Breaking radio silence…

Wow, I knew it had been a while, but 3 months since my last post. Bad, bad blogger…

I have decided to do a bit about work this summer. I am getting more comfortable with my open hearth cooking, so I have actually been taking pictures in lulls between visitors of things I am happy with

Here are a few images from the last couple of weeks. We are, of course, only allowed to use ingredients that they could have reasonably had in the 1860’s on any given day. We only have strawberries and rhubarb in the garden at this point, so the set table shows my rhubarb pudding cake with fresh strawberries on top. I had a dinner this week with roast pork, mashed potatoes, and boiled carrots. I had leftovers of everything so I put them in a pie crust with some fried onions and made a shepherd’s pie for dinner the next day. On Friday, I invited my carpoolers for afternoon tea, so I decided to go the extra mile and make cinnamon buns. They are a bit of a fiddle because you have to make the sponge, then let them rise twice before baking. Not to mention the kneading…I just got them baked in time so they were warm. Needless to say, they were well received. I have also included a couple of pics of the hearth as things are baking in the bake kettle. Fire is hard to photograph because it’s beauty is in the licking flames.

Rhubarb Pudding Cake Recipe
Cake:
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 cup finely chopped rhubarb
1/2 tsp vanilla
Sauce:
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3/4 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Blend butter and sugar. Sift in flour and baking powder alternately with milk. Stir in rhubarb and vanilla. Put in greased 8 inch pan. Combine sauce ingredients and pour on top. Bake 30 minutes or until cake tests done. For a regular oven, 350 degrees should be about right.
This is like a French Canadian Pudding Chomeur. The sauce sinks through the cake as it bakes and becomes a sauce on the bottom, then you invert it to serve.

On a personal, proud mum front, my son Jacob just graduated with high honours from Engineering Science at U of Toronto.

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A day in the Cambodian countryside.


Charles has been living in Phonm Penh off and on for many years and has befriended people over time. Today we went into the countryside to visit the home of Ro’s parents. Ro is in the middle between Charles and Chanras. It took a little over an hour to get to their home.


Apparently at least 10 other members of my extended family and their friends have enjoyed their hospitality over the years.
This platform became the table for a lovely meal, then we were invited to have a nap when the meal was cleared away.The meal consisted of three fish dishes, roast chicken, Khmer beef with green tomatoes and onions, a cabbage dish, mango salad, rice and homemade condiments.We all sat together cross legged on the platform to enjoy our meal.
On the tuktuk ride we stopped and bought some lotus seed pods and learned how to break them open like a pomegranate. You also have to peel the seeds. All in all a great day.

Saigon

Yesterday we spent wandering round Saigon, starting with the very disturbing War Remnants Museum. It is all about the Vietnam war, starting with the French and continuing with the Americans.Our next stop was the Reunification Palace, a fabulous 1960’s building with amazing furnishings. Huge estate rooms and a grand staircase.From there we went to the central post office.It was designed by Eiffel, of tower fame.Attached to the post office was a McDonalds, so I did my traditional visit to see what the local item was. Pork with rice. Horrible, reconstituted pork.

24 hour bus ride…Still doing fine

Here in Southeast Asia, the sleeper bus is all the rage. We just finished an 844 km journey from Hoi An to Saigon, which took 24 hours. The bus was supposed to leave at 6 pm and it pulled into place and took on the bags then. Then the power trip started. They kept coming and opening the door, telling us to wait and leaving again. After an hour they let us on the bus but tried to bully us to the back “behind!,behind!”. It became obvious in the morning that they wanted their friends near the front. Fair enough, I suppose.The journey was long, but we knew it would be so we weren’t bothered at all. Snoozing off and on, waking up to see little vignettes, hills, towns,rice paddies and beaches. The seating is very civilized, each with their own pod. We have been on 4 different buses so far (we also had an 18 hour journey from Hanoi to Hoi An)and each of us has had two seats that come back up to sitting, many are broken.
We got spit off one bus not long after dawn and had to line up outside the next one for 45 minutes after our bags went on. At least it was beside a pretty river.

I am a sucker for those world heritage sites….

n.B. WordPress is apparently censored here, so it is intermittently available for posting
Today, we went on a day trip from Hoi An to the My Son temple complex. We took the swishy tour, so for $75 cnd, we had our own car and driver.As well as a tour guide, Lam, in the pink shirt. He was quite well informed and very pleasant.
We toured the ruins, a 3rd to 12th century Hindu site.Luckily we had been warned about the heat, and found surprisingly few other tourists, another thing we had been prepared for.
After the site, we went out to lunch at a “local food” restaurant (rice noodles with chicken) and ended with a boat back to the city …with a stop at the obligatory artisan village. Thankfully there was not much of a hard sell. Their hearts weren’t into it, probably the heat.