a perfectly imperfect day

Last weekend I made  my way out to the suburbs to spend a glorious day of baking with my new friend Gaiti that I had first met about 5 years ago soon after she was first married. She has an adorable active son and an amazing business where she gets to do her favourite thing…baking for ” The Cupshoppe ”        www.thecupshoppe.com

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I packed up 2 year old Maddie in the car and stuffed some favourite pans and fresh cream in my bag. As I pulled in front of the house, Maddie threw up all over her twirly purple dress. After pulling everything off except her diaper and shoes we were able to locate some large sweat pants and a dinosaur shirt to clothe her. She was remarkably compliant and good-natured in spite of it all. Gaiti’s 4 year old son Ayaan and Maddie spent much of the day staking territorial claim over everything in sight and at one point Maddie yelled at the top of her lungs in a glass breaking volume that was truly impressive. Ayaan ever the charmer wooed back her affection with a peace-offering of a talking Elmo.

In the meantime Gaita made the most amazing chicken curry full of ginger, tomatoes, and amazing spices. I am still dreaming about it. We ate it so happily that I forgot to take a picture until only a small serving was left. We also poured over recipe books, wedding albums and life in general.

After lunch was cleared away we were finally on to the task of creating the Creme Brûlée tarts. The pastry was perfectly yummy and flakey (if not beautiful) but the creme needed time to cool. The day had sped by and we divided up the 8 tarts and I packed up the car. The sink-washed twirly dress had dried on the line and Maddie was once again princess worthy and the two kids had become happy companions.

An hour later, I poured the runny creme into a tart shell, dotted it with raspberries, skipped the sugary topping and ate it prematurely…( also eaten too fast for a picture). Perhaps it would have set if left for 3 hours or better yet overnight, but sometimes delayed gratification is over-rated.  Running and dripping all over the plate, it was the perfect way to enjoy the end of a lovely old-fashioned sort of day.

For an expert approach to creme brûlée baked in a traditional way check this out

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friends for dinner- Happy Easter

Sundays are always a good excuse to entertain and Easter makes it a MUST DO. I scrapped any traditional Easter feast in favour of upping our veggie count. The only traditional item on hand was a fresh batch of HOT CROSS BUNS brought by my wonderful friend Susan. Truth be told, it was expedient that I salvage all those soon to be dead veggies I had purchased a week ago (see first post) and save a fish from dying of frostbite. Yup!!! I actually made dinner for 8 without a fresh trip to the market. I get this peculiar satisfaction when I actually use anything that has been sitting in my pantry, fridge or freezer.

On a side note–Saturday evening was my 2nd attempt at yogurt. When I checked on my batch this morning, I discovered that my milk was very hot (eek!) with a brownish skin on top. Luckily I had been reading a fun blog the previous evening around  GREEK YOGURT and there was a section devoted to salvaging yogurt failures–so I took my immersion blender and mixed the stuff up into a caramel smoothy–cooled down to 110 F and plopped some more live yogurt into the batch. I covered it up and let it incubate all day. By the time dinner came around tonight I had a lovely batch of caramel coloured yogurt. Can’t wait for breakfast Monday!

Check out this link for more insight…http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/answers-to-your-questions-about-making-homemade-yogurt

…but I digress.

On to DINNER: I chopped tons of veggies, spread them across 3 baking sheets and roasted them . The rice cooker was filled with Black Thai Rice which I threw together with an assortment of raw broccoli, chopped apples, grated carrots and an apple cider vinaigrette | served with Nappa Cabbage Coleslaw – edamame, ginger, fresh pineapple  and lime | cucumber spiralled with sweet asian vinegar concoction | mahi mahi fish fillets from the freezer – lightly fried in olive oil | warmed  naan from the freezer |  coconut cream pie with cheater frozen pie shell.

The best part of course, was hanging out with fun friends and family (and Red the dog with an appearance made by Simba from the Lion king.) Wish all of you could have been there with us.

Pie recipe follows…

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coconut cream pie:

Any pie crust desired – baked and set aside to cool

filling:

2 c milk

1/2 c of coconut milk

3 egg yolks ( save the whites for meringue topping)

1/2 c sugar

1/3 c flour

1/2 c dry coconut

  • Heat up milk & coconut milk in deep pot
  • In food processor mix eggs & sugar well until thick yellow — then add in flour and mix some more
  • Add 1/2 c hot milk mixture into processor while running | mix well
  • Return to pot and stir with whisk until thick–which should happen quickly. Make sure the flour taste has been cooked out.
  • Add in dry coconut
  • Spread into pie shell to cool.
  • WHIP EGG WHITES and approx 1/3 c of sugar into a thick meringue.
  • Spread on pie and brown under broiler with a few sprinkles of coconut on top