Monday, August 29, 2016

Blackberry Custard Cream Pie

"Its a fine thing to build a pie, a bulwark against autumnal entropy."                                    -Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)
Was always a must every September. At least one. Maybe two. OR more to share. This can always be made with raspberries. Beyond wonderful.
 First make pastry for a single pie shell. Or , if you prefer, be really time efficient and buy it ready to go...
 Stab raw pastry shell with fork.  Make holes.
 Bake at  400 degrees till brown and done. Maybe about 15 minutes. Give or take.
      "God always has another custard pie under His sleeve."
                                               -Lynn Redgrave (1943-2010)
 Grab Bird's custard powder. Make according to directions. You can use milk or almond milk, etc.
 Trust me, the custard powder is great. It hold up. Has a nice texture against the berries.
 DO not let kitten lick the custard. Quality control, and all that sort of thing. But  not a good idea.
 Cause NOW you have to redo the  batch of custard.....But that's okay. Let chill till firm.
 "Life isn't all fricassied fried eel pie." -C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
 Dump the custard. All of it. No tasting. Into the cooled, cooked pie shell. Smooth  over.
 Pipe whipped cream over top of the custard.
 Take frozen blackberries, or fresh, or raspberries.
Frozen works pretty well. Fresh is best, of course, that's why  it's best to use blackberries in season. You can adapt for whatever you like best.
 Chill in fridge for a couple of hours.
 At this point you may take a nap while you wait for the pie to chill.
 Be patient. It will be worth it.
 Carve pie into  wedges and serve with coffee, iced tea, hot tea, whatever you like.

 Enjoy  your time while you share the pie with your kindred spirits. My mother loved making this pie. It's incredibly easy. And doesn't last long.....
 "You eat, in dreams, the custard of the day." -Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Thursday, August 25, 2016


 "There will be days when the fishing  is better than one's most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home." -Roderick Haig-Brown (1908-1976)(Fisherman's Spring 1951)
 In 2016 Canadian  Roderick Haig-Brown, writer of non-fiction and fiction, with more than a great interest in nature and fishing, was named a "National Historic Person" . He devoted his life to preserving tributaries as Pacific salmon habitat, especially the spawning grounds. His entire life was spent in writing and believing  and protecting nature and the environment.

 In Strathcona Park , not far from Campbell River, a mountain was named in  honour  of writer and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown  and his wife, Ann.
 His family home, built in 1923, is tucked away in Campbell River.A quiet B and B during the summer, and the rest of the year can be rented for special occasions.
 "I have fished through fishless days, that I happily remember without regret." (R. Haig-Brown)
 The Museum in town hosts a special "Writer in Residence" program  at Haig-Brown House. There is even an old movie reel with Haig-Brown. It can be seen any time of the year. He speaks eloquently about his love of the waters and the surrounding world.
 As a writer,  he won many awards, including the Governor General's Award for "Saltwater Summer", about salmon fishing off  northern Vancouver Island.

 "A fisherman is always hopeful....nearly always more hopeful than he has any right to be." (R. Haig-Brown)
 "I have been all my life, a conservationist. It seem clear, beyond possibility of argument that any given generation of men can have only a lease,not ownership, of the EARTH;  and one essential term of the lease  is that the earth  be handed down  to the next generation  with unimpaired potentialities. This is the conservationists' concern." (R. Haig -Brown)
 He learned about conservation , when he was very young. He was mentored by some incredible people.
 His entire life was devoted to making sure  the environment was brought to  everyone's awareness.

 I think it is incredibly fortunate that Haig-Brown House is right here...about a 12 minute drive from our house.  Just off the drive to Elk Falls. Once we went in the driveway, by accident, when the house was closed down, and had to turn around under forest canopy. I didn't know anything about the house at the time.  Everything  green. And quiet.
 And in the back yard of Haig-Brown House is the Campbell River. It rushes and ebbs. During the season you will see countless fly fishermen  decked out in wading gear. Standing against the current.
 "A river is water in its loveliest form,rivers have life and sound and movement and infinity of variation.Rivers are veins of the earth  through which the lifeblood returns to the heart." (R. Haig -Brown)

  Haig Brown House is built on a green belt. It was sold to the B.C. govt in 1974 and has been preserved very well. It has a quiet  gentleness about it.I'm hoping to get back to it, and this time not have to turn around . Instead stay and learn more about a part of history in this area......

  "I remember all the good evenings I have fished, even the ones that realised material hopes, not by the fish that came to the fly,but by the colour and movement of the water and sky......
 .................... by the sounds and scents and gentle stirrings that were all about me." (R. Haig-Brown)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Plum Muerbe Teich

                                        "Life's a pudding full of plums......"
                -W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911, of Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera fame)
 MUERBE TEICH ( plums plums and more plums)This is a new recipe for me. Good friends shared it when we were at their house for dinner, a few moons ago. I've tried it with golden plums; wayyyy too squishy. Purple plums are definitely best. You can freeze the plum halves or quarters in the summer and use them at will. Have also tried it with big fat cherries. Yum Yum. Good with coffee and tea. Really nice. A little crumbly, a little tart. Perfect.
                             3 cups flour
                             2/3 cup sugar
                             1 tsp baking powder
                             1 tsp vanilla extract
                             2 eggs

                             1 cup butter
 Mix first 5 ingredients till crumbly. 
 Cut in butter with pastry cutter till dough is soft and workable.

 Press into a buttered 10 x 13 inch pan, forming a slight lip on the edges with the dough.
 “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
                                               (Carl Sagan, astronomer, 1934-1996)

Cut up 24-30 Plums. 
 Lay these on the dough, tightly packed, like sardines, side by side, skin up.
 Should like really packed sardines. Waiting the topping at this point.
                             2 ½ cups flour
                             2/3 cup sugar
                             ½ cup butter

 Mix all together and sprinkle over plums to make a crumbly top.
 Squeeze some together to make lumpy nodules, they taste good.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for ½ hour till brown. Sometimes this cake can be underbaked if you  get a little antsy about wanting it done or depending on your oven. So watch it carefully, or the centre will be doughy. I added 6- 10 minutes to mine. Something like that.
 Mix icing sugar with a little bit of water. Place in ziploc bag. Cut the corner and drizzle over finished product if you wish. The cake does not need it, but makes it fancier depending what you want.  I like it without the drizzle. Of course, now, if you wish to pour cream over  the pieces upon serving.....THAT would be divine as well.

 "A late summer garden has a tranquility found no other time of year." -William Longford (1819-1887 4th earl of Longford)