Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring has arrived!

Happy Spring!
I saw these crocuses displaying their colours 2 weeks ago even before many other plants had even started pushing the soil up!
Diego and I went for a long walk yesterday and although it was a bit nippy in the wind we found the signs of spring all around us.
We made it to the waterfront spring has been underway for a couple of weeks now. As soon as there is enough light (usually early March) the microscopic plants (phytoplankton) that drive the highly productive ocean system here off of Nova Scotia came to life and started multiplying. This is why the water in the photo below is greenish. Normally (now that we have sewage treatment!) the water would be crystal clear in the winter.
Once the phytoplankton get really abundant then the very small animals and larvae of bottom dwellers and fishes called zooplankton "appear" and begin to feed on the phytoplankton and each other! If you look closely at the photo you will see little round balls with two training tails. These are called ctenophores (or sea gooseberry). They are voracious predators and always appear after a week or 2 after the spring bloom starts. Eventually, the phytoplankton get grazed down by the very abundant zooplankton, which then also attract larger predators (krill, larger fishes) then eventually the whales arrive to dine on the feast that Altantic Canada has to offer.
Now that Spring has arrived to both land and sea, it will soon be time for planting in the garden! Above are the first awakenings in our garden. I can wait to have our very first chives!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I made these no rise buns this morning and boy were they good! So easy...except getting them not to split! That was my fault in shaping them... I used 1/2 of the recipe and made 8 buns.
They served their purpose as a vehicle for a delicious breakfast sandwich!
It has a fried egg, honey garlic sausage split down the middle, grilled tomato and mayo. A once every few months kind of treat but oh so delicious! The rest will no doubt serve as a great base for some homemade jam or as a side for some soup! You can also use the recipe to make pizza crust and loaves of bread. I love a versatile recipe.

Friday, March 4, 2011


I have been holding back a secret. We got a KitchenAid Professional 6 stand mixer for Christmas!!!
The only spot it fits!
We were so lucky that some of our friends went home to the USA for Christmas and brought it back for us. A Professional 6 here in Canada is almost $600!! I was able to get it for less than 1/2 price!! I have been using it a lot for baking desserts but I absolutely LOVE it for making pizza dough!
Making pizza dough before the final kitchen configuration...we definitely do not need to move the blender every time!
It is such a dream! I even made the herb and garlic baguette recipe that came in the user guide (yes, they included LOTS of recipes!). Let's just say that I haven't yet perfected the baguettes but they were quite tasty and worthy of another try.
The bowl is large enough to make pizza dough for 5 pizzas! We had a pizza party and it was a blast!
We made this pizza last week. It was a mix of "things we need to eat in the fridge before they go bad" pizza. The dough was perfect and the toppings were amazing! We fried the toppings in olive oil before baking and the results was delicious. We put onions, garlic, firm tofu, spinach, zucchini, salt and lots of oregano. The sauce was a thin layer of olive oil and we used feta cheese. A definite must try! The dough is a recipe from my Italian friend, so it is authentic!

Pizza Dough

1 cup of water
1 bag of yeast
2tbs of olive oil
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 and 1/2 cups of flour

Mix the liquids plus sugar and salt and then add the flour. Then see if you want to add more flour, you need to have an elastic dough like the dough for pie crusts. Leave to rise for at least 3 hours in a warm place. If it is really sticky, you can put it in the fridge for a bit and it will roll out easier. Will make one 12" crust.