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Posts Tagged ‘Cottage’

BananaBread_First

Summer has been very warm and humid in Toronto. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining because February comes all too quickly and the -25° C (-13° F) is still too fresh in my mind but I really don’t like to turn the oven on (particularly for a recipe that calls for one hour!) when it’s that hot outside (it makes the A/C work even harder). So I modified this recipe to be baked on the Barbie with ingredients I had on hand.

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The top is swirled with cinnamon, but not too much to be overpowering.

Give this a light toasting to get even more flavour out of the loaf.

We’ve been spending a lot of time at the cottage this year, JT has some council meetings and we like to avoid the traditional weekend traffic so we go up Thursday and come back Tuesday or even go up Sunday and come back Friday. It’s been great, neither of us stresses about weekend traffic anymore! But having so much time at the cottage can be a bit boring, so I prefer to have projects lined up so I can amuse myself without spending a lot of time on the computer. I had been looking for a small cocktail table to set between two chairs in our living area but it had to be rustic and small and sadly I couldn’t find anything.

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A small table for two glasses between the chairs would be perfect.

I was inspired by rustic tables made of a cross section of a log with sticks as legs like this one:

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Inspiration table

But I was stuck on how to slice a log so that it’s perfectly even on both sides because we have limited tools. And then I found this log tea light at Winners (TJ Max) in the right diametre for a reasonable price and my little table was born.

Underside

Tea light spots will help anchor legs in place.

TableTop

Table top has just the right amount of petina.

JT and I sourced the legs in the forest, we had to make sure they were not too new or too old or had bugs in them (you know how I feel about that). I cut the legs to size in the city (I have a table saw) and then I assembled the table at the cottage while JT was at a meeting, just in time to receive our good friends for a weekend.

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TabI hadn’t decided to paint the legs at this point.

Unfortunately, I turned around for a split second and my friend pulled the new table up to the movies on the shelf hoping to find something she hadn’t seen before and…yep…you guessed it…she thought it was a stool and sat on it! #notastool was the hashtag for the weekend. I ended up disassembling it and starting from scratch. Fortunately the table top was in tact so all I did was rebuild the legs.

BrokenTable

It’s an honest mistake.

When I perused the net for banana bread recipes, I noticed that many of them had a lot of sugar. A LOT! I was hoping for something less sweet so that it’s a bit healthier when I found Cookie and Kate’s recipe. I would have made it verbatim but then I realized that I was short of a few ingredients so I improvised. I liked the idea of whole wheat flour but I didn’t want 100% of it, so I divided the flour into 1:3/4 so the texture is a little smoother (plus I didn’t have white whole wheat flour on hand — what is that anyway?).  The bread is wonderful when it is lightly toasted and smothered with butter with a cup of tea. It will sooth away any bruises caused by using a table as a stool, that was not meant as a stool. #notastool.

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Banana Bread

Original recipe, please click here. This recipe makes one generous 10 cm x 23 cm (4″x 9″) loaf

Ingredients:

  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) melted coconut oil
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) honey
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) milk
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) water
  • 5 mL (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) roughly mashed ripe bananas (about 2 smallish bananas)
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) dates
  • 128 g (1 cup) whole wheat flour
  • 94 g (3/4 cup) AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon) ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon)salt
  • 70 g (½ cup) chopped almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat the BBQ to 177 ° C (350° F) using only the front and back burners. Prepare a 10 cm x 23 cm (4″ x 9″) loaf pan by generously spraying with non-stick baking spray.
  2. In the large bowl of a food processor, add melted coconut oil, honey, milk, water, vanilla extract, eggs, bananas and dates and pulse until dates and bananas have been well incorporated into the liquid.
  3. Sift the flours, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add all at once to the liquid and pulse a few times to incorporate. Stir in chopped almonds.
  4. Pour into prepared pan and set into a larger pan. Place pan into the centre of the BBQ so that the elements that are on are not below the loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean (mine was perfect in 50 minutes).
BananaBread_4

It’s a dense bread that is perfect for breakfast or a small snack.

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Arancicu_first

I was testing a rice cooker recently and one of the recipes was Risotto on a specific setting on the machine. To say it was challenging is an understatement but after 6 tests and tweaks we finally came up with a recipe I was rather happy with. And the neighbours were also happy, one can only eat so much risotto! The last test was the best and JT and I had it for supper but it made so much that I had enough left over to make Arancini di Riso, Italian Rice Balls and boy were they delicious!

Everyone has a favourite risotto recipe so I won’t reinvent the wheel, you just need to have some risotto made and cooled (I spread it out onto a parchment lined baking sheet and covered it with plastic wrap in the fridge overnight). The risotto should be able to be formed into a ball, so if your risotto is a little dry, you may want to add a bit of liquid to allow it to stick together in a spherical shape.

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Baking at 400° F gives you the crispy crust that you expect from deep frying, except you didn’t!

Arancini di Riso (Rice Balls)

My mushroom risotto recipe yielded 8 cups (give or take 2 L) but we ate about 3 cups in for dinner, so I estimate that the remainder 5 cups (1.25 L) made 22-24 balls

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups risotto
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup AP unbleached flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (or 22-24 1 cm or 1/2 inch cubes)
  • Fresh basil and Parmesan for garnish

Directions:

  1. Spread risotto onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate until entirely cooled (overnight).
  2. Add bread crumbs to a shallow bowl and the flour to another shallow bowl. Lightly beat the eggs with a splash of water and pour into a third shallow bowl.
  3. Make golf-ball sized balls of the cooled risotto and squeeze a good pinch (or one cube) of cheese into the centre — cover the cheese entirely with the risotto otherwise it will leak out. Continue until you have used up all the risotto.
  4. Coat each ball in flour, then roll into the eggs and repeat the flour and egg mixture (this will make the balls as crispy as if they had been deep-fried). After the final roll in the egg wash, roll each ball in the bread crumbs to coat well . Set onto a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for future use.
  5. To bake from frozen pre-heat the oven to 400° F. Spray Arancini and the baking sheet with olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and warmed through; turn often so it bakes evenly.
  6. Serve with a chunky salsa or tomato sauce.

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The cheese melts on the inside and becomes deliciously gooey!

We had our dear friends Paul and T up from the US this past weekend (hence the tardiness of this post), here are a few pics!

HappyHourLake

We might have had a few of these!


Paddleboating

Paddleboating on a very warm day.


Fishermen

Our lake apparently has good fishing.


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Figgy finally made us a couple of figs.


TheFirstFigs

Sadly they were not as sweet as I had hoped. I’m sure I just need to fertilize.

 

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Happy Memorial Day, I wonder how my American friends are celebrating this lovely holiday. Sadly, it’s not a holiday for us.

I’m participating in a series called Views from the Backdoor with my friend Cecilia from Illinois. C runs a blog about her ‘farmy’ called The Kitchen’s Garden and she takes wonderful photos of her animals whom she has aptly named. She also shares a view from her back door every day — the differences are palpable, from frost to thaw; a few days ago C suggested that the fellowship of the Farmy post pictures of their own back doors and a series began — see page one, page two and page three. C has followers from all over the world, from her native New Zealand to the U.S. even South America and Africa! The back door views are wonderful. Do pop over and give her a visit, she has a wonderfully friendly writing style and her posts aren’t too long ;-)! But the most fun is following along with the farmy characters day to day!

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This is my view from the back door, well, this one is from the cottage
I couldn’t decide which one to post.

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Daytime view at the cottage (we don’t actually have a back door, but this is the view from the one and only door!)

This is an oil painting I painted in 2004 of the same view. It looks like our little birch finally bit the bullet.

This is an oil painting I painted in 2004 of the same view. It looks like our little birch finally bit the bullet.

This is a panoramic view of our back yard in Toronto, Canada. Such a shame that the crab apple tree is past its prime.

This is a panoramic view of our back yard in Toronto, Canada.
Such a shame that the crab apple tree is past its prime, but the Lilac is doing great!

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The weather was unbelievable on the May long weekend. We couldn’t help ourselves to drag the table down to the dock and two chairs so we could have lunch right on the water.

The sun was so bright, my photo turned out a little ‘hot’

The recipe is the similar to one I posted some time ago, but I changed it up so here it is again. It’s so versatile that you can put anything you desire in it. AND what was new and different was the amazing poached egg on top (yes, I had the egg yolk on this one, I figured I earned it!).

The yolk just oozed all over the tabouleh making it so delicious and rich. That little sprinkling of feta sure didn’t hurt either!

Quinoa Tabbouleh and a Poached Egg

Serves 4 (or two for lunch with leftovers)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 each red, yellow and orange peppers
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 4-6 cloves finely minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp crumbled sheeps milk feta
  • 2 or 4 poached eggs

Directions:

  1. Add salt to water and boil.
  2. Toast Quinoa for a couple of minutes in a dry pan – moving around so it doesn’t burn (when you hear it pop, count to 5 and remove immediately)
  3. Add Quinoa and cook for 12 minutes on a soft boil, or until all the water is soaked into the Quinoa.
  4. While cooking the Quinoa, add minced garlic to lemon juice, allow to sit.
  5. Remove Quinoa from heat and add lemon juice and garlic mixture, mix well. Allow to absorb and cool.
  6. Chop all veg into similar sized pieces (I like about 1/4″ dice).
  7. Chop parsley and mint finely.
  8. When Quinoa has cooled, mix everything together. Serve with a poached egg over it and crumbled feta.

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A lovely, flavourful breakfast at the cottage are these individual ramekins of spinach and feta fritatta. One egg, 1 tbsp of feta, 1 small finely chopped shallot, 1 tsp finely sliced chives, pinch of basil or oregano and 1/4 cup chopped spinach per person – a little brunch!

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Pre-heat oven or BBQ to 350F.
Prepare one ramekin per person by spraying with non-stick spray.
In a small skillet and a quick spray of non-stick spray cook the shallots until translucent, add spinach and wilt.
Remove from heat.
Beat eggs well, adding all remaining ingredients, mix well.
Divide mixture between the number of ramekins you’ve prepared.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
Serve with a salad of watermelon sprinkled with lime juice and a chiffonade of mint.

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It’s seven in the morning and I’m posting a recipe from my bed at the cottage! It still amazes me! What I really should be doing is going for a half hour swim, but the air is a bit nippy – hmmm, comfy bed or chilly swim?

Simple red cabbage slaw
2-3 cups finely shredded red cabbage
1/2 finely shredded celeriac (celery root)
1 green onion finely chopped
About a dozen or so mini cherry tomatoes sliced in half
3 tbsp low fat mayo
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Combine all vegetable ingredients and mix well.
Combine all wet ingredients and mix well.
Toss the slaw with the dressing to coat well, refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Serve chilled.

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It’s a long weekend in Ontario – Monday is the civic holiday, so we’re at the cottage! It’s my first time up this year, weather, social activities etc., have kept us away; but it sure is nice to be up here (minus the 3.5 hour plus traffic drive up).

It still amazes me that the first time I came up (over 30 years ago), we were totally off the grid; generator for electricity, boat access only, no telephone. Now, we drove in, have A/C, and I’m posting to my Facebook and blog! Few steps forward, and a few back! I just love being connected to the world from my muskoka chair on my porch overlooking the beautiful lake!

It’s not my gourmet kitchen at Limerick Lake, but I can whip up some tasty repasts! Or so says JT! Today’s lunch is a nod to my new blog-friend Ann of Cooking Healthy for me http://www.cookinghealthyforme.com/ she did a frittata-style quesadilla that looked scrumptious! JT had requested my adult grilled cheese (from my friend B-B Barb), so I decided to combine the two for a grilled cheese fritatta quesadilla! YUM! Serves 2.

30 g sharp cheddar, freshly grated (we used Balderson’s because they are local)
20 g Parmesan, freshly grated
1 green onion, finely chopped
1/4 jalopeño chili, finey chopped
1 tbsp whiskey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 10″ fajita shell
Non stick cooking spray

Beat egg, add whiskey and beat thoroughly.
Add cheeses, onion and jalopeño and mix well. Set aside in the fridge for 10-20 minutes.
Take the fajita shell and cut in half.
Pre-heat cast iron skillet, spray non-stick spray into it.
Fill each fajita half full with half the cheese mixture. Fold over half.
Carefully place into the skillet for about 8-10 minutes, flip carefully when the first side begins to crust. Turn off heat and cover and cook for 4 additional minutes to allow egg to puff up.
Serve immediately with a side of slaw or salad.

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