Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year and the blog

It's actually only Saturday, so if you're one of the six people who read this blog, you might be wondering what's up with me. The thing is, I really don't feel like blogging here anymore. But I did want to tell you all Happy New Year! So...Happy New Year!

I am going to try to remember to sign in and put the menu up each month though, just so I have a record of the soup. I know that black eyed peas are often served for New Year, so I think I'm going to make this soup for tomorrow. Maybe with some cornbread muffins. That sounds like a great start, don't you think?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

There's Still Time

If you didn't make it to Sunday Soup today, there's technically still time. You have 32 minutes at the writing of this. But since everyone who came so far has already left, I've sort of cleaned up and the Southerner is playing me tunes on his electric guitar. Yep, we're rocking out here the last half hour of SS. Bet those of you who left you wish you'd stayed longer! We're breaking out the wine next.

The winds came last night and blew away all our clouds and rain, leaving us with sunshine and blue sky. If you're a real Canadian, you'd probably even think it was warm. The Southerner and I had to bundle up to join everyone else on the porch, but the white bean soup was warming. And due to me being half asleep when I made the bread a slight technical error there was an awful lot of bread. I accidentally made three loaves instead of the usual two. I know, you may be wondering, as were the Fleece Lady and the Musician, how I managed that. The Irish One thought I put two loaves in the oven and opened it to find three, which is infinitely more interesting and imaginative than what actually happened. I accidentally put in an extra cup of water so then I had to add more flour, yeast, and salt, thus three loaves.

All in all, a very relaxed and quiet Sunday Soup. Hope you all had a lovely weekend. See you in July!

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Wonderful 5th Anniversary of Sunday Soup

I didn't post in April because we had to cancel SS at the last minute. All is well though, so not to worry. Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of Sunday Soup which was something to really celebrate! I broke out all the stops and made two soups and a cake. Because our dishwasher's on the fritz, the Southerner washed dishes like mad on both Saturday and Sunday while I cooked. I was so exhausted on Saturday night that he made the bread, too, because honestly, the Southerner is a true and shining star.

We had a glorious spring day here on the island, and almost everyone hung out on the deck. The Brit and the Actor stayed inside, holding court around the dining table, and taste-testing all the treats as they came in. We had at least one Sunday Soup virgin, and lots of regulars, plus a few who always mean to come, but have busy Sundays of their own, so they made a special effort (that's you, Architect and Builder). We were so pleased to see everyone.

Every year on the anniversary of Sunday Soup, we hold a canned soup drive for the local food bank and this year, we brought in 49lbs of creamed corn from the Actor wonderful canned goods! The Southerner took this great photo. Thank you to everyone for being such wonderful friends to us, and such generous people, too! We love you all.

Oh, in case you're wondering, the soups were mushroom onion, which is one of the few recipes I actually follow (from Canadian Living magazine), and one I made up entirely called Curried Cream of Vegetable w/coconut and cilantro. As usual, the Fleece Lady determined that these were the best soups ever. She's good to have around, that one!

Here's to many more Sunday Soups!

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Musical Sunday

Yesterday was a particularly great Sunday Soup, assuming you like music and cake. And really...who doesn't? We had some new attendees this time, and I will call them...the Folkie and...I'm not sure what to call his wife. I don't know her very well yet, so for now I will call her the Navigator because they are on the road a lot, and she travels with him. Also, the Southerner gave her that name, so if it doesn't fit, then it isn't my fault! Once I know her better, I'll give her a new name.

Anyway, the Musician, the Southerner, and the Folkie all got together early to play some tunes. For the first hour or so, the Navigator and I made up the appreciative audience, but then the English Gentleman and the Actor arrived and sat on the couch and listened as well. We didn't actually start eating soup until around five o'clock, when more people arrived and stomachs were growling.

Last week was the Pastry Chef's birthday, and so I made her a very special cake. She turned nineteen, which in Canada is the legal drinking age, so I soaked her chocolate cake in Bailey's Irish Cream. I also put a secret ingredient in it, which I didn't tell her about until after she'd eaten it because I was pretty sure she'd turn her nose up at it. Sauerkraut. It's great in cake...keeps it moist and gives it a nice texture and the flavour is totally lost, so it's not like eating it on a veggie hotdog or anything. I was right, she almost didn't finish her piece once she found out. It was delicious though, so more for me!

The Fleece Lady is away, so we missed her, and didn't see the Neighbour, either, but some of the usual suspects arrived later in the day, bringing wine and chocolate. And a couple of friends who had never come to SS also showed up. It was a merry crowd!

The soup was one of my favourites, a dal soup with lemon and cilantro. And the bread was the usual. I forgot to blog for February, but the soup then was white beand and carrot.

Next month, the Southerner and I both have birthdays, and the Actor informed me that since his is at the end of March, he'll have his cake at the next SS, too, so I'm thinking it will be a cake extravaganza next month. I wonder if there's a recipe for cake soup?

Thanks to Google, I did find this "accidental" cake soup recipe.  I dont' think I'll try it, though.

Hope to see you next month!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Happy New Year...better late than never

I just realized I never did a post for January's Sunday Soup. Ummm...I can't really remember it, now. And yes, it was just two weeks ago on the 6th. Let's see...we had a houseful. The soup was potato leek. I made garlic knots, which were a big hit. There was chocolate, friends, laughter, and of course, all in all, I guess it must've been a pretty good one!

Happy New Year! May 2013 be a wonderful year for your all!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

First & Last

Today was the first Sunday Soup without the Fix-it Guy. For those of you who don't know, he passed away last month. We're all still in a bit of a shock, and even with the large crowd today, he was conspicuously absent.

The Fix-it Guy often wore a pair of yellow fleece socks which his wife, The Fleece Lady, made. At his celebration of life, I told a story about these socks and how they reminded me of the Lucky Duck song we used to sing at camp.

Oh, wasn't it a bit of luck that I was born a yellow duck
With yellow socks and yellow shoes
And I may go wherever I choose
Quack, quack, quack, quack, quack!

I explained how it made me happy every time I saw him walking around in those socks, and so I had asked The Fleece Lady for a pair of my own. She'd told me, "No problem. I made a bunch of those and never sold a single pair. He was the only one who liked them."

I was pleased to see that after telling my story, I am now no longer the only member of the Lucky Duck Yellow Socks Club. There were at least a couple of pairs today at Sunday Soup, and the Fleece Lady reported brisk sales of them at yesterday's craft fair. If you're a local, you should get yourself a pair to remind you how happy and lucky we were to know The Fix-it Guy. And also because who doesn't feel happy wearing bright yellow socks???!

The soup today was chosen for The Fleece Lady. While it's true that no matter what soup I make, she always says, "This is your best soup ever." I happen to know that eight bean soup is definitely one of her favourites, so I made it today. It went over very well, and there's just enough left for supper.

We had more people here for this last Sunday Soup of the year than I can make up names for in my exhausted state. Why am I so tired? Well, that's because earlier in the week, The Southerner and I both got a cold. One of us went straight to bed for two days and is completely well. The other of us fought it all week and then collapsed today, leaving me to do all the chores and entertain the hoardes. Okay, that's not really true...he did iron the napkins and sweep the house before holing up in my writing cabin during Sunday Soup. And he looked so worn out and pathetic, I couldn't help but feel badly for him, even if it is true that if he'd just gone to bed when I told him to, he'd be well by now the poor dear.

So that's it...we wrapped up another year of Sunday Soups. In the spring, we will have been at it for five years! Who would've thought it would end up being such a wonderful thing? I think we did ten Sunday Soups this year (missing May & November). It's a far cry from the first two years when we did 52 each year, but I have to say this is WAY easier! I hope you all have an excellent holiday season, and we'll see you on January 6th, for a whole new year of Soup, Fun, Frivolity, Conversation, Friendship, and Food.

Happy New Year, y'all! Love The Chef & the Southerner!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's all about the scones

While the all-local summer vegetable soup was consumed by the quarts, and apparently enjoyed, and these stellar carrot-basil bread rolls were a hit, everything was a bit out-shone by The Actor's contribution to Sunday Soup...homemade scones and clotted cream.

There was some debate, and also downright rebelliousness, in regards to which order the jam and cream go on the scone. Since The Actor brought them, is everyone's senior, is English, and I did it his way without being told, I tend to agree with him. Jam first, clotted cream on top. But as The Southerner is bound to say, "No matter how you put the stuff on, it'll eat."

And eat it we did!

Also, I must give credit where credit is due, and so I want to point out that four of the eight vegetables in the Summer Vegetable Soup were grown by The Southerner! That's right! He was responsible for the delicious broccoli, zucchini, celery, and spinach. The corn and potatoes came from farms on the island, and the carrots and onion came from the interior of BC, probably the Okanagan.

This is just a small bit of the bountiful broccoli harvest The Southerner has going this year. With more on the way!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Oh, Canada!

It's been ages since I've updated. I have my reasons, and only one of them is sheer laziness (June). In April, SS fell on the first. I'd been waiting years for it to line up that way so I could play a joke on everyone and make pizza in honour of April Fools Day. The Southerner and I have given up dairy though, so pizza was out (at least the way we make it). We decided the opposite of dinner is breakfast, so we made stuffed French toast and filled the crockpot with berry compote. Then we wore our silk pajamas. Oddly, our island has become such a casual place, no one even noticed our pajamas, and most guests were simply confused by the breakfast for dinner and stood around looking at us like, "Okay, when are you going to bring out the soup?" So...that fell sort of flat and I didn't really feel like blogging about it. That'll teach me - don't mess with people's Sunday Soup!

Then we didn't have SS in May because I was on the road promoting my brand new book!

And as stated previously, I was just lazy in June. I think we had spinach soup and honey cornmeal bread.

Today, is Canada Day, so it seemed logical that we should either have a red soup or a white soup, or a combo. We decided to go with Roasted Cauliflower & Red Pepper. And the Southerner made it himself, from start to finish! Including roasting the peppers. The soup was absolutely yummy, and the last-to-arrive guests were lucky to get any, and they finished it off. In fact, they might not have scored any, but the Neighbour and the Actor couldn't eat anything spicy, so I defrosted some mushroom-onion soup for them. I thought the spice was just right, but if you decide to make this recipe, the Southerner advises going easier on the cayenne than it calls for.

Due to lack of planning, we realized at the eleventh hour we didn't have any bread made, so I whipped up some pizza dough, and made garlic-basil twists (just roll a piece of dough into a piece about the thickness of your finger, and twist it or tie it like a pretzel - then brush with basil-butter & fresh ground pepper when it comes out of the oven). They were a big hit and went fast. Luckly, the Fleece Lady and the Fixi-it Guy brought extra snacks, as did a few other guests, so once the bread was gone, there was still stuff to much on.

In just four days, I will hit my 5th year anniversary of landing in Canada as an immigrant (the Southerner landed a few months later), and next year, assuming our paperwork goes through, we should be citizens, but we'd like to take a moment here on the blog to say, "Hey Canada, thanks for having us! Thanks for a wonderful community that lends itself to creating Sunday Soup, and thanks for all our new friends. Happy Canada Day, everyone!"

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The soup was super yummy today. I can say that and not sound vain because I made it following a recipe. I know! Me? Follow a recipe? But this one is so good, there's no point in messing with it. I made the Curried Pumpkin Soup with Green Apple from this book. Delish.

And just for the Southerner, I made plain old homemade white bread - Italian style - I guess you would call it. He loves it and most of the time I make us eat that hippie whole grain nutty wheaty type stuff! He is in heaven with the leftovers!

We had a nice turnout today, but lots of soup for the freezer too (I made 8.5 quarts, which might've been a bit excessive, but it freezes well). Missing the Pastry Chef lots today, as she's moved away...but hopefully she'll be back to visit soon and we can do some baking. After all, next month is birthday month for both me and the Southerner. She has to come back and make us a cake, right? RIGHT?

I recently received one copy of my new book from my editor (it comes out April 26th, in the US and May 1st in Canada), which was admired by all because of its stunning cover (I can say that because I had nothing to do with the cover).

All in all, a nice time with lots of great discussions and the only mishap were some candles that melted all over the window sill. But that's a first world problem, isn't it? We are so blessed. I hope you are too.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Month to the Pastry Chef

Thank goodness the Pastry Chef was so excited to see her birthday cake that she showed up at twenty to four because we were able to put her to work! She made the mistake of asking how she could help, and the next thing she knew, the Southerner had her sweeping the living room. Meanwhile, I was working furiously on her cake, trying to get it iced so I could make the bread. twenty to four.

In spite of her worries that the Southerner might get boring or the wrong birthday candles, I did talk her into letting him go to the store for them, and she rolled out the dough for this flat bread*, while I fried it up. We filled the house with smoke, which is why I usually make it long before the guests arrive, but it was so tasty, everyone forgave me.

I checked the blog yesterday to see when the last time was that I'd made one of my favourite soups...split red lentil with onion and lemon, and it was last February, so that's what we had. This is a very popular soup, so I made a lot, and we put a pretty good dent in it.

Lots of people showed up (they'd heard there was going to be cake) and we had a very fun time. There were even two miniature donkeys in the yard! The Engineers are creating a mini-farm on their one acre, and they recently got two tiny donkeys and they brought them along... as a sort of Sunday Soup Show and Tell. They were unbelievably cute, but it was too dark for the Southerner to get a picture.

As you probably know if you read this blog, the Pastry Chef is not only a fabulous, beautiful, lovely person in her own right, but she also has a wonderful family. Very nice parents, and she's the sister of the late Sous Chef. A year ago, the Sous Chef told me that the Pastry Chef would like a maple syrup cake ** for her birthday. We never made it though, because the Pastry Chef couldn't come to soup in February or March. So, yesterday, I made a maple syrup cake. It's supposed to be a sheet cake with icing, but the Pastry Chef requested the heart-shaped layer cake pans, so I doubled the recipe and made three layers. I needed something to fill it with, so I whipped the thick part of coconut milk (chill it and it will separate from the coconut water, then you just whip it like whipped cream) mixed with maple syrup. I put that between the layers, and then iced it with maple syrup icing.

After eating a piece, the Writer said, "You should be granted full Canadian citizenship on the strength of the cake alone." So I guess you could say it was a success!

Here's a picture from the Southerner of me and the Pastry Chef.

Happy Birthday, Pastry Chef!

*For the bread, I used olive oil instead of shortening.
** I used coconut oil instead of butter in the cake, and hippie vegan butter in the icing.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And we're off...

Happy 2012 Everyone!!!!!

Toooooo exhausted from the holidays to write much.

Soup - White bean and carrot

Bread - Corn muffins with red pepper and onion

Guests - Many! We are so blessed.

Special treats - Yummy fruitcake, homemade pita, Christmas bread, blue cheese dip & crackers, pesto may0 & chips.

Tea - David's Three Lemon

Cutest Guest Award - Tie goes to Miss Sophie & The Pastry Chef who cuddled all evening!

Quote of the Night - The Chef: We have such nice friends.

Highlight - The Southerner did the clean-up!

2012 is off to a GREAT start!
May it bring you joy, peace, love, and lots of soup!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The New House!

Today was our first Sunday Soup in two months because last month we were under construction. Plus we went to Victoria to hear the Fiddler play a viola recital (ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT, by the way!). Boy were the guests surprised when they showed up today! The writing cabin is almost done out in the yard, the deck has been replaced and there's a brand new grand staircase leading up to the front doors, the wall between the kitchen and the living room is gone, and we got rid of a bunch of furniture and then divided our living room into two areas...a seating area, and a dining area.

Oh, and did I mention the AMAZING double skylights which are a work of art, thanks to Mr. Reno? They really were la piece de resistance*. Forgive my unaccented French. I'm too lazy to look up the accent marks.

The soup wasn't bad either. At least, judging by the very small amount left. It was an eight bean soup...or maybe six if you don't count lentils and split peas as beans. And I made my regular standby no-knead bread that, really...people love because well, it's really, really good. And all it is is flour, salt, yeast, and water.

The company was diverse and the house was full. Appearances were made by many of the regulars, like the Pastry Chef, the Musician, and the Fleece Lady. Also dropping in were some we haven't seen in a while, which was nice too! In addition to all the oohs and ahhs, there was a bit of je ne sais quois* in the air...maybe it's because the house feels so much more roomy, so people talked louder, maybe it was that some had just come from a Christmas music concert, or maybe it was just because we hadn't seen each other in a while, but it really was a jovial Sunday Soup. And the last one of the year!

*The foreign phrases are for the Builder (of the writing cabin) since he's French and he dropped in today too. I thought I should try to make him feel at home since he practically lives here these days, even though whenever he's working, he says, "I'm not here. You don't see me." because he's supposed to be somewhere else.

That's about it for today. See y'all in 2012!

Oh, speaking of 2012...guess what else happens next year? Yep! My next book comes out! Since I don't think I've shared the cover here yet, here you go.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sunday Soup Potluck

Today was our annual Sunday Soup Potluck. Since I always tell the guests that they don't have to bring anything, we think it's only fair to have a potluck once a year. The end of September is our anniversary of moving to Canada, so it seems like a great time to do it.

It was a wonderful day, full of old friends and new, lots of good food and two soups - Mushroom Onion, and Black Bean Vegetable. I have to admit though that I would not have been able to do it if it weren't for the Southerner. As most of you know, the Sous Chef passed away unexpectedly in August and we're all muddling through with broken hearts. I honestly don't think I could've made the soup last night if the Southerner hadn't come out into the kitchen to help me. Instead of focusing on my loss and how much I missed her in my life, I was able to think about the food we were making, and we honoured the memory of the Sous Chef while we cooked. If you haven't read my blog post about her, here is a link which I hope will make you smile.

And there really is a lot to smile about. After only four years here, we were surrounded by wonderful, loving friends, the Pastry Chef made a delicious cake from scratch (she used to think "from scratch" meant from a cake mix, but now she's so savvy she can substitute ingredients when she needs to!), the food was wonderful, and the cats got extra doses of attention. Life is good.

For those of you who couldn't come, well, there's always next year! Thank you to everyone, you have made our time here so happy.

Love, the Chef and the Southerner

The photo is the Sous Chef on the left, and me on the right.

P.S. No Sunday Soup in November as we're off to hear the Fiddler play viola (yes, you read that right). See you in December!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Soup is Canceled This Week

Hi All...
Early Sunday morning bulletin...For the first time ever, Sunday Soup is canceled due to illness. Victor's got a bug and we don't want to spread it around even more (others on the island have it, too).

Fortunately, because I was going to make Egg Drop Soup with Garden Spinach, and it's best made fresh, I am not stuck with 9 gallons of soup. Unfortunately, no soup this week! I might have to make a small batch just for us.

Next month is our Fourth Annual Thank God We Live on this Island Potluck, so make sure you drop in, if you're around!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Those Summer Days (and vegetables)

Today was an excellent Sunday Soup. The sun was shining (a rare thing this summer), the veggies were fresh and from the farmer and various friends, and the soup was Summer Vegetable. The Sous Chef made the bread last night, and I baked it this morning. I've been experimenting with other breads lately, so it was nice to have the basic bread again - nice and simple and fresh.

I found this great company where I can order fruit and vegetables from the Okanagen (BC) and they pick it on Friday and deliver it on Sunday, so I took delivery of 11lbs of BC cherries and 10lbs of blueberries today. Oh, double yum! I will have stained fingers from pitting cherries for the freezer, but come winter, it will be so worth it when I make smoothies.

We had a very nice turnout today, lots of people packed onto our narrow deck (which will be coming down and replaced with a wider one, hopefully this fall). After everyone left, The Sous Chef came over to cook dinner with me (she may be moving away, so we're doing crash cooking lessons 5 nights a week for the next month). We made pasta with cararmelized onions, sauteed zucchini, fresh garlic, and fresh basil. It was delicious! And then we capped it off with fresh fruit.

I can't believe by the next time we meet up for Sunday Soup we will be thinking about fall. It's gone so fast! I hope you had an excellent summer day today though, and enjoy the rest of the sunny days too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Old Slow Me!

Just realized I forgot to blog after last Sunday's soup. Perhaps it was because of the sheer hoards of people who showed up. Don't get me wrong, we were thrilled to see them all, but kind of surprised. Especially since it was a holiday weekend and there was so much going on all over.

I made a yummy cauliflower soup and pesto bread. Luckily, the Swimmer (a visitor from another island who SWAM here!) brought two baguettes, otherwise we would've run out of bread. He also brought red wine and brie (and no, he did not carry these items while swimming, but that would've been cool).

Because only four people showed up for SS in June, and as I said before, it was a busy holiday weekend, I only made one pot of soup...and we had 19 people here, including myself and the Southerner. I ended up defrosting the leftover soup from June for the last five guests! The Fleece Lady brought dips and chips, and there were a few other contributions too, so in the end, it was a bit of a party. The weather even sort of cooperated in that it didn't rain and most of the guests were hearty Canadians, so they had no problem sitting on the deck.

It occurred to me afterward that we should've had a cake for the Sous Chef because July is her birthday, but I'm sure she'll come out okay at some point this month, so not to worry. I'll even dig out the SS Birthday Princess banner and let her wear it on the big day.

Thanks to all who came, and sorry to miss those of you who couldn't make it. Maybe we'll see you in August!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rhubarb Soup? Maybe not...

I'm thinking perhaps now that SS is only once a month I might need to remind people. Either that, or they're all tired of my soup! The only people that did come are ones I reminded the day before, so it was a bit on the quiet side, but it was very nice.

First The Actor showed up, and we had a lovely chat over broccoli almond soup...for about an hour and a half. Just as he was getting up to leave, someone pulled into the driveway. I said to him, "Are you sure you want to leave because your daughter is here now?" He ended up staying for a bit, and his daughter The Farmer came in with a couple who are visiting the island with the idea of living here permanently. We had some lovely crackers that The Farmer made, along with soup and bread, and she brought me rhubarb as a hostess gift.

I got very excited because I am a rhubarb JUNKIE. Every time I go to someone's house and I see they have rhubarb I get all shifty and try to get The Southerner to distract them while I snag some. Actually, several people have been very generous with theirs this year, and I'm already getting a very nice stash in my freezer. The Actor said he has some I can have too. Yay! It is so great in bread (make your favourite banana bread recipe and sub roasted rhubarb for 2 of the 3 bananas).

Anyway, that's about it for this month. Summer seems to have finally arrived here, too! Yay!

Take care, and eat lots of soup. See you next month.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Soup Debut

First, join me in sending out warm congratulations to the Sous Chef who is graduating from University this spring! She's just finished her thesis and moved back to the island, so we will be doing even more cooking. Yay! To celebrate, I handed her the recipe for Tomato-Orange soup and gave her the ingredients and she made the soup herself from start to finish. It was a big hit and every bowl got eaten (The Southerner had the last one with his dinner after everyone left).

We had quite the international gathering today. We all live here now, but there were people here today who were originally from the U.S., Scotland, France, the UK, Sweden, Holland, and yes, even from Canada! For a while, it looked like The Neighbour was going to be the only Canadian, but then we got a rush of Canucks at 6:30pm.

Because I can't eat tomatoes anymore (related to potatoes), I've been experimenting with peaches. For example, I made a peach pizza sauce that's quite delicious. And for today, I made Peach-Orange soup. I used all the same ingredients for the Tomato-Orange, so it had onions, garlic, thyme, salt & pepper in it, and it turned out pretty darn good. The Neighbour also can't eat tomatoes, so she had a bowl of the Peach soup instead and loved it. Out of necessity comes invention (is that the saying or did I mess it up and that's just some weird version of what I meant to say? Who cares. I'm too tired from socializing to look it up).

So...a very good day was had by all! Or at least by me and The Southerner! Hope y'all had a great weekend too. See you in June.