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.
It’s Valentine’s Day this week and in my kitchen I’m making these four-ingredient, (happen-to-be-vegan) Valentine’s Day cookies. These are a breeze to whip up and are beautifully soft and delicious, almost disproportionately so when you consider how simple the ingredients are. Plus they’re good for the planet.
I did it! I walked 800 kilometres (500 miles) across Spain. It was brilliant. A long, slow, meditative walk across the country, over mountain ranges and across plains, through farms, villages, cities….
You know the Albert Camus quotation, “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer…”? Continue reading “Sweet Potato Soup”
I love this time of year. Not because I love winter – but I love the fact that the days are slowly, steadily getting longer. I like the quiet of winter. The long dark evenings. The clean blanket of snow. The fact that it’s actually easier to sit at my desk now than it will be in six months when the garden will be luring me outdoors. Mostly, I love the fact that spring is coming, and then summer, and then autumn. I spend a good portion of winter looking forward to the other three seasons.
Continue reading “Vietnamese tofu spring rolls”
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. Continue reading “Thai green curry”
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 “Lemon gelato with vodka”
The other evening when I was out with my dog just after sunset, in that time after dusk but before the full, velveteen darkness of night has descended – I watched a field of fireflies lighting up like fairy lights twinkling across the land. Continue reading “rhubarb sorbet”
This rhubarb jam is beautiful in its simplicity. All you will need here is an equal quantity of fruit and sugar and a bit of fresh lemon juice. You can vary the quantity according to the amount of rhubarb you have. I had about 750 grams of washed, trimmed rhubarb – hence my version below. It will take you half an hour all up from start to finish. The jam is divine. It’s old fashioned, tart, and perfect with scones.
Rhubarb and Strawberry Jam
- 750 grams of chopped, trimmed rhubarb
- 250 grams of washed, chopped ripe strawberries (adds colour and flavour to the jam)
- 1 kg of sugar (I think I actually used a little less than 1 kg – probably about 900 grams but if you are going to store your jam – you do need to use enough sugar to set the jam properly and thus prevent it from going bad – the standard ratio is equal quantities of fruit and sugar)
- juice of one fresh lemon
Begin by washing and sterilizing jam jars. I set these in the oven for about 10 minutes at 250 deg. F. In the meantime, bring the fruit and lemon juice to the boil in a large, heavy stainless saucepan. Cook over medium heat (hot enough to maintain a low boil) for about 10 minutes stirring frequently. Add the sugar and bring the jam back to the boil over med-high heat – taking care not to burn the jam, stirring constantly once the sugar is added. It will take about another ten minutes of cooking (20-25 minutes in total) for the jam to thicken and reach the jelly stage. For instructions on this check here.
Once the jam is sufficiently thickened, remove from the heat, stir for one minute, pour into sterilized jars, and seal immediately.
I’m a fan of writer Ann Patchett, whose book, Truth and Beauty, is one of my favourites. This week, thanks to the website, Brain Pickings, I came across a fantastic Patchett quotation that hit very close to home, especially the last line: