Category Archives: Fresh

late night bakery

***I found this post in the edit section but not published. So the info is way out of date***

Last night my house was filled with the smell of fresh bread. For me, there is nothing so comforting as the smell of fresh bread. Last night, I baked out of joy and more importantly out of necessity. Currently I am on a wealth diet and am looking for ways to stretch my $6 a day.

I made a oatmeal bread found in my “More with Less” cookbook, and it cost just pennies to make and if that was not enough to make me happy, the smells, textures, and movement involved in baking bread are a part of my wellbeing. I try and think positive things about and for the people who will receive the bread, (even if it is me) which also makes for inexpensive therapy! I find that a little kiss helps the dough ball rise well.

Below is a picture of last nights baby just before the kiss. By the way, the cutting board that she is resting on is named Esther.


what really happened

Last post recorded my insecurities about making a cheesecake. That has come and gone, and produced a well-liked raspberry and chocolate cheesecake. Not the flavour I was initially going for, but when fresh raspberries from the family farm  arrive on your door step, how can one say no!

The centre was cream cheese and ricotta, with smashed fresh raspberries. I added a hint of cocoa powder and baked it, then glazed it with a dark chocolate ganache. The result was a dark chocolate outside, and a creamy pink and brown centre.

There was one crack, but was easily sealed up with hardened ganache. Very tasty!

sweet mother of sangria this stuff is good!

sangria-1.jpgIt has been a while since I posted a recipe, but the wait is over. I have never tasted nor have I made sangria. I suppose it is my fear of all things sweet that has kept me away from a drink like this. I tend to choose things that are salty, bitter, dry etc. But I am a sangria virgin no more.

This Spanish drink starts with a wine (usually red) and a variety of fruits are added to sit in and aromatize it. The result is a beautiful, fresh wine that is refreshing and was perfect for this warm September evening. I had always suspected that sangria would be overly sweet so to accommodate my tastes, I omitted the sugar/simple syrup (because really, where is the flavour in *just sugar*?) and replaced it with concentrated frozen Lime-Aide.

Sara Jane’s Simple Sangria

750ml Spanish red wine

A handful each of chucks of fresh pineapple, and kumquats cut into halves or thirds

1 orange, lime and lemon, thinly sliced

1/2 tin of frozen Lime-Aide concentrate (more or less to taste)

Add all above ingredients in a pitcher or jar and cover. Place in the refrigerator. Let flavours get to know each other overnight.

When flavours have mixed (overnight), add 1 part carbonated water, mineral water, citrus soda etc. to 2 parts wine (with fruits).


hamburger buns

hamberger-bun.jpgFor many people, summer brings with it the wonderful opportunity to do get out the grill for some BBQ-ing! But if you are like me, Summer just means you do more grilling and your BBQ finds its self working all year round.

There are so many great things that can be grilled but fresh hamburgers are one of my favourite! I have no problem making the hamburger patty, but up until now, I have not been making my own buns. With the new addition to my family (my new KitchenAide) I have taken on the task of making not only my own burgers, but hamburger buns. Here is the recipe that I used to get the buns (pictured above):kitchenaide-top-wet.jpg

I combined 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 cups warm water and 8 g of yeast and let stand for 10 mintues. In the mean time, I added 1 egg, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1/2 tsp salt together. In the KitchenAid, I had 1 cup all-purpose flour, added and mixed in the yeast, added egg mixture and slowly added flour (approx 3 1/2 more cups, total flour used: 4 1/2 cups).

kitchenaide-top.jpgI turned onto a floured surface and kneaded the dough until smooth and elastic.

To make the buns, I made small (4 oz) balls and placed on a baking sheet about 2 in apart. Flatten each slightly with your hand. Let them rise until double in size (about an hour) and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes. Brush tops with butter!

These buns have a rich and sweet flavour. The texture is chewy and springy and do not fall apart with a burger inside of it. Enjoy!

cooking over an open fire

openfire.jpgOur annual girls only camping trip is fast approaching. This year, my friend Elisabeth and I sat down over wings and beer one night to plan our our camping menu. While we ate our electric honey wings, we made up this menu:

Friday: Hot-dogs for supper, chips, veggies, a can of beans and of course a little booze on the side. For snack we would have s’mores or marshmallows or something like that.

Saturday – Breakfast: bannock, jam and PB, fruits, coffee and bacon. Lunch: beach foods like crackers, chips, finger foods, sandwiches, licorice, pita and hummus. Supper would be tinfoil dinners with potential fish (if we caught any).

Sunday: Breakfast: oatmeal and coffee. Lunch would be left overs from the week.

What I particularly like are extravagant foods that are cooked on an open fire. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE hot-dogs, but I want to really see what we can do. One year, we brought asparagus and grilled it on the fire with garlic and lemon, simple but fantastic.

I have a book about cooking over and open fire, and in it there are many edible plants. I can see how finding a few hazelnuts will add to our food experience. Perhaps we will find some wild berries. Cattails have roots that can be roasted over the fire, peeled or dried and pounded int flour. I would love to give that a try.

What ever we do, I know that bringing a lemon, fresh cloves of garlic, paprika and salt and pepper can make almost anything taste better while you are camping!

food from the past

cbc radio document on native prairie food prepWhen you think of "Canadian cuisine" what comes to mind? Is it the famous poutine? Canadian back bacon? Perhaps maple syrup? These might be associated with Canada and some of its distinct and unique inhabitants, but it is not the original cuisine. The manyAnishinabee peoples, First Nations peoples, and so many more bands of Aboriginal people had been cooking and surviving on the land creating their own distinct "Canadian cuisine" long before cheese curds and gravy over fried potato made its way to this country!

I have come across this short radio documentary from the CBC where two Aboriginal elders are asked to share about their experiences of food made from the unique prairie offerings (the link to the documentary is on the picture).

This story is particularly well done as the two women not only share traditional foods and recipes for pemmican, bannock, wild rice, bison meat and more, they also talk about the methods of cooking and tools that they used such as a buffalo rib fashioned into a knife.

It is fascinating to find connections to the past especially through food. Perhaps it is why most of us will always carry an affinity for those recipes that are passed down from generation to generation.

how do you like your bananas?

cartoon-bananas.gifGreen? Yellow? Brown? Yellow AND brown? How ripe do you like to eat your bananas?

I usually buy 2 bananas at a time as I only buy them for myself. I find that more than 2 bananas at a time, I can’t finish them before they start to look too ripe for me to eat. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I love them when they are yellow with at hint of green and now brown blemishes. The longer they ripen, the thinner the peel becomes and the sweeter the fruit. This is when my love tuns to hate. The banana I once loved has caused me to sputter and gag the sucker down as I try not to waste the 17 cents I spent on it, plus devalue the under paid over worked banana farmer who supplied it to me.

How you you like your banana? When will you just not pack that brown one in your lunch bag?