Archive for January, 2012

Apple crostata

Crostata is the Italian name for a free-form pie. You roll out the crust, place it on a pan, pile on fruit and then fold up the edges. Much less work than fitting pastry into a pan and crimping the edges. I’ve been wanting to make one for ages and I’m proud to say I finally did.

I’m a latecomer when it comes to pie appreciation. When I was growing up I didn’t like it at all, and it’s only in the past few years that I’ve developed a taste for it. Pie for me is like olives in that I’ve always liked the idea of it much more than the actual taste. I know that’s a strange comparison, olives and pie, but it is the same phenomenon. Peanut butter and jam sandwiches are another thing I didn’t like as a kid, but as an adult I’ve discovered an affection for them. Olives and I are slowly becoming good friends – the idea has finally planted itself in my taste buds after a long campaign of telling myself to learn to like them – and  I think the tides are turning with the cause of pie as well. (more…)

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January 23, 2012 at 10:52 pm 2 comments

Flowers + snow

Winter on the west coast is at its best when flowers and snow collide. Take these two scenes: above is a picture of a cherry tree in bloom just off Davie Street and Burrard in Vancouver’s west end. I took this picture today when I was wandering around on my lunch break. This seems shockingly early for cherry blossoms, but the photographic evidence speaks for itself.

And below, in the same neighbourhood on the same day, just a few hours earlier, is the view from my office window of the 20-minute snowstorm we experienced this morning in Vancouver. It was a great start to my week to be able to gaze out into the swirl over emails and Monday morning coffee.   (more…)

January 16, 2012 at 11:07 pm Leave a comment

Mmm…fake bacon (and how I came to be a vegetarian)

Is fake bacon sufficiently inspiring as a blog topic? I don’t know, except to say look at this beautiful veggie BLT. Actually it’s a FBLAATC sandwich – fake bacon, lettuce, arugula (still growing in my garden even in January), avocado, tomato and cheese sandwich. Not quite as catchy as BLT, but every bit as good if not better.

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January 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment

This is what a week off work looks like

It’s over now, sadly, but it was bliss while it lasted and it confirmed what I’ve always known: I’d do very well as a retired person.

I had two full weeks off work over the holiday break. The first was spent traveling to Vancouver Island and then Calgary for time with family. The second week was all mine. Both were wonderful, but it is a rare thing to be able to stay at home in your jammies all day (all week) doing nothing.

I spent my days sipping coffee, scribbling in a notebook, reading, making soup and going for a walk with the dog in the middle of the day while everyone else was tucked away at the office. I snuggled in for another couple of hours after the alarm clock went off in the morning and the poor sop next to me went off to win some bread.

The solitude, the sleep, the slow unfolding of the day just as you want it to be (instead of having all the demands of the world tell you how it needs to be), those are beautiful things. The feeling of being instead of doing. I’ll remember it fondly.

January 9, 2012 at 11:58 pm Leave a comment

Spring bulbs already sprouting!

It’s hard to believe, but the first shoots of snowdrops and crocuses are peeking up in gardens around the neighbourhood, including mine. This photo was taken yesterday afternoon, which you can see was lovely and sunny compared to today’s drizzle and grey. (more…)

January 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm Leave a comment

Beets, squash, kale and chickpeas…together at last

There’s nothing like a week off work to spur on more blogging. I’ve been looking through a few photos I took in recent weeks and found this one of a veggie dish I made for a holiday dinner with friends. I started with an ingredient that everyone seems to love: roasted beets. I also had butternut squash, a fresh bunch of kale, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and shallots, all things that have come to be staples in my kitchen one by one over the past few years, so that’s how this dish came to be.

Uplifting day-glo colours, healthy veggies, a bit of protein, and aside from the messiness of beets it’s a snap to make.

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January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm 1 comment

Gnocchi with chanterelle mushroom sauce


We hosted a dinner party on New Year’s Eve and with that I decided to tackle a long held goal: to make homemade gnocchi. I consulted several recipe books for different variations on how to make the actual gnocchi pasta and landed on Mario Batali’s version, along with a sauce inspired by my affection for chanterelle mushrooms.

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January 2, 2012 at 11:34 pm 5 comments


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