Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Asparagus in a bag cake

Heading North and I'm bearing gifts even though it is my birthday (yes, I am an April fool). I have baked up my favourite cake - Coconut- recipe from the Barefoot Contessa. It is a very rich cake so I don't think we are going to need cream cheese icing.
And for the little princess I sewed up a litttle tote from Lexie Barnes' book Sew what! Bags. I made the handles a bit too wide but it was very quick to make and I just might have to make a few more in different sizes.
With asparagus in season, I could eat frittatta every night. Even better is roasting the spears for ten minutes in a very hot oven, use your fingers and enjoy.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who needs Milano?

I'm starting to collect risotto recipes. Most people I talk to seem to think that it is diifficult and labour intensive to make risotto. I disagree. I have been known to walk in the door after work, change, and start making risotto. Yes, there is a lot of stirring and chopping and stirring and simmering and stirring but as long as you have someone to cut up the onion and someone to stir while you take a break, the risotto comes together in no time at all. Who can resist the creaminess of a hot bowl of risotto, generously adorned with lots of grated parmesan cheese and a fresh shake of pepper? I know I can't. So, we tried a new recipe. Pumpkin and chestnut risotto. I was a little doubtful at first because I had to use cannned chestnuts and frozen pumpkin, but this risotto was so good that I can't wait to try it again in the fall with fresh pumpkin and real Italian chestnuts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cowboys, quilts, and poutine

A good weekend for us always starts with breakfast at Cowboy Coffee. Mr Cowboy had his usual but I tried something totally different as it was more brunch then breakfast by the time we got going. The newest offering in the glass case was a Little Hawaiian Melt made on the thinnest bread I have ever seen. A thick, juicy slice of pineapple on grilled chicken with mozza, romaine lettuce, bacon, and a touch of mayo were a perfect combo.

To burn off all those calories, I paid a visit to my favourite junque store. Found a great quilt top in the flower garden pattern. I now have two found quilt tops that I will work on and donate to a worthwhile cause.

Yes, we ate lunch, a very late lunch. Poutine is always nice on a busy weekend when no one feels like cooking.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spicey pizzaiola

This is the first time that I have tried a Rachel Ray recipe - Steak Pizzaiola Burgers. Talk about spicey, this recipe calls for two teaspoons of dried red chillies and despite protests from a certain someone that is what I added to two pounds of ground sirloin. The best part of this burger is the onion, tomato paste, and wine sauce. Once you've cooked the burgers, slather them with lots of this sauce, a couple of slices of mozza, under the broiler until everything is bubbly and serve without a bun on a mixed salad. But for those who can't handle the heat from all those chillies, a bun would be good. All I needed was a glass of red.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A short story

A backpack and some good walking shoes and he was off. To travel to the other side of the world, to visit places he had only read about, to savour freedom from school and schedules and the looming responsibility of career and family. A little adventure, a reward for all the hard work. This young man travels to India and as a souvenir to remind him of this fascinating country he decides to purchase a beautiful, handwoven carpet. He continues on his travels happy in the knowledge that when he returns home, the carpet will be waiting for him to transform his bachelor pad into a magical and inviting space.
Our traveller is still travelling occasionally along with his wife. He is retired, the children are successful and gone and after many moves, a condo is now home. If you look around the condo, you will not see the beautiful, handwoven rug. After months of waiting, what he recieved were two bolts of unbleached cotton. One of the bolts was used for curtains and pillows and craft projects. The other bolt was gifted to me.
I do not care for drapes and curtains or anything else covering a window unless absolutely necessary. The bamboo blinds and awning are not enough for our west-facing picture window so I made some curtains. No sewing was involved, I just cut to fit and draped them over the bamboo blinds. The cotton is closely woven and does a great job of keeping out the sun and the heat. I saved hundreds of dollars and am indebited to a rug weaver somewhere in India.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy birthday to you!

It is already well into tomorrow in Korea for someone who is celebrating a milestone birthday. A regular workday for her. But hopefully when she sees this rainbow it will not feel like a regular day to her but a day of contemplation and celebration.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Spring is here and for me that means one thing; I can hang the laundry to dry outside. Is there any other way? I don't think so. During the winter, I use two old fashioned wood floor racks and a hanging rack which was made for me by Valodya.
Spring also means motorcycles, streetcleaners, pruning, planting peas, lots of birds feeding, washing windows, and my favourite - packing away the flannellette sheets for some frilly Laura Ashley that were bought at a greatly reduced price.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Day

At work we had a green food potluck and this was my contribution - Fudge Cake with green icing. The recipe is from the Winter 1986 issue of Country Living Country Cooking. I have made this particular cake many times and one taster called it the 'best chocolate cake he had ever had.'

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Before and after

It's not completely done yet but it is much better then it was before. We have removed the glass doors on the tub - back to a shower curtain that is easily washed. The new toilet is a dual flush model. All I have to do now is stock up on some good bubble bath powder - lavender scented of course.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

You're so vanity

In search of a vanity for the powder room we went across the bridge to check out a thrift store in a new and bigger location. This is a great thrift store. The front section is all glass cases filled with jewelry of all kinds, to the right is all the kitchen stuff neatly displayed on wire shelves. A few steps up and it's all womens clothes. Down a ramp and it's all about the guys. At the very back I found the furniture section but nothing that could be used for a vanity. Just as I was leaving this little scooter caught my eye. In really good condition and only sixty dollars. It's still there if you are interested.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Lucky find

I know I should stay away from all the thrift stores and fleamarkets and antiques sales and secondhand shops and yard and estate sales but the thrill of finding something spectacular keeps me going back because you just never know when you will come across a great find to add to a collection or to start a new one. Such was the case yesterday - I was so lucky to get these three platters made by the Newport Pottery , Burslem, England. My collection, which now numbers 14, includes platters of all different sizes, bowls, mugs, and my most prized piece is a very large pitcher which makes people turn green with envy when they see it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Especially for my Korean daughters

This was supposed to be a post filled with panoramic photos of the city. I went out specifically yesterday and got some great shots at the Lookout. My favourite was of the Northshore - the mountains coloured a hazy blue in the late afternoon light and more sandbars then water in the river that it looked like you could just walk across. Looking east, the Red Bridge stood out against a backdrop of dusty, leafless trees.
I will try this again and I will think twice before I hit the erase button on my camera.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Muffin quilting

My sewing machine is sitting right there on the kitchen table so this morning after feasting on these wonderfully rich and healthy blueberry bran muffins from the June 2007 issue of Bon Appetit I managed to finish quilt #2 for Daughter #1. This has been a fun and environmentally conscious project. I used quite a few of Maura's old t-shirts to make this warm and memory-laden blanket.
The hardest part of this project was finding the blankets. The only size I could find were twins so I bought two and of course they are 100% cotton. To finish the edges I used different coloured twill tape in all different sizes and then quilted some of the squares to stabilize the fabric. Have already started on TG's quilt and it is huge.

This is in answer to a question about the kitchen mitts that I made. Every year I make a new cover. I am still using the original mitts which are store bought, and the new cover goes over the old one. So these mitts have eight years worth of covers on them - they are getting bulky but I sure don't feel the heat when I'm using them.