Windowledge

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Ive spent most of the afternoon writing blogs and eating strange snacks. It feels nice to indulge in 2 of my favourite hobbies. Snacks & blogs. Slaps & bongs. Baps & snogs. In a few minutes Ill get up and feed Sweetpea, who has finished napping and is now staring at me very intensely from the couch across the room. Trying to will me out of this recliner with the pure devastating force of her doggy mind. Then we will go for a walk, and she will get to pee on flowers, which always puts her in a very good mood. Its very grey, foggy and a bit rainy out but its nice and warm. Despite that I have a fire on because its nice. Its probably about 30 degrees in here, but whatever! I love combusting trees!

ANYWAY. Early this afternoon I wandered around the house taking pictures of random things. I havent done that in forever. So I thought Id put the pictures up, even though they are pretty boring, its a nice little time capsule of October 2016.

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Nothing feels more like home to me then a pineapple slowly rotting away on a windowsill. Its been a decorative feature of nearly every place we have lived. I like to imagine they are staring wistfully out onto the cold day outside and remembering the tropical island they were plucked from. Thinking about their mom pineapple, and the pina colada they will never become. Sorry pineapples, its your fault for being so delicious.

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These are my fancy wines I bought for cooking. And drinking apparently. Mostly drinking *burp*

Just wanted to show them off so you know factually what a fancy bitch I am. I shouldnt drink wine because it gives me The Sads and makes me cry over cereal commercials. But c’est le vie. J’ai soif. Wuh huh huh… (thats French for laughter, like the cook in The Little Mermaid, you know?)

GREEN THUMB ALERT! That plant there is called a goldfish plant or a dolphin plant or something. Whatever, its pretty cool looking and pretty happy on the kitchen windowsill. I shared a bit of wine with it so its drunk now and growing all over the fucking place.

Beside it is my nans old kitchen timer, one of my most precious objects, and a glass full of ivy seedlings. I have 5 ivy plants now. Does anyone want an ivy ??

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I dont know why I am so fascinated with documenting the inside of my fridge but I am, so there. Here we have all the food groups represented, sweet potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise. I keep my green onions in a jar of water because that way they last 2 weeks instead of 2 days. 79cents a bunch is no joke people, Im not messing around, having those suckers get all dry on me. I save the root and plant it in the pot with my ivy plant, so then I have ivy and green onions shooting up all over and it makes no visual sense but is handy. We stretch 79 cents in this house, damn it!

There’s my soup stock that I should be making into onion soup right now, but I became lazy after wine. Oh and I made cranberry juice by boiling cranberries in sugary water. Its good. The door: 1/2 a lime, yeast, 389719723 jars of half eaten jam, 3 kinds of hot sauce, and donair sauce for squirting on pizza.

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Holy Mackerel! Photo by Paddy Barry,  hanging in a place of sunny yellow prestige.

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This salty old chap reflecting the windows in the kitchen.

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Upstairs this guy is hanging over the terrrlitt in our Salle Du Bain, its a dad running upstairs in the night to pee. CB says he had like a family trailing behind him at one point but they are all gone now. LOL. This wine is making me so fucking morose lololol.

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Ummmm.. I took this while peeing, because the light was hitting that old pitcher nicely. Sorry.. Probably shouldnt have typed that. Oh well, too late now, absolutely nothing I can do. Once something is typed on the internet it can never be backspaced.

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This owl is cute.

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This is a pink verigated I saved from a clearance rack in walmart. Who puts a living thing on a clearance rack! Sick, people. Sick. Shes doing hella good up in the bathroom.

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This is a wall in our bedroom. Those are postcards from our friends, some antlers CB’s poppy had mounted, and a ton of old books. Closet doors are too expensive so this was my solution, to hang curtains. Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart.

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Pineapple lights, light up my life…

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This is a lamp that needs a shade, but Im holding out for a funky one, in front of a painting of the one eyed kitten I did in highschool, and a postcard I wrote to my Gram in NZ and never sent. Sorry Gram. Also my strawberry angel man, strumming the tune of my heart.

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This is the small bathroom downstairs. Its super, super blue. I love it.

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Some old javex bottles we found in the forest, and treasures from our travels. Shells and coins mostly.

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This mirror is amazing. That is all.

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This is a… tree? Made out of mussel shells that CB’s Nan Marie bought for me as a present. I think its so beautiful, and I love how it reflects the light in the bathroom.

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Last picture. Living room window looking out at one of the bigger apple trees, my dried hydrangeas and an aloe plant I got because I burn myself so often at work.

Okay thats all the nonsense I have time for today. Gonna go walk Sweetpea before she just packs up and leaves. See ya!

Good Reads: Your Country Kitchen

 

Im going to start blogging short reviews of cookbooks that I’m currently reading through Good Reads. Here’s the very first one!

I picked this book off the bookshelf here at the farm and have been going back to it every other day and reading a bit more.

Your Country KitchenYour Country Kitchen by Jocasta Innes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s really nice to lay in bed late at night pouring myself over recipes for elderflower wine, home made sausages and meat pies, and chunky conserves. It’s very well written, and you feel transported back to a time where taking care of your food was a full time job. When households became famous for the cheese they made, and making a nice jar of fruit jam was the only way to get vitamins through the winter. I can practically smell the room that dairy maids made their cheese in while I read this. Lovely pictures, and a great little look into the history of preserving food.

I’m definitely going to buy myself a copy, and if you’re interested in making food The Old Way, it’s worth a look.

View all my reviews

Lavender & Manuka

Today was great. Cory got to get greasy and play around underneath the car messing about with nuts and bolts, and I got to do a baking thing!

I had bought a kilo of baby brown skinned pears from the market last week and finally decided to do something with them. First of all, they were just on the cusp of being too ripe. The kind of juicy that runs down your arm.  Mm baby. Usually a pear so ripe would be terrible for poaching, as they will just fall apart fairly quickly. But having a thick brown skin and a more fiberous interior, they seemed tough enough.

The taste of New Zealand so far for me has been lavender. There’s a huge hedge around the house, perpetually covered in chubby little bees, and its the first smell we get when we get home here in Waitakere. The second most New Zealand flavour for me, is manuka honey. Every morning I stir a glob of into my tea and its how I start my day here. It has a very strong and distinctive flavour thats slightly medicinal so you don’t need much to impart the flavour of tea tree into things. And of course, New Zealand means beautiful wine. So I clipped some sprigs, added a few blobs of honey and a splash of white wine into the pot. It smelled incredible.

Im going to wait til they cool off a little and then completely cover a pile of vanilla ice cream in these wee bad boys. They are sweet and mellow tasting, and the manuka & lavender combine into this musky slightly savoury flower taste. It’s pretty nice.

Lavender & Manuka Poached Pears

2 cups sugar

2 tbsp manuka honey

6 springs fresh lavender

1/2 cup white wine

4 cups water

1 kilo pears

In a medium pot, combine sugar, water, honey, wine and lavender. Bring to a boil. While you’re waiting for that to come up to a boil, peel, core and halve your pears.

Once your syrup is boiling, carefully add your pears, as well as any juice that came off the pears as you peeled them. Reduce to a low simmer. Cut a circle of parchment paper with a hole in the middle and place on top of the pears to keep them submerged, so that they poach evenly. Leave on a low simmer for about an hour, or until your pears are the same consistency & colour all the way through.

Strain out your pears and set aside. On a rolling boil, reduce your syrup by half, and pour over your pears. Will keep in a sealed container with syrup for atleast a week in the fridge. You can keep the syrup for weeks, and use it to poach more pears in, with even more flavour. Or add it to a glass of soda water and have a lovely lavender, honey and pear pop!

Raspberry Wine and Turkey Poops

After a delicious dinner of spicy sausage and chickpeas and a couple of glasses of raspberry wine I coerced CB into going for a walk to try out his new camera! This is what Thornton, Ontario looks like on a cool, windy spring evening. Quite nice.

Earlier today we took a 3 hour walk around the trails through the back of farm fields and through wood lots. It was beautiful but very grey and not good for picture taking. However, I saw a muskrat swimming happily around in the creek with a leaf in its mouth. Also, we scared a turkey so badly it flew, pooping madly, out of the ditch beside us and all the way across the field. It was nearly majestic…

Braised Beef Cheeks and Funky Sprouts

Braised Beef Cheeks with Brussel Sprouts & Pecans

Yesterday I spent my day off wandering around the St. Lawrence Market for hours. I talked to really sweet people about vegetables and meats and cheese and tea. They gave me small things to nibble on and I enjoyed spending a morning doing nothing but paying attention to small things. Sniffing the fragrant butthole of a bright red apple and tasting a slip of cheese made in a cave somewhere very European.

And then had to lug home 50 pounds of random shit all the way home through the rain. As soon as I was in the door my boots and pants were off and I spread out my loot across the kitchen floor. A huge golden jar of honey, smokey smelling coffee from Tanzania, blue cheese from Quebec, crunchy red apples, beautiful chubby carrots, the fattest pinkest pork chops ever and a special package for experimenting. BEEF CHEEKS! The lady at the butcher counter shook her head at me when I told her what I was making for dinner and said I was crazy.

This recipe starts off by browning the beef cheeks in olive oil. The smell is amazing. Then you cook a mire poix in whats left in the pan, and pour in so much red wine, letting it bubble and reduce. The sauce is thick and dark from the cocoa, and already tastes amazing even before it cooks for 5 more hours.

Cory thought the beef cheeks were super tasty. He really liked the nice soft ribbons of fat in the beef cheeks. The texture was similar to pulled pork or short ribs but way cheaper because its basically offal. Being a recovering vegetarian I wasn’t a fan of the fatty parts but the meaty parts literally melted in your mouth. The sauce was intense and one of the best tastes ever. We saved an entire jar of it and are going to use it for leftovers tomorrow– stay tuned for recipes!

Braised Beef Cheeks

Serves 4

4 (12-oz) beef cheeks, trimmed of fat

4 shallots, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 celery rib, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, slivered

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups dry red wine

1  can diced tomatoes

2 tbsp salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Heat a couple tablespoons oil in an ovenproof 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. While oil is heating, pat beef cheeks dry and season with salt and pepper. Brown beef, without crowding, on all sides and transfer to a bowl. Add a couple more tablespoons of olive oil and cook onion, carrot, and celery over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened, about 10 minutes.

Stir cocoa powder into vegetable mixture, then deglaze with wine and scrape up any brown bits. Increase heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Return cheeks (with any juices) to pot and add tomatoes with juice, salt, and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then braise, covered, in middle of oven until very tender, about 3-5 hours.

Brussel Sprouts & Pecans

   1 pound brussel sprouts, pick the tiniest ones possible

1 cup  pecans

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese of the stinkiest persuasion possible

Splash of red wine

Salt & Pepper

Toast pecans in a dry pan until they smell lovely, set aside.

Wash and cut brussel sprouts in half. On medium high heat add butter to your pan and when it sizzles and starts to brown throw in your brussel sprouts. Cook them until they are bright green and tender. Add in your blue cheese and pecans. Deglaze the pan with a couple of splashes of red wine (or water).  Season with salt and pepper. Voila! Tasty green funky goodness.

The Rundown:

Price: $10 for beef cheeks, $4 for brussel sprouts, $2.50 in pecans, $10 bottle of wine, $2 can of tomatoes = $28.50 or $7/person

Healthiness: Super Healthy!

Time: 30 mins prep, 3-5 hours cook time

Kitten wants some cheeks for her cheeks