Saturday, June 23, 2012

First Summer/vacation

 Although the calendar says its summer, as has been the norm around here, summer has been playing peekaboo. We have had the odd HOT day this month and that seems to be consolation enough. For LilC, this is the first real summer - no longer dashing off into the street as soon as someone opens the door. The trip to the berry patch was quite happening as it was figured one was allowed to eat stuff off the plants, getting some not so good berries and spitting them out and learning to say 'stawbewy'. Luckily, it was cloudy and I even broke a sweat being the sole picker for the tribe. Having always wanted to extend the life of the berries, tried my hand at jamming this year. Being a minimalist, the whole preserving process always felt like overkill. Its amazing how little jam 3 pounds of berries make! This recipe uses about a cup and half of sugar and 3tbsp of lemon juice. The berries are definitely the star - the most brilliant jam (color and taste) you'll ever happen upon!

For BigC, this is the first summer vacation - no waking up to alarms, no hurry to get anywhere, making daisy wreaths from those picked on a walk, icecream in the middle of the day. It was quite the eye-opener that even left to their own, they are up and ready to go roughly at the same time as school. A hectic week ensued due to poor scheduling but, all have made it through with energy to spare, enough for a engagement party at a new Indican restaurant-bollywood theater (best to keep to the street food selection) Drama camp has been a great outlet for BigC's stories and crafts (rose for Briar Rose as Twelfth fairy) - even narrating a skit BigC wrote while older kids enacted it. 

in the garden - heirloom roses, alliums, pink spanish lavender and heirloom gladiolus - the flowers have a light and feathery look than the much maligned hybrid staples in bouquets

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Victoria, British Columbia

Our first vacation as a family meant a hop across the ocean to charming Victoria with old friends. Having been sufficiently warned about the sleepy laid-back town, we came prepared - to relax. The kids hit it off despite having barely met a couple times, even the older ones. Some bonds are plain amazing. Many thanks to the ferry, the RV, the boat! Not to forget the weather gods for 4 days of no rain and lot of sun. Discovered Paneer-pasanda at Mahek - my new favorite dish made from Paneer.
Rented this charming house on Glen Lake to give the kids some space besides the traditional hotel-room/suite. Turns out we are the first renters and the place is spotless and did i say charming? complete with a mustardy yellow wicker chair. Lucky we got beyond the comfy chairs on the fragrant wisteria porch that had a electric heater and wood burning fireplace. Day-2 took us to the historical Butchart Gardens. On a whim, a call to the gardens just before heading there snagged us a spot right around lunch-time for the famous "Tea" at the Butchart house nonetheless. Could not have orchestrated that better.

A berry trifle started us out - layers of sponge cake and berries topped with chantilly cream (yum - even swapped out the kid's cookie for this). Following this was an elaborate selection of savories and sweets. English cuisine might not be much but they definitely know HOW to have their tea!!


•House-made sausage roll with mustard
•Roasted vegetable and cheese quiche
•Smoked wild salmon with maple and hole grain mustard cream cheese
•Egg salad and watercress
•Maple glazed smoked ham and fennel seed salad on a multi-grain crostini
•Mango-curry chicken salad with toasted cashews
•Cucumber with fresh ginger cream cheese
•Lemon cheesecake tart with raspberry glaze
•Chocolate and brandy Napoleon
•Poppy seed and orange loaf
•Marzipan-wrapped Battenberg cake
•Baileys Irish Cream truffle
•Candied ginger scone with strawberry jam and whipped vanilla Devon-style cream

Saturday, June 9, 2012

New beginnings

A celebration with the luxury of dining out sans kids should be reason enough to start blogging? No??? Maybe a menu item that makes you want to re-create some at home can be my reason. While i am not a big fan of recipes with a couple dozen ingredients when cooking at home, there's no reason not to try one that someone else put together...especially when you might happen upon one where the different elements hit all the right notes at all the right pitches. This was the case with the salad course that simply read Insalata di fragole aka strawberries.

Red juicy local berries interspersed with pickled green ones were complemented by the almost spicy micro-Basil (almost like Tulsi) and the milder Persian cress. Dehydrated black-olives added a salty touch to the docile Juniper Grove goats’ milk feta. All of this atop a black pepper fromage fraĆ®che and dressed with basil gel. A beauty to behold! A crescendo!!

12th at Genoa

in the garden - fragrant herbaceous peonies