Cold weather is setting in, the days are getting shorter and even on the sunniest of days, one still needs to bundle up. This is the weather that requires tucking into a warm bowl of soup or stew after coming in from the cold. Thanksgiving comes earlier in Canada, we celebrate it a month earlier than Americans, and last week we made a chicken chili instead of having the traditional turkey. (We would have used turkey, but my Mum didn’t have her readers on when she went to pick it up. To be fair, though, the chicken and turkey (both ground) were close together.)
This will have been only the second recipe for chili I’ve made so far, and it’s a good one. It was an instant favourite with my family – there were no leftovers – and it has the traditional chili flavours with bacon and ground turkey (or chicken, which is tofu-like in that it absorbs the spices and flavours of the ingredients) and the addition of cocoa powder gives it depth and a subtle flavour of its own. (I had not used cocoa powder before in chili and despite my doubts, I was pleasantly surprised and happy I went along with it.) We also used red and white kidney beans in celebration of Canadian spirit.
As may be evident by my recent posts, I’ve baked hardly a thing this summer. It’s been lovely and blissful, in its own way, to not turn the oven on. Instead I’ve thrown all that energy I would for baking into making ice cream and other frozen treats. (I have one more frozen treat recipe to share, for now.) One of the last things I baked before the summer heat settled in was Shirley’s perfect pound cake.
It’s a tall order to call something perfect and this pound cake is just so. In a chat on Twitter that I had with Shirley the first time I made her recipe, she told me that one of her readers had used it to make a birthday cake. So not only is it a perfect pound cake, but also perfect for all occasions as it is flexible. Like many gluten-free folks, Shirley uses a custom-made, gluten-free flour blend. I’ve yet to use a gluten-free flour blend – whether one made from scratch with someone’s recipe or my own, or store-bought – so I converted the amount with an equal ratio of cornstarch and brown rice flour (the only kind of rice flour I had on hand at the time), based on Shirley’s flour blend, and it worked really well.
Every time I’ve made it, the pound cake has been finished within one or two days (usually only making it to the second day if I’ve saved some and hidden it away).
The Olympics are over and those of us who watched are still coming down from a mixture of nerve-wracking high energy and emotions from watching and rooting for athletes from around the world that inspired us all.
Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was deserving of its name, Isles of Wonder, and it was inspiring. I’m not the only one who thinks he deserves a knighthood. Outside of sports, it was a definite highlight – with James Bond and the Queen being a particular favourite for many. (I wish I could find a video to link, but no such luck. They’ve been taken down.) The closing ceremony didn’t exactly live up to the anticipation leading up to it, I think, but there were its highlights for everyone. For me, it was Russell Brand singing a cover of “I Am the Walrus” and Eric Idle’s performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Footage of Freddie Mercury on a video screen was unexpected and masterfully done as he roused an audience of 80,000 (and more from the world over) in a call-and-response before Brian May broke into his guitar solo.
Celebrating British and Olympic spirit, the idea for this ice cream was inspired within the first few days of the Olympics but it wasn’t until after it was done that I made it. Inspired by Eton mess, a classic British dessert named after the boys’ prestigious school where it was created, this ice cream has strawberries cooked into a jam and swirled into a custard base with meringue cookies (made from scratch and sweetened with honey) crumbled into it.