Archive for April, 2014

This year’s spring garden

pink tulip 2

This morning’s weather report told me that temperatures are set to soar this week, 20C and above. I am always suspicious about the long range forecast, but never above hoping it will come true.

My garden is doing well this year after a mild winter and a good spring with lots of sunshine. Daffodils and crocuses have come and gone, and my tulips are at their best right now with faces open and so much colour. A couple of weeks ago I planted hanging baskets with a mix of violets, pansies, swiss chard and mustard greens and they are doing very well.

orange tulips 2

violets chard mustard greens

One new thing is the holly plant we bought at Christmas – it’s flowering. I’ve never seen this before, somehow, despite my studious (obsessive?) observation of other people’s gardens. Always so neat to have an actual discovery, to find out something you never knew before. Of course, in the back of my mind when I see red holly berries I know that there must be a flower behind the fruit, but there are so many things that never find their way out from those mental recesses.

flowering holly

Lemon balm is another surprise. I planted it last year and look at how beautifully it has already come back. I wonder if it is part of the mint family of plants, which are another thriving species in my garden. Both make wonderful tea and cocktails, so I am always happy to see them growing so well.

lemon balm

pale grape hyacinths in basket

Such a promising time of year – so much to look forward to – here’s hoping for that heat so all the things still dormant can find their way up.

hyacinth close up

yellow primula 2014

pink primula and crocus 2014

2014 daffodils

purple primula


April 28, 2014 at 8:11 am

Arugula pesto pasta

springtime pasta

I made this for lunch last Friday. A day off from work thanks to the holiday weekend – there is nothing better than making a proper lunch at home. This dish was easy, as well, since I already had the pesto on hand, so it was just a matter of boiling the spaghetti and stirring things together.

It’s a perfect time of year for arugula and spinach – either for growing or for buying at the market. Both are so much better in their “real” state – a different food altogether from the plastic-packaged variety that we eat during the winter.

Thanks to Laurie for her delicious arugula pesto recipe, which you can find in the comments on this post.

Arugula pesto pasta
Serves 2-3 people
1/2 pound spaghetti (use brown rice pasta for gluten-free)
Save 1 cup of the pasta water when you are draining it
1/2 cup arugula pesto (see above link for recipe)
3-4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts
Truffle oil and parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until just about al dente. Drain, but save about 1 cup of the pasta water to use in the sauce. Toss pesto, spinach and chili flakes with pasta and gradually add in reserved pasta water a small amount at a time as the spinach cooks down until the sauce is a good texture. Top with pine nuts and freshly ground pepper, and add truffle oil and/or parmesan as a garnish if you wish.

April 21, 2014 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

Bicycles of Copenhagen

pink bicycle
My lovely bicycle is back on the road this after a winter off. She’s looking and driving especially fine after a tune-up at the Tandem Bike Cafe (thanks Clint!). It’s a pleasure to be riding again with spring-time in full bloom, and especially after our recent visit to Copenhagen, which is a truly inspiring place when it comes to the possibilities of bikes as a mode of transportation. Everyone – everyone – rides bicycles in Copenhagen. Old, young, with kids in tow and without. We even saw someone transporting a dresser by bike. Everyone we talked said the same thing: it makes us healthier and it’s cheaper. “The only people with cars are people who are very rich, or who live far away,” said one server in a great restaurant we went to called the Halifax. So simple, so practical – so Danish.

It was interesting to visit the national museum and see that this choice has been alive and well since the 1930s, when, according to the museum, the people decided to ignore cars and stay focused on bikes.

bicycle in the museum

The scale of bicycle use is amazing. An army of well-dressed folks coming and going via bicycle during the commuter hour, giant parking lots of bicycles outside the metro stations, and the presence of many bicycles outside of every apartment, cafe, workplace and museum. It made our North American dependence on cars seem even more crazy than I already thought.

Here are some photos so you can see what I mean. Such excellent inspiration for spring cycling!

another blue bicycle

blue bicycle

bicycles at the metro

bike cart bright street cph

more bicycles

bicycles at the opera

bicycle wall

cph bicycle and smk poster

black bicycle cph

red bicycle in cph

bicycle parking lot

April 16, 2014 at 8:22 am 1 comment

Flickr Photos

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