How an old cook book got our editor thinking about some of her first recipes
Over the holidays, I got a copy of the Purity Cook Book: The Complete Guide to Canadian Cooking. It was the one cookbook we had growing up that was used so often, dough and food stains permanently marked its dog-eared pages. I always preferred baking, so the cookies, cakes and dessert recipes were my first experiments in cooking.
Many of you, of course, are familiar with this book. Some of you posted on our Facebook page that you still had your copies, which were handed down from parents or received as wedding gifts.
I spent an afternoon looking through this book and got a little nostalgic. Most of the recipes I try now come from online sources, with the Joy of Baking and the Food Network being my two favourites. But I think I will look through the Purity Cook Book and get cooking (and eating) during the cold winter months.
Here are a few of the recipes I plan on trying. Some I’ve made before, while others will be for the first time:
Pineapple upside down cake: I loved making this as a kid. It looked quite impressive when it was done, but included ingredients we almost always had in the cupboard, except for maybe the cherries. Maybe this time I will try some of the moderations, including peach upside down cake, or maple pear upside down cake.
Baked Alaska: I have never tried this one, but it always seemed like a challenge I wanted to try. When you’re a kid, ice cream rarely sits in the freezer long enough for you to do anything with it besides put it on a cone. But baking ice cream? How do they do it! Besides, who doesn’t love ice cream and cake all smothered in meringue? This recipe serves 12, so I will have to invite guests to join me in eating it.
Fudge, of any kind: This cookbook has recipes for maple fudge and chocolate fudge. Fudge, like any candy, needs to be cooked to a certain temperature for best results. I never used a candy thermometer: there was something more scientific about the “cold water test” of dropping a bit of the candy mixture into a glass of cold water to see what form it takes. That shape will give you the approximate temperature and therefore tell you if the candy is done. I think this was my favourite part of making fudge. I still don’t own a candy thermometer!
Share your favourites with me and I will give them a try!
In our winter issue, we included this recipe of Simon’s Winter Bread, which is a perfect bread recipe for beginners. But in this case, a beginner bread maker caught an error! We omitted the ingredient list for the bread portion and the second instruction should say, “add the flour,” not “add the water.”
So, here it is, the complete recipe with ingredient list and correct instructions. Our apologies!
East Coast Living
Simon’s Winter Bread
This is a recipe that the author makes every winter, as it is a wonderfully hearty and adaptable bread. It is an adaptation of a recipe for a Pugliese bread from “Home Baking” by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. The original recipe started with a very wet dough, which isn’t always easy for beginner bakers, but this version is very forgiving. Yields two large circular loaves.
1/8 tsp yeast
1/2 cup (125 ml) lukewarm water
1 cup (250 ml) flour
3 cups (750 ml) lukewarm water
1 tsp (5ml) yeast
5-6 cups (1.25 L – 1.5 L) all purpose flour
1 tbsp plus ½ tsp (17ml) salt
1 cup (250 ml) whole wheat flour
- First, make the biga. Combine the water and yeast, allowing it a minute or so for the yeast to start to become active.
- Add the flour, mixing well.
- Turn the dough out onto a well floured suface and knead briefly to create a soft dough.
- Place in a bowl and leave at room temperature for 12-24 hours, whatever is most convenient.
- When ready to make the bread, tear the biga into four or five small pieces, and place into the warm water, stirring it up to help dissolve it.
- Stir in one cup (250 ml) of the all purpose flour, as well as the salt, stirring well. Then add three cups (750 ml) of the all purpose flour, adding it in slowly but surely. The dough will be very wet and loose.
- Liberally flour a station with a half cup (125 ml) of the whole wheat flour. Turn the dough out. Immediately start kneading the dough, by folding it in half, then doing a half-turn and folding again. Keep adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky and starts to bounce back when you poke it gently with a finger.
- Place the dough in a clean bowl and allow to rise between three and four hours.
- Cut the dough in half, and shape each half into two equally-sized loaves of bread. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rest for an hour.
- Turn the oven on to 500 F (260C). If you have a baking stone, place it in the oven to warm up. Otherwise, use a baking sheet. This will help the oven retain some of its heat. Once the oven has reached its temperature, allow the oven to keep on heating up for at least twenty minutes.
- Carefully place the bread loaves one at a time on the baking stone/sheet in the oven.
- After ten minutes, turn down the heat to 450F (230C). Bake for another 25 minutes, or until the bread is nicely browned. The bread should sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Allow to cool for at least thirty minutes, preferably forty-five minutes to an hour.
Four designers and decorators offer holiday door designs to greet your guests this season
Creating ideas for each issue of East Coast Living is all about teamwork. So when we sat down months ago to talk about the winter issue, we thought about including a section much like the one on holiday place settings we had last year. Dana Edgar, our production manager, suggested we ask a few designers and decorators to each create a look for a holiday door. Visually, each door would be quite interesting, but we’d also include a write-up on the inspiration for the door, as well as tips for readers.
All four designers and decorators were excited to take part. The rules were simple: Create a door design with any look and including any accessories and elements. The only catch was that the design include a wreath, a fairly standard piece of holiday décor.
But what we didn’t get were standard designs. Each one is so different that I am sure all of our readers will love any – or all – of them. Keep in mind, the designers and decorators worked on these during much warmer months; it must have been tricky to get in the holiday spirit so early!
What I also love about the designs is that our readers can replicate them quite easily. And the designers and decorators all use natural elements that are easy to find, and some you can find in your own backyard. If you were inspired by our holiday door feature and created your own, we’d love to see photos.
Thanks to all of our designers and decorators: Colin Blanchard and Kenneth McRobbie at 31 Westgate, Wendy Monaghan at Link Interiors, Michele Muir at Silk Purse Décor and Jonathan Legate at Jonathan Legate Interior Consultation. I will be featuring the close-ups of each door on our Facebook group, so check out the details there!
Note: In the print issue, Michele Muir is referenced as an interior designer. In fact, she is an interior decorator. We apologize for the error.
A look at a row house that underwent extensive renovations.
I love historic homes, so when the opportunity came to check out a historic home in Halifax that had been completed renovated, I jumped on the chance to check it out. The house located in the Schmidtville area of Halifax, near Spring Garden Road. The row house served as a fraternity house for the past couple of decades. Its new homeowners, Laurie Messenger and Chris Gillis, told me it was quite the sight when they purchased it in 2007. But they could see the original charm and function behind the destruction and broken beer bottles left behind. Laurie and Chris renovated homes before, so they knew what they were getting into.
Still, it’s brave of any homeowner to take on such a project. The article includes advice from them about what to expect when taking on a renovation project and when you should get the pros in to complete the job. I loved the home’s simplicity, historic charm and access to downtown. Laurie said the home offered them all the space they needed for a family of three.
The photos in our fall issue turned out so well not only because of the house, but also because of Laurie and Chris’s photogenic son, Benny, and the family dog, Daisy. Find the article at http://eastcoastliving.ca/2012/09/halifax-row-house-renovation/.
We’ll soon have a gallery of photos on Pinterest. If you know of a home we should feature in East Coast Living, drop me a line at email@example.com Suzanne
Discovering great works of art in our region
When we were working on the fall issue of East Coast Living, I wanted to include more work from Atlantic Canadian artists, especially in the Home Currents and Last Look section of the magazine.
So one night I sat down at my laptop and starting searching particular keywords such as “potters,” “artists” and “painters” along with the names of each province in Atlantic Canada. What I found were lists of artists too numerous to mention here. I also couldn’t fit a mention of them all in East Coast Living.
While we may be able to incorporate a lot of their work in the magazine, what I also plan to do is tell you more about these artists via this blog. We’ll call it East Coast Living’s Artist in Residence. I have two artists whose work I’d like to share with you today. They are both featured in the fall issue of East Coast Living.
The first artist I found was Nick Chase. He was born and raised in Sackville, N.B., but currently lives in Toronto where he works as an artist-in-residence at the Harbourfront Centre. Nick’s medium is glass, and what I love about his work is that it’s very contemporary looking, but still includes elements of nature. He told me most of his work was inspired by the outdoors, especially in his home province of New Brunswick. Leaves and sticks are engraved in glasswork that really look quite urban. He also incorporates other themes such as zippers into his work. Nick has dreams of opening a gallery on the East Coast. Let’s hope he can make that happen. Check out more works here http://nchasedesigns.ca/.
The other artist I spoke with for the fall issue was Newfoundland artist Dominique Hurley, whose paintings really just popped off the page. The colours are fabulous; bright shades of reds, purples, green and yellow, with some of her work featuring vibrant gemstones or her own photography.
When I spoke with Dominique, I learned about her process and what inspires her (usually a particular feeling or emotion and nature). And as I suspected, she loves colour. We feature one of her works in the fall issue, but you can find more on our Facebook page or at her website here:
If you know of any artists whose work you’d love to see on this blog on in East Coast Living, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some thoughts about the Fall issue of East Coast Living
We’re in the process of printing the fall issue of East Coast Living. We just finished the final round of proofing on this edition, my first as interim editor. I’ve learned a lot working on this issue, and I can’t wait to share it all with you.
People love to talk about food: We’ve been keeping readers up to date on the fall issue via Facebook and Twitter and I noticed the posts about food always got readers’ mouths watering and ideas flowing. We have a story coming up on old recipes and when we talked about it on Facebook, readers were more than eager to share their favourite traditional meals, some of which will be featured in the fall issue.
Another post about blueberries had people sharing their favourite ways to cook up the summer fruit. Inspired, I went home and made a blueberry cake and pie. And all this food talk got us thinking about other ideas for East Coast Living, so stay tuned.
Photo shoots make me hungry: Yes, more about food. I went on two photo shoots over the past couple of months: one for the story on grains; and the other for the old recipes stories. Not only did I learn how to make food look great in photos (it’s tough to get soup to pose), but it gets you thinking about your next meal. And we get to taste test. A definite job perk, but one my waistline won’t like.
East Coast artists abound: One of my goals as interim editor is to feature the works of local artists in East Coast Living. That turned out to be quite easy. When I was looking for local artists for the Home Currents and Last Look section, simple Google searches gave me a plethora of results. We could only feature a few in the fall issue, but look for more throughout the next year. One of the homeowners we interviewed decorated her home with the paintings of local artists. Her theory is that you’d pay the same for a one-of-a-kind piece by a local artisan as you would for a mass-produced piece you find in a department store. She’s right; we should support the talented artists creating their works on the East Coast.If you know anyone whose work would be a great fit for East Coast Living, please drop me a line!
Style is individual: Someone told me the other day that a friend of theirs goes to real estate open houses just to see the inside of people’s homes to get ideas on décor, design and more. Not a bad idea, but East Coast Living does the same thing and you don’t have to leave home! In each issue, the two homes we feature are often examples in contrast. But that is the point; we want to show how unique home design and décor is for each home and homeowner. In the fall issue, one home is a new build with a simplistic design and function. Another is a historic home, also design for function, but more elaborate in its décor.
I want to send a big thank-you out to all the writers and photographers who worked on the editorial content. It all turned out well, and you will enjoy their work. I also want to send out a thank-you to the team here at Metro Guide for help, ideas and, more importantly, patience! I am already excited about the ideas we’re working on for winter. I know; don’t rush it, right?
Finally, please share your ideas with me. Our readers are a big part of the East Coast Living family. Drop me a line at email@example.com with comments or more!
Say hello to our interim editor, Suzanne Rent
This is my last day in the office before I head on maternity leave. It’s been a crazy week for me, trying to tie up loose ends and organize my always disorganized office space. It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate over seven years. As my colleague Trevor noted, my office suddenly seems much bigger now!
I thought it would be fun to introduce you to Suzanne Rent, the editor who will be taking the reigns of East Coast Living while I’m away. Suzanne has been working with Advocate Media since 2009, as the editor of Atlantic Boating and Ocean Resources. She has also worked in radio, television, newspapers and as a freelance writer. It’s great to have her on board!
Feel free to send Suzanne your story ideas for East Coast Living—we are always on the hunt for interesting homes, inspiring Atlantic Canadian designers and creative decorating ideas. You can send your ideas and feedback to Suzanne at srent[AT]metroguide.ca
I’ll be seeing you soon!
Some more great shots of this pottery
We feature ceramic artists Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie of Lucky Rabbit Pottery in our new Summer Issue. They make all of their pottery by hand in their home studio in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. They create a range of fanciful home accessories, showcasing ornate patterns and dramatic colours.
I love their designs that feature playful motifs of local plants and animals. Some of their bird jars include colourful handmade sculptures. If you’re ever in Annapolis Royal, you can find their shop on 15 Church Street. Check out their website.
Here’s a few more shots of their work that we didn’t have room to feature in the magazine.
Goldfinch jar, 28 x 17 cm
Double seal platter, 53 x 20 x 3 cm
Pink cake plate, 30 cm diam
Read more from our Summer Issue:
Here’s the cover of our new summer issue. I found it very hard choosing from all the different shots photographer James Ingram took on the day of our cover shoot at Rowena and Rob Nunn’s summer home in Marriott’s Cove, N.S.
I knew we needed a shot that had the house as the central image in the background but we also wanted it to have show the homeowner’s kids having fun on the wharf–this would really bring the shot to life! We liked this one the best because you can see all three of them, just as they’re plunging into the water. I also love the expression on Adrian’s face (he’s the one in the middle)! Let me know what you think of the final result.
Subscribers in Atlantic Canada should be receiving their copies of the new magazine in the mail by next week.
More details: In New Brunswick, look for the magazine June 18 in the Times & Transcript, Telegraph-Journal and The Daily Gleaner. In Halifax, there will be direct home deliveries on June 20. In Newfoundland, copies will be in The Western Star on June 21 and The Telegram on June 23. And in P.E.I., look for the magazine in The Guardian on June 23.
Some outtakes from our Summer 2012 cover shoot
I thought it would be fun to post a few snapshots from our Summer 2012 cover shoot. It was held last summer at Rowena and Rob Nunn’s summer home in Marriott’s Cove, Nova Scotia. It’s a tiny, picturesque inlet just outside of Chester.
We had photographer James Ingram take photos of the Nunn kids (nine-year-old triplets Sophia, Adrian and Sam) jumping into the water and playing on the wharf in front of their house. It looks like they were having so much fun! These are just a few of the images we considered for the cover of our new summer issue. Which is your favourite?
I’ll be revealing our actual new cover on Friday—stay tuned for that!