December 27, 2009

Boxing Day Breakfast

A growing tradition for Christmas: pannetone French toast made with egg nog. And short, strong espresso, of course. Then out for a brisk walk (after brushing our teeth).

Pannetone. An Italian brioche with candied peel, raisins and orange essence. Makes excellent toast.

Christmas Dinner

This one was just for the two of us, nice and quiet.

Coating the clove-studded ham with a mix of quince paste and mustard.

Glazed and smelling wonderful.

With leftover sweet potato strudel and snap peas. We opened Orofino's fantastic Reisling but found it overpowered so switched to a very tasty, and much more appropriate, Beaujolais Nouveau. The candied finish from the carbonic maceration was an excellent match with the glaze and the salty meat.

Christmas Wine

See Ya Later's Gewurztraminer was an excellent aromatic match with the kabocha ravioli with a walnut pesto.
Aromatic, rich and spicy fronted by smooth blueberry fruit. Deep inky blue/black. Deliciously matching the spiced rub on the roast.

Developed bouquet, suede-like tannins with dark, oaky fruit. Wonderful with the intense roast prime rib.

Christmas Party, 2009

Another wonderful Christmas party with dear, close friends. Aya planned and created the whole menu, as usual, with some familiar treasures and new delicious adventures.

Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) ravioli.

Aya's new favourite tool: the ravioli wrinkle-cutter.

Rolling the sweet potato strudel.

Poached bosc pears.

The strudel with the prime rib roast.

Inside the strudel with golden raisins and cranberries.

Table decorations.

November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Aya's amazing menu for eight people. All made from scratch over four days.

Stuffing the turkey with Pinot Noir grapes from Foxtrot Vineyards.

The turkey had soaked in brine overnight and here gets extra stock injections along with butter, herbs and garlic under the skin.

Aya's first roast turkey, with parsnips, carrots and roast garlic.

Foxtrot Pinot Noir Harvest

Our favourite Okanagan Pinot Noir comes from Foxtrot Vineyards on the Naramata Bench. We love it so much that we volunteered to help with their harvest this year, which took place over a frosty weekend in October. The grapes were fat and sweet and Gustav Allander, Foxtrot's winemaker, was very generous in answering our many, many questions.

Looking west, the vineyard sloping down toward Okanagan Lake.

Sunrise behind ice on the apricot trees. The sprinklers had not been drained and so had to be turned on overnight to keep the pipes from bursting.

The white crates hold about 500kg of grapes. We filled seven crates in a day and a half of picking.

A beautiful example of a ripe, juicy bunch of Pinot Noir grapes.

The grapes are loaded into the de-stemmer, specially designed for Pinot Noir.

November 20, 2009

Red Capped Mushrooms

November 01
All along Ontario Street these incredible, inedible rep caps popped up in close little gangs, like alien tourists. They seemed to be mostly near the roots of different trees and were in all states of development. People wondered what we were taking photos of and once they realized, the fungi drew quite a crowd. For about a five block stretch they seemed to be under every bush.

November 14, 2009

Main Street Fire

Aya woke up smelling smoke at about 4:30. Then the power went out about an hour later. We realized the fire wasn't on our block but was still quite close so we went to have a look. The flames were mostly out by the time we got there. It started in Kishu Sushi then spread to Slickety Jim's restaurant and an accountant's office. Lugz Coffee was also destroyed but they had already gone out of business a couple of weeks before. This was the fourth fire in that two-block area in the eight years we have lived here. Glad no-one was hurt but it is very sad to lose such unique local businesses.

Looking west at Broadway and Main.

The Globe And Mail had a very good illustration of the businesses lost. Let's see how long they'll let me embed it here.
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