sunny day

sunny winter day

   

Today felt like the beginning of spring, like a new year is really beginning now. The sun was so bright, light filling up the world here. Me with a baby in my belly. Everything brighter, happier, more hopeful and leaning forward. It made the city suddenly beautiful, and I was drawn out into the sun to explore. I'm definitely feeling the need to reset: to get the house back into a state of pleasant harmony and to make a habit of walks, yoga, writing, painting, just the right amount of baking, and planning dinners.

I've included a recipe from last winter that I never got around to posting. It comes in handy for using leftover egg whites and is pretty flexible.

Meringue Cookies, two flavours

5 egg whites 1 cup sugar

Whip egg whites until good and frothy. I like to start the mixer on slow and gradually bring up the speed to about medium for this part. Slowly add sugar while continue to whip, then turn up speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide roughly half into another bowl and gently fold in flavourings.

Bowl A: 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 smashed candy cane handful mini chocolate chips

Bowl B: 1/4 tsp almond extract handful cacao nibs handful mini chocolate chips

Pipe or spoon onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 200 for 1 3/4 - 2 hours, or until firm. Turn off oven and leave meringues in the oven overnight.

Note: I bake meringues until they're on the drier, crunchier side. If you like them softer and chewier, bake for less time or maybe don't leave them in the oven overnight to dry out. Larger meringues will tend to have softer centres than small meringues. I like to make small, bite-sized meringues, but you can certainly make larger ones, just keep in mind that they may need to bake longer. You can adjust the recipe to suit the number of egg whites you have on hand, just try to keep the egg white to sugar ratio about the same. Feel free to make them all the same flavour or have as many different flavourings as you like. Experiment with whatever flavourings inspire you. Spices and extracts are fun, as are chopped toasted nuts, and you can add food colouring if you wish. Keep in mind that anything too heavy or oily will collapse the meringue. 

bright sunshine

Today: Coombs Market in the sunshine with my mum and my husband. Bright colours, strings of light, things. Beautiful and wonderful, but also kind of ridiculous. This is a place steeped in childhood memories of goats on the roof, ice cream cones and shopping for animal stamps in the special rubber stamp store. The goats are still there, along with more ice cream than ever, but the stamp store is sadly gone. It wasn't how it used to be, but then- things don't need to stay the same. It was still a fun way to pass an afternoon. Today also, a wren and a nuthatch in the garden.

I was tired when we got home, and feeling under the weather (is that possible in this gorgeous weather?). Thus, this simple soup came about, an excellent and speedy false onion soup. It involved hot water left in the kettle from when I made tea, a spoonful of mugi (barley) miso, and a larger spoonful of caramelized onions. This got stirred together and covered in a light snow of grated Parmesan and few turns of cracked black pepper. I also sprinkled it with toasted sunflower seeds because they were sitting on the counter in front of me, but a better choice would probably have been homemade croutons.

IMG_1875 IMG_1879 IMG_1882

fullness

I'm feeling pretty good about things right now. I've been working overtime so have a big paycheck coming my way. Jer has been in the kitchen a lot lately, making us gourmet dinners, and at the moment I'm writing this, has strawberry vanilla ice cream chilling in the freezer. My elderly cat and my dentally and directionally challenged rabbit have both been improving by leaps and bounds, and it is beyond heartening to see them looking healthy again. When I left work on Thursday, the wind had picked up and was whipping around me as I crossed the bridge. The walkway was almost empty on the way home and the fullness of the wind hurt my ears and wrapped around my legs as I walked. I came across a toy dog staring devotedly at an older man on a bench with a twist-dial radio playing crackly old French music and I felt like I had stepped into a scene from Amelie. 

The next morning was clear and sweet and summery, blue sky vaulted high and the sea calm. Rose petals, blown by the wind, were scattered all through the dry grass, red on sun-bleached gold. 

A family of Canada geese swam by, the goslings fluffy with soft down. I also saw an otter, frisking about on the point. 

This week I made herbed cheddar bread; I am so looking forward to having more spare time for baking projects. For now, bed.