Coconut Chai Cake

IMG_2094When we were very young, our parents would take us exploring in our cabin cruiser, “The Hurricane” up through Howe Sound, and further up along the Sunshine Coast towards Texada Island. While I never remember staying overnight on the boat, we did do some very long day trips. We’d sit in a line along the bench at the stern of the boat, with lifejackets rubbing our chins, while the sun and wind toasted us. Dad would sit on a high seat, steering, sometimes allowing one of us to help him. There was a small cabin, with counters, a table & bench seating. It most likely converted into a bed if needed. Mom would have packed our very reliable picnic basket with egg sandwiches, some sort of cake, and cookies, and lemonade. At some point, tins of Shasta sodas usurped the bottles of lemonade.

We’d spend all day doing long runs out in the sea, or poking from inlet to inlet, getting off the boat to explore. Needing to swim into shore, or be lifted by Dad.

On a recent road trip up to Bowser, and lots of tucking into the beach all along the way, north of Parksville, we stood on the beach and looked all the way from just south of Baynes Sound towards Vancouver. With the calm waters, and the hint of summer in the air, I was transplanted back to that bench at the stern of the boat, feeling the sense of adventure we always felt when leaving the dock, and very much felt the presence of our parents. Those wonderful boat trips, although early in our lives, imprinted the need to be near the ocean in all of us.

This is a delightful snacking cake that would be perfect for a day on a boat, or a picnic. Originally from BBC Good Food, I have tweaked it a bit, a delicious idea to put the wonderful flavours of Chai into a cake. Enjoy! Continue reading

Snickerdoodles GF

IMG_0515A longtime family favourite for many, the simple Snickerdoodle still pleases. In this version I’ve used a cup-for-cup Gluten Free flour to accommodate the group I was baking for. The dough is slightly different from one made with wheat flour, but is absolutely acceptable. Perfect with a cup of tea on a day when summer seems to be changing to fall. Regular Wheat Flour option follows, as well as a Cappuccino version. Continue reading

Cranberry Oatmeal Muffins

IMG_9347When our dear neighbour died many years ago, his daughters asked us to have a look and see if there was anything in the barn that we would be able to use. They’d rather us have it to use on our adjacent property, than selling it in bits and pieces to others. Our cows had run in a mixed herd with his for many years, and we’d managed them together. At some point, we purchased his animals from him, and started leasing the land. Calves were born on both properties, and grew up into producing cows on the same land.

After his death, the property was sold to a new family, and they planned on using the land for an equestrian center. For many years, our cows would walk the property line, looking for any break, or loosening of wire to get through to their known range. Finally in 2015, our herd is young enough that all were born and raised only on our side of the fence. Rarely is there an issue of a fence breach to “the other side”. Walking to check the herd takes half the time, as does fixing fences, but I still get nostalgic for the old days.

Here’s the recipe for muffins that I made to share over at the barn the day that we went through it, finding old treasures, useful bales of barbed wire, a red sickle bar mower, enough split rails to fence a large yard, and memories. Continue reading

Chicken with Milk, Sage & Lemon (Jamie Oliver)

IMG_9409Jamie Oliver’s chicken cooked with milk, sage & lemon, seemed to be calling out to me. Whether it was in the form of a random review, or best 10 lists, finally I decided to try it. The simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s recipes always appeal to me, as he has an amazing knack for taking the best and freshest and creating dishes that become part of our everyday cooking. The reviews for this chicken are pretty constant; many people commenting that it is the “best chicken ever”. That’s a pretty good compliment. Well, I tend to agree. I’ve made it a few times now, and each time I get exactly the same results. The chicken cooked beautifully right through to the bone, with subtle flavours, and a very “more” quality. We are given the comfort of a beautifully roasted chicken, with melt in your mouth tenderness. Continue reading