Saturday, September 8, 2007

Weekend Tidbits

Somewhat random observations over the weekend:

1. Sad to hear that Madeleine L'Engle died this weekend, but at 88, she'd had a full life. My younger sister introduced me to A Wrinkle in Time in the early 1970's --thanks, Hil! -- and I've gone on to read all L'Engle's juvenile fiction to my children through the years. Marvellous books which grapple with important issues, in a way not unlike Philip Pullman's Dark Materials trilogy. Her memoirs also make interesting reading; I especially enjoyed Two-Part Invention: Story of a Marriage.

2. At Saltspring Island Market today, we picked out some artisan breads, one of David Wood's artisan goat cheeses, a blue called Blue Juliette, some smoked tuna loin, all to round out our planned dinner meal of Chanterelle Risotto. As we were squeezing our way through the crowd -- it's all noise and colour and good smells and sunshine there, every time we've gone somehow -- I spotted a small table with pastries -- Tarte aux Tomates, Tarte aux Fruits. And there, among the French-labelled goodies, was a plate of what looked like macarons, the dome-shaped meringue, divided in halves by a creamy filling, although these were much larger than I'd seen in Paris. And these were labelled not macarons, but Incroyables, so I asked the French couple if they were anything like the former. Yes, they nodded, and the woman explained that when she called them macarons, customers thought of our North American macaroons and wondered where the coconut was. She just got tired of explaining so changed the name. She also said that she'd had to make them bigger than the real thing, again because North Americans just don't understand the idea of small, perfect bites (or, at least, aren't willing to pay for them). While she didn't have any of the beautiful colours and flavours I enjoyed last spring at Ladurée (this picture of a stack of macarons is from the Ladurée website) I was happy to stock up on several of the chocolate ones -- delicious!

3. Spent some time today trying to trick Skeena, our Golden Retriever, into showing us her latest escape route. Paul takes the ball and leaves the yard, calling her to come play. She wants to desperately but can't figure out how to get out and runs around frantically. Meanwhile, I'm hidden upstairs watching at a window. Eventually, she either remembers the route or simply gives in and decides it's worth revealing her secret if she gets to play. This time, she finally just squeezed through a place in the fence where the palings were evidently far enough apart for her -- has she lost weight?!

4. Paul surprised me yesterday by bringing home a bottle of Creed's Original Vetiver as a late anniversary gift. It's a perfume I've been hankering for since sniffing it at Holt's a few weeks ago. Big points for him, especially for remembering and also for taking time from his busy work week to pop into the store. Also for apparently not batting an eye at the price, which I hadn't remembered as quite so extravagant. It's such a seductive, gorgeous, soft, lingering scent -- I love it!

5. I mentioned we're having Chanterelle Risotto this evening for dinner. Some fellows on our little island have been heading up to the Queen Charlottes to gather these the last few years and last week, our island listserv delivered the welcome news that the mushrooms were here at $5 a pound!! I got 6 pounds and have eaten 2 by my greedy self over the last few days. I sauteed them in butter for a while and then end up roasting them a bit in a low-temp oven just to get rid of some of the excess moisture without losing flavour. After this, they freeze quite well. Last year, I froze a few pounds, but we'll see how much is left after the Risotto tonight. We were especially tickled to see some at the Saltspring Market today being sold for $12 a pound -- even that is not an unreasonable price, but $5.00 is an absolute steal!!

6. Have you seen the blog Overheard Lines? It's quite funny. I thought of it today when I saw a young woman checking out the various sheepfarm products at the Crofton Market this morning. She was interested in the rovings, spun wool, and knit socks, but obviously knew little about the process because she said to the vendor, "Sheep aren't hurt for any of this, are they?" The vendor reassured her that giving up fleece for socks hasn't hurt a sheep yet, but pointed out cheerfully that sheep had indeed died before the sheepskins were harvested and that the lamb pies might also be a problem.


  1. That's really cool that you found those macaroons!
    I bet you had a fun discusion about how hard they are to make.

  2. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed
    Madeleine L'Engle books. I haven't read her memoirs, I'll have to look for them. I just read Rumer Godden "A time to dance, No time to weep" and really enjoyed it. It's sort of like you're finding out about a friend, someone you've known for a long time.

  3. I want those mushrooms! jealous!

  4. Hilary, I tried to track down a copy of Wrinkle in Time this weekend so I could re-read it, but no luck -- one of the young'uns will have it. . . Bronwen?
    But Rumer Godden, wow! that's taking me back decades -- Battle of the Villa Florita, Greengage Summer -- I read those in my teens in the 60s!! Wonder what I'd think of them now . . .
    Bronwen -- we froze some chanterelles (after first sautéeing them in butter) so if you're over in the next while, you can check them out.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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