A couple of summers ago, I discovered that a plant I’d been studiously avoiding for years on my daily dog walks, was not the poisonous wild parsnip or giant hogweed I’d suspected it to be, but rather, a wild elderberry bush. And it turned out that there were hundreds of them! Continue reading “Classic Mennonite Elderberry Pie”
I have a gorgeous crop of rhubarb – that most undemanding and yet giving of plants – in my garden this year. A bumper crop. The leaves are massive and brilliantly green and the stalks are ruby-red – much redder than they have been in the past. I’m not sure if it was the long cold winter, or the slow, cool spring, but the rhubarb is thriving and I’m busy making use of the bounty. Continue reading “Vintage Rhubarb Custard Meringue Pie”
My blog seems to have taken a turn towards the personal lately. I’ve never, ever, revealed quite so much about myself. I always stayed in that safe, neutral, careful territory. But now that I’ve started down the track of disclosure, it appears I’ve opened the floodgates. And who knows where I’ll finish up?
Last week, after a long and valiant battle with Parkinson’s, my mother died. My editor, Jan Murphy, truly one of the finest people I know, let me write this tribute to my Mum, in my food column, “The Dish,” in the Kingston Whig-Standard. Continue reading “My mother’s glazed ginger shortbread”
This rhubarb curd is a bit like an old-fashioned rhubarb custard pie in a jar. It’s brilliant by the spoonful but is perhaps more civilized when served with pound cake, or with a batch of scones, or as a topping for cheesecake. It is also perfect served with a bowl of fresh berries and whipped cream or stirred into natural yogurt. Use it like you would lemon curd. Continue reading “Rhubarb Curd”
Out for a hike along the Bruce Trail near Lion’s Head, in a tangle of wildflowers, and birch trees, and short, gnarled, thousand-year-old eastern white cedars, we fall upon an old, long forgotten apple orchard. The apple trees have grown wild. Some of them are stunted by the patchy, shallow earth they’re growing in, amidst all the limestone outcroppings. The trees are laden, heavy with fruit. The apples are shades of dark red and gold, soft green and pale yellow, some mottled, some picture-perfect. The sky above is a deep, heavenly blue, almost too perfect to be real. It’s an unbelievable bounty – a portrait of pure, wild joy.
I’m padding around my kitchen barefoot, late at night, on a rescue mission – making homemade ricotta from the milk that’s set to expire and cooking a batch of broccoli cheddar soup before the broccoli expires too. I love this – this quiet solo time in the kitchen. Pots on the stove. Fragrant aromas wafting through the house. Soft lighting. A shaft of moonlight falling across the dining room table. It’s a gorgeous August night. There’s a cool breeze, a waxing gibbous moon, and Neil Diamond singing “Stones” from the Hot August Night album on the radio. I’m on a massive trip down memory lane, remembering my beautiful best friend from high school, who succumbed to cancer way too early. We knew every single word to this entire album. Continue reading “homemade ricotta & a batch of baked spinach ricotta penne”
Nanaimo Bars are quintessentially Canadian. They are to British Columbia what Butter Tarts are to Ontario, Flapper Pie is to the Prairies, Tarte au Sucre is to Quebec, and Figgy Duff is to Newfoundland: beloved and iconic. Essential pieces of our culinary history. Continue reading “a batch of stunningly good Nanaimo Bars”