Friday, July 31, 2009


The Dear Man did it all: lamb on the barbie, eggplant and garden zucchini grilled there too. Even a batch of new potatoes -- dug 'em and grilled 'em.

But those sliced tomatoes looked a little too quiet for me. I couldn't resist slicing some feta and adding a few sprigs of fresh basil. Friday delights.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Remember Easy-Bake ovens? This heat wave must be clouding my thinking to have them on my mind.

Tonight's supper is about as easy as a meal could be. On our way home, we stopped and bought a pre-cooked chicken and an avocado. Along with bread, some feta cheese we had on hand, and some vegies from the garden, we're having a picnic outside while the house cools down.

Ahh, but it's good to be home!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Outdoor livin', outdoor cookin'

The barbie's seeing action again tonight -- it's a mixed grill of bison steaks, beef tenderloin, and sausages. Roasting beside those are some just-dug fingerling potatoes. Last night's pesto salad is even more thoroughly chilled, so it should provide some nice cool contrast to the heated foods. And who knows, dessert might be yet another go at jumping in the lake.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A family effort

Still hot hot hot, so a group effort made sense.

I was particularly honoured to be invited by 18-year-old Henry to work with him on the main. When I offered to make a pesto pasta salad, he countered with the offer of seared tuna steaks.

I used basil from Henry's dad's garden for the pesto; Hen followed a recipe from his sister Kate's blog for the tuna (and the exquisite dipping sauce!).

Henry's dad looked after a green salad with garden goodies while his mum rocked up with some cherry pie.

After a day of swimming and canoeing, a late supper on the deck is hard to beat.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hot day, cool food

We've moved to yet another island, Saltspring this time. After a long swim in the lake, a cool supper is all we're up for. Lots of local greens (including ones from the garden here) went into a gorgeous salad, along with a big bowl of shrimp for each of us to add. For a day as hot as this one, perfecto!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oh boy, lazy

We got caught in the crush of traffic leaving Hornby Island, so even though we left our site just after noon, we didn't get over to Vancouver Island until nearly four. Because it's a hot day, we weren't up for the trek down island (and to another ferry) and over to Saltspring. Instead, we took the lazy route again and got a room at our favourite Vancouver Island hotel, the place that has the most delicious restaurant.

Tonight was buffet night, and we weren't disappointed. There were too many choices to try, though try we did. The photo above was what I had for starters: poached salmon, steamed clams (and were they ever sweeeet!), some salady samplers.

The mains were more complex: Chinese style barbecued pork, vegie chow mein, red snapper in lavender butter (with blueberries for panache), tiny little Cornish pasties -- amazing.

But the dessert table was the most magnificent of all. Pies (apple, lemon meringue and more), cakes, and a chocolate fountain fondue with assorted fruits and baby cream puffs for dipping.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nearly a Greek island

Except for the fact that Hornby's in the Pacific and not the Mediterranean, tonight's meal was a pretty fun imitation of what we might have had in Greece.

Local lamb, dolmades, homous, a Greekish sort of salad (with lots of excellent Saltspring feta). I recooked the failed quinoa from last night, then added garlic and lots of basil, plus lemon juice and olive oil -- not quite tabouli, but nicely acceptable.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Invited to the neighbours' place

Since friends are staying at a cottage nearby, they invited us over for a picnic supper. Saltspring free range chicken, cabbage salad, corn on the cob with butter.

Sadly, only the quinoa dish -- which I'd brought as our contribution -- was not what I'd hoped. It will reappear tomorrow, hopefully in a happier guise.

Still, there seemed to be plenty, as always.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Almost the weekend

More friends joined the clan tonight. They brought fresh garden produce from Saltspring, so we had a beautiful bowl of green salad. John made lean pork chops on the barbie. Potatoes and buns to round it out.

To balance flavours, lemon meringue pie from Saltspring. Not so bad for 'wilderness' eating.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Moose on a spit

...comes out so tender. The 'head chef' at our campsite sure knows how to prepare food. Because tonight was a birthday celebration for a friend who lives nearby, supper was a group effort.

John looked after the moose, letting it twirl on the barbie and drive us crazy with its garlicky scent for hours. He also baked homemade buns this morning (so soft and smooth, like the proverbial baby's bum).

Lesley assembled a green salad filled with beet greens and peapods, while I made a potato salad (which I decorated with nasturtiums from Michael's garden). And Michael made the most delicious dessert: an apple and rhubarb pie, topped with whipped cream. Enough to make me want to scout up another camper with a birthday!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mac 'n moose

The best comfort food ever, macaroni and cheese. In company of moose steak and salads, supremo. And this is supposed to be camping?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hardly camping

We'd barely arrived and set up our tent when John presented us with supper. Beets, buttery potatoes, a tomato salad and best of all, steak on the barbie -- but not the usual steaks, these were elk.

See why we keep coming back here every year?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Denman style

Even though the festival ended, the volunteer organizers still wouldn't stop. Time for a barbie!

Roxy, one of the chief honchas took our orders (beef, turkey or vegie burgers, with or without cheese) while Dennis played chef. As our orders came ready, Roxy called us each in to grab a bun and pile on the trimmings.

A great way to celebrate some very nourishing days.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Gourmet Saturday

Once again, supper at the Denman Island Festival proved to be memorable. Wild salmon covered in pesto then wrapped in filo pastry. A green salad, a potato-and-vegies salad, and an interesting combo of corn and quinoa (again -- this is the third time in two weeks -- what's up with me and quinoa?).

A late posting, as this is after a post-readings party.

In the meantime, I'll keep reporting. Though really, I don't think the food can get much better.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sunset delight

I'm so lucky to be part of the Denman Island Writers' Festival. Not only are there interesting people everywhere, the hospitality feels endless.

Because the Dear Man was joining me here tonight, and not getting a ferry until after the supper hour, the staff prepared plates of supper for both of us to take back to the luxurious seaside home we've been assigned. We're considered 'non-vegetarian' and tonight's supper was proof of that fact, big racks of ribs with spicy sauce. The DM had also picked up a few fresh oysters, so those got heated up in the same pan as the ribs, and made for the perfect islandy complement.

A wonderful medley of vegies was chockablock with pine nuts (I'm much more chintzy with those). The mixed green salad came home with a creamy dill dressing on the side. The women even packed us pieces of an orangey cake with icing -- as if, after all of this, we might need any dessert!

All of this is hard to beat. Sitting out on our deck, looking through the forest to the sea -- the setting only made the food that much more delicious!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Friday night pizza on Thursday

The Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival kicked off today. Tonight's a gathering of writers, volunteer workers, and just plain friends.

A few people brought salads; the pizzas were made by the island bakery/pizzeria.

And lucky us, the weather is the best of all the toppings!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Eating in, in style

After a crazy morning of packing and piling camping gear into the car, then taking a ferry and driving up the Island Highway, we settled in for a night at a hotel. It's a place we visit just about every year -- a place where the food is always good, and so are the sleeps.

After a bit of unpacking and a swim in the pool, dinner in the room sounded like the perfect, lazy treat.

The local special, a mixed grill, featured lamb, steak, and chorizo sausage with rice and vegies. As we've experienced other times here, the chef uses plenty of wild mushrooms, an item that's always a treat.

The salad was wonderful too: a perfect avocado, along with spinach, shrimp and bits of fruit -- canteloupe, honeydew and tiny grapes.

It took a while to think of the last time we'd splurged on room service. It turned out to be nearly seven years ago. It was the night before we were leaving Australia and we were madly repacking (following a camping trip) in a hotel room near the Sydney airport. Sounds just about exactly backwards from tonight's excuse for luxury. But hey, once every seven years isn't all that extravagant.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Use it all up!

Because we're heading out to the Gulf Islands tomorrow, it's another of those use-everything-in-the-fridge suppers.

Veggies on hand included half a red (purple?) onion, five mushrooms, some green onions, one baby zucchini from the front yard, and a few rags of tired-looking spinach.

There was about a quarter of a jar of satay sauce in the fridge too, plus the leftover sauce the chicken had baked in the other night.

I found a packet of Thai rice noodles in the pantry, pulled out some prawns from the freezer, and got to work.

While the water got hot for the noodles, the stir-fry came to life -- and somehow a salad found itself made too. That was also pretty eclectic with celery, onion, the last of the lettuce and chunks of the leftover bacon sprinkled in. I even managed to use the last of the jar of homemade dressing.

A last minute dollop of Thai fish sauce (that's when the spinach went on too) completed the dish.

Now that's the makings of an empty fridge!

Monday, July 13, 2009


A friend and I had plans to go to a reading at an arts festival, so we went out for a quick pub supper beforehand.

The 'Philly melt' sandwich (roast beef, fried onions and cream cheese) tempted both of us, but we decided to go sharesies on the salad and fries. I ordered fries, she ordered salad and we split the two among ourselves, getting a little of each.

Sharesies, isn't that one of the things friends are for?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?

Alphabetically, the answer's chicken. If it's a matter of choosing from food on the table, it's a matter of personal preference.

Because the afternoon turned suddenly cool, the plans for chicken on the barbie morphed into chicken in the oven. There's the comfort of a cuminy quinoa dish as accompaniment. And instead of potato salad, we get devilled eggs as a bonus.

The spinach salad has bits of bacon (extras from this morning's brunch) and lots of onion, mushrooms and avocado for a nice mooshy mix.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A little bit of backyard...

And an eensy bit from the front.

We're testing the new potatoes -- even mixing colours. Topping them with fresh parsley and chives (and of course, butter) only makes them even better.

The Dear Man is cooking up some skinny pieces of beef on the barbie, and grilling some onions and mushrooms (and front yard zucchinis) on the side.

With a salad, we've got ourselves a happy summer Saturday night supper.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Working on that 100-foot-diet

Tonight's a night for pasta. Because the zucchini plant in the front yard is filled with tender little babies, it's time to yank a few and cook 'em into something tasty. Since the basil needs thinning too, a pesto it is.

Even after a sandwich today, there's still chicken from last night. So we chunked that up too and tossed it into the mix.

With salad, it's a perfect supper to remind us we're back at home. Especially sitting outside in the evening air.

And yum, there are even fresh raspberries for dessert!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lazy supper at home

On the way home from the airport, we stopped by the grocery store to grab a few things. Supper is barbecued chicken, tomato and an avocado. Something light and easy to celebrate being home.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A farewell supper

Taking advantage of the unseasonably cool weather, we turned on the oven and slow-cooked a batch of lamb shanks. Onions and parsnips and carrots kept it company, so by the time the meat came out, it even had its own accompaniments.

I made a pot of quinoa (and for my first go-round at it, nearly burnt the house down, but that's another story for another day) and a salad.

What a great way to round out our family time back east.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Catch as catch can

No, we're not fishing or waiting around to catch anything. But we're all pitching in and making something or other with all that remains (heaps!) in the fridge.

I'm steaming some corn, we're slicing an avocado before it hits its overmushiness date, and heating up leftover potatoes and bits of sausages and meat (and probably going to bed super early). An easy night for only four of us to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Le grand buffet

Well, the numbers are down tonight -- only nine rather than the last few days' fourteen. We all wanted to give Helen a break, so we took her out to that Asian place, the one we went to last week where they have everything under the sun. The photo only shows one section of the place, so you can imagine how all of us were able to find plenty of whatever we wanted.

And as I'd imagined when I heard about the free food this restaurant planned to serve on Canada Day, the lines went around the block and they served nearly 3,000 at the Hamilton outlet alone -- apparently 30,000 were served that day through the whole chain.

So, how many helpings did each of us have tonight? Don't even ask.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Yet another feast!

I don't know how she does it, but Helen keeps managing to pull off these amazing feasts.

Tonight's meal began with a turkey-based soup, filled with the most beautifully light Romanian dumplings.

After that, it was a meatfest: chicken skewers, chunks of pork tenderloin and sausage. Plus the most flavourful potatoes -- almost like scalloped ones but without the milk. Naturally, there was a salad and then uh-oh, the desserts.

Our sister-in-law bought an impressive mango torte at a local bakery, but there was also a cheesecake with cherries and more baklava. Really, when we get home, we're going to have to drop a letter from 'feast' and go on a fast!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

An oddly romantic supper

Years ago, the Dear Man and I used to eat at a particular Chinese restaurant here in Ontario.

Tonight we indulged ourselves in a little privacy and went there again, for a dish we hadn't tried before: chicken livers with mushrooms.

Delicious. And really, because not that many people I know would have even tried this, it was all that much more romantic. A couple of weirdos, maybe, but happy ones.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pizza spectacular!

Fridays are often pizza nights. This one though is something else.

For one thing, there are fourteen people at table tonight, so for a start, I'm pretty glad I'm not at home or the head cook.

The first course (can you imagine -- and on a Friday night!) is a beautiful soup filled with fresh herbs from the garden. Even the table setting is gorgeous, fitting though for the company. Friends have driven up from Montreal and Indiana. One of the friends is all the way from France.

And yes, there is pizza (and it at least is store-bought), but hardly the way we usually do things around ours at the end of the week.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I'm no golfer, but my companions are kind enough to let me come along and walk with them as they play a round. As a caddie, I mainly carry a camera -- and even then, I shoot above par.

After I'd done my nine holes, I stopped by the clubhouse and had the day's special -- a roast beef sandwich that was quite out of the ordinary -- more like a pulled pork than what I would have expected. With a salad and a cold beverage, it was a nice relaxing supper for one. Browsing through some golf magazines provided just enough company too. And the view from the clubhouse was hard to complain about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Canada Day barbie

Still in Ontario, visiting family, and today's quite the birthday celebration. Not only is it the day to celebrate Canada's birth, brother Leo (and my sister, Karen, even though she isn't here) was born on this day.

Today holds an even more personal significance: it's the day this little blog begins its second half. I've planned all along for this to be a one-year experiment. If that's the case, yesterday was the end of the year's first half. But onward once again to the food.

The traditional barbecue was nearly rained out. Happily, the cooks had started early enough that everything could be brought in almost as soon as the downpour began.

Ribs, sausages and garlic bread cooked on the barbie while salad and vegies and sauces made their way to the table (indoors, for sure).

And the spectacular birthday cake tasted every bit as decadent as it looked.