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Friday, July 30, 2010

My Coconut Dream Pie

My first homemade coconut cream pie...
and not my last one!

We had a special event last Wednesday. It was Richard's 50th birthday. He's requested a coconut cream pie for a long time and I decided that it was time.

I made it from scratch. After all I have my own handmade business. So, I went online for a few recipes to get ideas and just to get inspired. My favorite coconut cream pie recipe is here. I knew it was a winner, all from scratch with coconut milk for the filling gives the whole pie a freshness. It's deceiving; the look and the taste offsets the huge calories inside. For Richard, he's always looking for carbohydrates and for me I'll have to monitor my intake. Basically, I'll have to take it easy.

The recipe didn't call for real fresh coconut. I decided that; real is the deal. So, Richard helped me break the coconut with a hammer. He smashed it, outside on the cement landing, into little shards. I baked the ginger snap cookies in the morning. While the cookies cooled away from Richard. I dried the grated coconut in the oven. Later, I created the mix and put it into the ginger crust then I let it sit for four hours in the fridge.

Just before serving I whipped the cream and served it. It's an easy pie but planning is the key. You have to start in the morning. This pie is everything I expected it to be, it's wonderful. Two things I will change for next time; cut down on the ginger snap crust to half & make more coconut filling!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Discovering wine tasting.

Wine anyone?

I won!

I usually don't participate in contests. Well, I did and I put my name to win a free wine tasting evening. I receive an email from the Francophone College stating... I won! It's the first time I won anything from a contest. In fact, I plainly forgot all about.

It's not a huge win, worth 25 dollars. I would never go myself but why not? It turned out to be interesting. And it is the first time that I participated in a wine tasting. I'm a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. I watch him with his blind wine tasting and I felt bad that he has to spit out all that wine. I've tasted some bad wine but the French Pinot Noir ($18) was the worse. It tasted like strawberry syrup with alcohol. Just to be nice I gave it 1/10. I thought of Gary and thought about spitting it out, too. I didn't have the heart.
After this experiment, I'm more aware or I'll take notice as to what I'd buy.

It was a fun experiment trying so many kinds of reds. The biggest surprise was the last glass of wine; Avalon from California ($25). Usually I don't like  Cabernet Sauvignon, in fact I loved it! It was full, bold and fills your mouth. You can taste the ripe fruit in it. It's only three years young but it tasted older. I gave this wine a 9/10.

Let's don't forget the bread and cheese. Everything I could live on. Not just any cheese. A special selection of Quebec cheese. A rare treat.

Now, I want to take wine classes. The more you learn the more you want to learn about it. It's so addictive. What would be fun is to grab six friends, six bottles of wine and have a blind test.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kicking out of bed

For me to get up early is unnatural. I like to linger in bed, but my partner, has the bad habit of getting up early. And he knows, to get me out of bed is to have a cup of my favorite coffee made.

It's the transition of leaving my warm & comfortable bed that is the challenge. I'm a sleeper. I remember when I was in kindergarden, mom ask me to choose if I wanted to go in the morning or afternoon. I said, "I cannot go in the morning, I'm sleeping." I was practical back then. As a kid I use to sleep in until 11 AM. Most of the time I was eating cereal while mom was serving lunch.

I always found a way to get my first cup of coffee. When I moved into a new apartment (my younger days), I couldn't find my French press. I consider using a Turkish coffee technique leaving the grain at the bottom of the cup. It's not my prefer method as the coffee taste is too bitter. I used a corner of one of my t-shirts as a filter. It worked but the t-shirt did not survive!

I love my coffee strong, preferably French roast. Trying out a new coffee brand is one of my favorite activities. It's essential. One of my favorite coffee's is Kicking Horse Coffee from Invermere, BC. I love the blend called Kick Ass which kicks my ass out of bed. I'll always love sleeping in but knowing a good kick ass coffee is waiting gets me out of bed earlier!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Going old school.

My old school technical manual.

I'm back into pattern making ...for me. My time, I'm finding there's very little of, is divided between our business and my pursuit of designing my own clothes. I don't buy anymore socks. Now, my next challenge is not to buy clothes. I graduated from fashion school and I'm finally using techniques I've learned twenty years ago.

I have a mandatory book on Pattern Drafting. During my time in fashion design in Quebec City, the book is in English yet no one could read it. They gave us a cheat sheet to decipher the important directions. Funny, we were made to buy this English book and it never came in French. I suppose there wasn't a book in French and I feel that we were being groomed in the predominately English fashion industry. That's what it was in Quebec. If you wanted to go through the big fashion industry door it was in English.

My first attempt was taking an old pair of pants dismantling it and using it for a pattern. It did seem to be a good idea at the time. I learned that it's better to have a proper pattern to start with. Because I carried over the problem of how bad the pants fitted. But you know it's not that bad. Having a proper pattern is easier to work from. I worked hard to make adjustments to make it fit properly. I still have a lot to learn, so I'll go back to using the pattern book on my next project... making a t-shirt. I'll be using organic bamboo cotton.

I'm going old school again!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Birks forever!

"My 20 year old Birks"

I just notice, as I'm putting on my Birkenstocks to go off to the post office, these wonderful sandals have been my friend for twenty years.

The first time I saw them was on my friend who came back with a pair from the US at the end of 1980's. I never saw them in Quebec. I wanted to buy one. In Vancouver, sombre colors were offer but not funky colors. As I traveled by car down the west coast, I remember that cute little store in Del Mar California.

They had every model and color imaginable. I saw the nicest sandal in purple suede. It was love at first site. I believe they cost an expensive $125.00, not cheap. Over the years I have partially re-cork them and had new soles done on them. They just keep on working. It's the first shoes that give me the proper arch support I need. Words can't describe how comfortable they are. The only negative is that you cannot wear them for a very long hot trek. Your feet will burn. I wear them in the house especially when I'm sewing or standing for a very long time. When I want to relax I have them on.

Johann Birkenstock registered the name in 1774. In 1897, his grandson, Konrad developed the first contoured insole to be used by shoemakers. In 1902, he developed the first flexible arch support. Such a good product with a solid history. They're the oldest pair of shoes I have and with tender loving care I'll try to make them last for another twenty years. I also have another pair of lovable black Birks, for the last ten years, that are in need of re-corking.

Growing up in Quebec, it's one thing to wear Birkenstock's, it's a no no to wear socks with any sandals. So I'm a little shy to go out with knitted socks & Birks, but I must confess that I wear this combination in the house!