Our French Canadian feast at Maple Roch

Hello food loving friends, how are you today? What are you remembering most from our French Canadian potluck? Personally, I have no regrets about eating a piece of Janice’s maple tourlouches that had fallen on the floor (five second rule), nor about my second helping from the glorious, topping-rich poutine station.

My only regret is I was too slow during the snapping up of the leftovers and managed to snag only one of Kim’s Montreal bagels for my breakfast the next day. Sad times. But I did get one, which I plied with copious butter. It was tremendous. In addition, I consoled myself by spreading sourdough toast with lashings of Val’s creton, which one website rightly describes as “highly addictive French Canadian meat spread.” Later for elevenses I enjoyed two kinds of tarte au sucre (thank you, Wendy and Diane!), a large, rich lump of Kathleen’s poudin chomeur, and a big mug of tea.

The beans! Do you remember the beans? Two kinds of slow baked, maple syrup laden Feves au lard? I ate Karen’s alongside Jean’s perfect little tourtiere pockets and Kathleen’s next to a slice of Lisa’s onion & bacon tart. Did you get to try the maple lavender tea, and a dram of the Sortilege Gina regaled us with? And what of the two crock pots of pea soup? I liked Candace’s better than mine – it had more ham flavour. Next time, more ham!

But I must think again about the poutine. Crispy fries, big nuggets of cheese curd, generous crumblings of BACON, thick gravy with maple, maple garlic scapes and chopped pickles. It’s the kind of dish that’s a party all by itself.

Mirjana and Lacey decked out the front of the Maple Roch store with tables and chairs and cleared all the counters for our offerings. The shop resembled a busy pop-up bistro, and people walking by on Victoria Street peered in with curiosity. Mirjana gave us an update on a few of the fun projects the Maple Roch team is working on, the most notable being the tapping of Summerland maple trees to turn into maple syrup.

Thank you to Maple Roch for hosting us and to everyone who came out to make it such a great evening, full of laughter and good catch-ups. Kathleen proposed the splendid idea of adding a fondue theme to our winter meetup schedule. In the meantime, our next potluck gathering will be April 25 at Bead Trails. Your culinary challenge in one word: Curry.

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French Canadian potluck at Maple Roch

After traveling around Eastern Europe for our last potluck, it’s time to get inspired a little closer to home. Join us for all things French Canadian at Maple Roch!

  • Date: Thursday, March 21
  • Time: 6pm-ish
  • Location: Maple Roch Pure Canadian Maple Syrup, 13224 Victoria Road
  • What to bring: Feel free to put your personal twist on traditional French Canadian dishes, from tourtiere to pea soup. If anyone is daring enough to attempt poutine, I will swoon. If dessert options don’t start out drenched in maple syrup, they soon will be. Along with your dish, lug along a plate and some cutlery (there will be extra if you forget), along with a Tupperware for leftovers.

Join the Facebook event or email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to let me know you’re coming. Hope to see you there!

 

 

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What we ate in January – Recipes from the 15 post-Soviet states

Dear ones, have you recovered? Are your minds still sifting through the memories of potatoes and bacon, deep fried wonders and sour cream with everything?

I wish I had an audio recording of Laura’s sigh after she was so full she couldn’t move. Seriously, I could sell that sigh. Satisfied, a little sleepy, with just a hint of a regret in the base note.

Thank you everyone who took part in what was generally agreed to be our most challenging theme to date. Some people had no trouble with their recipes, while others told tales of stove-side swearfests. Lisa described the sense of awe that blossomed in her during her two-batch struggle to perfect her grandmother’s family-famous pirukad. “I have a new, deeper respect for her. She worked full time, volunteered, gardened, had a really active social life AND made these from scratch for every special event.” Many people had stories that connected them to the dish they’d brought, and how someone else’s dish reminded them of another time when they’d eaten something just like it. Val’s Grahi Varivah, with slow-cooked beans (that she thought would NEVER cook) and hearty pork hock flavour, could have been something my grandmother made. Brandy had fond memories of a soccer mom who would bring a small vat of potato pancakes to every game. Jeremy was perplexed and annoyed (swearfest) when the pork dumpling dough refused to behave. He’d watched his grandmother make them countless times – how dare they not turn out! Kim became so immersed in the culture that she became her own country among the ‘stans.Lisa brought a collection of Estonian items from home, including beautiful leather work, bead work, sweet little dolls, and of course, Estonian recipe books.

In total there were five dishes containing BACON, and to no-one’s surprise, our President of Bacony Delights was in no way intimidated by this, despite the array heavy starches into which the BACON was embedded. She was later found growling under the table, but eventually emerged, smiling in bacon-induced delirium in time to forget her coat.

Here they are – as close to her Vana Ema’s pirukad recipe as she could get. She told me that by the end of rolling out the dough for 48 of these little beauties, she was hunched over the rolling pin and talking to herself just to make it through. Deep fried and served with dipping mustard, these were sooo good.

It was a good thing Lisa brought cucumbers in sour cream and dill & cucumbers in vinegar & dill. This wise woman, noting the volume of potatoes and bread in the pre-meetup Facebook discussions, thought to herself “we’re going to need something with some acidity.” Sure enough, those salads went with just about everything.

Laura’s apple cake was like soft apples nestled in custard. I could eat it everyday.

Betty brought what I have taken to calling The Borscht. She makes it with a full pound of butter and more than a litre of whipping cream. I get all dreamy just looking at the photo.

Peter and Dorthea were inspired by Latvian Lunchroom to make these Small Maizites, open-faced sandwiches. Normally theses call for little fish called sprats on dark rye, but they used Pumpernickel, fresh goat cheese, sardines in mustard sauce, pickles and fresh daikon.

Kim’s made a map to help us navigate through her collection of dishes inspired by the ‘stans: Sweet Onion Salad (Uzbekistan), Turcoman Flatbread (Turkmenistan), and Chickpea & Onion Stew (Tajikistan). The stew, which was served with yogurt, had a wonderful subtle spiciness to it, and Kim said the flatbread only took five days to make!

Tracy, your Nachynka was so good! Tracy wasn’t keen on her Ukrainian cornmeal stuffing, but others were. And it had BACON.

Denise took us to Armenia with her Borek. They were delicate and rich at the same time, with a bit of nuttiness from the sesame seeds on top. Oh yes.

Both Maureen and I made the potato-laden Lithuanian Kugelis, with butter and cream and BACON and onions. Would make again. Would be a great accompaniment to corn on the cob.

Rich with potatoes and BACON and packing a lovely outer crunch, Nick’s Pannileib was a total hit. There was much discussion of it’s awesomeness during the lingering-in-a-food-coma-daze part of the evening.

These are the Pork Dumplings in Mushroom & Shallot Creme Fraiche that so vexed Jeremy. There were no leftovers.

Mirjana called on her family’s Bosnian heritage with her Knedle Sa Slijuuma (Dumplings with plums). But they had a Summerland twist – she sautéed them in Maple Roch maple syrup. Yum.

Kathleen’s Ukrainian Kotleti! Breaded meatballs? Yes please. These were gluten free. I forgave them.

Georgian Kharcho (Beef stew)
A strange stew with rice and dill and even lemon juice. But lovely. Would make again.

Brandy’s Pankuka didn’t last long – I got the last one. So good, served with sour cream and green onions.

The surprise dish of the night for several people – Janice’s Latvian Cottage Cheese Biscuits. Because they were kind of savoury and kind of sweet, with this amazing buttery, soft, flaky texture. Very subtle flavours, but golly.

Jean’s Armenian Boyrek. Pastry filled with feta and egg? Um, yes. Imagine one of these with a beef stew.

My photo does not capture the Yum that was Val’s Grahi Varivah – Croatian bean soup. It’s the kind of soup that tastes like it’s taken time. Soaking the beans, slow cooking with the pork hock for maximum flavour. Three cheers to Tony’s meats for their excellent contribution to this dish. It’s usually served with crusty bread and a nice beer. We didn’t have the beer but Val did bring a Baltic sourdough for dipping.

Tina and Laura both made Russian Piroshki, swapping out the cabbage and egg filling for seasoned beef. A perfect winter dish. I dipped them in sour cream. I pretty much dipped everything in sour cream. Can you believe we had no cabbage at this meetup?

Wendy and Manfred brought these soft, just-sweet-enough Russian Sugar Cookies. I’ve already started craving them again, so yes they were very good.

And to top it off, Brandy brought me muffins to take home!

That’s all the news from our January potluck extravaganza. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything. Massive thanks to Lisa and the Summerland Waterfront Resort for hosting our foodie adventure evening.

I don’t have anything planned for February yet, but it looks like we’ll be back in March with “French Canadian” at Maple Roch.

Thanks, everyone!

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January meetup – are you up for the challenge?

Every year we have the opportunity to stretch out, both creatively with a new and wonderful culinary challenge, and physically, as we are hosted by the lovely people at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, in their spacious ballroom.

This year we have a challenge like no other. In honour of our hostess Lisa’s Estonian heritage, our quest will be to prepare recipes from the 15 post Soviet states. I’m rather excited about this theme. It’s not like anything we’ve tried before, which means pretty much all of us will be out of our kitchen comfort zones. We’ll get to learn about countries we didn’t know before, and eat amazing new things.

  • Meetup date: Wednesday, January 30
  • Where: 13011 Lakeshore Drive South. Please park in the underground parking lot to leave the outdoor lot free for Local on Lakeshore guests.
  • Time: 6pm-ish
  • What to bring: Your friends! We have lots of room for this event, so feel free to invite people to participate. Also, along with your dish, please bring a note card or print out of your recipe, which includes the country it comes from.
  • Extra fun: I’m gathering a Youtube playlist of tourism videos from the different countries, to hopefully play in the background while we eat.

To help get you started, here is a list of the countries that will be inspiring us. Happy cooking! Let me know what you’re making.

Central Asia

  • Kazakhstan
  •  Kyrgyzstan
  •  Tajikistan
  •  Turkmenistan
  •  Uzbekistan

Eastern Europe

  • Belarus
  •  Moldova
  •  Ukraine

Eurasia

  • Russia

Transcaucasia

  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Georgia

Baltic states

  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania

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What we ate in November and December

Greetings, fellow bakers and lovers of good food and good company,

I have been remiss in my blogging duties. So now I have to catch you up on what we ate in November and December. Only of course I’ve lost all my notes so we’ll have to go by the photos and my vague memories.

The most important thing to know about the November meetup is that Wendy, our hostess extraordinaire, was stunning. Dress, heels, and gorgeous calves to match. Of course I forgot to take a photo, so you’ll just have to imagine how splendid she looked. It does make me think we should plan an “all dolled up” theme, because sometimes it’s nice to have an excuse to look a little bit extra fabulous.

November’s theme was inspired by Jean, who was eager for a reason to whip up a Chicken Mushroom Pithivier. So we all dove into our cookbooks and recipe bookmarks in search of the dishes we’d been meaning to make but just hadn’t gotten around to. Below are the results. We devoured the following delicious items: Pithivier (recipe included – note the Bacon), Work-of-art-vegetable tart, roasted beets, German red cabbage, Ginger snaps, Salted caramel apple pie bars, Oatmeal shortbread, Crunchy coleslaw, Chocolate covered cake filled with lady fingers and delight, and two dips (Harvarti & dill and red bean). Wendy also made a really lovely fruit punch that I forgot to photograph. It was a perfect mix of flavours. Afterward I got to hang out with Wendy and Manfred and talk about some of their memorable camping trips and also East Prussian history.  It was a lovely evening.

And that’s what we ate in November. In December, joyful chaos reigned at our annual Cookie Swap, hosted by endlessly lovely Lisa. There were dogs. There were babies. It was quite bonkers and a lot of fun. I got to dance around by the Christmas tree with babies, and later I got to hold Margaux and she gave me all the kisses. My photos do not do any justice to the selection and sheer Yum that we enjoyed. Thank you to everyone who made cookies and ate cookies and to Lisa for hosting us and for the babies for being babies and the dogs for being puppers. 

Save the date for January 30 at the resort! Oh yes, it’s going to be a good one.

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Upcoming meetups!

Greetings, foodie friends!

Get ready, for there are many potluck adventures ahead. We begin with November and our theme of “The dish I’ve been dying to make or have been meaning to make for so long but just haven’t gotten around to it and could really use an excuse to finally try it.” This theme was inspired by Jean, who I happen to know has a new recipe she’s been wanting to spring on us.  So get hunting through your cookbooks for bookmarks you put there two years ago, then hit the kitchen with gusto!

Date: Thursday, November 15
Time: 6ish
Where: Wendy’s! Thank you Wendy for hosting. Address is 7125 Peach Orchard Road. Limited parking in the driveway but you can park along the road.
What to bring: Feel free to bring along your own plate and cutlery. There will be some there too. Also, please bring a copy of the recipe of your dish or a vague list of ingredients. And the Tupperware! Always the tupperware.
RSVP: Sign up on the Facebook event or pop me an email back to let me know you’re coming.
And now, for the “Save the Date” section of the email.
Wednesday, December 5th will be the annual Most Excellent Cookie Swap at Lisa’s place. Details to follow, however, plan for 6-packs of cookies to swap, along with a plate for snacking during the meetup.
January (tentative date Jan. 24) will see us Back in the USSR, and I don’t mean the Beatles’ song. Your challenge will be to attempt a recipe from one of the 15 post-Soviet states. We will once again dine in the fabulous setting of the Summerland Waterfront Resort ballroom. I chose this theme because I wanted our glorious hostess Lisa Jaager to have an excuse to make us more Estonian food. Knowing our collective culinary creativity, you could say I’m a little excited for this meetup.
That’s all for now.
Peace, love, and buttercream,
Sophia

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What we ate in September – Taste of Summerland Potluck

When was the last time you got to have a really good borscht? I mean really good. The kind made with a quart of full fat cream and a wallop and a half of pure, glorious butter. And vegetables, etc.

We had amazing borscht and much more at September’s Taste of Summerland Potluck, hosted by the lovely people at Summerland Arts Council. Extra big thanks to Elaine for organizing. Somehow we managed to subconsciously balance the perfect number of savoury dishes with a few too many desserts, which is exactly the right amount. We set up the tables in a row and sat communal style. We visited and ate, sipped tea, went boldly up for savoury seconds before hitting the desserts. We got to see the Inspired By show one more time before the opening of the Who Gives a Hoot Owl extravaganza (on now until November 17!) Potluck food photos and dramatic descriptions below.

I don’t have an event planned for October but will post November details soon. And December’s Cookie Swap is a go again at Lisa’s. Date and number of cookie info coming soon. I believe I’m relieved enough for all of us when I tell you that I will NOT be in charge of the cookie math this year. The New Year will once again kick off with a lavish potluck at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, followed by a “Church Suppers Through the Ages” meetup at the Service Station at the Lakeside Church in February (Probably. Could be March).

Here’s to being thankful for another year of baking club. If you have ideas for our upcoming 6th year of potlucking awesomeness, please email me and let’s chat.

Onward to the deliciousness!

We got to sample several varieties of apples grown by the lovely people at Carcajou Fruit. It’s a good apple season. There are some very tasty varieties available locally, so support your local farmers and indulge.

This is the borscht that Betty made. It was full of veggies from her garden. My mug nearly ranneth over. I have thought of it every day since eating it.

Janet brought baked ham, local honeyed carrots and red cabbage. Three kinds of mustard to go with the ham. Yeah. So good.

A veggie/pasta/saucey comfort food bake with yummy crunchy topping, brought by Don and Judy. I had two helpings.

I have forgotten the name of the lovely lady who brought this homemade currant jam, which we devoured with cheese and meats and crackers. It was just the right about of sweet, just the right amount of tart. It was just right.

I simply must post two photos of Val’s Plum Galettes. Just look at them.

That’s right. A small vat of the most splendid whipped cream to dollop right on top of a big wedge of one of those beauties. Yes. It happened.

Elaine brought these little apple tarts (made by Sophie?) which were gooey and rich. Would be an excellent breakfast tart, paired with a cup of Earl Grey and a view of the sea on a cold autumn day. One can dream…

Elaine also brought this Bold! Robust! Apple & Walnut Tarte Tatin. If there had been vanilla ice cream present, I would have camped out with the leftovers until I had to be forcibly removed from the building.

Inspired by memories of picking berries with her grandmother, mom and cousins out in Saskatchewan, Denise made a Saskatoon Berry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake, to which she also added four grown-in-Summerand apples. This is one of those cold weather delights. Yum.

Chantelle’s Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars. They were just as glorious as they sound. Oh, yes. I loved these. I had two little pieces the next morning for breakfast, with my tea. The sun was shining and all was right with the world.

Joy made this lovely plum cake with plums from her garden. The perfectly soft, perfectly sweet prune plums were nestled in a light sponge cake. The cake was still warm. I added a big dose of whipped cream and had myself a nice sit down.

Let it be known that I successfully made my first batch of apple fritters. They were better right out of the oil and tossed in sugar. Overnighting in the fridge made them soft and gave them the outer texture of cold rubber. Once bitten they were still tasty, still soft like a hug inside your mouth, but better warm. Would make again.

And that’s the report. I failed to photograph Heather’s hummus. It was tasty. I had it up against the ham and carrots. Nice combo.

Until next time, kitchen witches.

Sx

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