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Entries in Friends (5)

Wednesday
Jul022014

Ivy June : My first go at Newborn Photography

One of my best friends and her husband spent years, thousands of dollars, and experienced endless heartache, before this little angel, Ivy June, arrived and I am so honoured to have been the one to photograph her.

We did the pictures here in my home studio on Canada Day, July 1st, 2014, at 5 days old and now Ivy June is officially my first newborn photography post.

I should note that I almost got pooped on, but I didn't even care because I LOVED photographing Ivy so much!!!!! And I'm talking major poop - like, it almost hit me in the eye.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Sep112013

Grilled Corn Soup with Bacon

Our amazing friend JC (who was the best man at our wedding) and his girlfriend Lea, were visiting with us last week from Edmonton. The night before they flew home, we debated heading into Halifax for dinner, however, after touring around Nova Scotia, visiting friends and family for ten days, JC and Lea were kind of tired. We collectively agreed to stay home, drink some beer, fire up the grill and play Apples to Apples.

Sent on a mission to the grocery store to buy cheddar smokies and chips, the boys, including our friend Colin, returned with a Sobeys bag full of fresh Nova Scotia corn.

Fresh corn. It's so different than canned or frozen. It's sweet, crunchy, loaded with flavour, and, with a little char from the grill tastes like summer, despite the cool nights.

So... guess what happens when five people are sitting around drinking beer, eating smokies and chips and a huge platter of grilled corn hits the table?

You guessed it.

Because everyone is already stuffed, you end up wrapping a bunch of cobs in tinfoil and putting them in the fridge. The next day, after everyone's gone home, you pull the tinfoil pack out of the fridge and ask yourself, 'What the heck am I going to do with this?'.

I did all of the above except I had an answer to the question.

'I'm going to make soup!', I said, and so, I gathered a little inspiration here, and here and then played the rest by ear.

Ha ha. Get it? Played the rest 'by ear'?

Ummmm. Ok. Here is the super delicious recipe.

 

Grilled Corn Soup with Bacon (yields about 1.25 L of soup)

5 ears of corn, husks and silks removed, grilled until corn has lots of toasty char (or roasted in oven until lots of brown bits)

5 Cups water

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp butter

1 small onion, chopped

3 green onions, chopped (these are not essential - I just happened to have some growing in my garden)

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Cup milk

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

5-6 strips bacon, cooked, crumbled

- Use Season's and Suppers Steps 1, 2 and 3 (I used 1 Cup of water per ear of corn + 1 tsp sea salt in the water)

- Melt butter in a sautée pan - cook onions and garlic until just translucent - set aside 1 Cup of corn kernels - add the rest of the corn, plus the stuff you scraped from the cobs with the back of you knife, to the onions and garlic and top with corn stock and milk

- Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes

- Add salt and pepper then purée soup thoroughly with an immersion blender

- In batches, sieve soup into a large bowl/container through a fairly fine mesh strainer - really press on the corn solids to extract all of the soup from the pulp - discard pulp

- Add crumbled bacon plus reserved corn kernels and serve

* I like to take a cue from da Maurizio and add a drizzle of white truffle oil as a garnish. Extra flavour and richness is never a bad thing in my books.

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Saturday
Mar092013

Traditional Cornish Pasties (or as close as you can get in Nova Scotia)

One day, not too long ago, I texted Kris, one of my oldest friends, a photo of a cheese and onion pasty I had picked up at a cute little food shop near my house.

'Look!', I typed, excitedly. 'A delicious Cornish Pasty!'.

'That's not a Cornish Pasty', came the reply.

'Oh', I wrote, rather dejected. 'Then what am I eating?!?'

And here began Kris and my eventual foray into pasty making together.

You see, my friend Kris is from Cornwall, England where the Cornish Pasty is the region's fiercely loved official dish. The story goes, that the pasty was invented for the local tin miners because they could eat them, using the crust as a handle, without having to wash their hands. Kris told me that sometimes the pasties would be filled with meat in one half and jam in the other so the miners could have lunch and dessert all in one neat little edible package.

According to Wikipedia, the Cornish Pasty accounts for 6% of the Cornish food economy, is the food most associated with Cornwall by the rest of the UK, and, in 2011 was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status by the European Union. 'In order to receive the PGI status, the entire product must be traditionally and at least partially manufactured (prepared, processed OR produced) within the specific region and thus acquire unique properties'.

In other words, the people of Cornwall take their pasties VERY seriously.

Kris says that a traditional Cornish Pasty can be made with either a flaky crust or a shortcrust - it doesn't really matter because the pastry is not the main debate. Most discussion focuses on what should go inside the pasty - skirt/chuck/flank steak, potato, swede, onion, salt and pepper and that's it - and as Kris told me 'everyone's got an opinion'. When I ask about sauce he says, 'I usually put a bit of butter inside because who doesn't love a bit of butter?'.

'What about carrot?' I ask, thinking about my mum's delicious meat pies.

'It's wrong to put carrot in' says Kris.

'Why?', I ask. 

'It's not traditional', he says.

Now, of couse, living in Nova Scotia means we can't actually make a TRUE Cornish Pasty, but we came damn close.

Kris and I drove to the Halifax Seaport Market on a sunny Saturday morning to pick up the ingredients for our pasties - potatoes, onions and turnip from Taproot Farms and a beautiful 1 pound skirt steak from Getaway Meat Mongers.

We used this recipe for the pastry except instead of 75g of shortening, we used 50g of shortening and 25g of butter. 

We eyeballed the amount of steak, potato, onion and turnip. We diced each ingredient and mixed it all together with lots of salt and pepper.

Then we rolled out our pastry.

We cut the dough into large circles and filled them with the steak mixture. We topped our steak mix with a few knobs of butter and a sprinkle of flour for thickening.

We then sealed the edges of the pastry with a little water and tried to crimp the edges like we knew what we were doing. The one on the left is my attempt, the one on the right is Kris'. Hmmm...

Brush the top of each pasty with some beaten egg and then bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes, until deep golden brown all over.

No photograph will ever do justice to the moment when Kris and I sat down in his living room, him on the couch, me on the floor, both of us ooohing and aaaahing over each and every bite of our crisp, flaky, golden pasties.

I think the thing I love most is that, not only do I now have an amazing recipe to add to my collection, but, every time I make it for the rest of my life, I will think of my friend.