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.
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”
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”
This is a mashup of a couple of red wine jelly recipes. I like it so much that I’m posting it.
Four ingredients and twenty minutes and you’ve got yourself a wonderful jelly that works equally well with either savouries like a cheese platter or a turkey sandwich; or sweets like waffles or crepes. Or pile it atop toast and peanut butter. Maybe on a bagel with cream cheese.
If you buy the smallest mason jars (125 ml in Canada) you can make about 12 jars of this jelly out of one bottle (plus 1/4 cup more) of wine, making it so easy to spread the love.
Red Wine Jelly
- 3 1/4 cups wine (you can use red, white, or rose or a mix. I used a Cabernet Sauvignon which resulted in a beautifully coloured jelly. NB. One bottle will not be enough. You will need to have a little from a second bottle – anything will do! I used a splash of a Pinot noir sitting on the counter to make up the extra 1/4 cup of wine needed)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 box of fruit pectin crystals (such as Certo or equivalent. My box was 57 grams but I think they are pretty universally standard)
- 4 cups sugar
- First, sterilize the jars, lids, and sealers by whatever method you choose. I washed them thoroughly with hot soapy water, then rinsed and drained. Then I put them in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 15 minutes. Most recipes also recommend boiling the lids and rims and then leaving them in the hot water until you are ready to use them.
- Bring the wine, lemon juice and pectin to the boil in a large stainless steel pan, stirring frequently.
- Once you have achieved a full boil, add the sugar and continue stirring. Bring the mixture back to a full boil again. Once it is boiling, immediately set the timer for 2 minutes. Leave the heat at medium-high and stir for the entire 2 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, remove the pan from the heat and pour into the sterilized jars. I used a large pyrex measuring cup with a pouring spout to fill the jars. Seal ASAP and set the jars aside for 24 hours in a place where they will not be disturbed.
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”
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. In this case at least, necessity was the mother of these gin-soaked raisins. The original recipe was a pasta recipe that called for various things including farfalle, Swiss chard, and raisins soaked in vermouth. Somehow, the vermouth had disappeared, but the beautiful blue bottle of Bombay Sapphire was beckoning…. Continue reading “chickpea and gin-soaked raisin salad”
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”