When life gives you a great cookbook

Sometimes you have a great new cookbook that is calling out to you – “try me, try me“, but a variety of problems conspire against you. You don’t have enough time, ingredients are too hard to find, recipes are too complicated, etc, etc. But today, the food gods were shining on me, even if the sun clearly was not.

The forecast promised rain, and the lovely West Coast did not disappoint, but we had some amazing fog first. This kind of day is the best kind for cooking. So I busted out my new book, “Seasons” by Donna Hay. I have gone past this book in the store too many times to count. I finally made the investment last week and had to walk

by the book each day at my house without having the time to dive in. Finally today, the stars aligned.

The “Coconut bread” with “Grapefruit jam” was up first. Really good bread, actually more like a cake in a loaf pan, but really nice. The jam recipe needs some work, my grapefruits must have much thicker skins that the Aussie varieties.

I taught my daughter the secrets of yeast with “Garlic pizza”. This is amazing and everyone liked it. I think you have to go the extra mile and make real crust like we did today. The toppings for this one are:

  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • shaved parmesan
  • 40 sage leaves
  • sea salt

All afternoon I was soaking porcini mushrooms in olive oil for the “Cauliflower soup”. This was not as good as my standby recipe:

  • 1 head cauliflower broken into florets
  • 1 onion cut into big chunks
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and diced into small chunks
  • 900 ml stock

Roast in 400 degrees F, cauliflower and onion tossed with olive oil and S&P until browned. Slide into a pot with potatoes and stock. Simmer until tender and puree.

All in all a great day. Finished reading a book in the morning, listening to an audio book while cooking and the back of a wool sweater tank is completed. In reading the instructions for the front, realized that I forgot some decreases on the back. So will have to quickly do the front with the same mistake!

Finally Spring in time for Summer

It has been a nice long winter. Skiers have had a great time. The grizzly bears at the top of Grouse Mountain are just coming out of their dens and being welcomed by 10′ of snow. But we are in Canada, and we don’t like to complain. With the official start of summer fun set to begin next week with the May long weekend, the cold weather holding on is getting tired.

We kick off the summer with a holiday on a Monday that is meant to be a celebration of the Queen’s birthday. It is not a sombre event, mind you. If the Queen meant us to also fondly refer to this as the May 24, (in reference to 24 beer – per day or for the whole weekend is optional), then we are all on the same page.

So here are a few pics and commentary of life around my garden. It is a bit unusual not to have strawberries already. I love nothing more than to send taunting pictures to my family in Alberta and brag – but not this year!

Chives seem to do well anywhere. I have 5 clumps and that seems a bit much. I just don’t have the heart to dig some of them out and cart away like a weed. I have found a recipe for chive pesto with potatoes. That will be on the table tonight!

Chive pesto

Pack one half cup each of chives and parsley. Add to food processor with 2T nuts and 1 clove garlic. Pulse and with the motor running on low, drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil. Transfer to a bowl and mix in 2t lemon juice and 2T water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Here is the state of my poor little strawberries! At least a month away from ripe fruit. And that supposes good weather from this moment on, which is not what the forecast says.

This little guy doesn’t know his place. It is most certainly not to be in the middle of the path like this. I worried about raspberry plants in the beginning. I carefully

tended the plants that were given to me by my mother in law. The reason she was giving them away was, as I now know, they are like weeds! You have to be ruthless to try keeping them in line.

And here she is – my cherry tree. For all her glory, I just wish bore fruit! Alas she is only an ornamental. Once the pink blossoms cover the ground like snow, she only gives us shade all summer long.