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

Raspberry-Ricotta Cake with Lemon Glaze (Gluten Free)

IMG_9273_2Having several bags of last summer’s raspberries still waiting with baited breath in my freezer, I need to find ways to let them express themselves. Once again, Bon Appetit came to the rescue with a great cake recipe. The combination of ricotta and raspberries makes for a cake that tastes like it just came from a big old oven in a well used and loved kitchen. Ready for a family full of hungry mouths, or a group of adults discussing world peace over after-dinner coffees. You choose. Continue reading

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast Roast

IMG_9189Convenience comes in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to turkey, rolled breast roast is what’s needed to create a great little roast turkey dinner. Typically they’re about 1.5 kg / 3# each, and serve 6-8 people. All they need is a little glaze while roasting, and everyone who wants turkey, but doesn’t want to deal with the whole bird, will appreciate them. Two versions are shown in the recipe, each is wonderful. I use either, depending on the type of marmalade I have, so have shown them both. Continue reading

Caramel Glazed Apple Cake

IMG_5462I’m sitting here very early in the morning, hoping that none of the animals realize that I’m awake.  The only light is that of the monitor, and dawn is more than an hour away.   As the days shorten, these dark early mornings are a wonderful gift, giving me time to myself before the routine of the day gets started.

The shortening of days compresses the outdoor hours, and the time to get the outdoor jobs done.  All the animals are now brought in and fed well before we sit down to dinner, so we’ve tweaked our end of day routine to fit. This adjustment of our lives, each and every year, allows us the time to enjoy the coziness of being home, and the longer times of being together.

This is one of the coziest desserts I know.  Lots of apples, held together with a cinnamon laced batter, and topped with a deep caramel glaze, it is perfect to enjoy by the fire as your day wraps up, or tucked into lunches as a sweet treat on late fall school days. Continue reading

Cinnamon Buns

IMG_4350A long, long time ago, in a city far, far away, there used to be a coffee house named Boca Bar.  It was a few blocks from where my best friend and I shared a basement suite.  We would wander up there some evenings to sit and talk.  Even though we lived together, schooled together, sometimes we just needed to go somewhere different for certain conversations.  We never figured out life, well, not completely, but we did plan an epic road trip, did discuss what we were actually doing with our lives, and other important never-ending conversations.

Usually I would have steamed milk with almond and a freshly baked croissant with their homemade raspberry jam.  Sometimes when we were short of money we’d share the croissant.  These evenings were so important to us.  Not just the time in the coffee bar, but the walks to and fro.

Sitting with a friend and sipping on a hot drink and nibbling on a piece of sweet baking, is the best setting for heart to hearts.  Although completely different than the fresh croissants we used to share, these cinnamon buns absolutely work just as well.

Make a batch and invite someone over to share.  Continue reading