The (Late) Great Pumpkin

I’m late. (Not in that way, silly.) White Rabbit late. White Rabbit - known for this ditty in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. “I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!”

It is this “elderly, timid, feeble, and nervously shilly-shallying” character [Source] that Alice follows down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, and in the last month or so I have been down a sort of rabbit hole of my own. The net result being that I posted no recipes or blog entries for all of October!

Yet I was surrounded by inspiration – the most noteworthy being pumpkins - everywhere – first for Thanksgiving and then Halloween.

Once Halloween's over, some Jack-o-lanterns get one last hurrah in November 1st Pumpkin Parades. Others land in garbage bins if they have not already been smashed in the street. As to what becomes of the hundreds of unsold pumpkins at every retail outlet – perish the thought. The pity of wasted pumpkin is that it is very nutritious – a source of fibre, a long list of vitamins and even more wondrous nutritional gifts in the seeds (also known as pepitas). 

That Spanish word is a tip off that pumpkins are native to North America (especially Mexico and Central America) and found their way abroad with the help of European explorers. Pumpkins are now cultivated on every continent except Antarctica. [Source]

Oh my how they’ve changed. The classic smooth, deep orange, ready-for-carving specimens now sit on racks next to pumpkins white, blue or covered in warts. Officially they may not all be pumpkins – although that depends on whether you use the terms “pumpkin” and “squash” interchangeably. Pumpkins fall under the umbrella of winter squash, most designated as a variation of cucurbita. There are so many varieties of winter squash, which unlike summer squash, do store well. I recently wrote about friendly farmer gifting me squash that I had not even seen before. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the squash you may be seeing at local markets.

The summer squash familiar to most are zucchini. I wonder if you have ever seen or used the summer squash called marrow – not to be confused with spaghetti squash? It looks like a large, fat, pale green zucchini and is used in the iconic Hungarian tökfőzelék - creamed marrow with dill. The word főzelék sort of translates to “creamed” – a “lame” word which to me never captures or communicates the eating experience. In Hungary this is so popular that the marrow is sold already cleaned, shredded and packaged in bags with the appropriate amount of dill. This is the first year we found no marrow anywhere – one farmer said that they simply did not flourish – perhaps suffering from pollination failure – oh those precious bees.

How do we use pumpkin / squash?

Roasted or as soup seem to be the most common uses. We often treat squash as a vegetable, but officially they are fruit and can be used in many sweets beyond the cliché pumpkin pie. For the record, here at KB, we enjoy pumpkin pie – but I let the 13th Street Bakery/Winery make that for me. 

And as someone with freckles, I should note that people have claimed that a pumpkin facial can fade freckles… maybe that’s a myth promulgated by the Anti-Ginger Movement – yes, "gingerism" (bullying of red heads) is a thing. Mind you, not all redheads have freckles.

While I do not usually share recipes that I have not yet tried and tested, here are some pumpkin / squash ideas I’m considering:

No piece on pumpkins would be complete without mentioning pumpkin spice (and the return of the pumpkin spice latte). Food Bloggers of Canada recently pulled together a round-up of pumpkin spice recipes. You can buy this spice mixture in bulk stores, or mix your own following the recipe included in the round-up.

I’m not even sure why I have been collecting pumpkin ideas. I hardly need them since I just won Allison Day’s newest book – Purely Pumpkin. I think of her as a “local” since she’s from Hamilton, and enjoy her blog Yummy Beet. Her first book - Whole Bowls - nicely captured a recent trend of combining healthy grains with everything your body and soul wish for “The Whole Bowls Formula page lists the required portion of each component (protein, starchy vegetables or fruits, non-starchy vegetables, grains, cheese and crunch or garnish)".  [FBC Review] I have not had a chance to make anything from her new book, but top of the list are Sticky Toffee Pumpkin Spice Pecan Truffles, Morning Glory Pumpkin Muffins (inspired by Detour Café in Dundas) and the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Bowl.

Pondering pumpkins reminds me of how often pumpkin is now “sneaking” into recipes. Like Jamie Oliver who tricks his kids into eating their veggies by shredding carrots into a spaghetti sauce, many nutrition conscious recipe developers are playing creatively with pumpkin and squash.

A cake, for example, has wet and dry ingredients and in many carrot cakes the “wet” is oil. One recipe I peeked at calls for 1 ¼ cups – that’s 2475 calories for that one ingredient alone! My “go to” recipe for carrot cake comes from the health conscious Podleski Sisters who use only ¼ cup of oil and one cup of pumpkin puree.

My latest favourite “stealth pumpkin” treat is Pumpkin Date Spice Cookies from Mairlyn Smith - and that's the recipe I am linking to this blog post. Am willing to bet that, like me, you'll be making these often!

Squirrel! That’s me being distracted a bit. Before signing off, I am reminded of a CBC radio segment where the host was complaining about her Halloween porch pumpkin being destroyed by squirrels. She said she’d lived in her house for twenty years and had never seen this before. You really need to do this - into Google, type squirrels and pumpkins, and check out the image and/or video results. 

One more thing on the subject of squirrels – another CBC radio nugget. On a segment inviting questions, someone asked “Why do we never see baby squirrels?” So true!? Why have we never asked that question!? The expert answered that baby squirrels are born blind and may not venture away from the nest until they are 10 weeks old. At that point they are large enough that we “see” them as adults. They’re sort of “teenage” squirrels and their only distinguishing feature is that they do crazy things. So next time you see a squirrel swinging from a vine, or having an erratic race with some invisible buddy - or maybe chewing into a pumpkin - you know why.

Click on the word "Comments", below, to share your thoughts. What's your favourite pumpkin or squash recipe? Any squirrel stories? If you enjoyed this read, please take a second to click on "Like"!

[This time last year: "A (Clean) Apple a Day..."]

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Cooking Backward. Cooking Forward.

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My recent KB kitchen time was devoted to something a bit unusual - for me. 

I spent time using up food that was crying for attention, approaching its “best before” time. Squash everywhere – butternut, acorn, delicata and pattypan (of unusual size); zucchini, French butter pears, plums, kale, bananas and more. 

During harvest time, it is tough to resist all the “eye candy” at the market, and easy to come home with an overabundance of food. (And - no complaints - but we also know a farmer who often showers us with veggies.)

Waste not, want not. I hate to throw out food staples not used, or cooked food not eaten. 

So why did I say it is a “bit unusual” for me to use up all that food? Because I tend to cook forward, not backward.

Let me explain. (And I will be curious to know what your cooking style is!)

I first heard the phrase "Cooking Backward" listening to a Grub podcast by Tiffany Mayer of Eating Niagara. She’s a super talented food writer, creatively and engagingly keeping people abreast of food matters in the Niagara Peninsula, publishing in various media (and she has a book). She also contributes her expertise to Food Bloggers of Canada. In Episode 2 of Grub she interviewed Jeanine Donofrio, author of the book and website: Love & Lemons. [Sept 2016 Update: Love and Lemons just won the Editor's Choice Saveur Award for "Most Inspired Weeknight Dinners".]

Cooking Backward. As described by Donofrio, with this approach to cooking, the ingredients are the starting point, and the cook’s task is figuring out what to do with them. Skill in creative improvisation, or intrepid experimentation rule the day. For those lacking both - and seemingly this includes her mother (Donofrio jokes that her mother is a “To the T” recipe follower) - Donofrio offers her cookbook - organized by vegetable since ingredients are the starting point. 

Cooking Forward. Donofrio does not use the term, but the implication is that her mom “cooks forward”. Her mom, I am guessing, is my age. I too tend to cook forward – start with recipe, go to store with shopping list, and follow recipe.

More specifically, my starting points tends to be:

  • what do I / we feel like having? (Influenced by the season, mood, occasion etc.)
  • there’s a new recipe that I want to try

In cooking forward, the blueprint for an imagined outcome is the starting point. This is not to say that I don’t improvise. I have the confidence to go with the flow, handle mistakes, make substitutions, modify methods – but most of the time the starting point is a recipe guiding my cooking journey. 

My forward cooking tendency makes me a poor CSA candidate. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership means that each week you get a bushel basket of whatever the local farmer has harvested. I love the concept, and support “buy local”, but for me CSA is too much pressure. Every week, a bushel full of stuff demanding that I do something with it?! Cook it, freeze it, preserve it. (BTW Batch is a great new book on preserving.)

Let's have a bit of fun with these ideas. It seems to me there are three Cooking Forward (CF) styles:

  1. CF:BTB – start with a recipe and do it "By The Book";
  2. CF:AMS – start with recipe, but Adapt, Modify, Substitute;
  3. CF:CEFT – start with a recipe and/but Change Every F@#$ Thing. (Many food bloggers talk about negative feedback from CF:CEFT cooks, who dare to post a blog comment complaining about the recipe results.)

For Cooking Backward (CB), the starting point is the ingredients – you have them on hand for one reason or another. You either match what’s on hand to a recipe or you use what you know about cooking principles and end up with a dish that you could potentially say you invented. I propose there are types of CB:

  1. CB:OTF – cook with no recipe, “On The Fly”, improvising;
  2. CB:BTR – match ingredients to a recipe, but play and “Break The Rules”;
  3. CB:BTB – match ingredients to a recipe, then follow it “By The Book”.

Trust me to complicate things. I have taken two approaches to cooking, expanded them into 6 styles. Are there more? How about this? When trying to replicate a food memory for which I have no recipe, I juggle playing with ingredients, with cherry-picking ideas from tons of recipes – experimenting until I get it right. Could we call that style “Mash-Up” (MU)? (I proudly managed this with my Almond Rings recipe.)

Lastly there’s the kitchen performance that appears to be “without a net” - when you make something with no recipe in sight, because you are “following” a recipe burned into your memory after years of practice. (It reminds me of the first open house visit to the Grade 1 class of KB son #1. He casually pointed to a book on display and told me “I can read that book without looking!”) Let’s call this last cooking approach LTM (for Long Term Memory.)

In defense of cooking forward – it minimizes wasting food. Every food brought into the kitchen has a known and imminent destiny.

Cooking backward would come in handy in the event of an apocalypse. Imagine all recipes destroyed – you could be that person who can forage and cook and contribute to survival. What? Apocalypse!? You never engage in catastrophic thinking? Crikey, if someone is more than an hour late coming home, my fretting is channeled into planning for disaster – funeral details and so on. (Is this just a mom thing? a female thing? By the way, did you know that the code name of the funeral plan for Winston Churchill was “Operation Hope Not”?)

In addition to its apocalyptic usefulness, I get the feeling that cooking backward is considered to be more creative, so I feel pressure to say that I can handle cooking backward – especially if I can match ingredients to a recipe. But I know I do not come close to many fellow bloggers who perform magic in the kitchen. One that comes to mind is Ginny from The Spicy Eggplant. She has even blogged about “playing with food”, and I have told her that I think her introduction to cooking would make a great movie!

Cooking backward would have ancient roots, and be characteristic of farmers and peasants. It seems like the noble, virtuous way to cook. And yet, there are also early roots to the habit of recipe writing. Wikipedia claims that the oldest cookbook, Apicius, is from 4th / 5th century Rome. Recipes were often closely guarded secrets, as portrayed in the novel by Elle Newark – published as The Chef’s Apprentice (also published as The Book of Holy Mischief). It is set in Renaissance Venice – I am a sucker for any fiction set in Venice. I dare you to name a title I haven’t read [wink].

Is cooking backwards or forwards a style preference or an age-related thing? Is it nature or nurture? I should be good at backward cooking – only two generations removed from peasants and farmers. I grew up in a house where we made sausages and smoked them; where preserving was routine – pickles, pears, peaches, cauliflower, tomato sauce, and plum butter (aka – lekvar). I treasure all the mason jars, but am not doing much to fill them. 

  Mom's basement: Capping gadgets and old beer bottles used for bottling tomato sauce.

Mom's basement: Capping gadgets and old beer bottles used for bottling tomato sauce.

  True. Minutes after finishing this post, nice farmer delivered more squash!! Am not getting ahead. Backwards it is!!

True. Minutes after finishing this post, nice farmer delivered more squash!! Am not getting ahead. Backwards it is!!

On the other hand, my preference for using recipes may be linked to a long history of following instructions – I think, I hope, not in a bad way. I grew up watching my Dad assemble Heathkits. I assembled models – the largest being the USS Enterprise – the aircraft carrier, not the Starship. I made my own clothes – from patterns. I did paint by number. I studied piano following the Conservatory method. The pay-off today? I LOVE assembling IKEA furniture! And yet… something about all this suddenly sounds a bit unsettling, perhaps even psychologically unhealthy and restrictive. Geesh – maybe there’s therapy for these kinds of childhood experiences. Sign me up for “Fun 101”! Or… lead me to a kitchen – forward or backward.

BTW, in case you’re interested, so far my Cooking Backward session yielded the following results: (Curry) Butternut Squash Pear Soup (I played with a recipe from a talented fellow blogger - Maria of She Loves Biscotti - and used up two ingredients!), and Banana Bread, Party Plum Cake, Zucchini Bread, and Festive Kale Salad. I am still trying to decide how to use the pattypan.

Backward Cooks may be more likely to create and play. We know they blog - and some even get cookbook deals. Thanks in advance to the Forward Cooks who, in search of that perfect tested recipe, might visit this site and leave a “Like”.

Click on the word "Comments", below, to share. What style of cook are you? Any recommended Venice books? If you enjoyed this read, please take a second to click on "Like"!

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Time is on my side...

So said the Rolling Stones in their 1964 recording.

For a friend, grieving the loss of a loved one, time was not on their side. 

So, here I am pondering time and dearly departed.

I am now too old to “die young” – though boomers do keep moving the bar on the definition of "young". The unexpected passing of someone the same age invokes the “live each day to the fullest” mantra – and yet…

Time – it is the gift of retirement. As a thoroughly modern working woman, juggling home, family, full-time work and graduate studies, I never achieved any work/life balance that included clever meal planning and Zen cooking. Now, especially since I began blogging, I have time to plan a project each week – recording an old family recipe or experimenting with things that have long been on my "to do" list.

“Recording an old family recipe” can be tough when the “family” is long gone. This May will mark 42 years since the death of my paternal grandmother. (I had to look that up.) I have very fond memories of her even though we did not spend massive amounts of time together. Perhaps because of some quirks of my grandfather, they became the grandparents that were visited less often than my maternal grandparents. Though I was a (young) grown-up when she died, it was stupendously stupid of me that I did not make time to learn from her / at her side. But I was not, then, who I am now, and “we don’t know what we’ve got ‘til it’s gone”. Her eyes lit up when I visited, and she would almost conspiratorially pull me to the back room to show me all the glorious handiwork she had embroidered for me. She was only a bit older than I am now when she died, after which my grandfather went a bit berserk and gave away the contents of those drawers to neighbours. Technically (and otherwise) he was kind to me, and on his dairy farm there was always a new calf named after me. By the time of his own death he had few assets or possessions. The only thing I “inherited” from him was a (made in Germany) colander that I use to this day. 

I think of this grandmother as a brave woman.

 My father on the left...

My father on the left...

It is conceivable that my grandfather was responding to these Canadian posters inviting emigration to The West. Leaving my grandmother in Hungary with two preschoolers, he arrived at Pier 21 in Halifax, was given $25 and property in Spiritwood, Saskatchewan (close to North Battleford). It remains hard for me to fathom that, with two wee kiddies, she travelled from a tiny village, across Europe, took a ship across the ocean, landed in Halifax and then travelled across Canada to join him several years later. The story, as I know it, is that the day she stepped off the train in North Battleford, he was in town mailing a letter advising her not to come. It must have been a brutal existence. She had three more children – two of which died out west, in winter. They had to tend a fire for several days to thaw the ground enough for a burial. Having moved to Ontario, they left their dairy farm in Wellandport after the third Canadian-born son was killed driving over a railway crossing. In Hamilton, she replaced farm work with factory work - walking to a corner close to her house where she’d be picked up by a company bus transporting workers to/from the E.D. Smith factory. She died from heart disease - but surely must have also had a broken heart.

From her kitchen, I remember she always had cinnamon spread, and/but never "real" ketchup. Instead she bought Catsup. The internet says ketchup / catsup – same thing – but in my experience it wasn’t. In hindsight it probably had no, or less, sugar!

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My grandmother was the Kalács Queen (kuh-lawtch). This is a Hungarian sweet bread probably not unlike similar breads all over Europe and Eastern Europe. I can still conjure up that taste memory! My lifelong yeast phobia translates into the fact that I have not yet tried an official Hungarian kalács recipe. However, the second I laid eyes on this recipe for Lemon Ricotta Buns I felt sure it might replicate a ricotta kalács she used to make – and it did!

I now have “time” to make things that involve proofing time. Is that a good use of my time? Am I living each day to the fullest? Hard to say, but as Michael Pollan says in his book / documentary series “Cooked” – “time is the missing ingredient in our cooking” – and I am content that this ingredient is now a staple in my kitchen.

For as Bill Watterson / Calvin and Hobbes says - “There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want.” 

For the sake of brevity, I am shelving so many more thoughts on "time". Want a good read? Carl Honore’s In Praise of Slow. Good movie? About Time. Daily meditation? Read any one of these quotations.

Here’s the recipe for Lemon Ricotta Buns. Use Comments, below, to share or ask questions - and if you enjoyed this read, please take a second to click on "Like"!

I am yellow today...

Yellow is on my mind since this post is a preamble to sharing my Flan recipe - a lovely pale yellow delicacy. Pastels are everywhere now that it is officially Spring - even though the Southern Ontario weather-god did not get the memo. Why do we associate yellow with Spring? It is the colour of many of the first flowers, but I could not find an answer to this question, other than “in almost every culture yellow represents sunshine, happiness, and warmth.” [Source

This earworm has taken up permanent residence in my head - “I am yellow today… I shine my light out like the sun…” If you live in Canada, you may recognize that lyric from this year’s tourism commercial for Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). I invite you to pause and enjoy the “Crayons” video.

Viewing the video, you are captivated by the landscapes and the colours of NL and are ready to plan a trip, but… there are some things you need to know. Almost 30 years ago, having already had our first visit to NL we got a giggle from the NL documentary called “Rain, Drizzle and Fog” - and the title says it all. (I have found no site where you can watch this online - pity… since it is enjoyable and includes beloved NL personalities Mary Walsh and Andy Jones (sibling of the equally talented Cathy Jones).

I am not intending to discourage anyone from visiting “The Rock” – have been there several times and love it – and the talent, culture and food. Go, go! but choose your wardrobe thoughtfully. My last visit was in the month of May and it was freezing! Mind you, what they say about maritime climates is true – “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”. There was in fact a day when the sun came out and the temperature went to double digits – the locals whipped out their flip flops for those few exhilarating hours. Once on a July holiday, way up on the Great Northern Peninsula there was still snow on the shady side of the road! (Yes, a summer snowball fight ensued.)

Most people get to NL by plane or ferry. We always chose the ferry. North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques - a 5-7 hour ferry ride that we took overnight. Not “wasting” a day on the crossing seemed like a good idea at the time, but it meant staying up late to board the ferry and arriving at the crack of dawn, then driving in a sleep deprived daze to Corner Brook for breakfast. The ferry to St. John’s takes 14-16 hours and once on land, it’s another 1.5 hour drive to St. John’s. The drive time from Port aux Basques to St. John’s is at least 9 hours and that explains why we never, as a family, visited that city. When traveling by car, the long journey to and from the capital of The Rock never seemed to be a good match to the allocated holiday schedule. Noteworthy - one should heed the warnings of NL-ers about driving after dusk. Moose accidents are still a huge issue. The provincial government even offers a Moose Advisory.

On our first visit, driving had additional limitations. Wanting to travel up the Great Northern Peninsula to see St. Anthony’s and L’Anse aux Meadows, we were warned by locals that our car would not withstand the long drive on the gravel road. Years later, on that same (now paved) road, I formed one of my fondest memories. It was my turn to drive, and music from Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero soundtrack was playing. (Click for musical interlude.) Windswept shrubs seemingly growing sideways separated us from the sea on my left - still the Gulf of St. Lawrence - and the yellow sun was shining!!

We went as far north as we could, staying at a fabulous B&B called The Tickle Inn, in Cape Onion. (It is still there!) My boys were thrilled to have a separate room - the loft - accessed by what must have seemed like a magical ladder. We slept with windows open and were warned not to be alarmed by noises in the night - they’d be growlers - small chunks of iceberg rubbing on the shore. We grabbed a small one for our cooler when leaving, and to this day still have two pop bottles filled with melted iceberg.

The chance of seeing an iceberg is certainly an attraction - though iceberg alley is not always busy. NL offers a website to help with this. (The satellite feed to the map goes live on April 1. Google Newfoundland + iceberg and check out the News results - looks like it will be a good year for sightings that have already begun, early.) There were no active icebergs in 2011 when I finally got to St John’s. This time, I flew in to St John’s, travelling with my BFF. One of our outings was to nearby Quidi Vidi Harbour where one year later a glorious iceberg was trapped in that wee inlet – bad timing / luck for us.

I need to bring this back to food. Good moment to mention that several entrepreneurs have taken to harvesting and selling iceberg water – Berg and Glace. Have not yet tasted either.

I am pausing here to seriously and ruthlessly edit down all that I could share about NL. snip <> cut <> snip <> cut….

I cannot say this of all Canadian provinces, but Newfoundland is part of the tapestry of my life. Sorry Labrador for being infrequently mentioned. I am sure some of the images in the NL commercials come from Torngat Mountains National Park. I can point on a map to Labrador City and Churchill Falls and HVGB – from watching CBC St John’s supper hour news, I know that’s short for Happy Valley Goose Bay. I’d consider driving to Newfoundland via Labrador if only there was a road connecting the end of Quebec’s #138 to Labrador’s #510. (Mind you…  a lot of the #510 is still unpaved…)

So much laughter in my life is owed to Newfoundlanders – a long string of comedy dating back to CODCO, Gullage's, Hatching, Matching and Dispatching - up to today’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Reports. Later additions to the CODCO core are greatly talented – Mark Critch, Susan Kent, Shaun Majumder. Then there’s Jonny Harris hosting the charming Still Standing - where he visits towns with dwindling populations, but inspirational community spirit.

Majumder also ventured away from pure comedy long enough to do several seasons of Majumder Manor. His goal of using tourism for cultural / economic revitalization of his hometown of Burlington, NL mirror what’s happening with Fogo Island’s breathtaking project – save your pennies for that experience. (P.S. It’s where Justin and family spent Easter.)

TV talk is not complete without reference to Republic of Doyle. The older airport taxi driver asked if we’d heard of it. Yes of course we had! He wanted to assure us that it was just TV and St. John ’s was no where near as dangerous as that! NL gives us humour, great actors like Gordon Pinsent, and real characters as in (past) Premier Danny Williams.  Take three minutes to view this video: Williams + Pinsent + Critch = hilarious.

NL films? - The Grand Seduction (the English language re-make of the Quebec film), Shipping News, John and the Missus. NL literature? – Wayne Johnston (start with The Colony of Unrequited Dreams); Michael Crummey’s Galore; Annie Proulx’s Shipping News – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg (forgive the pun.) For a soundtrack to your reading there’s much to choose from – Great Big Sea, Hey Rosetta, Allan Doyle (who chums around with Russel Crowe).

And finally, the food. Some NL-ers might admit that until recently there was not much to say about the food, but now there is! Added to their classics - cod tongues and scrunchions, toutons, seal flipper pie (yup, that's a real thing), partridge berry and cloudberry jam, and Purity candies - there is a new wave of creative chefs making national headlines. 

Here’s the moment when I must confess a foodie faux pas, regret. I did a ton of walking in the heart of St. John’s, often passing a cute little sign advertising a B&B. I looked it up on the internet and read - “local chef Todd Perrin and hosted by his parents - Bill & Wanda”. Family business with the son doing the cooking. Yes, I thought, cute – but not where we are going to eat. A few months later, I tune in to the first season of Top Chef Canada (now discontinued) and behold – Todd Perrin from NL!! He did not win, but has since opened Mallard Cottage in Quidi Vidi (close to the microbrewery) and is now set to open a second eatery in the same area. Missed the chance to meet him and enjoy his cooking - boo!

It gets worse. Twice we thought about eating at Raymond’s. I had read about the place, but each time we approached the imposing building and peeked in at the white tablecloths, we decided it was out of our budget and incompatible with Mountain Equipment wardrobes. Of course, Raymond’s is now #4 in Canada’s Top 100 restaurants – oops, another miss.

So where did we end up each night we gave Raymond’s a pass? At the Aqua restaurant. That chef, Mark McCrowe, described as an award-winning Newfoundland and Labrador chef went on to appear on Chopped Canada. Sad to say that Aqua is now closed. Nonetheless, as with so many cities and towns, St. John's is showing signs of youthful entrepreneurial activity. For example, the “Brooklyn” vibe was noticeable at The Rocket Bakery

Finally… the Flan. The recipe source calls it a "Spanish style" flan, but in the context of this ode to NL, let’s re-christen it Portuguese Flan to acknowledge the strong links between the fishers of each country. (Read more about the Portuguese White Fleet).

Yellow - sunshine, happiness and warmth? Yellow is also associated with caution and cowardice – but take heart! You can make this impressive and tasty dessert!! Think of the yellow that is associated with “amusement, optimism, gentleness, and spontaneity” and bliss in the kitchen! [Source]

Here’s the link to the recipe. Use Comments, below, to share or ask questions - and if you enjoyed this read, please take a second to click on "Like"!

P.S. The crew at This Hour Has 22 Minutes, not surprisingly, did a parody of the crayon video. Spoiler – NL has had another tough winter, so the colour is “white”…

P.P.S. Had not realized until after posting this that 11:59, March 31, 1949 was the moment NL joined Canada as the tenth province. Not everyone in NL was happy about that - a fact reflected in the 1992 film Secret Nation - which can be watched online. (The first few minutes only are choppy.)