we went for strawberries and came home with blueberries! and raspberries and blackberries! good times in the field;
it is fast becoming a tradition that i keep my little loves close and to myself on their actual birthday. early May 16th Little M woke to a special breakfast and birthday table before seeing his big brother off to school. we spent the rest of the day with no particular plans or commitments and it was perfect with a little yoga, a wander to see some boats, a dance party at T&J’s, a pizza picnic, some soccer… these are special birthdays when i share their birthing day story and peek together through their baby book reminiscing those early days and younger years. sigh. three is so big.
this weekend we gathered with friends and family for a small celebration and a big decadent cake. chocolate is his favorite and this double chocolate torte mousse cake satisfied his wish. he enjoyed a very lovely birthday and before bed had made a new song titled “it’s my happy birthday with chocolate cake and candles”. awww i love you little M!
i have been noticing and loving the September sun lower in the sky - sun sparkles and ocean views;
dinner in the corner of the yard where the sun shines the longest;
blackberries, peaches & cream plus a little hemp hearts and a drizzle of maple syrup;
variations of market meals;
gathering in a modest crop of chamomile for tea;
start of school gathering;
more beach adventures;
cafe mornings after dropping Little A to school;
living, learning and sharing with baby A;
weekends and afternoons together (no they are not always this co-operative in their play);
Autumn is upon us;
this shot was from the very first day of September - short sleeves, warmth&sunshine, Little A still at home with us during the week and we were off on a blackberry forage;
for Sharilyn and anyone else. In attempt to pack my picky eater something other than his requested butter and jam sandwich i’m making up my own recipes to merge his plain taste and my healthy insistence. i got lots of mmmmmms and thumbs up for potato pies;
spelt pastry dough;
.mix together 1.5 cups spelt flour and 1/2tsp. salt
.cut in 1 stick (1/2 cup) of very cold butter until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. you could do this quickly in a food processor and recipes always recommend a pastry cutter which is always on my wish list and never in my cupboard. Anyhow i find it just as easy to get my hands into it without warming the butter up too much.
. mix in more than 4tbsp of icy cold water
tip; i’ve learned that if you are using 100% spelt flour you need to keep everything really cold. i store the flour and butter mixture in the fridge while i’m waiting on the water to freeze a layer of ice on top. once there is a thin layer of ice to crack i start with 4tbsp and go from there using a fork to pull the dough together. with cold and floured hands i separate the dough into 2 separate balls, wrapping each individually before refrigerating for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
2 versions. the first one for Little A is as easy and plain as mashed potatoes. easier actually. i used some delicious yellow potaoes and mashed them with butter. depending on how picky your little eater is you can peel them or mash the thin skins right along with. i did not add milk or cream but i suppose you could if your potatoes were more dry. Now that i’ve got him hooked i might try sneaking some pureed cauliflower in with the potatoes.
the second version for the rest of us is also very simple - in addition to the mashed potatoes i also added caramelized onions, cumin, peas and some frozen delica squash cubes from last year’s freezer storage. you could use any yam or sweet potato or squash. you could also spice them up with chilies or garam masala with cinnamon. i was going for a very simple and sweet flavor in hopes that Little A might try these ones too. that’s it. let your fillings cool while you roll out your dough.
putting them together;
starting with 1/2 of 1 ball of dough and keeping the rest in the fridge until needed, roll it out on a well floured surface. This is the only time i don’t curse our marble counter and i think that if ever i do move into my dream kitchen with a wooden counter top then i would buy a marble pastry board for my spelt pastry making. cold flat marble is perfect for this sort of project! anyhow it can be sticky so have lots of extra flour on hand. roll it out, don’t worry about measuring thickness, cut some circles using a small bowl or a large cup…i used what i think is a martini shaker (we don’t drink martinis so i’m not sure why we have one but it’s a large wide stainless steel cup kept in the back of the top cupboard and it works perfectly). store the circles of dough between layers of abeego (or parchment) in the fridge while you work on rolling and cutting the next balls of dough. i tend to swap out warm dough for cold dough. rather than trying to re-roll the scraps right away, i let them cool again in the fridge. working with 1 circle of dough at a time from the fridge i gently roll it out a bit thinner and bigger. holding the round in one hand i spoon the filling onto half the circle, fold it over and pass it over to my professional help who has patiently waited thus far for his turn to “fork press” the pastries together and arrange them on the floured oven tray. You can fancy them up with shapes and stars to differentiate the plain mashed potato from the “other kind”. Before popping them into the preheated oven, brush them with some whisked egg.
Bake 20-30 mins or until golden brown, looking and smelling deliciously buttery.
350 degrees in our small convection oven but every oven is different…
After 3 months off from our 30 day challenges for an easy flow of Summer we are back to cultivating mindfulness, setting intentions and following through. Every day of September i will be hunting and gathering urban edibles and wild foods as well as researching uses and tips on identifying available species around the city. As for storage i intend to dry herbs, perhaps make some lotions potions and salves for the home apothecary, can some goods, delve into my wild fermentation book, make ice cream, make jam and other more whimsical experimentation. First up and widely available are blackberries! i hope to fill the very tip top of our wee freezer and Little A has blackberry bars on his wish list for back to school snacks. On various ventures to the brambles we’ve also found some red clover (so many uses), an apple tree that was not so delicious but maybe mixed with other varieties in tarts, st. john’s wort to dry for future healing salves and other curious but unknown things growing. I’ll be watching the rosehips deepen red closer to the end of the month as well as learning more about the widely available plantain and dandelion plants. Comfrey is also on my seek list as are salal berries but maybe those are over?? You are most welcome to join us in your own foraging adventures and local experience is greatly appreciated!