The Zest of Life

We’re off to see our niece and her husband this afternoon – they’re home for a visit from Germany, where Eric had an opportunity to be transferred this year. We will also be celebrating three birthdays – my hubby’s, my sister-in-law’s, and my nephew’s. The surest way to not overeat at a party is to have something healthy in advance – and hence this tasty salad.

For two:

A couple of large handfuls of mixed baby greens, and another of arugula on each plate. Dice half a green pepper, slice four  mushrooms, and drain a can of salmon – layer all this on the greens. Lastly, the dressing: zest half a lemon (keep the zest aside). Squeeze the juice into a small bowl and remove any seeds. Add 10ml/2t of Dijon mustard and stir together. Drizzle this over the salad and garnish with the zest.

The upside? We’ll have our cake (a little slice) but we’ll also have more time to enjoy the real zest of life: friends and family.

Good Habits Die Hard!


For the first day in what seems like ages, we aren’t getting our exercise by chucking hundreds of kilos of snow and ice around. But all that “necessary exercise” has made us feel fitter and more able to push ourselves during our regular workouts, as we return to normal. Not only that, but local spring veg (albeit indoor-grown) are making an appearance to give us hope. This morning, homemade whole grain bread topped with local cream cheese, sliced tomato and cucumber, a poached egg, and a little chipotle powder to wake up the taste buds.

Thanks to Denise MacLean pottery for making the beautiful mug!

Good Friday Grill


We spent part of Good Friday in our usual way, praying and contemplating with friends, the darkest point of the Easter story. After driving home from Mass along the seaside, watching the sun glinting off the ocean, we spent most of the afternoon doing yard work. It truly feels like Easter – small signs of life are revealing themselves all over the garden. After an incredibly fierce winter, this rebirth will really be welcome.

Most Fridays we feature fish on the menu, as much out of habit as custom, but on Good Friday we do make a special effort. The combination of sun and fresh outdoor air begged for the grill, and we had just the fish for it – halibut. We served it perfectly cooked alongside a medley of potato, carrot, and some baby leeks we found hiding under a cover of leaves in the garden.

The Feast Continues – Saints be Praised

Our family traditional dinner for St. Patrick’s Day is corned beef and cabbage – or more colloquially, “boiled dinner”. And the feast was had, in all its glory.


For many years, we wanted to make Mom’s day-after breakfast, but, mysteriously, the corned beef would always disappear overnight while the young ones lived at home, or be eaten up because we had company. Finally, here we are – empty nest, and we’re making a hash of it!


Here’s to the approaching spring – and all your family traditions, whatever they are. Long may they last.

Leftover Soup


As local grocery stores begin to stock spring vegetables from distant producers, it can be tempting to fill the table with fresh green foods like asparagus. But St. Patrick’s Day or thereabouts is a good time to remind ourselves that there are still delicious ways to serve the carrots, cabbages and potatoes that are the staple of Canadian winter locavores. In our case we heated and puréed the leftovers from Saturday night’s Boiled Dinner. Then we stirred in a little cream we picked up at Better Bulk, and garnished with a few carefully-hidden slices of corned beef.

And Patrick's Legacy Continues…

Last night, a lovely, if smaller, family dinner. And this morning, a chance to relive the memories over a plate of corned beef hash, topped with a nice fresh egg. One more meal to go out of last night’s Boiled Dinner…for lunch, Potato and Cabbage soup.

For the breakfast: in a nonstick skillet or seasoned cast iron pan, cook a chopped mix of whatever veg are left over, with a small dice of any leftover corned beef (if there is any!) when it’s getting nicely browned, make a small hollow for each egg and tip them gently in. Cover and cook until the eggs are done as you like.

Next…off to Mass and then to prep for the afternoon ceilidh.


Luck of the Irish


It’s been said that St. Patrick’s Day was given to the Irish as a break from the sacrifices of Lent. Whether or not that’s true, one thing is for certain: around here St. Patrick’s Day means Boiled Dinner. Whether the family gathering is large or small, we cook a bit pot of corned beef with onions, carrots, potatoes and cabbage. Somehow no matter how much meat is set aside to make hash the next morning, it is somehow stolen by leprechauns and only the vegetables remain. Still, they make a lovely soup, combined with the cream left over from the Guinness cake.


Bring Back Summer!


Weather reports say that tomorrow we’ll be running around in the snow. So we felt that today we should remind ourselves of summer, just a little. We’re starting the day with Hewitt’s skim milk plain yogurt, some delicious strawberries from the East Lynn Farmer’s market, frozen fresh on the day, sprinkled with cinnamon and a few pistachios. Today, we’re grateful for all the folks at DECA and other organizations who made that summer market possible.

Friday Crazy Week Fish


Lent is nearly here. As usual, that means that just as we need to be taking stock, counting our blessings, and engaging in some introspection, the world of work is starting to get spring fever. Of course our personal commitments are also on the upswing. Projects are underway, and to-do lists are multiplying. One way to slow down the hamster wheel is to simplify wherever we can. Like Friday’s fish dinner…the perfect way to put the brakes on a hectic week.

Simply prepared, the meal includes black cod, cooked in a little olive oil and butter, and dressed with a squeeze of lime juice. On the side, a salad of local greenhouse veg (lettuce, tomato, cukes, green onion) topped with a couple of spears of visiting asparagus. For the dressing:

1T/15ml olive oil
1T/15ml Maille Dijon with hazelnuts and nutmeg (or add some nutmeg and ground nuts to your own mustard
1T/15ml sherry vinegar

I feel calmer just remembering it…

Hot Cross Buns for Easter

Hot Cross BunsSome say it is traditional to eat Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday, but in our family they have been Easter breakfast for as long as we can remember. The cross traditionally symbolizes the crucifiction, and they serve as a reminder to us that Easter is not all about bunnies and candy (although we indulge in our share of those, as well).