for measuring the apples, I've never measured my apples before. The kitchen is very warm but the dough rolls out like a dream, no need to patch. After baking I let it rest for an hour before we cut into it, the crust is sweet and delicate, the cranberries pop, and the apples are juicy, really juicy. Maybe I should have measured them.
These are the last of our cherry tomatoes. Valodya made Mediterranean chicken for dinner - can't wait for next year to grow some more tomatoes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

White quilt

This photo does not even come close to capturing what awaited us this morning as we stepped out our front door. I only had time for one quick shot - I stood in between the neighbours cedars looking east, the sun burnishing the mountains to a gold-peach colour. The thick white fluffy quilt of clouds made the city down below disappear - it almost seemed as if you could walk across to the golden hills. Very tempting on a workday.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I tried

Whenever we go to our favourite coffee shop, Cowboy Coffee, I always order the same thing - a coffee cake streusel muffin that has an extra large top lightly covered with a tooth- achingly sweet milk glaze. I usually eat the bottom of the muffin first and save the top for later, but I can never wait that long so I end up eating the top in the car with the rest of my coffee.

So, today I tried to re-create in my kitchen the beloved streusel muffin. I followed the recipe as set out (I can't remember where I copied the recipe from) but even as I was filling the muffin cups and sprinkling the streusel over top, I knew that these were not the ones. There are no mention of oats in this recipe and after baking they did not even brown at all. After trying a couple of muffins, my taste-tester said that he liked them. Nothing goes to waste here - the muffins are in the freezer and the recipe is in the paper recycling bin.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


A year ago today, Valodya's Mom passed away. We spent a quiet day remembering, lighting candles, donating in her memory, having her favourite foods, and indulging in the one thing she loved to do and did well at; playing at the casino.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A week ago I found a china teacup at a thrift store - I had no intention of buying this cup but what got my attention was the name of the pattern - Rosina. I have a cousin by that name who I have not seen in years. When we planned our long weekend away we had no intention of going to Oliver but I had seen an advertisement for a quilt shop and at the last minute we decided to go to the Wine Capital of Canada.
I found some recycled glass beads at the bead shop, some great fabric (on sale) at Molly's Quilt Shop, and silver earrings made by a BC artist at The Gallery. When I crossed the street to take a picture of the Oliver Book Store, I could not believe my eyes, but there was my cousin Rosina and her husband. We hugged, we chatted, we took pictures. Of course I told her about the teacup.
A little refreshment after all that excitement - our favourite corner store in Oliver is Eastside Grocery. Valodya stocks up on Lotto and we have ice cream. We had single scoops, which resemble double scoops, of Black Cherry and Moose Tracks.
I made a u-turn in the middle of the street when I saw this in front of a house not too far from the store. Love figs!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winery visit

As we drove into town we could see the barricades and orange cones and crowds. Main street had been blocked off and we had no idea why - we just needed to get to our favourite deli to get our buns. And we did and we enjoyed them at a pull-out along the lake.

Quite a few years ago, a certain someone used to pick fruit in the orchards. This weekend we went back to one of those orchards which is now a winery - Blue Mountain Winery. The cherries are all gone, the landscape has changed, but the memories are still fresh. I especially like the story of the tractor rides into town to go to the pub.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Everything is on the edge of a vineyard

Spent a very quiet and relaxing Thanksgiving long weekend in Wine country. Have barely had a chance to unpack but I did sort through some of my pictures. I could have taken hundreds of photos but that would have meant stopping every five minutes. These were some of my favourite images from the weekend. I will post more during the week plus my great fleamarket finds and other goodies that I just had to bring home with me.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Two favourites

This time, during my visit with Mom we made two of my favourites - gnocchi and cookies. I brought potatoes from Rock Creek and the dumplings turned out tender and tasty.

The cookies we made are loaded with the juice and zest of one lemon. Very simple recipe but oh so good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Secret sauce

There really is no secret to making tomato sauce or is there? You start with the meatballs - soak good, homemade bread in whole milk and add to the ground meat. Lots of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley is a must. Lightly coat the meatballs in breadcrumbs before browning.
If you don't have homecanned tomatoes then use your favourite store bought ones. After the meat has browned I add my onions and then a glass of white wine. Some people use chicken broth.
Can you identify the yellow gob in the centre of the pot? That is the secret to a good tomato sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2009