Tag Archives: mother

My Best Mother’s Day story

My best Mother’s Day story.  After I moved to B.C. I didn’t spend too many Mother’s Days with my Mom.  But once I happened to be travelling home to Vancouver from St. Lucia via Toronto where we had a stop-over. In those days there was flexibility and sometimes the check-in agent could make a change to your flight — without any change fees.  It was Mother’s Day weekend so I asked if I could change my flight so I could see my Mom. Perhaps she was a Mom or a daughter or just a very nice person, but my story pulled at her heart strings.  She went to work at her computer and changed the last leg of my flight by a couple of days!  Now this was before cell phones, so I don’t know if I’d already talked to my sister Rosemary, who lived in Oakville, to see if she could pick me up, but I had to arrange that before I lost my flight home.  It was just the best gift I could give my Mom and I am forever grateful to the Air Canada agent.

My Mom, Helen, passed away in 2005, but I like to post a picture of her on Facebook like so many other people do. So this post is for you Mom.

The story behind the picture:  Mom & Dad came to visit Dennis & I in Victoria – probably circa 1998.  We drove up to Sooke to go for lunch at this very picturesque restaurant along the ocean.  I didn’t often take black & white, but I was getting artsy with my new Pentax SLR Camera that used film.  Too bad this was the same film I had in the camera when we went to Butchart Gardens!

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It’s almost Pancake Day! Or do you know it as Shove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday?

pancakes - Shrove Tuesday-Pancake Day-Fat TuesdayIt’s almost Pancake Day! Or do you know it as Shove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday?  Anyway you say it or make it, pancakes are a wonderful dish to be enjoy at brunch or for dinner.

Crepes rather than pancakes were more the norm in our household.  And we called them palacinta – the Hungarian version of a crepe.

We filled ours with a sweetened cottage cheese filling with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sometimes some raisins.  We spread the filling over the crepe – not to close to the edges, and then rolled them up.  There was a nifty trick to holding the palacinta in our hands – you bent it in half and put the back half between your pinky and ring finger and the front half was placed between your first finger and thumb.  And if you didn’t like the cottage cheese filling, you could spread it with homemade strawberry jam.

Over the years I have added more variations such as drizzling a nice warm fruit compote on top or using ricotta instead of cottage cheese.  My cousin tells me she makes them with a walnut filling which sounds absolutely fabulous.  I think my sisters and I would like them with a poppy seed filling.  Of course these new variations necessitate eating them with a fork and knife.  Until now, I had forgot about the original way to eat palacinta.  Perhaps I’ll make them for Fat Tuesday / Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday.

I Bet I’m Not Thinking What You Are On This September 11th!

Remembering is good.  But sometime events overshadow what once was just an ordinary day to so many other people.  Or, it is a special day of remembrance that came before the one that most people think of now.

Today will always be my mother Helen’s birthday.  She was born on this day in 1930 and sadly, she passed away in 2005.  I like to think of her on her birthday as a happy memory.  And this year I’ll be spending it in a house my mother lived in before she was married.  She didn’t live in this house long and I don’t think she really knew which house it was, many years later when she ultimately came back to live in Tillsonburg again.  She knew the vicinity, but it could have been this house or the one across the way.

We only found out for sure after my Dad saw it.  He’d come over to see my new place and on our way out of the house he just matter-of-factly stated, “this was the house your Grandmother lived in with your mother”.   Solved, after all these years of wondering just which one it was.

My Beautiful Mother As A Young Woman

“Happy Birthday Mom.  I sure am missing you.”  Love, Cathy, xox

Chef Wanda Chau, “Bah!” and her shortbread cookies

My friend, Chef Wanda Chau, owns and operates Bah! Baked at Home. Her shortbread cookies were featured on the program “On the Coast” on CBC Radio 1 hosted by Stephen Quinn for its weekly food feature about the upcoming One of a Kind Show.   They tried the Lavender & Vanilla shortbread and the Parmesan shortbread – one sweet and one savoury.  I’ve had both and they are delicious.  I also love her gingersnap cookies which are both chewy and soft.  I’m still trying to find a recipe that will give me the same taste and texture.

They also featured a  pistachio shortbread cookie – recipe below.  It sounds very much like the Butterball Surprises my Mom and I made at Christmas time.  The surprise is the chocolate chips we added to the original recipe from the Five Roses Cookbook.  We roll the cookies into balls and sprinkle with icing sugar after baking.  They are quite lovely for Christmas and because they aren’t in the traditional shapes found with shortbread, people are often surprised with the taste.  The cookies are delicate, flakey and not too rich tasting although filled with butter!  The recipe is a family favourite.  My niece Chloe also bakes these cookies so the family tradition is being carried on from my Mom and me.

I don’t have my Five Roses cookbook with me so this year I am going to use Anna Olson’s recipe as the base and make some with pistachios and some with chocolate chips.  Let me know if you try these.  Happy Baking and Merry Christmas to all!

Pistachio Snowball Cookies by Anna Olson, “Back to Baking”, Whitecap Books, 2011)

• Makes about 4 dozen cookies • (egg-free)

The richness of pistachios complements the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of these dainty cookies.

2 1/3 cups (580 mL) all-purpose flour
1 cup (250 mL) shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios
1/3 cup (80 mL) sugar
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1 1/4 cup (310 mL) cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract
Icing sugar, for coating

Preheat the oven to 325°f (160°c) and line 2 baking trays with parchment.

Using a food processor, pulse the flour, pistachios, sugar, and salt until the pistachios are finely ground into the mixture. Add the butter and vanilla, and pulse until the dough comes together.

Roll teaspoonfuls of dough into balls about 1 inch (2.5 cm) across and place them 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart on the prepared baking trays. Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes, until the bottoms just begin to colour. Cool the cookies completely on the baking trays, then roll them in icing sugar to coat. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.
Notes from Anna’s kitchen and from Cathy:
Tender nuts like pistachios, pecans, walnuts, and pine nuts can typically be interchanged in recipes, so you can tailor your cookies to suit your tastes or what you may have on hand.

The oils in these nut varieties are quite delicate and can quickly turn rancid. If you do not plan on using your stock of nuts within 2 months, it’s best to store them, well wrapped, in the freezer.

Substitute the nuts with chocolate chips for a nut-free cookie.