Welcome to the weekend at the cottage! Here are a few things that have been happening around here lately, including some of what’s caught my eye out there on the Internet. Grab a cup of coffee or tea, or maybe treat yourself to a hot chocolate or a glass of wine (it’s five o’clock somewhere!), and settle in for some reading and browsing.
Out and About
Yes, this is April in Canada. Here in Southwestern Ontario that means it could be 15℃ on Easter Sunday and a bracing -8 or so earlier this morning, with snow of course. I took the above photo in my backyard at 8 pm yesterday evening to contrast two key elements of early spring: skies that are still light into the evening and snow-covered trees. We’re in for a big storm tomorrow, apparently, so let’s hope the burgeoning greenery and spring flowers that have been peeking out all about us make it through unscathed.
Urban Cottage Crafting
Well, I worked right down to the wire but managed to finish the girls’ Easter dresses at midnight Saturday. The next morning I delivered them, along with some chocolate eggs, to two very excited Little Misses, who put their new dresses on straightaway. They had two Easter meals out later in the day, and my daughter Meredith told me the girls announced to everyone that Nana made their dresses. It’s gratifying to have my work appreciated! The next day they came for a visit and put me to work mending Barbie clothes. It seems I’m their go-to seamstress, lol.
On Easter Sunday morning, my son Jonathan and other daughter Jennifer came for breakfast, along with their partners and Little Miss H. As you can see from this photo, I kept my Easter decor very simple — just enough to be festive without being fussy (or a lot of work!). I’d had company over for dinner the evening before (in advance of that final stint of frenzied sewing), so I kept breakfast simple too.
I made Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes (substituting kefir for buttermilk) and bacon, and we had orange juice and coffee. And you know what? We had a great time; everyone enjoyed the pancakes (I should have doubled the batch), we talked and laughed, and I was relaxed and not run off my feet. This is what successful hospitality is all about! That stack of pancakes made a pretty picture, but I didn’t take one — I was definitely not in blogging mode.
Happening in the Urban Cottage Kitchen
I’ve got a few recipes under development these days, plus a couple of other ideas in the queue. I usually start with an idea of what I’d like to achieve, and sometimes I’m able to nail it in one try, like the tropical-inspired muffins I made this morning with mango, coconut and island spices (recipe coming soon!). Other times, it takes several attempts and they can be months apart. After all, how many chocolate cream cheese bundt cakes can one eat in a short period of time? (That’s a recipe I was trying in 2013 and I just saw the old photos and notes; time to bring it back to the test kitchen!) Occasionally, I’ll start with an old recipe of my mother’s and discover that what tasted good to me as a child doesn’t please my palate as much today, so I go back to the drawing board — that’s happening with the second cake pictured here, but I won’t wait three years this time.
Around the Web
Do you wash your produce the right way?
Some parts of the country are already enjoying fresh local asparagus, but we’ll be waiting another month here. I’ll be ready, with these 21 tantalizing asparagus recipes (including, ahem, one from me)!
It’s a good thing I’ve been cutting back on sugar, since there’s a shortage looming.
This video touched me and I think you’ll like it too (for the story behind the video, visit Kitchen Vignettes). You might recall I recently wrote a heartfelt post about making split pea soup with my granddaughters. Here, Aubergine shows how she honours her late mother by keeping her pea soup tradition alive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BDgR4hBQpc