Cranberry Doodle Bars

img_3006October has been a very wet month, many days with dark skies and rain slashing the windows. Even though we still need to work outside on the farm for a part of each and every day, these days also give us the enjoyment of cocooning in our home. Getting caught up on all the inside jobs that get left by the wayside as we enjoyed the long summer. Being inside more often, gives me more time to bake and experiment.

Cranberries are one of my favourite add-ins, they are so tart and fresh, and work well in sweets and savories.   Here I’ve mixed them into a version of Snicker-doodle cookie base, creating a perfect bar to have as you finish the last chapter of the book you’ve been reading, while the fire crackles in the wood-stove. Continue reading

Pumpkin Loaf with Cranberries & Ginger

img_3183It’s the first weekend in October, raining outside, and I’ve set the thermostat for the upcoming colder weather. There’s something great about turning off the furnace in April, and equally great about turning it back on in the fall. October on Thetis usually gives us an evenly mixed bag of warm & sunny days and cool & rainy days. Giving us time to say good-bye to summer, and start to appreciate and accept the upcoming winter.

The trees are laden with apples and pears, which desperately need to be picked before the raccoons settle in to eat them all. The oak leaves are starting to show their bold reds, with the maples just starting to have golden crowns.   I love this time year, it inspires me to get back in the kitchen to create some new things, and test out some simmering ideas I have. Here’s this week’s offering, a very light pumpkin loaf, studded with bright cranberries and pungent ginger. Drizzled with a vanilla-cinnamon glaze, it slices beautifully, and is perfect for snacking. Enjoy it as you feel the autumn settle in around you, like a well-loved blanket. 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

Cranberry Almond Gratin

IMG_9201At a recent event, I wanted to serve something not too sweet for dessert. As we had to work feeding a large group from limited ovens, I thought that if I could pull the dessert out just before putting the meat into the oven, it would still be slightly warm for dessert. I decided to use the old standard, a gratin.

Using cranberries for the fruit, and a ground almond batter, made a tart & light dessert, which we topped with Orange Creme, a couple of pieces of Candied Orange Peel, and put a few pieces of segmented oranges alongside. Once the guests have gone through appetizers, salads, and a main buffet, I really like to give them a dessert that refreshes their taste buds, and isn’t overly huge, or heavy. This little gratin is a perfect ending for either a fancy dinner, or as a weekend treat for family & friends. Continue reading