Newfoundland, part 2 – The Wind

I had a nice swim after work this afternoon (cough. two weeks ago now. cough), and a good browse session at the Gap (to avoid rush hour traffic. . .), so I’m definitely in a better mood today! Which hopefully will translate into being less of a whiny bitch. I can’t guarantee I won’t be a total sarcastabitch, cause that’s my default setting. At least the whine will be dialed waaaay down?

Onwards and upwards!! The first full day of my Newfoundland adventure will be the subject of this post. The day of the wind. We woke up (most of us from the most uncomfortable beds we had ever had the displeasure to sleep in . . .) the next morning to doors that would not stay shut from the drafts, and whistling winds, ominous groaning noises from the house, and trees that threatened to become horizontal (Mr. Dunn, our nigh-unto-incomprehensible neighbour, said that it was nothing. Only 130 km/h. I’m glad I didn’t see real wind then.) But we had a nice lazy Sunday, with big breakfast and some Arrested Development. We eventually decided to brave the wind (I had to get a few ingredients for a baking project I wanted to attempt. how surprising), and visit the nearest largeish village (with the closest Foodland), called Ferryland.

Ok. So, I’ve tried to upload the photos twice. . . I will take a wee break (read: two weeks and several other blog posts. . .).

And now that I’ve moved to WordPress, maybe this will go a bit easier. . .

Still some kinks to work out, but they’re all there, with a minimum of fuss – yay!!!

Next time I might even try to caption them.

But, the gist of it is – we went to the Colony of Avalon, in Ferryland. It’s one of the oldest and best preserved 17th century (or was it 16th. . .) sites in North America. In the mass o photos above, you can see some artifacts from the digs, pretty views of the archeological site, some photos of the 17th century kitchen where they do demonstrations, as well as from the little hike up the hill to the lighthouse. There’s also a photo of a windfarm we passed on the way back to our cottage. And some lupins that I went to pick with one of the guys. All in all a great day. Or so we thought. . . Dun dun Duuuuuunnnnn!!!!

We’d stopped at the Ferryland Foodland on our way to the Colony of Avalon, so I had every thing I needed to make my tasty baked goods. So after dinner (and some drinking. . .), I started preparing the dough and fillings. Partway through this very fun time, one of the guys came downstairs saying that the water in the washroom wasn’t running. At all.We took turns filling pots and bowls and going upstairs to fill the tub (so that we could have a semi-functional toilet at least).

There was much moping and gnashing of teeth. And a certain amount of desire to jump ship. But the next morning, Mr. Dunn came by and fixed the water pump and everything was hunky dorey from then on 🙂 yay!!!

Stay tuned for the next fun installment of My Trip to Newfoundland!!! I hope you’re enjoying the hijinks, Dear Internet.

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Baking, with some photos!

—UPDATE!!!!—
I have now switched to WordPress! Wheee!!!! Let’s see if this works a bit better for me and my multifarious photo postings. . .
—End Update—
My last baked treat for the bachelorette tomorrow night are the carrot cake cupcakes from . . . Ok. If you don’t know where I got this recipe before clicking the link, you haven’t been keeping up with this blog at all. I’ll give you a hint though – it rhymes with “blitzen mitchum”. And they’re suuuuuuuper tasty!
Strangely enough, I doubled the spice (which is why my dough turned out so much less orange than the original). There’s never enough spiciness for me. Except the nutmeg, which I used very sparingly. That is a very unforgiving spice – too much and you have soap-flavoured everything. Which I don’t like all that much, for some reason.
I haven’t frosted the cupcakes yet (as they’re still warm, the cold room isn’t cold enough at this time of year to set the frosting, the icing needs to chill more, and I’m going to do that tomorrow anyway so they’re perfect for the party. I might even take them over unfrosted and then do it there), so you’ll have to wait for a photo of the final version 😉   I can’t wait to frost them though, the cake is very earnest and healthful (especially since I added a zucchini and an apple, and reduced the sugar in them to 1.5 cups from 2), so it’ll be a great contrast to the cream cheesey/maple (and veeeeery rich) frosting.
But here are a bunch o photos of me making the cupcakes and frosting:
I was going to upload the photos for another Newfoundland post. But the photo uploader is being an asshole, and I really don’t want to learn a new step by having all my photos hosted on another site (à la Flixster or Photobucket). . . I am more seriously considering migrating this blog to WordPress. . . I don’t know if you’ll notice the occasional horizontal photo that would actually look better in vertical. Stupid uploader.
We’ll see.
Are you as frustrated as me today, Dear Internet?

Aw poop.

So. . . I have a confession to make.

I baked 4 different things last night, and didn’t take a single picture. Not even a “Lookit what I made!!” finished shot. . . And they were all completely new recipes for me.

Will you ever forgive me, Dear Internet?

I do have a pretty good excuse, as excuses go. I have a couple of weddings to attend this year (as I’ve mentioned previously) and the first one is coming up in, holy crap!, just over a week!! So excited!! I’m not too sure I ever want a fancy wedding of any kind, but they’re sure fun to attend 🙂  Anywho, the first bride’s bachelorette is, well, tomorrow night, and it’s going to be a “girls’ night in” party (awesome! and quite a bit easier on the budget. . .) so I thought I’d contribute food, since 1) I’m pretty good at food, 2) there’s a no-presents-please policy (ish), 3) I have a whole bunch of recipes I need to try out (damn you, Smitten Kitchen!!) and a new pile o guinea pigs to try them on is an opportunity I cannot pass up, and 4) I love playing with food and trying out new techniques! So I’ve been kinda busy with the whole, baking four different recipes. Plus, with the not-spending-the-lovely-long-weekend-with-the-boyfriend (as originally planned. mope mopey mope mope. but more on that later), I was rushing around Tuesday night after work so that I could see him later that evening and catch up on weekendy-goodness. So I didn’t get as much done as I’d hoped. So last night was a fun 5 hours of go-go-go with baking funtimes. Which was awesome, but didn’t lend itself well to the whole staging-pretty-photos-for-the-blog thing. Or even the remembering-that-I-have-this-blog-thing-I-like-posting-on shamozzle. . .

But!

I have one more recipe I’m going to make (I know, I’m insane. I’ve come to terms with this), so I will hopefully have enough leisure this evening to take a few process shots of this one for you, Dear Internet. Will that make up for my sad blogging skills??

I think I should also post my second installment of Newfoundland photos (maybe even the 3rd through 7th. . . I think that’s how many I’ve planned. I forget). As well as some long weekend photos too. . . I’m just avoiding the blogger photo uploader. Cause it sucks. Maybe I should look into switching from this blog provider, especially considering the problems they’ve been having lately (what with the blurry photos and the occasional losing people’s blogs’ content). Hmmmm. . . Food for thought, I guess. (pun very much intended.)

So, look out for photos in your future, Dear Internet! Lots and lots of photos. And some more photos.

In the interim, I guess I should at least let you know what I made. There were the margarita cookies, green tea shortbreads (though I didn’t make them sandwich cookies cause 1) the bride-to-be has chocolate issues and 2) it’s finicky dough and that’s waaaaaayyyyy too much work. I’m lazy, so sue me), sundried tomato stuffed mushroom caps, and mushroom and blue cheese stuffed phyllo triangles (which puts the lie to the “I’m lazy” theory, cause phyllo, it’s hard f-ing work. But sooooooooooo much fun to work with!!!!! I’ll probably use spray olive oil instead of brushed-on melted butter for the phyllo next time – sooooooo buttery). All from Smitten Kitchen, of course. . . I’m so happy I’ve learned how to work with phyllo pastry. I’ve been wanting to try it for a good long while, but I’ve been a bit intimidated since everyone who works with it complains about it’s finickiness. But maybe the brand I got is just easier to use – There was only one (yes, 1!) sheet that was annoying out of the 10 (!!) that I used in the recipe, and it was a lot more flexible than I thought it would be, so actually pretty forgiving to work with (get the President’s Choice phyllo pastry – it’s actually easy phyllo to work with!!). I should also mention that, since one guest at the party has onion/onion-family issues, I made the two appetizers without onions at all (thus mushrooms = insta-flavour). I added more flavour (with fresh herbs in the mushroom caps, and some dry white wine in the phyllo triangles) to help offset the loss of the alium-y goodness, and I think it actually worked out ok 🙂

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Also, update re dressmaking: my fabric arrived!!!! wheeee!!!! And it looks sooooo pretty. I think that my colour idea is quite cool (and will work really nicely for a summer-to-fall transition time wedding), and luckily viewing fabric swatches on the interwebs actually translated into the fabrics matching! Crazy!! Though I have to get some new lining material, since the one I’d originally chosen had run out. Pout. But I’ve found a couple really good options to replace it. 
So I think this weekend I’ll actually cut out and (maybe even??) start working on the mock-up version in cotton and play with the modifications I want to make to the pattern. The pattern’s the right shape, but has a bunch of little details I want to change, which will probably be really fiddly and make me wish I’d invested in a good dress form. I have a few more things I need to get – zippers, thread, some ribbon, maybe a crinoline-type-thingy to help the skirt fall nicely, a fabric marker, etc. – but I’m really looking forward to some major playing with fabric!!! I even spent some (read: waaaaaaayyyy to much) time on reading through the pattern before bed last night and figuring out the basics of how I want to change the details, as well as finding the steps I can omit since I’ll be doing a back zipper instead of a front button placket (see? very different details. . . though maybe that’s technically a ‘feature’ of the pattern. . .).
Excitement about sewing. In a food and music blog. . . Yeah. . .
Stay tuned, Dear Internet!! Much excitement coming your way!

Quite the delay. . .

Oooohhhhhkaaaayyyyy. . .
A litany of woes, excuses, and a dash of lazy thrown in for good measure equals a week since the last post, the last post which was supposed to be posted two weeks prior to when it did go up. But I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll just say that suddenly being unable to sleep more than three hours at a time really screws up your productivity. Also, weather system pressure changes really suck.
And now my first post about the wonderful Newfoundland trip!! And a few photos, for some eye candy.
The trip started out auspiciously enough – I was getting a ride to the airport at 5:15 on a Saturday morning, so I had spent the last few days organizing and packing everything I’d need. And even though I know I set my alarm to go off in plenty of time to shower and finish up with getting ready to go. . . I was woken by my ride sending me a text that he was on his way (and he lives about 5 minutes away.) Crap. But I’m so organized it only takes me 7 and a half minutes to get down and load my stuff into the car. Luckily I’d had a shower the afternoon before (after swimming). From there on in, not a hitch: flight was smooth (even a large number of children wasn’t an issue. I guess their parents intelligently knocked them out for the flight or something), and we landed in St. John’s on time. The next hitch appeared in the form of (drumroll please) the rental. There were going to be six of us staying in the cottage together, so we needed something that could hold not only us, but all our luggage. So the car came in at 300$ more than the original quote, and we were only getting 100 km a day. In Newfoundland. Which is 111,390 square kilometres. . . And it would be 20¢ for every additional kilometre (just so you know, we did fairly spectacularly exceed our kilometre limit. . . more on that at a later date). And the cottage we were staying at is about an hour and a half south of St. John’s. . . Just awesome.
But that’s just the first few hours of our trip. We then went grocery (and, more importantly, booze) shopping to get stuff for the week, and then started on our way to the cottage. Nothing earth shattering happened on the drive down, though we almost missed Renews (the village where we were supposed to be staying). Our fearless leader called our local contact (I don’t know if you know the stereotypical Newfoundland accent? Well, he had it, and we were all seriously hard-pressed to understand anything he actually said. . . You should have heard how he pronounce ‘foggy’. Which was probably only as hysterical as it was since it was me and five gay men staying at the cottage. . .), but we eventually found the cottage, and got in. 
It was tiny. In the diminutive sense – 6.5 foot ceilings. . . (maybe 7′, but it didn’t look it). Adequately sized kitchen (though lacking in counter space, but hey – it’s a fricking cottage), tiny dining room and tv/living room completes  the first floor. And there are three tiny bedrooms and a good-sized bathroom. I was going to share a room with one of the others – a bunk bed. But it was a kid’s bed. And the ceilings were lower upstairs. . . They ended up sleeping on the couch downstairs. . . For some reason. 
Also – there was a pretty impressive colony of pill bugs infesting the building. Local colour.
That pretty much sums up what I remember of the first day (we went for a little walk to the harbour, and had some dinner, and then discovered the incredible uncomfortableness of the beds. . .)
Now that I’ve gotten you excited, here are some photos!!
View near Renews
very picturesque 🙂
coastal village shot (from observation platform tourism thingy)
Our little saltbox has a pedigree?? oh, wait, 2007?
Buttercup!
red clover
Queen Anne’s Lace
view of the cottage (looks much bigger than it is. . .)
WTF???
Renews Harbour
miiiiiiiisssssssssssst!!
starfish (poor thing)
local church (RC)
St. Mary’s shrine (slightly creepy when come upon at night
with the crosses all glowing. . .)
Now, don’t get me wrong, I did focus a little on the negative (see above. . .), but I don’t want you to get the wrong impression – I loved it there. I cannot wait to go back!! There were rough spots (and I am surprised we were able to spend a week together, all six of us, in that diminutive building and not axe murder each other), but there were also very special moments. And billions more photos yet to come. So, Dear Internet, fear not. I won’t be a misery monger about the whole trip. And I’ll try to stay light-hearted about the mishaps instead of whiny.
But, wildlife, hijinks, mishaps, and wonder galore are headed your way! And probably a whole post devoted to the flower porn from our visit to St. John’s botanical garden (in amazingly named Pippy Park!). So many pretty flowers, so little time (and too crappy a camera to really do them justice).
Been anywhere new lately, Dear Internet?
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By the way – why did it take me so long to start listening to Mumford and Sons?? Crazy me.

This week, in baking. . . part 3

Okay, The Internet, it’s technically a week later two weeks later (oooops . . .). But I’m not made of time, so unfortunately this post had to wait a little looooong time before I could get around to it. Aaaaaaand. . . UPDATE! Also, I just went on a week long vacation to Newfoundland! Billions of photos to come 🙂

This past week A few weeks ago, I made those delectable granola bars, several tasty strawberry quick breads, and this. On Saturday (that is, two weeks ago, now), in preparation of a Settlers of Catan games night at a friend’s place, I made this beautiful cake. The apple yoghurt coffee cake from The New Spanish Table (which I got from Smitten Kitchen, of course). Because I just had to try a coffee cake with lots of apples, lemon yoghurt, olive oil (!), and sambuca. I LOVE anise-flavoured anything, so I jumped on the chance to use it in something. 

Photos!!

ingredients!

action shot!! whiskage! (my sister took this picture, my hands were in use)

adding the flour

sambuca!!! or is that olive oil? i forget. . .

tasty shredded apple goodness

about to undergo a chemical change

baked!!!

And it was also eated, eated aaaaaalll up! I was surprised at the flavour – very mild but satisfying, with a something different you couldn’t really put your finger (or should I say, your tastebuds?) on. I think using olive oil was more of an exciting taste sensation than the sambuca, so if you’re not a fan of the licorice/anise thing, Dear Internet, you could probably substitute whatever liqueur you think would work well (Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, and dark spiced rum come to mind as good options. Apple brandy might work too). You can probaby also swap out for different flavours of yogurt if you felt like it, but I thought the lemon really made the apple flavours sing. Definitely recommended!! I can’t wait for a reason to make this one again!!

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Now, you might have noticed, Dear Internet, that I said that I was in Newfoundland for a week. And that there are billions of photos coming your way (seriously, I just spent an hour organizing photos for you. . .). But not today. I’m afraid that here in my lovely hometown, we’re having a heat wave and I do not handle heat well (or at all), so I’m feeling pretty gross at the moment. I might even have gotten a mild case of heat stroke from one un-airconditioned subway ride on Monday. . . But hopefully now that the organizing has been done, the blogging with follow swiftly. If I don’t end up feeling worse tomorrow when it’s supposed to go up to 37 (feeling like 45, or something evil like that). Cause it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity that’ll kill ya. There will even be a few oblique references to baking! That’s on theme right??

Seriously, it’s mostly going to be flowers. I have a weird obsession with the macro function on my not-too-awesome digital camera. So be prepared.

Now, my Dear Internet, it’s time for me to have a bit of dinner, a nice cup of (cold) tea, and to go to bed and sleep off this ickiness. I hope you’re handling the heat better than me.