Beauty Break

I’ve been taking a little summer break from blogging, but I’ll be back next week with a recipe of my own and another edition of Cook the Book Fridays.

In the meantime, here are some of my favourite photos of this year’s crop of dahlias. There are two more varieties that have yet to reveal themselves, so I may share a few more photos later on.
Tiger-striped dahlia

Spiral blooms

Lavender and gold dahlia

Hot Pink Dahlia

Fuschia dahlias

Cream spiked dahlia

Cottage Cooking Club – January 2015

Early spring

Spring is a few weeks ahead of itself here. The blooms that start popping up in February have been appearing everywhere around the neighbourhood over the last two weeks. It’s a welcome sign of renewal.

I’ve been experiencing renewal in a slightly less pleasurable way since the turn of the year. Our building was completely re-piped over the last few weeks and it was disruptive enough to throw off my blogging schedule (among other things). Half of my kitchen’s contents were piled on the other half and the rest of our place was uneasily accommodating the contents of our storage and coat closets, along with the substantial contents of a big built-in bookshelf.

There are no more holes in the wall and in their place, there are bright new coats of paint. We’re slowly organizing and putting away the things we’re keeping and working on getting rid of the rest. (One of the advantages of this sort of project is that it inspires you to purge unneeded belongings.) One of the disadvantages of work of this kind is that it saps creative energy, so we’ve been existing on some pretty utilitarian cooking lately and writing inspiration was a little hard to come by.

But that’s all over with, so I’m back in the kitchen and at my desk and will be catching up on some promised posts soon. For now, I’m glad I only committed to one Cottage Cooking Club selection this month, though all of them looked like things I’d love to try.

Curried Bubble and Squeak

Bubble and Squeak

Just before the chaos began, I made a big batch of this bubble and squeak. The traditional version has been a comfort food favourite of mine for many years, but one that I don’t often remember to make. This curried vegan version, which uses leftover cooked cabbage and potatoes, is economical and delicious. (And as a bonus, it reminded me that simply sautéed shredded cabbage is a delicious side dish all on its own.) I added chickpeas to the dish, for a little protein and fibre boost, but otherwise followed the recipe. My only quibble is that curry powder is such an imprecise description. I’m going to be playing around with curry spices as I make this dish again, until I get a combination I really love.

I also made the fennel and celeriac soup with orange zest, which was delicious, but that was when the work in our kitchen began and I neglected to get a photo. I love this sort of soup, especially when the weather is cold or rainy. Citrus and fennel have bright notes that help to make up for sunless days and celeriac has the same sort of earthy heft as potatoes, which braces against the cold. A perfect winter soup.

Now, we can move on to February. It’s a cold and dark month in many places, but here in Vancouver, it’s often full of spring.

Here are the links to the rest of the group’s posts for this month. I encourage you to check them out – you’ll meet some wonderful bloggers and get some great inspiration for vegetarian eating.

Midsummer Garden

I may get impatient for the harvest. I may worry that my flower beds are too sparse. But, something I never forget to do is to take pleasure in the bits of beauty the plants in my garden create. I’d much rather look at the plants and watch their progression than weed. And I often do.

seed

nasturtiums

Veg

potato vine

Bean

Flower

Flowers + Dog

Stunning flower in Fort Langley

A photo post today, just because. I was hoping to call it Dog and Butterfly, for that ’70s vibe, but none showed up on the day I was taking these photos. I did have a face-to-face with a hummingbird, which seemed to go on forever, but must have really been only about ten seconds. I don’t mind not having photos of that encounter – how often does a hummingbird hover a foot from one’s face, taking stock of you while allowing you to enjoy its delicate iridescence?

Most of these photos were taken at my parents’ place and the rest are from a walk around Fort Langley. Tomorrow, I’ll be back, with cucumbers.

Roxy, auditioning for Love Story

A back up album cover, in case Roxy decides to start a band.

Fort Langley flowers

Clematis through last year's vines

Clematis, a side view