Blueberry Breakfast Cake

IMG_2535As we near the end of August, and berries are still in full supply, I thought I’d finally post my often-used recipe for Blueberry Breakfast Cake, ready for your Labour Day summer wrap up events. Make now and freeze, it can thaw on your way camping, or overnight ready for the last guests of summer. Of course, you can just make it and eat it, like we most often do.

Sometime a few decades ago I started making Bundt cakes. I never really understood the appeal until this cake. It started with making a simple lemon blueberry cake with a streusel mix going in the pan first, so when it was removed from the pan there would be a crispy topping built in. But never being one to leave good enough alone, I thought the streusel could simply go in the middle, making the cake come clean from the pan, not leaving chunks of streusel littering the counter. Having it in the middle gives the cake a wonderfully buttery crunch in the center of each slice.

I can honestly say that I’ve made hundreds of these cakes. Over the years it became my most asked for item in mixed baking for breakfasts & brunches. It’s perfect for adding to lunches for work or school, so timely that I should think to post this today, as there are only a couple of weeks left until school starts. 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

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

Lemon Coconut Bars

IMG_8255Although Sheila’s Lemon Bars hold a very special place in the hearts of our family and friends, sometimes I want to create something just a bit more complex.   By adding coconut to the shortbread crust, it gives a lovely new quality to the original. Topped with an extra thick layer of the lemony custard, they become more of a dessert instead of a snack. Continue reading

Lemon Braised Lamb Shoulder Chops

IMG_8425I took a long walk through the back trails of Thetis this morning with two young friends. I realized as we walked, that I’ve been walking on this island since I was 7 years old. The island has changed in so many ways, mostly just because more folks live here now, and that, in itself, brings change. One of the children asked me how I knew the trails, and wondered who looked after them all. The paths stay clear of growth from the many feet that travel them, and walkers toss off branch tips and such whenever they’re found. When I told them that the trails get looked after just by being used, it made me think of just how many trails traverse this small island.

We would find them with our parents leading the way when we were so young, and then later when we were given more freedom, we’d adventure through them, sometimes coming to dead ends, and working our way back. When I was older still, I would spend hours on horseback, sometimes getting a bit lost, but never in any danger, it would just take me longer to work my way back home. Our children were raised on the trails, and it thrilled me to hear them talk about their favourite glens or copses, and the imaginative things that would happen there.IMG_4032

One of the island’s main trails, Lawrence Trail, runs through the top corner of our farm (Lawrence Spring Farm), and then follows one of our boundaries through to the center of the island. We have many walkers, and a few mountain bikers, that use the trail regularly. People stop and talk to the horses, or the cows and calves, while they walk along in the cool of the shady trail.   I don’t think there’s anywhere on this island where you’re further than a few minutes from one trail or another. Most of the trails are on private land, and they continue to be used by all, graciously allowed by the owners.IMG_4029

Fifty years my feet have found themselves padding along the old paths, and I am so thankful that I live here, and am able to walk amongst these beautiful woodlands whenever I need or want to get out and walk. To be able to walk so freely to and from one’s home is one of the things that make it a home.IMG_4028

When I think of how important this island, and its beaches, meadows and woodlands are to our family, with so many years of our lives spent here, it is no wonder that several of us have made it our home. These days we gather from our different houses to meet for a simple supper together, maybe play a hand or two of cards, laugh, and enjoy each others company, knowing how wonderful it is that a place has brought us all back together.

This simple dish has been shared a few times during our gatherings, it is a lovely way to serve lamb; I hope you enjoy it. Continue reading