The Essence

Living and growing a family in the North awards you with a real and tangible connection to the land. As a mother of 5 and as a home baker and wannabe chef, it is this connection that seeps into everything - motherhood, food, harvesting, and experiencing the very heartbeat of the bit of earth that sustains us.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Clean Out The Fridge Soup

Making a pot of soup is soothing to the soul. Soup is a pretty easy, quick thing to throw together and there is something about having a pot of soup simmering on your stove that makes you feel like you have it together. Soup on the stove makes me want to get all the laundry done, the bathrooms clean, the floors sparkling, and the shelves dusted. Soup propels me. If I have soup on the stove, it means it's going to be a pretty good day around the Grantham house. It makes the house smell good. Sometimes when we are nearing a grocery run into Whitehorse, I'll have some random vegetables that aren't much on their own, but that together make a darn good soup. I love soup because you can throw almost anything in the pot and it will be delicious. I had a small butternut squash, some carrots, a rutabaga and some onion.

Chop it all into chunks, melt some butter in a pot and throw it all in. Add a spoonful of garlic, some Italian spice and salt and pepper. You can add some fresh herbs, too of you have some. 

After that has fried up for a while and your kitchen is starting to smell yummy, add some chicken stock and some white wine, enough so that the vegetables float. 

Now you can go be productive for a little while, letting the vegetables simmer until they are soft. Remember all the laundry that soup makes you want to do? Maybe I lied a little about that. 
After the vegetables are soft, get out your immersion blender. Alternatively you could pour this all into a blender, but you really should have an immersion blender. Buzz all the vegetables up until they are smooth. 

You can add some more chicken stock if it is a little thick, and some more salt and pepper, to taste. We ate this soup up just like this, with some crusty bread, but then afterwards I thought about adding some cocunut milk, ginger, and a bit of curry to it. Next time I'll do that. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring on the Ice

This spring we have been spending quite a bit of time icefishing. Not that our efforts have resulted in anything but a few bites, but I don't go icefishing for the fish anyways. It's more about the trip to and from the lake, sitting in front of a fire in the blazing sun, watching the kids build forts and drive skidoos all by themselves. I found a bit of time this morning to make a batch of Hot Cross Buns, because that's what you make at Easter right?

Went for a hike and found sheep on the hills!

 Our little Griffon, Kelsey.

I adapted Ree Drummonds recipe for Hot Cross Buns. She's the Pioneer Woman, so they must be good right?!

Put 4 cups of milk, 1 cup of canola oil and 1 cup of sugar in a pot. Put it on medium heat until it scalds, but don't let it boil!

Let the mixture cool until it's warm to the touch, then pour it into your kitchen aid bowl and add 8 cups of flour and 4 1/2 tsp of quick rise yeast. Mix that up with the paddle, cover it with a towel or Saran Wrap and put it somewhere warm to rise for an hour.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, add another cup of flour, 1 heaping tsp of baking powder, 1 scant tsp of baking soda and 1 tbs of salt. Stick your dough hook on and mix that up for about 5 minutes. It will be sticky, but nothing that a little flour on your hands and counter top won't solve. 

 I forgot to take pictures of the next step. Sorry. 
Mix up 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp allspice. Also get out some raisins, or whatever other dried fruit you want to put in.
Turn the dough onto the counter and halve it. 
Roll out one half into a small rectangle, 
Sprinkle generously with the sugar mix and raisins and fruit, then fold the dough over, roll out again and repeat. Then repeat all of this with the other half of dough. Got a picture of it all done!

I really slacked off on the picture taking this time around. Portion the dough into buns and place them on greased sheets. Let them rise for an hour or until puffy and doubled in bulk, then brush them with a glaze made with an egg white and a few tablespoons of milk. DONT get lazy and only portion half your dough into buns, thinking that a Hot Cross Loaf would be nice.......
Put them in a 375C oven and bake for about 25 minutes, until they are nice and brown.

Mix an egg white, 1/2 cup of milk and a bunch of icing sugar until you get a not too runny glaze. Put it into a bag, snip the end off and pipe some crosses onto your buns. Yum!