classic apple crisp

November 10, 2015
classic apple crisp

Driving home across rural Ontario last week, en route back from a visit to my mother, I drove past a picturesque, old-fashioned farm  nestled into the rolling hills. As I sailed on by, I noticed a sweet little shed at the side of the driveway with a crooked, hand-painted sign saying, “Apples for Sale.” Inside the shed were a few baskets of apples and a tin cash box.  Continue Reading…

a classic French apple cake

October 16, 2015
classic French apple cake

I have a bit of a habit of getting a new favourite song and listening to it so often that I wear it out. But in this case, this is a favourite song revisited. Since I heard it at dinner at a friend’s house last week, I can’t stop listening to Joan Baez’s song, Diamonds and Rust. It’s such a classic and just so powerful and incredibly, hauntingly beautiful.  Continue Reading…

perfect pumpkin scones

September 25, 2015
perfect pumpkin scones

The love of place is as real, as strong, and as important as any love. I felt it on the wild remote coast of Tasmania. I’ve felt it over and over on visits to Yorkshire – my ancestral home and the place I spent my formative years. I’ve felt in the south of France – the north of France – the middle of France. The sunshine coast of Australia. Salt Spring Island off the coast of Vancouver. I’ve felt it in the rugged, wilderness of Northern Canada. In Killarney Provincial Park as I watched a blue moon rise over the lakes and listened to the loons call to each other. I’ve felt it the Rocky Mountains, the coast of California, in the zocalo in Oaxaca, as I watched eighty year old Mexican men dance with their wives. And too, in the most southerly bits of New Zealand as I peered out over the endless mighty Pacific Ocean looking southwards towards Antarctica. I absolutely felt it in Newfoundland. Definitely there. That was love at first sight.

I’ve fallen in love so many times, I’ve lost count. Continue Reading…

tomato jam

September 14, 2015
tomato jam

Could there be anything more beautiful than the last days of summer? When the days are still warm,  the sky a vivid blue, the nights cool and crisp, the air dry, the bugs flown, the harvest moon, and the garden ripe with the last of its bounty. Alfred Lord Tennyson said that a young man’s thoughts turn to love in spring but give me the final perfect, glorious days of summer every time.

Continue Reading…

Champagne Cup

August 28, 2015
Sir John’s Table goes on a blog tour!

Oh the perils of food blogging. I was making these Victorian champagne cocktails at 10 o’clock this morning while the light was still soft. Perfect for taking photographs. I only drank one. I swear. And that was simply because I never post anything that haven’t taste-tested (and usually several times over). I poured the rest into a jug and stored it in my fridge. The things we do when we have a food blog…. Continue Reading…

Thai green curry

August 22, 2015
Thai green curry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the beauty of imperfection. I’ve written about this before – specifically about the Japanese practice of wabi-sabi – that is, of finding and embracing beauty in flaws and imperfection. And then recently, a friend told me that Mennonite women deliberately stitch errors into their quilting because they say, only God is perfect.

That perfection is neither possible nor even desirable, is such a beautiful and consoling concept. It’s worth repeating and embracing. I have a note on my bulletin board that reminds me to be grateful, to think about deliberate happiness, to consider the concept of consistent, principled altruism, to remember that EVERYONE needs love, and now, there’s a new note….”embrace imperfection.” And I don’t mean just embrace imperfection in things – but in people – in nature – in art – and in myself. Continue Reading…

Lemon gelato with vodka

August 3, 2015
lemon gelato with vodka 1

To compensate for last week’s excessively long post – I’m doing an excessively short one here. With an equally short recipe. Hardly a recipe at all. Just two ingredients. And I didn’t even think of them myself. The ‘recipe’ for lemon gelato with vodka comes from Elizabeth Bard’s charming book, Lunch in Paris. It’s probably the best dessert I’ve had all summer. So good I’m having it again tonight. Continue Reading…

roasted grape and brie flatbread

July 24, 2015
Roasted Grape and Brie Flatbread

When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time in the attic room over the garage at my best friend’s house. Her parents both worked so we went to her place where we were free to do whatever we wanted without any actual parental intervention. The attic was set up with an old TV and a couple of couches. And a record player. We didn’t have cellphones, Netflix, or computers. We didn’t even think about drugs or alcohol. There was no social media as a constant distraction. Time stretched out in front of us in the most luxurious way – a way that doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Continue Reading…

a book giveaway!

July 20, 2015
Sir John's Table

If you’re interested in a free copy of my new book, Sir John’s Table: The Culinary Life and Times of Canada’s First Prime Minister – please follow the link here for a Goodreads book giveaway.

Continue Reading…

rhubarb curd

July 11, 2015
rhubarb curd

This is my lovely new site – no thanks to me, but instead – huge gratitude to the fantastic crew at the Mortimer Marketing Group in Ottawa. I’m so excited to have this brighter, cleaner, more legible, mobile-friendly/responsive space to work in.  Continue Reading…

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