Christmas cake.

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Over Thanksgiving weekend, my mum and I baked our Christmas fruitcake. The recipe is my grandmother’s and you’re supposed to bake it way ahead of when you want to eat it, and baste it with alcohol every week. Right before Christmas we’ll add a layer of marzipan and a layer of royal icing. It’s such a big cake that it takes 4-6 hours to bake, so we finished late into the evening. I always hear people complaining about fruitcake, but this one is really delicious. It’s always our first Christmas baking of the year and now I can’t wait to decorate for Christmas… only a few more months! (Although I have a lot of knitting to do in that time!). If you’re also impatiently waiting for the holiday season to start, you can see all of last year’s Christmas posts here.

What are your feelings about fruitcake? Love or hate?

Linking up with Heather.

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Brunch.

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When I was home for Thanksgiving last weekend, my mum made brunch on my last morning there. Homemade waffles and lots of toppings! We like Jennie’s waffle recipe and the waffle iron is this one.

What are your favourite brunch recipes? I love breakfast food so I’m always on the lookout for good ones!

Linking up with Heather.

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Thanks.

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Two orders of business today:

First, happy thanksgiving! (It’s Canadian thanksgiving this weekend, for those who live south of the border and are thoroughly confused). I hope you all have a lovely weekend enjoying the chilly fall weather and eating delicious food. We celebrated a day early since my dad will be away for the rest of the weekend.

Secondly- thank you for sticking around even though I haven’t been posting as much as I’d like lately. The truth is I’m struggling to squeeze blogging in with everything else I’m doing. This space is important to me, though, so I’m going to keep trying to make it work!

Peaches and Cherries.

Peaches in a pot

Ontario honey

Peach preserves

Peach preserves

Cherry jam

I’ve been doing some more preserving this week… peach preserves and cherry jam! Both turned out quite well, I think. The peach preserves are from the Food in Jars blog (sliced and preserved in honey with lemon zest) and the cherry jam is the basic fruit/sugar/pectin/lemon juice formula from the inside of the pectin packet. The cherry jam is lovely on toast and the peaches are perfect mixed into some yogurt… I imagine they’ll both taste even better in a few months when good produce is scarce!

Have you been making any jam or preserves lately? I’m on a bit of a jam making spree right now so if you have a favourite recipe or flavour, I’d love to hear about it!

Linking up with Heather.

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Pickles.

Soaking overnight

Soaking overnight

Prepping jars

Full stovetop

Pickles!

Pickles!

My garden finally produced enough cucumbers to make pickles, and even though these are my first pickles, they turned out really well! The recipe is from one of my current favourite canning books and is definitely a must-try. The yield is small (4 pint jars), so it’s easy to make a batch and tweak the amount of dill and garlic. I’ve included the recipe below- let me know if you try them out!

Garlic Dill Pickles
(Adapted from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving)
Makes 4 pint (500ml) jars

Ingredients:
(For soaking overnight)
3 lbs (1.5 kg) pickling cucumbers (about 6-8 large)
8 cups water
1/4 cup coarse pickling salt
(For the brine)
2 cups white vinegar (5% acetic acid)
2 cups water
2 tbsp coarse pickling salt
(For the jars)
2 tbsp dill seed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled

Cut off the ends of the cucumbers (if you are sure which is the blossom end, you can just cut it off rather than both ends- it will make your pickles lose their crunch!) and cut the cucumbers as desired. Smaller cucumbers can be left whole, or larger ones can be quartered or cut even smaller. In a large bowl, stir 1/4 cup salt into 4 cups water until dissolved. Add 4 cups of ice water and the cucumbers and let bowl sit in the fridge overnight or for 12 hours. Rinse with cold water.

To make brine, in a medium saucepan, combine white vinegar, 2 tbsp salt, and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Into each hot jar, place 1 1/2 tsp dill seed and 1 clove of garlic. Pack cucumber into jars and pour in the brine, leaving 1/2″ headspace. Check jars for bubbles, screw on sterilized lids, and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Sealed jars are shelf-stable for 1 year and are best eaten at least 2 weeks after canning. We find the flavour is best if the jars sit for 24 hours after opening before eating them.

Happy Thursday- I hope you are all having a lovely week so far!

Linking up with Heather today.

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All things purple.

WIP: Hitofude

WIP: Hitofude

WIP: Hitofude

Yarn for baby sweater

Hitofude and cookbooks

I’m still working on my hitofude cardigan… I’ve got one more lace pattern repeat for this section (which is, if I’m reading the pattern correctly, the sleeves). The construction of this cardi is so interesting that it’s like a surprise each time I read and knit the next part of the pattern. The whole garment is knit in one piece, no seams, without breaking the yarn once. Such a creative design.
(Rav link)

I also need to cast on a new project soon… I know two people who are having babies in September, so I picked up this fingering weight yarn in two shades of purple at Romni Wools when I was in Toronto last week. Do you have a favourite baby sweater pattern (preferably that would work in 2 colours)? I was thinking maybe this one or this one.

I haven’t been reading a ton of non-academic stuff recently, but I have been cooking a lot and trying out recipes from a bunch of different cookbooks. I love that I can take cookbooks out of the library and try a few recipes before deciding whether or not to buy the book! Here are a few of my recent favourites:

Moosewood Restaurant Simple Suppers
Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson
The Sprouted Kitchen, by Sarah and Hugh Forte
The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

I hope you’re all having a great week!

Linking up with Yarn-Along.

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Strawberries.

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It’s finally strawberry season here in Ontario! We went to the first day of pick-your-own at Fruition Berry Farm and got 12 litres of amazing berries. I made my first truly successful strawberry rhubarb pie (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)- turns out the secret really is the minute tapioca! It thickens the pie filling superbly. I used the all-butter pastry recipe but did a lattice top instead of a full top. My mum also made up a few batches of strawberry jam.

What are your favourite strawberry recipes? We’ve still got loads left!