Monday, September 28, 2015

Appledom~Biscoff Apple Crisp~

On Thursday we had to go into Montréal~

Our GPS..shows 45 minutes away..our destination was in the city centre..
we know Mtl is 45 minutes away..but..w/ traffic,for a morning appt..give yourself 2 hrs.
we are used to this and had given ourselves 1 hr 45 the skin of our teeth ,we made it.
We left at 7 AM..and got there at 8.30 ..and my husband had to drop me off at the door to whip upstairs..I don't know how some people do it every day.
Many take public transport ..I don't blame them.
If I had to start over and work downtown:(
Kudos for those who do it .
Give me the country..forever I hope.

The day was chilly in the AM..but we decided to go the Jean -Talon market..Little Italy..about 20 minutes away..from where we were..we went because's bounty season..
apples,tomatoes,garlic,chilis,beans,eggplants herbs,you name it they have it..mums..
so so pretty to go there..and I am glad some "éducatrices" think it is such a great experience for wee ones..we saw 2 groups ♥
So cute.

I must add..I have no sense of direction..moved out here when I was 40 yrs ago..never got to know the city..I went to McGill university for 6 monts..public transport..
so I do not know my way around anywhere..nor how to get there.Let's not even talk about traffic..I was a realtor in the country ..
My husband is my chauffeur..he knows Mtl inside out.
Grateful..what would I do?

On Sunday  Mylène invited me to go apple picking w/ she and Noah and Giuliana..
we went to a place that is now my favorite..
It's organic..young family run..along shore road ..
We had bought our apples at JT..but I did buy honey and Mylène bought juice and 10 lbs of apples..
It's a beautiful by a beautiful young family who started it in 2003.They planted the trees etc..In 2013 they were ready to open to the public.
Cute cute cute place.
Next year I will go directly there for my apples..
So nice that you know nothing has touched them..

Ok so the apple can really make any apple crisp you love already..
I have made this one w/ Martha's,with my mom's version..with the Killer Apple Crisp recipe ..that Linda had sent me a few years back..I now make an apple crisp that combines all therecipes and varies every time;)

the topping makes enough for the 3 dishes above and another 3 inch ramekin.
The only thing I do differently from all the recipes I have gleaned and combined.. is  that I pulse some Lotus Biscoff (3-4 for the following recipe) cookies and add them to the crumble..and some chopped pecans..the pic is I made it when Noah came for dinner and there's no time for pics then:)  Serve warm w/ ice cream..make sure the apples are fork tender..never omit the spices..I have tasted some very bland apple crisps in my apple crisp w/ out not an apple crsip;)
Noah loved it..he even loved my lasagna and garlic bread.
He is the one w/ the most developed taste palate.

La Recette~  but kind of..I switch it up all the time~glean this one..

6-7 apples of your choise peeled and cut into large chunks
2 tbsps lemon juice
1/3 cup of sugar


1 cup plus 2 tbsps brown sugar packed..I like old fashioned brown sugar
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg..I only use fresh..grated
10tbsps cold butter diced
1 cup chopped tosated pecans..I use less

Preheat oven to 375F

In a large bowl combine the apples lemon juice and sugar and set aside.
In a small bowl stir flour,sugar,oats,spices.With a pastry blender or a food processor..cut in/pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbsstir in nuts..
Spread the apple mixture in a greased oven proof casserole..
Sprinke topping over top..
Bake ap 55 minutes or until top is bubbling and golden..

My notes..I add the ground Biscoff Lotus cookies to the topping..and a touch of cardamom..
I bake until I can enter a skewer in the crisp and it slides in..
I sometimes add a pat of butter on top of the apple mixture:)

Jean Talon~ is always a very special treat~

Friday, September 25, 2015

Warmer Colors~Warmer Words~

The first beets my daughter gave us from her husbands' veggie garden were lovely..delicious..and cute:)Above..
But the last batch..they were the size of small grapefruits..those are the ones I used for my roasted beet quinoa salad~
So good..
I am definitely growing his beets next summer..his;)
The recipe is a cinch..cook your quinoa perfectly..add some diced roasted beets..garlic that roasted with your beets....spring green onions...chopped fresh chives..chopped red peppers..feta..parsley..the juice of the roasted beets..s and p..  some EVOO..and white balsamic vinegar..Top with larger beautiful chunks of those roasted beets..

This is a complete meal for me.
It's a side for Jacques;)

You know the smallest things are the greatest gifts.
My daughters and I email always..we are not phone people..and one lives across the street kittie corner..
as soon as  I stopped working I bid the phone adieu..I HATE the phone.

They work..they can sneak an email in here and there..before bed..anecdotes..all kinds of STUFF.
slews of emails.I adore
Wednesday morning this was one of my emails from Caroline;

Last night, im lying in bed with Max, and I sing my nightly awesome rendition of
You are my sunshine..
He says ok, mom two questions,
1. Who was the first man on earth..
2. Who invented the song ‘you are my sunshine’… I say…I don’t know…he says I think Nana did.
How CUTE!!!!!!

Well that just fills me up.
They are the grace in my life.
And I am so very grateful for them.
The light is so different ..the mornings are cool,dappled heavy shade everywhere,the trees across the street are turning,they seem to turn where the East sun hits them first..taking photos.. the sun is so harsh..everything is still too green and brown ..that old look..
I've started afternoon tea again even though it is so mild and sunny,fall makes me do that..and the music is not being played as much outdoors..
it's mostly I type this entry..Rod Stewart is singing...I can only give you love that lasts forever..I still enjoy his songs and music..
...and a hand to hold when leaves begin to fall..

All time favorite fall song..Nat King Cole..Autumn mom's favorite.
Fall is very nostalgic for me,I think it's beauty just brings out every emotion we have.Stunning splendour.Gorgeousness .

I started preparing my Garlic planting..see the gloves? Raffia?Stakes?Shears?
I had bought a gift a few years back for an occasion that was canceled..a pale yellow metal bucket  filled with even knee pads..and an apron..the occasion never happened..and I kept it..all shrink wrapped from Chapters/Indigo thinking maybe another occasion would happen and the gift would again be never happened.
I unwrapped it.
My garden is shocked to see new things.
Usually I find clippers and scissors and shears and hand rakes and trowels all old and worn..lost in a bed here or there.
Why was I saving it?
We have also been relentlessly dropping our everyday utensils(for years!!) on the floors  clearing the table..they are bottom heavy and just slide off the plates.
I was saving the bees..for what?
No more.
The others are gone..and the bees are out.
See ..fall is the new year..a new leaf;)

André Gagnon is  a QC artist..AMAZING..all instrumental..a client.. maybe 30 yrs ago got me hooked..Greg.
André Gagnon has many CDs ..over the years I think we have picked up 5.Love them all..

Henri Salvador, a client who also became a friend me hooked..all French..OMgosh the songs are just so pretty.Henri also..we have a few of his CD's..

Richard Séguin is also a QC talent..I went to a show of his..and bought the CD which he autographed.. 

Stacey Kent..adorable..again from Robert..she is from here too..
So nice to find music you love.. fall.

Bon weekend~

Monday, September 21, 2015


I am STILL making David Lebovitz's Strawberry jam..
Jacques says he is tasting his youth....with every biteful and he asks if I will make some again maybe 4 times this year..I have made it..I am giving the link again because even my daughters love it..
such cute mini mason jars at the $ store.I went in for something totally unrelated and these little gingham sparklers were right there:)
The faes are busying themselves with fall activities..they come in as to not be buried by 5 feet of snow..already some have lost limbs etc..I should not say already..they've lived here 14 years..that Maidenhead fern adores it's spot and returns year after year to create a litte waterside forest ~like atmosphere.
They had been whispering amonst themselves..asking themselves what nana was waiting for ..where is our fall decor?:)Checkmark..
But it is like a Secret Garden have to look down and find them..not like the rest that is still quite pinkish..
They are in the bed where the twin adirondacks are..I am sad to say this is their last year..14 years the set lasted..Costco..unfinished..we painted it white..and repainted..and repainted..we dragged it into storage every year except the last two..I renailed/screwed is no longer salvageable:(
Next year probably white plastic Adirondacks:(

The Paul Farges..I wanted to show you..these are a small portion of the heads!  Picture 10 times those.. and it was chopped down in the fall last year..the arbor is not visible..Betty grows on the other side of it but they grow into each other at the top..Betty blooming first..with PF taking over afterwards..and reaching well over the other side.There is a harmony when both are in bloom simultaneously♥

The last pic is that hedge I mentioned..all pointy and pretty:)The dahlias grow there..and roses ..iris..lilies..phlox..a few clematis..It gets all the neigbour's oak fall AND spring that bed needs attention..not to mention the years the acorns rain down.
Great c'est la vie..c'est la nature.
That sweet book is from the movie I's one of the prettiest pop ups I have seen..and all the characters slide into a pocket.
I am reliving my youth.
Just for me.
Wee foxgloves popped up at the base of my big tardy  bloomers but how pretty..
We have a new art store  close by..I may be in trouble..imagine if I was a real artist.
This store is fantastic.Even my husband found the look and concept beautiful.
Quite industrial looking ,loft ~like inside..
Everything tasteful..antiques..antique is offered when you enter..second floor..all easels and expositions (vernissages)of artists..
every type of paint...palettes..paper..pencils..books Absolutely amazing.
I am grateful to have this place ~it's not like a Michaels..if you are looking for that..well it's not..and it's not an Omer de Serres either..and both the aforementioned have their place and fun..and products and nice nice service..this  concept is so unique..a different experience altogether.
I left a very cool Frida (Kahlo)apron there.That was self-control.
Bought some paint..etc..
Art stores,neat grocery nice to time I will go alone..Jacques was very patient and appreciative of the place and staff etc..but it's my kind of place..and I want to linger~

Footnote..  geesh do I need a footnote after all this?

Last night..we ate this for the 4th tme too this summer..and it may be the last time..

because the tomatoes are getting..not scarcer..but now they will ripen less quickly..

tip..make twice the salad:)
It's just beautiful too..pile the arugula..add the tomato mixture..a few fresh basil good..

and tonight we are having this..because it is daughter Mylène made it first..and I just keep making it since 2013.And I bake my squash  longer..prick w/ fork or knife to make sure it is done~
I use Costco spicy Italian turkey I am sure..

it is a keeper too and looks beautiful and tastes great..the Acorn is baking now..the spicy Italian sausage is the deal maker here.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Almost Fall Sightings~ And a great weekend cake~

Well this one could take the cake~
It is the easiest chocolate cake I have made.
All done w/ a whisk in a medium size pot..stove..a few ings..the mold..s of your choice and you are done.
Jacques loves dark chocolate desserts..and coffee..this is an espresso chocolate Bundt cake but I made it in 2 pans..a German/Austrian pan..a Rehrücken I have had for over 1 year and was itching to try..and  my small mini Heritage type Bundt.
I divived the long loaf in 2 and sent half  across the street..
after you put the glaze on you can leave as is or decorate w/ whatever.
I chose fruit.I had figs and yellow raspberries and seedless concord blue grapes.
I loved the look when I was done and Jacques loved the taste.
BTW this cake..s..popped out perfectly of the coated metal loaf and the silicone intricate one.

I found the recipe is from 2011~Took me this long to find it..
It is printed up for safekeeping~
I tried growing figs..even wintered the fig trees in the garage..after 3 years I gave up..same w/ try again..
I have given a bit of thought to next year's potager..and..

I have my wish list for next years' potager..

Curly Parsley                     ......... no more flat should see my son-in-laws ♥
New Zealand Spinach             ... it reseeds..I have gathered some in case
Borage..                                .........I have gathered seeds as it reseeded here in minutes after it all fell 
French Radishes                   .........from France
Globe Zucchini
Cherry Tomatoes
Italian Tomatoes                ...........again should see my son-in-laws
Beets                         plant after my garlic harvest
Basil                                    ..........Plenty ..after Susan's recommendation
GARLIC                             ..........many varieties♥. It will be planted mid-Oct.

maybe a pumpkin patch at the back:)

Some things are still ripe for picking and making small indoor bouquets..
In fact I have Huldine blooms on branches in my 3 glass vases w/ the candles..
but here and there..things are glumming up..
take all my other clematis..they are all having bad hair days after a very floriferous summer.
You know what?
I got tired of looking at my group 3s turned to twine all winter..can't even get past the arbor..the white fences w/ all that the last 2 years..when I have put the beds to sleep..I have been ruthless w/ the group 3's and chopped them all down too..Not one has come back less vigorous.
So that's the deal here pereferential treatment for group 3s..anymore.
I am getting too picky  for finicky in the garden.

Japanese Anemones..  hanging on..but the last pic of the end is near~ year Dinner Plates or nothing..these are all the same! far..and not dinner plates..feverfew if you can believe ..and a hodge podge of late roses..
I will take whatever I can:)
Whenever I can..
Fleeting my blooms..they are fleeting.

Perfect weekend cake by the way:)Perfect.
Just sitting there waiting for you..or a friend to drop by..or family.It just sits pretty .
When I worked..
if a client offered me a cup of tea and added a nice treat..I knew instinctively..this client/woman..was special.That sounds a bit off but 100% of the time.. a treat was offered by the female part of the equation.
I was just hired or soon to be hired help to help find or market a home..there was no need to spoil me..but that made such a difference in getting to know the person♥

Bon Weekend~

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pie Weather~

Pie Weather..the last 2 days have been pie weather..pouring,nesting,cozy home ,staying home days.


I love seeing my neighbours gardens from our sunroom through the apple tree..I am up above so I can see.. in the gardens a huge hedge divides us..I am amazed at how that hedge has grown..we planted ordinary one that starts at the mid way down the side of our home to the back of the property..I found photos of when our family helped us plant these small small Jacques trims it every year to keep it at maybe 10 ft..the one on that same side going toward the road..never needs looks like Tuscany..I have not seen another one here..we lucked out..pyramids..perfections..long and lean.
Driving up the makes me happy to see it...the white fence..the clematis..♥

I painted and made pies.. and pizzas..and took pictures..I can't get into my book!  Bah...

I am fond of that treasure box..Caroline gave it to me..soooo many years ago...she often found very cute Marjolein Bastin things..  some have survived..the indoor things..I had a few garden things that with the years..they just disintegrated..pretty metal sign..etc..

The box is specifically for treasures you find outside..I save the ones I like looking at..the box could be too full if I put everything in it..the background has faded with the years..
under glass..
I used to want Jacques to build me a treasure this..  but wood table size..then I guess I forgot about it..the idea still appeals to me.

The egg is not real..I snuck it out of an artificial nest that has 3 in the sunroom;)

The pie..

I made Ricardo's crust..but this time..subbed a bit of the butter for a bit of lard..not sure it made a difference..Ricardo's pie crust works for me.
Food processor..
Recipe is here..I have shared it before..
The one our daughter made for us many many years's really good..
I know I have probably shared too many apple pie recipes here..and maybe even this one..been so long I am starting to forget what I have posted..but you could eat it twice;)

La recette~

6 cups thinly sliced apples..peeled too;)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon or more to your liking~
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp butter
In a large mixing bwl toss apples with lemon juice.
Combine granulated sugar,br.sugar,flour,cinnamon and nutmeg Add apples and toss.Fill crust w/ this preparation.

Crumb crust

1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup butter
i tsp cardamom

Mix flour sugar..cut in butter add spices..put on top of pie..

I bake mine at 450 F for 10 minutes,then reduce to 350 for 40 add ..minutes..OR MORE..

My notes..

The original recipe adds cloves to the apple mixtue..I don't..
the crumb my idea..I leave out extra cinnamon and nutmeg..there is enough in the pie..and add cardamom instead.
I love apple desserts w/ cardamom added.
I don't even eat it..but I am a taste tester.The only one.
Jacques adores pies..and jams..all things from his youth..

I added crust leaves around..and my pie took longer to bake..I wait until I see syrup forming and a pointy wood skewer slides into the middle of the pie to make sure the apples are cooked..These were Paula Reds..different apples bake at different times..
I had extra crust so I made 2 hand pies.Could have made a third but by then I had put the apples away etc..
Pies are a labor of love..
It's not an easy peasy chocolate cake..I am going to post one soon..So easy you won't believe it.
But a pie..looks like home to me.

This is another recipe that makes a home smell so good~
The pizza..I used Mario Batali's dough recipe this time w/ the wine..
roasted some wee tomatoes and used buffalo mozzarella.
I made a little bun in the middle because that was the pizza of my youth..Tevere's..and Marco's♥

Thursday, September 10, 2015

French Connection~

I'll never complain about too many tomatoes...
too much pasta..
too many roasted vegetables..
too many roses..

I wanted to try a couple of new things..I had a lovely aubergine..some sundried tomatoes..capers..anchovies..and a recipe I had been wanting to make since I saw it on Hélène's know..that special  food family travel home based in Cannes blog I love..

Caviar d'aubergines..right here..

I made a much smaller version for Jacques and a small pot and in an empty little can I saved..I save a few of those for small portions..that idea came from her blog My French Kitchen..years ago..
in fact when the boys came for dinner a while back and we had ribs..I used another of her ideas..
feels sooo good..made them smile..and made me happy to see their hands and faces ribsauce free..  you moisten facecloths..and warm them in the can tuck in a lemon wedge or herbs after..and wrap in foil..♥Warm moist towelettes..what's not to love!?
Spa treatment .

Speaking of all these recipes and ideas from my favorite French /France blogs..Ronelle taught us splatters.
I have been trying splatters for years..w/ toothbrushes..flicks of the wrist etc..  but see the large blue splotches?

Newly aquired technique from her:)
Go see her tutorial at her previous to last her other blog African Tapestry.

Thank you  SO MUCH Hélène and Ronelle.

Still had and have more tomatoes..I wanted to try a recipe I pinned that the photo did not match the dish at all and I knew that..

still I wanted to make it..I altered it..a tad.

I put parchment on a sheet..oiled it well~
Sliced a Vidalia onion and spread on the parchment..
Sliced Italian tomatoes from my daughter's garden..and put on top..  salt pepper..and that is just 1 clove of my home grown German need to have garlic on every tomato..  parm cheese.. a bit more Evoo.. roast until they shrivel and just start to turn..

I then transferred that gorge mixture to warm rigatoni..added a ton of fresh basil..more evoo..pecorino.. some parsley..
You can reserve a bit of your pasta cooking liquid  and add..

Some crushed garlic breadcrumbs on top and un beau verre de vin rouge.Ou deux.

I am not tiring of tomatoes at all..not one bit.

I saw my hairdresser yesterday..
she made my hour..she was touched by the card that I  sent her made from the book.And told me.
Some people are so easy to please and grateful about the smallest things..
No diamond fancy cars..she is compassionate ..and a lovely lovely young woman..
And a gardener:)  Next for her?  Adding some of my spinach..and PEANUTS!
Can't wait to see how they do~
Ernie..I love that cement /concrete bird in the birdbath..I bought it from Ernie..M   so many many years ago at my brocante..he sold the most beautiful things there..his wife was a realtor with me.. he has been gone a while,,but I must say he was a ray of sunshine..everywhere he went.
So of course I named my bird Ernie..and it reminds me of him..all the time.
I like how Iceberg ( a gift when we moved here)has grown so tall her branches are bending and the last blooms hang over the birdbath..and Ernie.

Bon Weekend~

Gotta tell great does this look?
What a fun fun fun experience..