Archive for May, 2010

This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, from the past week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.


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My sous chef Joshua, so ably stirring!

Okay, so it’s not a Laura Calder recipe this time, but it is somewhat French inspired (mainly because I just wanted to use the name “Edith Pilaf”!). Here’s an easy, quick little pilaf that tastes lovely with panko-breaded sole and a spring greens/cucumber/strawberry salad (well, that’s what we ate it with, anyway). Our trusty rice cooker died in the middle of cooking the rice though, so we had to – horrors – actually boil the rice in a pot. Which, I realised, is actually quite easy and straightforward, and therefore we probably don’t need to replace our rice cooker.

But, I digress.

Edith Pilaf

2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
herbes de Provence, to taste (oregano, rosemary, thyme, sarriette – I don’t actually know what sarriette is, but it’s in my package of organic herbes de Provence!)
salt and pepper, to taste
splash of olive oil

Toast the almonds in a large frying pan over medium-high heat (careful, they burn easily). Lower the heat to medium, add the peas and a splash of olive oil, and cook until the peas are bright green. Add the cooked rice and stir until well blended. Salt and pepper to taste. So cinchy, eh? Joshua added a sprinkle of hoisin sauce to this, which tasted great, too.

Non, je ne regrette rien!

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Between Keaton’s teething and ear infection (poor little gaffer!) and some recent, stressful BGUDs (Big, Grown-Up Decisions – more on that in a post-to-come this week), the ol’ craft pile has been languishing a bit. I had my little ironing board, cotton stuffing and some fabric out in an attempt to cut pieces to sew Keaton a little baby ball, and also to iron an embroidery design onto a hoodie, but it all sat there on the dining table for more than two weeks (sorry, Josh) without me touching it. Sometimes I think about doing things more than I actually do them.

But the other night (very, very late) when I had given Keats some homeopathic teething tablets and had finally got him off to sleep, I took a little time to clear away some of the craftin’ clutter and actually work on a project or two:

My first attempt at making jewelry, with some gorgeous Amazonite and pink beads that I got at Kimdoly Beads. These bracelets are for three dear friends’ birthdays – one already shipped off to Penticton, another to Ottawa, and one to be given in person.

My first official knitting project, with a pattern and everything – the Sofia Cowl from One-Skein Wonders. My sister Chay and I went to Chay’s boyfriend Joel’s mum’s house (did that sound a bit complicated, or what?) for a knitting lesson, and now I am attempting to knit not only on circular needles, but also a little lace pattern. Elusive terms such as psso and k2tog now have meaning for me (just barely – that’s about all I know now in knitting language!). I actually already screwed up by knitting it on a circular needle that’s too long, and it got all twisted up. So, I just knit over the twist and kept on going, so it’ll look a bit goofy, but whatever. I did not want to rip it all out an start over!

And I finally ironed the embroidery patterns onto the white hoodie – these adorable little birdies are from Sublime Stitching by Jenny Hart. Cute, eh? I do love that satisfying slurpy sound of thread being pulled through fabric on an embroidery hoop.

Next up: birthday crowns and bunting for various birthdays. But first I must buy some felt!

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Since our little family has just recently returned from a wonderful camping trip near Tofino (Keaton’s an excellent little outdoorsman, even with an ear infection!), and we’re still shaking the sand out of our shoes and dealing with the laundry piles, I figure, why not combine my Thursday and Friday blogging rituals in one fell swoop?

Recipe Thursday: Bleu Cheese Sauce

Okay, I’m somewhat sheepish to admit that this is another Laura Calder recipe – am I a little obsessed with her or what? Tee hee. Josh and I were watching her show the other day, French Food at Home (on the Food Network, of course), she whipped up this fabulously simple yet totally tasty Bleu Cheese Sauce. She served it over thinly sliced beef (we did, too), but it would also taste amazing with pasta, as a warm salad dressing, or whatever else your little heart desires – as long as you like stinky bleu cheese, of course!

To make it, all you have to do is whisk together equal parts bleu cheese and heavy cream (whipping cream) in a saucepan over medium heat until well-blended and a little bubbly. Pour over whatever you want it on, and enjoy. So very tasty!

This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, from the past week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Have a fab weekend!

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This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama‘s Friday ritual – a photo, with no words, from the past week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.

Josh, Keaton and I are going away to Vancouver Island until next Wednesday, so I won’t be bloggin’ for a few days. Have a wonderful weekend, folks!

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Slightly adapted from my girlfriend Laura Calder’s recipe for Lentil Soup with Croutes in French Taste. The only difference is that I roasted the onion and carrot before adding them to the pot, rather than just adding them raw like Laura does. I used organic turkey smokies for my coins (or croutes, as Laura so Frenchily calls them), but chorizo or any kind of sausage would work gorgeously.

Lentil Soup with Smokie Coins

1 cup green lentils
1 carrot, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1 bay leaf
1 thyme sprig (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
4 cups chicken stock or water
lemon juice
about 3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1 chorizo sausage or some kind of sausage/smokie, thinly sliced into coins

Soak the lentils in cold water for two hours. Drain. Preheat oven to 350F.

Place the carrot and onion in a shallow baking pan with a splash of olive oil and a dash of sea salt. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Put the lentils, carrot, onion, bay leaf, thyme and stock in a large saucepan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprig (if using). Let the soup cool somewhat, then blend with a hand blender (easiest method) or in batches in a blender. Add salt and pepper, along with a squeeze of lemon, and gently reheat.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan and saute the coins until they curl, about 30 seconds. Turn and fry again briefly, about 15 seconds. Serve the soup with the coins on top.

Tastes excellent with some rustic bread and butter!

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A semi-regular series about – the name says it all – the people in my life who inspire me. Me and Zoe on my wedding day (she was one of my bridesmaids).

Zoe is absolutely one of my most favourite people in the whole world. She and I met in February 2005 through an awesome Vancouver School Board program called Mentorship: Making Contact, where adult mentors and gifted elementary students come together to work on subjects like astronomy, French cooking, or in my and Zoe’s case, art and creative writing.

From the moment I met her at our initial “get to know you” program meeting, I knew we were meant for each other. She was 12 at the time, and was wearing a funky get-up with pink tights and a vintage purse. She was more fashionable than most adults I know (and continues to be!). I love the wacky, offbeat kids the best, and there she was, in all her glory. The classroom we met in had a mobile in it, I remember, and one of the things hanging off it was a sparkly Christmas ornament shaped like a fish, with bright red lady lips. Zoe and I were very taken by this fish (the mentorship facilitator even said that we could take it home with us). We decided to name the fish Edwina, and we made up an elaborate backstory on her – I can’t really remember what it was, but I think it involved Edwina selling Avon. As it turned out, Zoe and her mum (the fabulous Kimberly, who took our wedding photos) lived only a block away from us in the West End, and so we all rode the bus home together, plotting and scheming our fabulous mentorship.

And what a fabulous mentorship it was, indeed, a mentorship that quickly – if not immediately, became a friendship. Here Zoe and I were, in those early days:

Our mentorship meetings usually involved fun things related to our topic of art and creative writing, such as doing each others’ make-up and hair, and making extremely creative mocktails involving grenadine, lime cordial and food colouring. Lots of movie-watching, too, usually while doing said activities. Oh, and we liked to play dress-up, talk about our dreams and plan out short films we wanted to make (we never actually made them, but we had some great ideas).

We talked about Tim Burton’s aesthetic, and art deco. We put on costumes and played 17th century card games (lessons courtesy of my friend Laura, another inspiring peep), and we prank-called Sears and tried to order something from their 1934 catalogue (spats, I think it was).

During this time I was probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my life – working full-time, doing my Master’s degree part-time, with a busy social life. Zoe and I hung out about once a week or so, but I wish it could have been more often. One night while we were walking back to Zoe’s house, Zoe said, “You’re my best adult friend.” Quick pause. “No, actually, you’re my best friend, period.” Well, did my heart almost burst with joy, or what!

Zoe has the magical ability to make me forget all my grown-up woes – a conversation with her makes me feel light, carefree and gleeful. She’s brilliant, and affectionate, and all-around wonderful, with a creative mind unlike anyone else I’ve ever met.

Zoe’s almost all grown up now, in Grade 12 and graduating in a couple of months. She’s planning to move to London and be an artist. Or maybe to New York. (You know how it is at that age. I love it.) She came over for a visit last month, from her current home on the Sunshine Coast. I hope I’ll always be a part of her life and her adventures, in some way.

I get a little lump in my throat thinking about all this. I’d better stop before I get way too sentimental (oh wait, too late!).

I love you, Zoe!

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