Thursday, July 03, 2014

Squash Blossoms

I haven't planted any squash this year (although some sort of marrow or melon is growing in the compost heap) but I saw some squash blossoms at the farmers' market on Tuesday and thought I'd give them a whirl.

We have found that in the summer we consume less milk, but have not actually cut back on our milk order. This has been leaving us with a lot of extra milk at the end of the week and I've been trying to find ways to use it. Last week I made yogurt1 and a few weeks ago I did a fresh cheese with herbs.The cheese was really yummy and easy so I opted to try that again and make stuffed squash blossoms.

I do not have pictures of the cheese-making process, but it was quite easy.
  • Gather random herbs from the garden (I used oregano, basil and sage)
  • Chop said herbs
  • Put milk and herbs into a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add 1 cup buttermilk (I make it from powder)
  • Add 1/4 cup vinegar - the curds will separate almost instantly.
  • Drain curds in cheesecloth. Add some salt

The next step was putting a bit of this cheese into the squash. I should have made this the day I bought the blossoms as waiting made it harder to open them without ripping the petals. You need to remove the pistil from the center of the flower and then squish in the cheese and twist the tops shut.

Stuffed blossoms

Make a simple batter with 1 egg, about a tablespoon of cornstarch, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of flour. Add seltzer,  mixing until it is the consistency of heavy cream.

Heat some oil in a heavy pan. roll the stuffed flowers around in the batter and then place in the hot oil to fry. Turn to brown evenly.


Removed when browned and drain

Who doesn't like fried cheese!
Look at that crispy goodness!

I served this with a bit of spaghetti and a simple sauce made from
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1/3 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Fresh oregano
The fiddliest bet was preparing the flowers without mangling them. I did lose one, ripping it beyond use, but I think it would have been easier if they were fresher.

This recipe is definitely a keeper. Even Spouse scarfed them down and opined that he wished the local restaurant would have food like this. *blush*

Yogurt: heat 1/2 gallon of milk to 110 F, stir in plain yogurt with live culture. Cover and place in a warm oven for 12 hours. Drain off whey, which can then be fed to the garden

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Breakfast, anyone?

The spread
We hosted the breakfast for our neighbourhood for Boston Shines (a big clean-up) this morning. One neighbour brought two HUGE boxes of doughnuts, one made two coffee cakes and I provided the savouries.

I was asked, after posting some pictures on Facebook, for the recipes, so here we go with them.


Ready to get hotted up

Breakfast Toad-in-the-Hole

  1. Sauté sliced mushrooms in butter  with a little pepper until browned. Remove from pan.
  2. Cook sliced small tomatoes in same pan (add more fat as needed), browning both sides. Remove from pan.
  3. In same pan cook bacon (I did the facon in this pan but it could be back bacon). Remove and crumble.
  4. Cook link sausages (4) in the pan until browned. Cut into thirds, remove.
  5. In a blender, whiz up three large eggs. Add 2/3 cup of flour and some salt. Deglaze the cooking pan with milk. Add the milk to the egg/flour. Add enough milk to make the mixture the thickness of heavy cream.
  6. Heat oven to 400F
  7. Add fat to pudding/muffin tins. Sprinkle bacon in the fat, place in oven until hot and bubbly.
  8. Pour batter over hot fa, filling the cups about halfway.
    Cook for 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes, add 1 sausage piece, mushrooms and tomato to each pudding (you'll need to squish down the middle), place back in oven for 10 minutes

Ready for the oven


  1. Slice in half lengthwise and widthways (to get four pieces per spear) half pound of asparagus
  2. Place asparagus and a good knob of butter in a cast iron skillet and put into a 400 degree oven until asparagus starts to soften.
  3. Whisk 6 eggs with1/2 cup of heavy cream.
  4. Add 1/4 cup chopped chives and 1/4 - 1/2 cup grated cheese.
  5. Pour into hot pan, over the asparagus.
  6. Cook until browned on top (about 15 minutes)

Just add egg


  1. Cook 1 1/2 cups basamati with 3 cups water with a pinch of tumeric (if not tumeric, a dash of mild curry and/or some saffron)
  2. Cool.
  3. Hard boil 4 eggs, set aside
  4. Chop one large onion
  5. Heat a tablespoon or so of butter and cook onion until soft
  6. Add 1 teaspoon Madras curry paste
  7. Add rice and stir to combine.
  8. Stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream
  9. Chop 1/2 cup parsley, add to rice
  10. Flake 6oz smoked fish (I used salmon as I couldn't find haddock), removing any bones if need be. Add to rice
  11. Peel and quarter the eggs, gently add to rice

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Garden time

It's time to start the garden!

Sunflowers sprouting
This year we started  some herbs and flowers inside. We, that is to say the Child and I, have planed lots of sunflowers. Round two is peaking up here in the kitchen. Round one has already gone outside to the big patch of contaminated dirt that formerly had a willow tree. The tree came down twice in two separate storms so we though it best to chop it up rather tan wait for it to get really big and come down on top of the shed.  We would really like to plan something nice like a blueberry bush there but after having the soil tested, we know we can't grow any food there until the soil has been  cleaned. Enter the sunflowers.

She's two, it's time to put her to work
Apparently, sunflowers are very good at removing containments from the soil.And as long as you don't then eat the seeds or put the plants into your compost, they are an effective and quite cheap way of cleaning up decades of crap that has built up in nearly every yard in the city.
Clean, you bastards!

Now, of course, sometimes you want to grow things you can eat too, and we're preparing for that. On the sill we've started some herb, some successful, some not. We tried two types of basil, but only one has sprouted. The poor tarragon has failed again this year too, and I think I'm going to have to scout garden centers from some already started plants of I'm ever going to get that in the perennial herb garden in the front. The dill, however, is growing nicely! Once I'm more confident about the weather, I think that one will be ready to go outside.

Three types of tomatoes
Unfortunately, we've run out of window sill space that gets good light and is not right where cat or child will knock everything down. The solution we came upon was to try putting covered seed starters in the basement and replacing the flickering fluorescent with a grow light. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong sized light, but that shouldn't matter for the first couple of days. By Monday I should have the proper light and our little underground greenhouse will be up and running.

Meanwhile, I did already start planting. We're trying tomatoes from seed this year. Paul Robeson, Amish Paste and Bonny Best were the varieties. I ordered them from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and they came with a gift of flower seeds as well!

Two containers, 6 pots of 6 plants each
The rest of the seeds are left over from last year. I picked up these 36 pot planters and put six of each plant in. So far I have two bush beans, navy beans, two types of cucumber, radish, carrot, spinach, broccoli raab, celery, cauliflower and cabbage. If I can get half of each of these, I'll be happy.

I think I planted this
Things are starting outside too! Just before spring, I planted the peas. There are three varieties, each in its own row, all roped ff in the large raised bed. So far the only thing that's doing really well in there is some kid of onion that I didn't plant. I also put in lettuce, but I have a sneaking suspicion that all became bird seed. Another good reason for starting things inside.

We decided to try potatoes again this year. I liked using the grow bag last year so got some colourful new ones for this year's try. We got seed potatoes from Potato Garden. This year we're trying Marris Piper aging (blue bag), King Edward (purple bag) and Yellow Finn (poppy bag). With luck we should have this whole potato growing thing down by the time the child is in high school.

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I finished it last week and she's worn it twice now.  It is VERY warm! She probably doesn't need the liner in her jacket with it.  But it should be good for cool spring days and,  as you can see, there's room to grow.

Monday, February 03, 2014

WIP -Toddler sweater

I managed to score some beautiful llama/alpaca yarn at the winter farmers market a few weeks ago. I only bought two skeins and that seemed enough for a sweater for the sprog. I'm making it a bit long do she should be able to wear it next autumn and winter as well, provided she stays tall and skinny (clearly she didn't get that from me).

I'll post when I finish and she's wearing it.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Winter knits

slightly crappy webcam photo
I've decided I'm just not cut out for scarves. Not that I don't have a variety of very nice ones, it's just that they don't seem to entirely work in the cold weather. Both scarves and neck gators seem to have the fatal flaw of leaving bits of skin exposed either above or below and letting the wind whip right through.

Enter: The Dickie. I admit, I got the idea of knitting dickies from watching Big Bang Theory with Howard's ever-present neck accessory, but it seemed like it might be quite practical. I whipped out one on some random circular needles with some yarn I had in my office (what, you don't have yarn in your office?) and after wearing it once I was sold.

Dickie #2 (pictured) I made for Spouse. I used two stash yarns at the neck, switching just to the blue for the tails. This one has a particularly long front so that it can be tucked in to a wide variety of necklines. The double bulk at the top is exceptionally warm too.

Now I just need to get him to wear it.