Sunday, May 31, 2009

Walter Bean is not a cyclist's friend....

This morning we set out for what was supposed to be a relaxing and fun ride (read:minimal effort) with some friends. We're all fairly experienced cyclists and were looking forward to trying a new-to-us trail - the Walter Bean Trail. It runs alongside the Grand River and is part of the Trans Canada Trail. The cities in this area have done an amazing job of completing their sections of it, with relatively few gaps. The trail is beautiful, well groomed with hard or slightly packed gravel, and winds through forest & fields, affording frequent views of the river, and many spots to stop, rest and enjoy the view. Which is good...because it has a lot of hills. A lot. And big ones. Who knew, in this flat city, that we even had any! And the wind was gusting, at times, to probably 50km/hr...

In the end, it was a beautiful ride and well worth the effort. We only did a small section, and will definitely go back again to try the rest, even if Walter Bean has it out for us!

Friday, May 29, 2009

What I did on my vacation

We took a week of holidays last week, just because. I got sick with what was probably the swine flu, on Monday. Not one to let that spoil my vacation, I medicated heavily, and moved on! We packed a lot in.

Visited with our friends Moira & Hector in Toronto. Finally saw their new house (purchased, uh, one year ago...). Watched Victoria Day fireworks on the lakefront. And Moira added a new strap to my Henrietta- great bag!

Did some gardening...more garden pictures here.

Ripped out two old doors and installed two new ones....more pictures on that, and our nifty front foyer reno, to come. The trim is supposed to go on this weekend and then it's up to me to paint. This is the front door. The kitchen door, which is directly opposite, is the same style. I love the light it brings in, although there is no longer a safe spot to wander around in one's underwear!

A trip to the Toronto Zoo....where we got to touch stingray and small sharks. They're slimy- there I saved you $3 (the cost of touching a stingray and/or shark). And, did you know that monkeys relieve themselves in the same water they drink from? My kid just reminded me. I'm so glad the trip had lasting educational value and made such an impression.

And Colin even managed to grab a nap.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Summer Berry Pudding

I made this beautiful and delicious dessert for company yesterday, and was really happy with the results. It was easy to put together and tasted amazing! It's an Ina Garten recipe, which always work for me, and I imagine you could use any combination of berries and perhaps even other fruits- peaches with a splash of amaretto maybe? For the bread, I used two 7 inch long loaves of brioche which I'd made using the recipe and method from Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day.

Summer Berry Pudding

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 half pints of raspberries
2 pints blueberries
2 Tablespoons of raspberry brandy such as Framboise (I used Chambord)
1 loaf brioche or egg bread (I used 2 loaves of brioche)
Extra berries for garnish

Combine the strawberries , sugar, and 1/4 cup of water in a large saucepan and cook uncovered over medium low heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups of the raspberries and all the blueberries and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the remaining raspberries and brandy.

Slice the bread into 1/2 inch slices and remove the crusts. In the bottom of a 7 1/2 inch round by 3 inch high souffle dish, ladle about 1/2 cup of the cooked berry mixture. Arrange the bread slices in a pattern. This will be the top so make it look pretty!

Then add more berry mixture to saturate. Continue adding bread, cutting to fit the mold, and berrries. Finish with bread and cooked berries, using all the fruit and syrup.

Place a sheet of plastic wrap loosely over the pudding. Find a plate approx.
the same diameter as the inside of the mold and place it on top. Weight the mold with a heavy can and refrigerate. It will drip liquid, so set it inside another dish to catch the extra syrup. Remove the weigh after 6 to 8 hours. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

Just before serving, run a knife around the outside of the pudding and unmold it upside down onto a serving plate. Garnish top with berries and drizzle any extra syrup over the top. Serve in wedges with whipped cream or ice cream.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rainy day gardening

My Mother's Day gift....the boy and I picked it out on a recent trip to the garden centre and decided to make it so.

Begonias & Boxwood

Dahlias & Spirea

Catching raindrops

Planting the new herb garden