a rose is a rose is a…

13 02 2009

If you’re looking to treat your sweetie (or yourself!) to some flowers this Valentine’s Day, you may want to stop and think about the distance that most flowers travel to get to you… Many of the Valentine roses you see in florists are flown from places like Ecuador – a far-off, wonderful country which you should support, but NOT through its rose industry.

And WHY are these flowers coming from so far away, when there are local roses growing right here in the Ottawa area??? YES, you heard me – local roses in Ottawa in the middle of February! And not just roses, but snapdragons, irises, lilies and more. Carleton Growers is located just outside Carp and they supply fresh-cut flowers to the Ottawa area. You can visit them yourselves to pick up a beautiful bouquet, or you can ask your local florist to order from them directly.


them apples

14 01 2009

One of the challenges of eating locally, is having enough space to store food for the winter. Apples for example. Apples store quite well into the winter if you keep them in a cool place, like a refrigerator. But unless you have a fridge the size of a MONSTER TRUCK, it’s kinda hard to squeeze enough apples in there to last you through the winter. A cold storage room would be even better but not everyone is so lucky.

All this to say that my apple supply has been dwindling lately. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear about Hall’s Apple Market which takes orders online and will DELIVER their local apples to four different locations in and around Ottawa. I placed my first order last week!

Apple crisp, we’re back in business.

holiday celebrations

10 12 2008

I’ve been walking around with a silly little grin on my face since Friday when I handed in my last paper of the semester. I feel so freeeeeeeeeee! Nights and weekends are mine once again. And just in time for all the wonderful holiday preparations… like baking!

My holiday baking plans include lots of cranberries, which always evoke a festive mood for me. And how lucky are we, in the Ottawa area, to have a cranberry grower right in our backyard?!? There are so many good cranberry recipes, but my favourite is this simple recipe from Nigella Lawson

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake taken from How to Be a Domestic Goddess (one of my favourites!)

  • 50g + 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g + 125g sugar
  • 175g cranberries
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • approx 1-2 Tbsp full-fat milk

Using a cast-iron frying pan or a tarte-tatin dish, melt 50g of butter over the stove-top. Add 150g of the sugar, stir, then empty the cranberries into the pan and coat them in the syrupy liquid. Turn the element off and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put flour salt, cinnamon, 125 g of sugar, 125 g of butter and the eggs in a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are combined. Add enough milk, pulsing briefly until the batter is a soft, dropping consistency (if this sounds sketchy to you, don’t worry, it will likely work no matter how you interpret this). Pour the batter over the cranberry mixture and transfer the pan to the oven.

Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and place a plate on top of the pan. CAREFULLY turn the pan and plate upside down and then lift the pan off. You’ll find a scrumptiously good dessert underneath.


starch me up

7 10 2008


Flour is my #1 enemy in this Eat Local Challenge so far. It seems as though every meal I try to make has a flour-based non-local food item in it… pasta, bread, tortillas… SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ABOUT MY STARCHES? We’ve already established that the rice from India is a no-no, and really, how many potatoes can one girl eat in a month? A lot apparently.

I want to add flour to my exceptions list, but I’m not sure if I would reach my 50% goal if I did. It would make it tight, that’s for sure. I seem to eat a lot of flour. Sure, I could make my own pasta, my own bread, my own tortillas… if I quit my job, quit school, stopped exercising, and threw all entertainment out of the house. Okay, so I’m being a bit melodramatic. This is what flour does to me!

Thank goodness for Little Stream bread. Unstuffed has been posting about it for months. Little Stream is a bakery located just outside Perth, Ontario, and it offers a beacon of light when I need my quick-starch fix. Not only are their loaves prepared locally, but many of the ingredients are local as well. So I’ve got potatoes and bread on my plate for the challenge…

Now I’m on the hunt for some local pasta.

scrabulous surprises

30 07 2008

Not everyone goes for surprises, but I LOVE them. So, a few weeks ago on my birthday, my beloved handed me six Scrabble tiles and, with a mischievous grin, he said “Happy birthday.”

I stared at the tiles… T P O C N I

Hmm, my present was somehow hidden in the tiles. I started to play with them while I chatted with my brother and sister-in-law, who were with us. But frustration got the better of me and I focussed all of my energy on the tiles. Pocnit… Coiptn… Nicpot… Tipcon… then finally… PICTON!!! We were going to Picton!!!

I had been wanting to visit Picton and Prince Edward County for months, ever since I heard about their Taste Trail. The Taste Trail is exactly what the name implies… a marked trail through the county where you go from one decadent taste experience to the next. And that’s exactly what we did for our weekend getaway. In two days we managed to fit in several wineries, some fantastic restaurants, lots of farmer’s markets and more! I really can’t do all of them justice but my mouth waters at the very memory of them all. A few of the highlights included:

Prince Edward County is such a great example of a region that supports its farmers and producers. Everywhere we went, we saw places advertising local products. And they weren’t just greenwashing us, everyone knew the local farms, producers and other businesses and they happily directed us to them whenever we asked. We came back from our weekend piled high with local goodies.

It was a FABULOUS surprise weekend.