Thursday, July 2, 2015

Thoughtful~♥









Someone across the world knows me well..

Look what came overseas to live here..

I had a plan for Canada Day cookies.. from Terry..thank you..I will make them..:)
But ..I got sidetracked:)



 Cookie cutters are some of my favorite things:)

Kitchen things..but more specifically baking things..

So much so that a few days before Father's Day..one of our daughters asked me what I thought Jacques would like..we always say NOTHING,...just being with you guys..etc..

This time I said..maybe I should ask him if he would like something for the kitchen?:) She cracked me up and answered:"like what mom a new Bundt pan?".
Cracked me up.

We get our mail at the end of our road..sometimes I go..Jacques goes..we go..
he went Monday..and came home w/ a parcel from England..
A long box..I wondered what could be in it?
Well the cutest British Cookie Cutters and a darling hand painted bookmark by Marie~

I don't like to write about when we bloggers exchange sweet things..I don't know why but I am shy about it..to me it's kind of private..we all get to know little things about each other in personal ways and if something sings someone's name..well we are on it:)

I overcame my shyness because many of you follow Marie..and I knew you would get a kick out of her thoughtfulness..
I sure did.Sometimes She Gets Carried Away:)

Nigella,Jamie,Delia,Yotam,Nigel,Gordon..Marie..etc..

I made some the very next morning..the day the clematis started to really shine and the shasta daisies were so happy:)
Like I was when I had these sweet things on the counter all baked with our home smelling like sugar cookies and custard.
I took out my mom's silver things.. ,one of her tea cups..my grandmother's napkins.. a napkin ring..one of 4 Mary sent me sooo many years ago..
How are you Mary?
Picked some roses..
You can make the cookies with other cutters.and stamp them..

...and you cand find Marie's recipe..on her blog here.
Never have I made something of Marie's that has not turned out perfectly.
I have a baking binder with the recipes I have made that we have all loved.
She is a quintessential baker.
Her recipes are in grams and in ounces..cups etc..
Spot on.
Are they cute or what?!♥
Merci beaucoup Marie..



Monday, June 29, 2015

Borage..who knew?







I have grown borage in containers..  and it did ok..
But this year  I planted it in the new hexagonal veggie/herb garden..
Who knew it would take on gargantuan proportions?
Against the blue sky  it is aboslutely beautiful and grows like a bush..the above are daylight shots..but at dusk..the other night..it was so pretty..a different hue..bottom pic..
All this to say..apparently borage is great to grow in a garden..it enriches the soil..the flowers are edible and totally photogenic..and I would not hesitate to use it as a blue annual in a bed somewhere now that I see what it can do!

I love putting it on salad..on anything! Yes it is that pretty♥
A mom..of one of the students in my daughter's kindergarden class.. has an olive grove in Greece..
they bottle the oil..under their brand name of Zoe..along w/ other products..and Mylène bought Caroline and I each a set..the oil and the white balsamic..delicious!
I will buy again..
I made a simple vinaigrette w/ both to dress our salads..
that's my spinach:) and my swiss chard Bright Lights:) nasturtiums and their leaves are great edibles too~ as well as feverfew..
I have cut my garlic scapes:)

That means ..the garlic is not that far off:)

PS Saw a cute movie.. MAX..about a dog..a great dog..a lovely family..war..
it is  exciting..moving..teaches values..
All my married life..I saw very few movies at the cinema..I have seen more with the Littles than on our own..
I always say:"On a scale of 1 to 10..10 being the best..1 being the worst..what do you give this one?"
Of course I have started that w/ the boys:)

All 3 gave it a 10.
Don't read the reviews.. geesh..I cannot believe reviewers don't like feel good movies..

To quote a review..and I thought this..on my own..in the cinema..It's Lassie and Rin Tin Tin♥

If you love a pet..you will love this movie..suitable for kids!



This coming week..is Canada Day..July 1st...and the 4th of July..(Noah's Birthday:))

(photo source..Pinterest)

Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Strawberry Fields~










When our girls were small we always took them strawberry picking..
Mylène does the same with Noah..Wednesday was a national holiday here..St-Jean Baptiste day..she called around noon and asked if I wanted to go strawberry picking w/ them?
Yes~♥
Gave me the chance to see Grizzly:)The Chickens and Alain's gardens..
I came home w/ not only about 4 liters of fresh picked warm berries,but lettuce..beets..and eggs:)
Instead of going to a very commercial place..you may remember..we went blueberry picking there..  this time she chose a very quaint ,no frills farm..we will go back at the end of July for vegetables..
Noah was so good..he's going to be 7 after all July 4th:)
He picked a full 4 liter basket on his own..his mom picked another..they are 5 there..we are 2..
However when we got to the weigh out..I had picked the most;)
Noah looked at me with a mischievious grin and went to ..take some of mine:)
Sweet sweet with his nana banana.He really is.
And his freckles are multiplying!
He has the littlest baby teeth of all 4..  Oli is a close second..but Noah's?  So teeny!

It's so different when you are one on one w/ your grandchildren compared to all together..
Love both..but the selfish person in me ..loves this one on one..

I made more of David Lebovitz's jam..call it a 2015 crush..

I had bought QC strawberries the week before..not local..but from QC..to make the other Father's Day dessert..Cathy's AMAZING Hazelnut chocolate cake..
It won rave reviews.
You can find her delicious make again recipe at the link to her blog..




Cathy..thanks for all the great recipes you share all the time..

Bon Weekend~

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer is here..
















And Saturday proved it well..

I went to our brocante bright and early..  9.30..still parking on main area..where the pond is..by the time I left 10.45..people buzzing and having to park up the hill..
I bought 2 little things..and will think of two more..
I left the Mr McGregor things there..who will want these things one day when I am no longer using them..
I learned lessons this week..about being older..being alone..maybe that's what stopped me in my tracks..

..anyways I love going there..everyone's got a story..everyone..and the sellers often tell you if you are open to listening..and I am.
Came home..did a bit of baking..for Father's Day at Caroline's..then I went to our waterfont church to try fluffy cloud plein air painting..the parking lot was packed!
I never knew QC had a Red Hat Society.. yes..  an event there..so I went to the next best waterfront spot..there was a table waiting for me and I enjoyed every moment..no one came to peek at what I was doing and left me alone:)
A wash dries fast in the brilliant sunshine on a breezy day by the water;) Lesson learned..and a clip.

All Our Fingers In The Pie..on her other blog Violets In My Garden..Sarah..used that cuteness of a cake pan..I could not bring myself at my age to get one..until I found a knock off ..silicone on Ebay.
The result was perfection..
I was very happy with the outcome of this cake.. I found the recipe here..:)
I wanted to use what I had on hand..
What I liked is that there was not too much batter..less than needed to fill the mold..so each honeycomb..pulled apart..my family thought the cake was lovely..me too:)
I'll post the recipe at the end..I used fine semolina that looks like flour..and yet you still got a slight crunch..the orange was refreshing..
Keeper recipe and mold.
The second dessert was DEELICIOUS and a keeper too..will share it soon..

I got hooked on lobster rolls while away..and got a craving so I made those one night and will again..


SO DELICIOUS.
Father's Day was relocated to Caroline's (bless her heart!) and was wonderful..I think all 3 dads enjoyed their get together and dinner..great burgers..salads etc..
I think get togethers with family are so important if you can.
The kids have fun..and the adults too..no one in the world makes me laugh like them.No one.

La Recette~

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps all purpose flour
3/4 cup fine grind cornmeal
1 cup..2 sticks unsalted butter,softened
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps plus 1 1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest..(I doubled that)

Pre-heat oven to 325F
Coat your pan with non stick cooking spray and set aside
In a small bowl whisk flour and cormeal until just combined,set aside
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted w/ the paddle,cream butter,sugar,salt,honey and orange zest until pale and fluffy about 5 minutes..add eggs one at a time incorporating fully before adding another..Using a rubber spatula fold in the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined
Pour the batter in the prepared pan  and bake 40 mins  or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean

Please refer to her notes for additional info~
Each perfect little comb..pulls apart so well.

Welcome to QC  Summer..I have been waiting for you..The Littles finish school..markets have home grown produce..berries are plentiful..garlic scapes..herbs..all gifts.




Friday, June 19, 2015

MMM Muffins..au chocolat de Bernard~ Gift tags..Television..art..♥













I love ....white peonies..clay tags.. vintage boxes.. books..the word..:"petit" = little.."Littles"..linen..flowers..twine ,starfish in windows..moments that are irreplaceable ..given to us as a gift to act upon ♥ as in being at the right place at the right time~

On a totally different note..

I love at the moment..


Friday Night Lights..Netflix..
Les Carnets De Julie..TV5,France 2..


GOT left me cold this season..with way too much violence.Truth be told..I have been lost for the last 2 seasons with who is who..The first seasons were  better..(who cares what I say).

I am almost 100% sure..John Snow will return.He is the top draw IMHO w/ Khaleesi...

I love..

Peter Dinklage..such a GREAT actor..♥ My fave on the show.
Sam.
John Snow.
Brienne Of Tarth.

And Cersei's figure?

Perfection aesthetically or what? Too long the walk of atonement ..too long.
And I have read many reports..it was a body double..
see what we get to believe?
And how about Audrey Hepburn being remembered for how pretty she was?
She was so much more.

Moving along..

Hopefully Orange is The New Black  will get better.

True Detective to come..  Ray Donovan..


Next..
that chef's site..Bernard..

this is the second recipe ..I have made of his and will make more..
Remember the Ikea cookies?
Same chef..

When I saw his Muffins Atomiques on Pinterest..I knew I would be making them..I can walk right by desserts..
but Jacques can't and nor can the alphabet boys..
so I tried them..
I don't have the Wilton cupcake/muffin mold he used...but my daughter had recently given me large parchment cupcake liners..so I tucked those in a regular muffin pan..

I made 8 instead of 6..they would have been even higher!
You can make 12 smaller ones too.
I wanted high and atomic:)
They are great and pretty.
I had bought some mini chocolate pearls..and mini white/and milk chocolate spirals..
I knew they would top off the muffins well;)

Here is the recipe..

could not be easier..
all hand mixed..
but you do need a scale.
I love the precision of his scale recipes..
I needed 4 eggs..less a bit..
you have to weigh everything..
I also baked mine on convection..I adjusted the F to Convection..usually 25 degrees less..but keep an eye.

see how high they rise?
love that.

I made little clay tags too..the air dry ones.. because I felt like stamping..and making linen roses..
the clay tags are easy..buy no bake..roll out,cut..make a hole w/ a straw:) stamp..let dry..and then glue your rose:)
For the life of me I cannot find the tutorial I used..but Google making fabric roses..flowers..and many will pop us..such as here..


La Recette for the Chocolate muffins..


75 grams unsweetened powdered cocoa
190 grams sugar
170 grams flour
150 grams milk
150 grams butter,melted**
190 grams eggs..(you have to weigh..I needed ap 3 and half eggs)
1 1/2 tsps of baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda..
150 grams of chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 375

You will either make 6 Ginormous muffins if you have a Wilton pan like his..I have never seen one..I do have a huge 4 cavity muffin pan..but too big..
or 8..like I did by placing large muffin papers in a muffin tin..or 12 regulars.

**since your butter is melted make sure your other ings are room temp..not cold.

In  a bowl,mix the eggs, cocoa, sugar, milk and butter ..add the flour mix well again.. add the chocolate chunks..combine..finally add the baking powder and baking soda.

Bake for ap 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean and see how atomic they really are~

The muffins got a ten from Lucas..they  all had chocolate faces when done.

I especially like giving them chocolate muffins outside:)Actually..only outside;)



PS..
Important..

I have been seeing beautiful food creations..mostly cakes on gorgeous blogs and am stupefied at the plants I am seeing..

please do your research before adorning cakes and desserts etc..with flowers and blooms..

I know they are beautiful..but caution!

Important info on plants

some are not listed in the above list such as ..alstroemeria..etc..

I must admit the tulip  stumped me..because even Ricardo has a tulip blossom salad that I made..upon further reasearch..the petals are indeed edible..I knew I had researched;)
So use caution..~

PS..
I have been following Shari Blaukopf's blog for a while..she lives where I live..

...and her art is wonderful..in fact Mr Jean Doré ,former mayor of Mtl received  one of Shari's art works as a prize  for outstanding contribution to le Mont~ Royal ..: "Le Prix Du Mont-Royal".
Sadly Mr.Doré passed away last week.Grateful he was here to receive this honor.

While I was away  , Shari  posted that she was offering a Craftsy class.
Her first..you won't believe it..so professional.

As soon as I read about this..just 2 days ago..I subscribed..

This online art class..is invaluable.
She is professional..a natural ..talented..
I am hooked.
I love this online class.
http://shariblaukopf.com/2015/06/08/my-first-online-video-class/





Bon weekend....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Peonies..attract rain...










One of the gardeners' great laws of attraction~

If you have peonies in bloom..surely it will rain~

Today was a deluge..a fierce downpour this morning..lasting most of the morning.. ..around 2.30  the sun peaked out....but amidst dark ominous clouds..
only for it to disappear..and the rain began again..
Like the Itsy Bitsy spider song;)

After a day of rain..some  peonies start to droop...but the others..perk up and are so striking in a garden..like huge cotton candy balls♥
I know they are fleeting..like lilacs..like everything we love..in a garden..almost.
Some things stay longer..
thank goodness for them;)
I made little Sablés Nantais for tea today..
half a recipe again;)
they are easy ..here is the full recipe..if you want to make half like I did just halve the proportions w/ a scale..the egg? Just mix up..weigh..use half..a scale is a must in a baker's kitchen.
I wanted to try this particular recipe for the coconut addition..I had never tried.. with coconut..

La Recette~

250 grams of flour
50 grams shredded coconut
120 grams of butter
150 grams of sugar(I use my vanilla sugar)
1 egg plus 1 yolk for the glaze..(I use my caramel syrup I made)
1 tbsp milk
1 vanilla bean(I used my vanilla sugar)
zest of one lemon
1 envelope of baking powder..Dr

Soften the butter in the microwave..mix in butter until creamy and homogenous.
Add flour..coconut , baking powder and finely zested lemon rind
Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds..incorporate them in your mixture
Add egg and milk and combine with your hands untilyou have a smooth dough..if your dough is too dry..add a bit more milk..(I did not need any more milk..in fact my dough needed a bit of flouring when I cut my cookies)..

Make a disk..wrap in cling..refrigerate an hour..
Roll out to 5mm..brush the egg yolk that you have mixed wih some milk for the glaze..(I made half w/ galze..half w/out)..place on parchemnt..(I freeze mine for a few minutes to retain shape and printing..)
bake in a pre-heated  200C oven for 15-20 minutes..keep an eye on the browning of the glazed ones..

I would not hesitate one moment to add a bit of coconut flavoring..as I found the coconut was almost imperceptible.

Father's Day weather announces poorly:(
Really ,so far this weather ..this June weather..has been..  well wet.

The boys football has been rained out so many times~
I chopped my very mature  4 Korean Lilacs..that intersperse yews and hydrangeas ,down to about 2 feet..in front of our porch..
it will take some getting used to until they branch out ..from lush and lovely to bare branches..the new roof..metal..makes snow slide down..the heavy snow had broken a few branches..and the blooms were less substantial..every time we cut back things..they really GROW back..hopefully these will..looks so different:(

next..the magnolia..is going..:(

and a whole patch of hydrangeas and lilies..for garlic I think~
in the plans at least.Just so backbreaking these projects!~
Grateful to be able to do it though~Always full of gratitude for what we can do.


So  Korean Lilacs..Miss Kim..very different from reg lilacs..


PS  Re the lilacs I cut ..chopped ..
This is the side back garden one and I can't get to it this year..so I won't trim and see what happens..usually I clip every bloom.The 4 front ones..are chopped to the bare bone bottoms.
That's why my fingers are crossed..The voids they make  unreal.



Saturday, June 13, 2015

Maine~Be Still My Heart~long..





























It had been years..too many years..since we had been to Maine..early June suits us.. less crowds..quieter..
our style~
The drive is quite lovely..through Vermont..New Hampshire..and then the destination ..Maine.
In Vermont..we stopped at a rest area on the way and on the way back..Randolph and Williston.
We don't know if every Vermont rest area has this..but the two we went into..had complimentary Vermont Coffee..coffee..if you are not familiar with it..it's delish.I favor the Hazelnut and they had some..as I was about to fill my cup..I noticed a Donations box..I looked to the tall gentleman waiting beside me and I said..:"my purse is in the car"..he said:"Let me do that"..he took extra dollars out of his wallet and paid. He told me his wife would want some too.How nice.. he was from Brattleboro Vermont and Naples Florida.
It just starts a trip across the border in a beautiful ,friendly way.

Kennebunkport,Perkins Cove,Wells,York Beach,Cape Purpoise,Goose Rocks..
all side trips we love..
As much as we love Massachussetts..(next year maybe)..we love the Maine coast also.
The ocean..the waves..the lobster rolls..Stonewall Kitchen;),the Marginal Way..the beautiful homes..the friendly people..

but most of all..I love the quiet areas..when on our own..I can look out and only see..boats:)
or lighthouses..or artists..or cliffs and waves and beach roses.

Stonewall Kitchen..  we had coffee there one morning before setting out..is quite the enterprise..there is the Home Office..Kitchens..Cooking School..and store..the grounds are pristine..the gardens so beautiful..outdoor seating areas..first class operation IMHO.
That was the extent of our shopping until Trader Joe's on our return and The Christmas Tree Shop...in Vermont.
I prefer to see nature than to shop malls when we go to the sea for such a short time.
I brought some paints..my little travel journal..my point and shoot camera.. (thanks again  A)..


I call this one ..lighthouse falling into the sea;)
I sketched it in the car in about 30 seconds..
in the evening I painted it in..
Only once I finished did I notice the leaning..:)


Our weather was half and half..the last day we were there for the full day..it was full sun..everything looks so different.
But both full days had their own beauty.
When we  take car trips..Fl or Maine of QC or Massachusetts ..we pack a snack..either sandwiches..or muffins..  water etc..for this little trip..we had watched an old epi of A La Di Stasio and I was taken by some muffins and their topping..I deviated totally from the muffin recipe..but stuck to the topping.Do try this topping;)





La Recette~
Based on the above link but totally different;)

This made 9 as I halved the recipe.

1 cup blueberries

1 tsp olive oil
1 and  3/8 Cup of all purpose flour
1/8th  tsp salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
2tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
5/8  cup softened butter
1/8 cup of sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
 1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 egg (I put the 3 in a bowl and measure out half)
3/4 cup plain yogurt.

Pre heat oven to 325F..I had to increase my temp to 350 for the last 5 minutes..
Next time I may bake convection.

Mix all dry ings in a bowl.
Cream butter, sugars ,add maple syrup..add eggs and mix well..
add dry ings alternating with the yogurt...fold in blueberries..
Place batter in 9 muffin cups..

top with topping..
Bake for ap 35-40 minutes or untl a toothpick comes out clean..

Topping

1 egg white
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/8 c of pumpkin seeds
1/8cup of sunflower seeds
1/8 cup rolled oats
1/8 cup chopped hazelnuts.

Mix all and put on top of muffins..

So the original recipe calls for squash and prunes..I omitted and put the blueberries.
They are really good..I am keepin the topping in my head for many other muffin recipes..


PS..
This is quintessentially Vermont charm..outside the rest areas..very cute gardens..  their rain barrel..I mean look how cute..took a pic..
I used to love doing folk art on old tins..metal containers..I have so many paints left..who knows?

Love it..


Mini Ipad Photo.Comes in HANDY!


AAACCCKKKKKK..I returned to a rose chafer INFESTATION..I have dealt with them for a few years now..but picked them off..4 days away..Colonies..all stuck to my Irises ..roses..shastas..the huge majority of them in my front side bed:(
No clue how to get rid of them..I just sprayed w/ lavender oil and baking soda.
Hope I don't kill the plants..although they are all so damaged:(
Any ideas?
I am relentlessly squihing them even in mid-air since home.
It really is a bad time to leave..June..everyday the garden needs me.
More than once a day.
System restore is done..hours..in the garden.Apparently it poured while we were away..