Hot Cross Buns with Currants & Orange

IMG_9470 (1)Good Fridays, for many years, were spent making dozens of hot cross buns to share with our family and friends over the Easter weekend. Ready to be delivered to homes to be enjoyed. Every year I’d tweak the recipe a bit for each batch, always starting with a basic sweet dough made with milk & butter. Sometimes too much spice sometimes not quite enough, and working towards the right combination. Always the purist, I would stick with currants as the only fruit, with the exception of some orange zest.

When I took out the recipe for this year’s I was reminded of the many years of development, by the fact that I have attached all my ideas into a stapled wad of pages. The top page is the “final” version, and the one that I’m sharing with you. These are very simple to make, and have good staying power, so if they’re made on Good Friday, they’ll last well through the Easter weekend. Continue reading

Cheddar Cumin Scones

IMG_6283Picture this, the temperature is wavering between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (35 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit ~ see how inclusive I am?) and the clouds are rolling over the hill that cuts off the sun too early in the winter months. You know it’s going to rain, you know that daylight hours are just about done, time to feed the stock and get them settled in for the night.

Walking down to the house, with it weirdly lit from a dark-purply-clouded northwestern sky, all you want to do is be inside, for the duration of the long night ahead. It isn’t teatime, but too early for dinner. How about a cheese & cumin scone to warm you from the inside out? These are so good, with the earthy warm tones of cumin settling over the always-wonderful flavour of aged cheddar. Make a batch, have one with a late afternoon “beverage”, and hold yourself until that late dinner that is somehow going to appear miraculously. If it doesn’t appear, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. You can always have another scone, and another glass of…. Continue reading

A Very Basic Pancake Recipe

IMG_8829Pancakes are usually made when we have the time to linger over breakfast (a rarity on a farm), have houseguests, or if it just happens to be a rainy Saturday. We’ll make extra, to be enjoyed cold with a bit of jam, as a mid-afternoon treat. My pleasure in making these is the fact that they are so very basic. Eggs, milk, flour. They are never too thick, or gummy, just completely enjoyable. No leavening agent required, as the eggs do the work.

Next time you awake to a lazy, rainy morning, give them a try with a knob of butter and a drizzle of real maple syrup. Continue reading

Auntie Jane’s Shortbread

IMG_8735My aunt knows how to lay a table. She uses good china, silver, and cloth napkins even for the breakfast table, which is laid the night before. Lunch may be as simple as homemade soup and bread, but somehow it becomes a gracious break in the day, time to sit, and enjoy a small, wonderful meal. A few treats will be arranged on a pretty plate, to be enjoyed with a pot of tea before heading back into the day.

One of my favourite treats she makes is her shortbread. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that hers was a recipe that should definitely be preserved. I have never had a shortbread as good as hers, quite simply it is the best. It is slightly rustic, giving it a timeless quality. Continue reading

Dutch Baby

IMG_6567For a few summers when in my teens, I was fortunate to be taken along to the Okanagan for a few weeks to babysit.  Besides spending hours on the beach and boating, I soon took over the morning breakfast ritual.  Out behind their cabin was a wood oven with a ¾” sheet of steel for a cooking surface.  I would go out early, and get the fire going, until the steel was just the right temperature.  Previous summers lighting the woodstove on Thetis gave me the necessary skill set at the ripe old age of 14.

The first day I made French toast.  I’d been told that the children weren’t fond of it, but went ahead anyhow.  I love French toast, especially when sprinkled with sugar and drizzled with lemon.  I won the kids over the first go; they’d just never had it with a custardy center.  By the end of our second week there, the neighbours had started “dropping” by at breakfast, often with a loaf of bread or some eggs.  One morning I made breakfast for 20.  This was most probably my first catering gig.

Even though this is not a recipe for French toast, it is a recipe for an easy breakfast dish that tastes great with sugar and lemon!

The Dutch Baby is basically a huge popover.  You can use a small cast iron pan, enameled bake ware, or a plain cake pan, anything from 8-9” in diameter.   All you need is equal volumes of eggs, milk and flour, with a bit of butter.  When it comes out of the oven, its sides will have risen up well over the edge of the pan.  Simply invert it onto a plate and serve with a sprinkle of sugar and a drizzle of lemon ~ fresh fruit, a dollop of preserves or a bit of syrup work well, too.  Plan on sharing one between two, or one each for hungrier folks. Continue reading