Raspberry Pancakes

Raspberry Pancakes for Sugar Coated Baking.com

I haven’t been blogging a lot since summer has arrived. I have to admit that every second I am not working I try to spend it outside; walk in the park, take a drive, camping, vacations at home in New Brunswick (see Jacob’s pictures of our trip over there on HIS BLOG).

However, over the past 3 days, we have decided to spend some time around Ottawa, Jacob making videos with our friend Todd, working towards what could become a very cool business in Ottawa. As for myself, I managed to do some writing, something I have been scared to do since I got my first manuscript rejected from every French publishing company I had sent it to about 4 years ago.

So over all, it has been a productive 4-day weekend for us. As I woke up this morning rested and grateful for what life has handed to us recently – good and faithful friends, happiness, some insight as to what we really want to do with our lives – I decided to bake some raspberry pancakes.

Raspberry Pancakes for Sugar Coated Baking.com

It is absolutely possible to make them without the raspberries. Actually, Jacob prefers them plain and I do enjoy them quite a lot. But I am also a huge sucker for fruit so as I was dancing and singing to the Walk off the Earth album I baked these with LOTS of love and berries! I hope you will enjoy them just as much if you decide to make them.

Cheers, and don’t forget to pour some maple syrup on top of it all!

You will need:
2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of baking powder
A pinch of salt
2 1/3 cups of milk
2 eggs
2 cups of chopped raspberries
Maple syrup
Vegetable oil – to cook

What to do:
To make the coulis, purée 1 cup of raspberries. Add about 2 to 3 tablespoons of maple syrup. Strain to get rid of the seeds. Set aside.

In a big bowl, mix the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Pour on top of the dry ingredients and whisk well.

Add ½ cup of chopped raspberries to the batter and mix gently.

Add about a tablespoon of vegetable oil and cook the batter in small batches. I manage to do about 3 pancakes in a pan per batch. Keep warm until they are all ready, cover with raspberry coulis and then enjoy!

White Chocolate and Cherry Ice Cream

 

White chocolate and cherry ice cream

People who spend time around me can notice two things pretty quickly about my personality. First: that I am slightly ADD – meaning I always need to have a project and do something productive. It has turned into a joke with Jacob; he calls it my “inability to relax” unless I am completely disconnected from everything else. I blame my dad for this one – like father like daughter. Second: that I am highly addicted to ice cream.

There is a reason why I do not buy ice cream. It is because as long as I have some in the freezer, I will serve myself 2 to 3 portions a day without any guilt or second thoughts. I love it! So to keep my sugar and dairy intake to a reasonable level, I allow myself ice cream every 3 days or so. Jacob will “bug” me to go to Dairy Queen – yes that is the closest ice cream place in our area – where I will get a small dip cone and Jacob will get a Blizzard that we will then eat under the trees of the parking lot (very romantic!) or in the car with the windows down in the parking lot (less romantic!).

I came to love this summer tradition of ours. For us, it is the perfect date.

Cherry Ice Cream

When I really do feel like real homemade-ice cream, I go to La Cigale in Chelsea, on the Quebec side. Everything there is made from scratch, from ice cream to waffle-cones to dipping sauces. The store is located in a lovely renovated old house and the backyard has been done up so that people can sit in big chairs and enjoy their treats. For Jacob and I, who think a parking lot is romantic, this is the Cadillac of date spots!

This is where I tasted, for the first time, real white chocolate and cherry ice cream. Since that day, all I wanted to do was recreate it in my kitchen. I won’t say I have achieved this goal, but I came up with a pretty good recipe that I would like to share on the blog today. I hope you will enjoy it just as much as we do.

You will need:
300 ml of milk
½ vanilla pod
1/3 cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
200 grams of white chocolate, chopped
200 ml of cream
1 cup of fresh cherries, cut into small pieces

What to do:
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.

In a pot over low heat, stir the milk and the inside of ½ a vanilla pod until the milk is warm – do not boil.

Pour about a tablespoon of the hot milk into the eggs and sugar and mix well. Slowly add more milk while stirring constantly.

Once all the milk is in the bowl, pour back the mix into the pot and put on medium-low heat until it thickens. Add the white chocolate and stir until it is all melted. Transfer into a bowl.

Put plastic wrap directly on top of the liquid and put in the fridge until it is completely cool (about 2 hours).

Take the bowl out of the fridge and add the cream and the cherries. Once everything is mixed properly, pour into your ice cream machine for about 20 minutes and then enjoy!

Cherry Ice Cream

Lobster Étoufée – Camping Style

Camping Lobster Etouffee

A couple of weeks ago Jacob asked me to go backcountry camping in Bon Echo Provincial Park with our friend Todd and his friend Chuck, that we had never met. As the only lady on the trip, I took my role pretty seriously, making sure we packed enough food to survive 3 days as we headed into the wild.

The evening before we left, as I was running around getting nuts and cranberry juice (I sometimes have problems focusing on what is essential and what is not), Todd sent out a Tweet.

Picture 1

I tweeted back, very impressed but wondered how the hell this guy was planning to make some lobster on a camp fire. After all, we were going into the wild! We would be at least 30 minutes from the closest store, this was serious commitment from Chuck (I love being dramatic). My expectations were high!

The moment I was introduced to Chuck, I liked him. I quickly learned he was from Dieppe, in New Brunswick – I spent 5 years living in Moncton so we had plenty to talk about. As he was unpacking his gear and his food, I shortly realised the guy was serious about cooking and that my steaks with store bought BBQ sauce and my sliced small potatoes were going to be lame when sided with HIS elaborate meal. Damn you Chuck!

Camping Lobster Etouffee

The surf portion of this surf and turf meal was called Lobster Étouffée. As Chuck was stirring the base for his sauce, the roux, I sat down with him and realised he actually was into cooking – like for real! And by the smell alone of his sauce, it was easy to tell he was excellent at it.

Camping Lobster Etouffee

Asking about how he developed this recipe, Chuck told me it came from a trip he had done some time ago. “I was on my way to Louisiana in the coming months for vacation and I wanted to search for a local recipe to try replicating – and eventually to compare with – once I was there,” he said.

“I’m pleased to say that I actually preferred my own take on this one but to be fair, they typically use crayfish in the south rather than lobster.” As he was explaining all this and that Jacob was taking pictures and Todd was cutting some branches to start a fire (dangerous task for Todd we would soon learn), Chuck realised he had burned the bottom of his sauce. He barely grumbled, threw out his sauce, washed his pan and started again from scratch. That was real dedication, right there and then!

Camping Lobster Etouffee

So he started again, and we ended up enjoying a meal I would have paid a lot to have in the city. It was the perfectly balanced dish – spicy, flavourful, the texture was perfect and the lobster was so good! It was cooked with frozen lobster Chuck had brought back from Shédiac, New Brunswick a couple of days before.

Camping Lobster Etouffee

After the trip, as Todd went back home with some cuts, burns, highly reacting to all the mosquito bites, and probably some other foreign disease (camping is a dangerous sport for Todd I had learned), I went back home to found an email from Chuck with his recipe. Agreeing to share it on the blog, with Jacob’s pictures, I thought this was the best memory ever from a great adventure into the wild.

At the end of his email, Chuck wrote something I believed would conclude this post pretty well. “I hope you enjoy this recipe again as you did when we were on the camping trip and that others will try it for themselves and enjoy it as well. The most effort required will be to keep a very watchful eye on the roux to ensure it doesn’t burn. Once it has reached the right colour, the rest is nearly effortless.”

Thanks Chuck!

Camping Lobster Etouffee

For more pictures please visit www.jacobfergusphoto.com 

Lobster Étouffée 

You will need
1lb of thawed lobster pieces
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
6-7 stalks of chopped, fresh parsley
3-4 stalks of chopped celery
1 tablespoon of paprika
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper (more or less, as desired)
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of cream

Roux: (oil and flour are a 1:1 ratio)
4-5 tablespoons of peanut oil (or coconut, grape seed, canola)
4-5 tablespoons of flour

What to do:
Begin by adding oil and flour to a saucepan or dutch oven at low-medium heat. Stir the roux constantly for 20 to 30 minutes. The goal is to get the roux to a peanut butter colour without burning. If the roux burns, begin the process again.

Add chopped onion, green pepper and celery. Keep stirring until veggies become somewhat tender (approximately 5 minutes).

If possible, use brine from lobster bag and add in a bit at a time. Ideally, you should have about 1 1/2 cups of liquid. If there isn’t enough lobster brine to reach this amount, clam juice also works great for this recipe.

Add your seasoning: paprika, cayenne, bay leaves, garlic, salt & pepper.

Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped parsley (save a small amount for final garnish if desired) and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Add lobster, butter and cream, and simmer for final 5 minutes.

Serve with preferred rice, and enjoy!

Eastman Family Milk Cake

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

When Avaleigh invited Jacob and I on her family dairy farm (the full post HERE), I asked her if she would share a family recipe on our blog, as part of our visit. But as it turned out, I had so much to say about our visit that I decided to make a completely different post to share this delicious cake.

This recipe is something Avaleigh’s mom started baking when her kids were young – she found it on one of the multiple milk calendars dairy farmers have produced over the years. The recipe then got slightly adapted and is now a classic in their kitchen, being baked by her daughters now.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

We had a piece of this cake in her grandparents’ lovely kitchen on a cloudy Saturday afternoon. Avaleigh had baked the cake the same morning, just before welcoming us. Her mom then chose some fresh berries as garnish and topped it with some whipped cream.

This dessert was delicious! The cake was moist and still slightly warm. The pudding on top was perfect and blended naturally with the cake. Being a huge fan of vanilla already, it was a natural fit for me and I am looking forward to reproducing this cake in my own kitchen and sharing it with my friends.

You will need:

For the milk pudding:
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
**(For chocolate version, replace vanilla & cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and 1/2 cup chopped milk chocolate pieces).

For the cake:
1 cup of flour
2/3 cup of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons of vanilla
**(For chocolate version, replace vanilla with 2 Tbsp of cocao)

The milk pudding:
In a small bowl, put 1 tablespoon of milk (from the 1 1/2 cups of milk). Add the cornstarch and vanilla and whisk well.

In a saucepan, heat the remaining milk and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.

Once the milk is hot (but not boiling), add the first mix (cornstarch, milk and vanilla) and beat until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

The cake:
In a bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk, butter and vanilla.

Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened (don’t over work the dough).

Spread into a buttered baking dish. Gently pour warm milk mixture over cake batter without stirring.

Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes to allow milk mixture to thicken. Serve warm, with fresh berries and your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! Enjoy!

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

Centuryholm Farm: the milk we’re made of

 Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

We were wishing for a blue-sky-sunny-day, it had been raining for about a week now so we thought our chances were pretty high to enjoy some nice weather. As we had planned, I texted Avaleigh at 9:03 that Saturday morning:

“Hey, it’s Lyne. Beautiful day!!! We will be a bit late though, I am sorry. Jacob got my cold so he is a bit slow this morning. We will be there more around 10:30, is that ok?”

She replied within the minute.

“No problem at all. I’m actually a few minutes late also”.

By the time we were in the car, the sky had changed.

I hope it’s not gonna rain…” I texted her in the car at 10.

I know… overcast like crazy…

We kept going. And finally we arrived, a bit late as usual but excited to be there. After all, it’s not every day that you have the chance to visit a working dairy farm!

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

I met Avaleigh through work, as simple as that. I was collaborating with Dairy Farmers of Canada on a joint sponsorship and through our conversation, she told me more about her story.

Born and raised on a dairy farm, she grew up with cows around her, learning how to take care of them as she was learning how to take care of herself. With her parents home next to her grandparents house, she came and went on the farm freely, helping and learning about what it is to be a farmer.

Avaleigh is now married to a dairy farmer and lives with her husband at the Schouten Dairy Farm, a bigger operation than the one her parents own.

When she learned I had never been on a dairy farm, she immediately invited Jacob and I over to come visit. I could tell this invitation was born from a real passion for farming and great pride. I told her that I would take her up on that invitation.

The road to the farm was breathtakingly beautiful. Still close to Ottawa, we had the impression of being in a different land. One where the animals were outside chilling on the grass, rabbits hanging around and people growing their own food – everything was as it was supposed to be.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

 

We arrived in Kinburn at 11. As we were getting closer, a country-looking sign confirmed we were at the right place: Centuryholm Farm, The Eastman Family. Avaleigh welcomed us at the car as soon as we parked, a small cat following her footsteps. Her grandfather then passed us on a big tractor, waving his hand as a welcome sign, a big smile illuminating his face. We felt good right away.

Avaleigh looked happy to have us over. “My mom and my sister are in the house but they will join us for the visit,” she said, at the same time they were coming out of her grandparents’ house. As I was shaking their hands, another cat came running, followed by the cutest and dirtiest farm-dog. Her dad would soon join us to talk to us about the unique lifestyle of a farmer in Canada.

Centuryholm Farm
The first members of Avaleigh’s family to put their foot in Kinburn were from Omagh, from County Tyrone in Ireland. “They arrived in 1833 and were given 100 acres of forest from the Crown, along with basic tools and a few animals to get them started – pigs, cows and chickens,” explained Avaleigh. “The deal was that they had to clear the land and turn it into tillable, or farmable, land that could grow a bountiful crop. On that same parcel of land today, our family grows corn, soybeans, hay and small grains (wheat, oats, barley).”

The animals, you would be right to assume so, are all fed by what the family manages to grow every year.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

Her father, John Eastman, is the 6th generation to farm the land. As he explains, farming is a way of living and a seven days a week job. “You have to be on the farm, no matter the day or the time. Even if it is Christmas or Easter, the cows still need to be milked,” he said.

The work is extremely physically demanding. John went on to mention that the amount of bending and repetitive tasks a farmer has to do in his or her life will take a toll on you – you are always lifting something, moving something, always down on the ground. Farming isn’t an easy job. Listening to John, it became clear you have to be dedicated and ready to give everything you have to be a farmer.

“You know, what always amazes me is driving from Toronto to Mississauga, for example, and seeing house after house, new suburbs, and you know that every one of these people living in these houses has to eat food, and most drink milk. As farmers, we bring this food to them, we deliver their milk and food,” added John. Now that is something to be proud of.

The Centuryholm Farm has 40 milking cows at all times. When you add the calves, the “dry” cows (or the cows on maternity leave like Avaleigh suggested), and the milking cows there is about 100 animals on the farm at all times. Every two days, 2100 litters of milk is being picked up from their farm.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

Avaleigh’s family farm and the dairy industry in Canada operate under supply management, a system that makes it possible for every Canadian to have steady access to fresh, local, high-quality dairy products, poultry and eggs all year around. For those less familiar with supply management, an easy way to see it is that it assures Canadians have access to local, safe and healthy food and that the farmer gets a fair return for his or her work. It keeps farmers farming, and it gives consumers the security of knowing that what they are eating is as fresh and local as possible.

When we look around us, we should be proud that Canada is working under this system. Some people are quick to attack supply management and lose the perspective of how it benefits all of us. Farmers are the backbone of this country and we can choose to support them by supporting supply management. It is as simple as that.

Stepping foot on a dairy farm
When we stepped out of the car, I think the first thing that hit me was how crisp the air was. The second thing that I noticed was the absence of noise. You could hear the cows around, the sound of some trucks in the fields, but there was a tranquility in the air, a peacefulness you don’t notice in the city.

Growing up in rural New Brunswick, I was totally in my element. As we were walking towards the barn with Avaleigh’s family, I looked at Jacob and I knew right there we were sharing the same feelings.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

It is hard to explain how it feels when 10 cows are looking at you. First, they are gentle creatures, I really have to say it. I was a bit worried they would run at me or try to head-butt me. But they are the sweetest animals. They are also very smart and completely understand what is going on around them. As Avaleigh and her mother were explaining, when it is time to be milked at the end of the day the cows line-up, on their own, at the gate and walk right through the barn and go to “their” station – they actually know where their spots are in the barn. “The thing is that they love being milked, it creates a huge relief for them,” she explained to us.

As we were walking outside, I noticed some big structures on the other side of the field. “What are those,” I asked. “These are scratching areas for the cows! They love it – it’s like going to the spa for them,” Avaleigh answered, smiling.

As I looked around and saw Jacob taking pictures of the cows, I realised that farming was not only about being on site and doing the work, it was about caring for your animals. Something that was a priority on the Centuryholm Farm.

As the nice weather was approaching, I just couldn’t imagine going to the dairy farm without sharing this experience on the blog. So I pushed my luck and asked Avaleigh not only to let us take pictures for a post but to share a family recipe made with milk. Not only did she agree, but after the visits, she invited Jacob and I to have a slice of this wonderful milk cake with her grandparents Dalton and Betty Eastman and with her mother Jennifer.

Centuryholm Farm - Milk Cake

Sitting in their warm kitchen and eating this delicious dessert (we will share the recipe in our next blog post), it struck me how lucky she had been to grow up on a farm. That is when I realised that no rain or clouds could ever overcast the pride this family had in their hard work and in what they had accomplished, one generation after the other. Farming truly is a unique lifestyle. One of a kind.

Chicken Burger with Apple and Mango Chutney

Chicken and Apple Chutney Burger

If the title of this recipe alone has not yet convinced you to try this burger, I hope the pictures will do the trick. It is so good!

I have to say I really have a thing for chicken burgers during summer. This is by far one of my favourite, if not the top chicken burger on my list at the moment. I have been cooking the patties in a frying pan for many years during winter, but they are even better on the grill.

It is a recipe I found in the LCBO Food and Drink magazine and that I am proud to serve to our friends and family when they come over.

I should mention this is a bit of a long recipe to make, so you may want to attempt doing it during the weekend while you have plenty of time. It is not complicated but there are several steps to follow – and it is 100% worth it.

This weekend is supposed to be sunny and hot, so roll-up your sleeves and make this dish for dinner. Open a cold beer and enjoy these with a side of sweet potato fries or a fresh salad!

One last note, if you cook the patties on the BBQ, make sure that they are not too wet or they might stick to the grill. I suggest putting a piece of foiled paper, brushed with olive oil, between the patties and the grill just to make sure you don’t have any bad surprises. And then: enjoy!

Chicken and Apple Chutney Burger

Apple and mango chutney:

You will need:
1 cup of mango chutney
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
1 tablespoon of butter

In a pan, sautée the apple in the butter until the apple is soft. Let it cool, and then incorporate it into the mango chutney. Set aside.

Burger patties:
750g lean ground chicken
1 Granny Smith apple, shredded
1 tablespoon of butter
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, cut in small pieces
2 tablespoons of curry powder
1 egg
½ cup of heavy cream
1 ½ cups of bread crumbs
¼ cup of freshly chopped coriander
Salt and pepper

In a pan, sautée the apple, garlic, and the onion in the butter until the apple is soft. Add the curry powder. Transfer to a small bowl and let it cool.

In a bowl, mix the egg with the cream and the salt and pepper. Add the bread crumbs and coriander and mix well. Add chicken and mix well with your hands, then add the apple mixture.

Once you are happy with the consistency (add more bread crumbs if the mix is too wet), make patties the size you wish and cook them on the BBQ or in a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Once cooked, top you burger with apple and mango chutney, a spoon of sour cream (optional), some green lettuce and enjoy!