Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Canada Day

Today genuinely is Canada Day - when we were out and about yesterday, there were lots of places open and we got a newspaper delivered. Not so today. There will be several organised fireworks displays this evening, one of the biggest locally will be in Victoria Park which we can just see some of from our balcony. Another closer to us will be at Bingeman's which is a fun park and camping site. That, unfortunately, is the other side of our building, so we can't see it. It looks like its going to be a nice day for all the barbecues and other celebrations.

Yesterday was a very sad day for me, I went to Barrie's Asparagus and bought my last bunch of the season. I told Tim Barrie I was crying but he didn't believe me. Well I am inside. I now have to wait a whole year to get more fresh local asparagus. A whole year!!! I know, some of you are probably sick of my fixation on the vegetable and all the asparagus recipes I have been posting, but to quote a well known chef writer, its my blog and I will post them if I want.

I have been told of a strawberry farm not too far away, so I want to check it out, they are supposed to have very sweet berries. I am also awaiting locally grown tomatoes and corn. There is another farm I want to check out for tomatoes. I got hold of a list/map which I am using to find these places. So far I haven't found a place with really, really good tomatoes yet. Hopefully this year I will do so. I have told Tim Barrie that I will let him know if I do find really good tomatoes. He doesn't much like them so I feel he should at least try a top notch tomato if I can find some. The trouble is, just because they look pretty and round and red, doesn't mean they have any flavour worth speaking about. I do so miss the one's we used to pick ourselves in North Carolina, they were some of the best we have ever eaten. Unfortunately our favourite farm stopped growing them.

Tomorrow I am off to one of the local theatres, this time in St. Jacobs which is a nearby town notable for its Mennonite population and its quaintness. Also for an excellent restaurant called Benjamin's and its farmer's market. We shall be seeing Dirty Rotten Scoundrels - they made a movie of it - the show has had very good reviews from both friends and the local radio stations. Matt is not going, I am going with a friend. Matt figured he had seen the movie why would he want to see this performance. We will be going to the matinée.

On the way home from the asparagus farm we called in at Costco which is a large wholesale store, if you are unfamiliar with them, we got some nice chump lamb chops. Not cheap in this part of the world because not many Canadians eat lamb, at least that's what I am told is the reason lamb is not cheap. We had them grilled with asparagus and half a baked potato each which made a good meal. We actually bought baking potatoes for Saturday's dinner and had a couple left over. For some reason over here they are always wrapped in foil and most people don't eat the skins. I always take off the foil, give the potatoes a good scrub and then cook them in a very hot oven having salted the wet skins before I do so. The skin is always delicious, besides which, it contains all the nutrients that a potato carries.

Of course I frequently do a stuffed potato or what North Americans call a twice baked potato when you scoop out the cooked potato and mix it with cheese and butter and then put it back in the skin. For best results if you sprinkle the top of the potato with more cheese and brown it under the grill it will look golden and delicious. Nowadays people stuff potatoes with all kinds of fillings, but I personally prefer the simple cheese filling for myself. There used to be a chain in the UK called Spud-U-Like or something similar, don't know if they still exist, where you could find all kinds of different stuffed potatoes.

Speaking of tomatoes, here is a recipe I saved but haven't yet tried. I got it from Recipe du Jour which is one of the ezines I get in my inbox most days.

Tomato Pie

Servings: 6

2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
6-8 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
4 Tbsps chopped chives/shallot
4 Tbsps Basil
2 Tbsps cornflour
1/2 Tbsps sugar
freshly ground black pepper
beaten egg

Preheat oven to 200C. Use 1 sheet of pastry to line a 20 cm flan dish.

Mix chives, cornflour and sugar with seasonings to taste

Arrange a layer of sliced tomatoes in the pastry case and sprinkle with the chive mixture. Continue to layer the tomatoes, sprinkling the chive mixture between layers.

Brush edges of pie lightly with water. Use remaining pastry sheet to cover the pie sealing the edges. Trim pastry edge and flute. Brush the pie with a little beaten egg and bake for 40-45 ­minutes, until golden brown.

Serve hot or cold, with salad. Serves 6-8

Happy Canada Day and everyone have a great day.


  1. I remember Spud-U-Like, don't know if they're still around though.

    My family eat the baked potato skins - or most of the skin, depending how big the spud is (some places serve huge ones, and we'd rather have one or two medium sized ones instead). But a lot of people here aren't eating the skin nowadays.

    Lamb isn't cheap here either. I don't think it's from lack of demand.

  2. I think not eating the skins is another NORTH American thing. Once again I am speaking continentally. The ones we usually get are not the huge ones, and I agree, I prefer the medium sized ones.

    Lamb prices - are you talking of where you live or the UK generally?

  3. Lamb prices where I live, but I don't think they're so very different from UK mainland. Usually we only see Welsh or New Zealand lamb on sale here.

  4. We get NZ lamb which is what I mostly buy, they do sell locally bred lamb, but the price of that is for millionaires only. I buy lambs' kidneys and they are from local sheep but not an item many people buy so they are not very expensive.

  5. I hope you're having a good day with lots of nice things to eat! i also hope that Matt hasn't had any more TIA's and that they were just a temporary glitch in his health. I know they recommend that you always have them investigated though, so I hope they find out what the underlying problem is.

  6. That's the problem Satima, they have done every test known to man in the last year, including a whole bunch in the last two months, and they cannot come to any definite conclusions.

    And no, we didn't have anything special to eat. I made a tomato sauce for spaghetti and we sprinkled Feta cheese on it. I had some asparagus for lunch mind you!!