December Cookies Swap photos (and January meetup news!)

Confession: I ate cookies for breakfast for three days in a row following our annual cookie swap. I feel no shame, for they were delicious. I have more in the freezer that I’m trying to save until July. I want to eat Christmas cookies in July, with an iced coffee. They say it’s good to set goals for yourself. Time will tell if this one is unrealistic.

I’m going to play a game of “were these your cookies?” with my photo collection. Lisa (hostess extraordinaire – thank you!)  made a list of who made what, but sometimes I can’t tell my ginger cookies from my ginger crackle cookies. Forgive me if I get a few wrong or if I’ve missed some. You know how distracted I get around all the food. Look at this wonderful group! A huge welcome to our newest baking club foodies. 

Before I begin with the cookie photos, Save The Date for January 11th, also known as The Epic Summerland BACON Potluck. The glorious folks at the Summerland Waterfront Resort will once again be hosting us. Start thinking of dishes that feature BACON in some way. For those who are vegetarian or who just want to try something new, “facon” is also welcome. We’ll meet at 6pm and start the whip-round at 6.30. We may try a film again, in this case Footloose, staring Kevin BACON.

Kevin Bacon – part of a complete breakfast.

To the cookies!

Some of our lovely members made up beautiful packages for their cookies. 🙂

Kim’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. Chocolate Chip goes with every season.

Kathleen’s Ginger Cookies? I just want to put ice cream between two cookies and make a glorious ginger cookie sandwich.

I believe these to be Janice’s Shortbread with cherries. Christmas isn’t the same without shortbread.

Lisa’s towers of Snickerdoodles. I’ve discovered that Snickerdoodles make wonderful breakfast biscuits.

Linda’s adorable little Shortbread Cookies.

I thought these might be Ingrid’s Russian Bon bons, but I think they’re a shortbread. Tracy’s Orange Cranberry? What I had discovered is I don’t have a photo of the bon bons, and I’ve eaten all of mine so you’ll just have to believe how wonderful they were.

Maggie’s Mexican Oatmeal Cookies. Now that we have a member from Mexico, I think we need to think about a Mexican themed meetup. Summer outdoor perhaps?

Kathy’s Ginger Crackle Cookies? Look, dancing Santas!

Rene’s Snickerdoodle’s could be used as plates for other cookies. Then you eat your plate. Yes.

I believe these to be Betty’s Orange Cranberry Shortbread. Paired with hot chocolate =yum.

Chantelle’s signature Chocolate Oreo Truffles. Super rich and worth hiding away so you don’t have to share.

Sophia’s Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies. I love crinkle cookies. So soft, so chewy.

Wendy’s Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. I had no guilt whatsoever eating these for breakfast. Robust and delicious and excellent with tea.

LeeAnna’s Almond Biscotti. I didn’t get to try these ones, but they sure looked gorgeous in their parcels.

More loot! Thanks everyone who came out to visit and catch up. See you in January! BACON!

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What we ate in October

We certainly ate in style last month, hosted by the wonderful Peter and Dorthea in their home. In honour of Peter’s impressive book collection, our theme was “The author’s favuorite dish.” Like all our meetups, there was no telling what people would come up with. We had everything from Shakespeare to a cake made with Hemingway-inspired rum-soaked raisins.

Wendy even went so far as to write her own poem, which I love.

A literary theme, my brain went dead.
Compared to this group, few books I have read.
I looked at my cookbooks, I went online,
that perfect dish, I could not find.
I gazed at my pantry and what did I see,
my friend “Betty Crocker” jumped out at me.
Inspiration then struck me, as I grabbed me some booze
And I whipped up a Rum Cake for this culinary crew
I guess I’m an author, I wrote this silly poem
So enjoy this cake here
and please take some home!

Behold, the cake. I think this has been my favourite post-meetup breakfast cake so far.

Sticking with rum, it was Lory who saluted Hemingway with the rum raisins in her German Apple Cake.

Kim made Empanadas de Horno verdura, inspired by Chilean Poet Pablo Neruda, who loved food so much he wrote odes to some of his favourites.

Our new member Gina made beautifully gnarled Witches Fingers, in honour of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Dorthea chose an author closer to home for her flourless chocolate cake – Peter! Along being a long time lover of books, Peter has authored 10 of his own. He even has his own Wikipedia page.

As a financial advisor, it’s not surprising that Chantelle would take inspiration from books about finance and budget. The idea for her Double Chocolate Peppermint Bark was taken from a book that included tips on holiday entertaining on a budget. Simple yet decadent – how can it get better?

Sticking to her British roots, Tracy made Pork in Cider, inspired by Christopher Fry. I loved this dish and had two helpings.

Jean’s Mini Shepherds Pies were inspired by her love of Scottish literature. I love piped mashed potatoes!

The heart squeeze moment of the night for me was how Lisa honoured her friend, author Richard Wagamese, by making his favourite snack to have when he was writing – apples and sharp cheddar.

My beef stroganoff was inspired by Summerland’s own Don Gayton. In Okanagan Odyssey, Don writes about how he enjoys taking the idea of wine and food pairing one step further by including a good book to read at the table. I brought the stroganoff and Don brought the shiraz and the copy of The Tree of Man by Patrick White. Shameless author plug – check out Don’s new blog

Finally, in keeping with blogging tradition, I neglected to get a photo of the Pumpkin Cheesecake. I’m sorry, maker of the cheesecake! Stephen King loves cheesecake and this one had a pumpkin twist for Halloween.

Thanks again to Peter and Dorthea for hosting us, and to everyone who got creative and came out to eat and visit and eat some more.

Future dates:

On Wednesday, December 13th we’ll be meeting at Lisa’s for our annual Cookie Swap. Also, few of us lingered back after the author meetup and came up with the theme for January – BACON! Date and more info to be announced!

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What we ate in September

Hello all,

I’m once again struggling to keep up with things. Please save the date for our October meetup.

  • When: Thursday, October 26, 6:00pm-ish
  • Where: Dorthea & Peter’s house (Please email pleasebringcake@gmail.com) to RSVP and I will send you directions and parking info.
  • Theme: As a homage to their Peter & Dorthea’s vast book collection, the theme is “the author’s favourite dish.” Looking for inspiration? You could make coffee cake for Walt Whitman or an elaborate snack plate in honour of novelist Durga Chew-Bose. You could even make Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake. You can also ask a local author about their favourite dish or what they like to snack on when they’re writing. Goodies can be baked or not – it’s an open author-loving potluck.

Thank you to everyone who came out to the old post office in September for our “Harvest-tastic” meetup. My ability to be funny and witty is at a deep low, so please forgive me if I just post the photos below without my usual descriptions. I shall start with Val’s epic Okanagan charcuterie board.

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Two-bite appie and pool party!

We ate, we laughed, we ate some more, we swam/bobbed around the pool in our lavish fullness!

Our 3rd annual two-bite appie and pool party was another resounding success, with all manner of deliciousness to devour. Huge thank you to Lisa for hosting us again!

Our next meetup will land around the 3rd week of September. Who is up for Harvest Showstopper?

In the meantime, let’s relive the glory of August. Starting with the two dishes for which I have recipes to share!

Jean’s Fougasse

Fougasse is a type of bread mostly associated with Provence and is often slashed or sculpted to resemble and ear of wheat. One thing is for sure – Jean is far  braver with bread than I am. And what a result!

  • 500gr.bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. yeast
  • 2 tbsp. Extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup warm water (115′)
  • 11/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 11/2 tsp. chopped rosemary
  • 11/2 tsp. chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • sea salt to finish

Grease a large container with a little olive oil. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Put flour, salt and yeast into the bowl of Kitchen Aid(don’t put yeast on top of the salt) Add olive oil and 3/4 of the water. Mix on low. As the dough starts to come together add the remaining water, very slowly.Add herbs and continue to mix. This is a tough dough and need a lot of work. Add a little more olive oil to loosen it a bit.

Put dough in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Punch down.

Tip dough out onto counter(greased with some more olive oil) Divide dough in half.

Roll out 1st piece into an oval-shape to cover your baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter, make 2 consecutive cuts down the middle. Now cut 6 diagonal cuts(6 on each side) of the centre cut, forming a leaf design, the stretch the dough out slightly to emphasize the holes. Cover and alow to rise again about 20 minutes. Preheat oven 450′ . Brush bread with olive oil and sprinkle with the other dried oregano. Bake 15-20 minutes until fougasse sounds hollow when you tap the bottom. Remove from oven and while still hot, brush with more olive oil and sprinkle with salt.(I also put a pan of hot water in the oven under the bread-creates a little steam)

Janice’s Shrimp Dip (with cucamelons!)

According to Wikipedia, the Cucamelon (or Melothria scabra if you really want to get into it) is a vine grown for its edible fruit. Fruit are about the size of grapes and taste like cucumbers with a tinge of sourness. They’re so adorable. There is no better name for them than the one they already have. And the shrimp dip emerged perfectly from the mold and looked so elegant before we decimated it with our cracker spoons.

Recipe:

  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 envelope gelatin, unflavoured
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cans shrimp
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped

Heat soup and dissolve gelatin, stirring constantly. Let cool slightly, then put in mixer with cream cheese and mayonnaise. Mix in the shrimp, celery and onion by hand. Pour into a greased mold to set in the fridge, then unmold to serve with crackers.

Tracy’s Mini Cherry Bakewells. Just look at their unabashed cuteness. We ate them all.

Lory’s Goat Chees Stuffed Apricots w/out BACON. These were a great little mouth celebration of summer.

Dorthea’s gluten-free Banana Bread with pineapple and a creamy topping that a little bit of everything in it (I’ve lost the wee bit of paper – of course I have). I think it even had Sriracha in it. She had tested it on Peter pre-meetup and he gave it an enthusiastic “it’s okay!” Yes to daring kitchen experiments!

Peter’s “Happy Appies” – Chevrai Brei & Jarlsberg, gluten free crackers and sausage from Tony’s Meats & Deli in Penticton. Lovely combo, and I got to try beet crackers!

Wendy’s Almond-stuffed Figs wrapped in BACON! The BACON deserves to be capitalized, for BACON is always welcome. There was a little pot of dipping sauce to complete the delectable experience.

Kim’s Vine Leaves stuffed with Boccocini & Sundried Tomatoes. As one does. I volunteer Kim to be on my “uber decadent picnic” planning committee.

Kim Lawton’s “Summer Pigs.” They were still warm and the cheese was all melty and maybe I ate three of them.

Sophia’s Sour Cream and BACON Deviled Eggs. I would certainly make them again. Nom.

You can’t have enough bocconcini in the summer. Chantelle made these lovely little tomato/basil/bocconcini bites with a rich vinaigrette. Yes.

They didn’t have BACON, but Lisa’s little pumpernickel sandwiches did have salmon that Harry had caught, and little capers on top for that little extra pop o’ flavour.

I was hoping someone would bring bruschetta and Sandra saved the day with Peach Bruschetta and tiny homegrown tomatoes.

Mirjana’s Lemon Blueberry Tarts with Mascarpone and Maple. I managed to snag some of these at the end of the meetup and I can say with great enthusiasm that make an excellent breakfast with a nice cup of tea.

That’s all the treats! We’re really rather splendid, I think. I didn’t manage to get a good photo of Margaux this time, but Lisa & Harry’s home is now resplendent with this artwork inspired by the glorious mini fur nugget that I adore. So I shall leave you with “Chapeau Margaux” in all its loveliness.

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In which we potluck, western style

This month I learned that sangria goes with everything. Thank you Tracy – what a way to welcome summer.

Our theme was Western and in true baking club fashion, we gave it the old yee haw. There were two baked bean dishes, both slow cooker style (all those tender hours on low heat). Think of rich, tangy sauce, the flavour equivalent of a heavyweight boxer light who is on his feet.

In the salad realm, there were three. We decimated the entire bowl of spicy coleslaw. In goes without saying that creamy coleslaw next to baked beans is a glorious thing. I was initially suspicious of the kale salad (I’m always suspicious of kale – it’s just a built-in thing with me). But I I really liked it. Never underestimate the power of feta cheese and a zingy dressing. The Texas Caviar was resplendent in anti-oxidant-rich veggies, and added the necessary additional crunch for overall mouth-feel awesomeness.The bready things were paired with the saucy and salady things. We lavishly dipped the jalapeño & cheddar cornbread and the bannock made with BACON.

There were two kinds cookies. One kind was so decadent with rich ingredients, the dough had defeated a Kitchenaid and had to be mixed by hand. The other cookies were so gooey with chocolate, they inadvertently caused the eater to take time out for gentle reflection, just letting the mind wander on the silky softness of cookie bliss.And there was sangria and delicious white wine and lovely company and meeting new friends and the stunning view of Giant’s Head Mountain from Tracy’s porch.

So yeah. Just the usual baking club routine. Recipes next time and more of the same extravagance at Lisa’s August 3 for the two-bite appies and pool party.

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May meetup – World Travel

Greetings, foodie friends!

Thank you to everyone who came out and eat generously at our World Travel potluck in the park last month. The stormy weather may have chased us off early, but we sure did eat well. Below are some delectable photos, some with recipes. 

First, SAVE THE DATE! Our next meetup will be Thursday, June 22nd, when we will be hosted by Tracy. We’re sticking with the original idea of a “Western” theme, so dig out your cowboy hat and start making your barbecue sauce. More details and directions forthcoming by email.

Onward to the deliciousness!

Laura’s Hawaiian Salad and Mediterranean Salad (both of which were so very delightful)

Sandra’s Pavlova (I had two big slices of this. There are two photos because I couldn’t decide between them!)

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites, of room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablesppon cornstarch

Directions

Line cookie sheet with greased foil.  Draw a 10 inch circle of the foil.
Beat egg whites and salt until peaks form, but not dry.
Add vanilla and vinegar and beat well. Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl. Add 1 Tablespoon at a time to egg whites beating well after each addition. Spread meringue inside circle on paper – building it up around the edge. Bake at 275 F. for 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave meringue in ovenr to dry for 1 hour. Serve with whipped cread and fresh fruit.

Chantelle’s Easy Tiramisu (Don’t you just want to get a spoon? The recipe uses cream cheese instead of  mascarpone) http://www.kraftcanada.com/recipes/easy-tiramisu-174501)

Lory’s Prawn Pilau (with pieces of pineapple sauteed in butter!)

Ingredients
12 oz. basmati rice
6 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp. crushed coriander seeds
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1 small pineapple cubed or 1 8 oz can pineapple chunks
8 oz frozen prawns thawed
1 tsp. salt
1 pint fish or chicken stock

Garnish
2 tbsp. ghee or butter
2 tbsp. sultanas
2 tbsp. cashews or almonds (I used slivered almonds)
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered (I omitted this)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander

Wash rice under cold running water, then soak in fresh water for 30 mins.  Drain throughly. Melt butter in a large saucepan, add coriander and fry for 30 seconds.  Add turmeric stir for a few seconds, then add pineapple and fry, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add prawns, rice and salt. (If using stock cube omit salt.) Fry, stirring for 1 minute, then pour in enough stock to cover rice by 1/4 inch. Bring to a boil, cover tightly and cook very gently for 25 mins. or until the rice is cooked and the liquid absorbed.

Meanwhile, prepare the garnish. Heat the butter in a small pan, add the sultanas and cashews or almonds and fry for 1 to 2 mins., until the sultanas are plump and the nuts are lightly coloured.  Transfer rice to a warmed serving dish and gently fork in the sultanas and nuts.  Arrange egg around the edge (if using) and sprinkle the coriander on top. Prawn Pilau can be served warm or cold.

Wendy’s Spanish Rice (Yes to garlic and tomatoes and spiced beef)

Jean’s Sticky Toffee Pudding (with the most delectable sauce ever)

Sophia’s Thai Salad with Peanut Dressing (very easy to make and it’s just as good without the mango and the cilantro. Recipe is here: https://www.jessicagavin.com/crunchy-thai-salad-peanut-dressing/)

Thanks for being awesome, everyone. I strawberry heart you.

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World Travel Meetup May 30!

Greetings, foodie friends!

I have consulted the draft schedule, which listed “World Travel” as the theme for May. What fun we can have with this! The goal is the make a dish from somewhere you’ve visited or always longed to visit, and bring it along to show off and share.

  • Date: Tuesday, May 30th
  • Time: 6pmish
  • Location: Memorial Park, just off Wharton Street. If the weather looks like it will be bad, we can always dash back to my place, although we may have to carpool out to Prairie Valley.
  • What to bring: Along with your dish, I recommend bringing a lawn chair along, as well as some bug spray, as the little critters are bad this year. I’ll bring some paper plates and my small horde of cutlery.

If you haven’t already responded to the Facebook event, email me at pleasebringcake@gmail.com to let me know if you can come along. Thanks everyone!

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