Friday, February 27, 2015

New Food #2

Continuing with my project for the year to try a new food every month, I bring you New Food #2 - the tamarillo.  I had never heard of it and my interest was piqued when I saw it in the grocery store sitting with the exotic fruits and looking so pretty. The skin is such a pretty blend of reds and peaches and yellows. I actually had to check twice to get the name right as I wasn't familiar with it.

After some Googling I discovered that it is a fruit grown on a small tree and is also called a tree tomato. It is native to South America, but now is grown in many subtropical areas around the world with New Zealand and Australia leading in commercial production and exporting. 

There are yellow and red varieties, with the yellow being sweeter and often eaten like a kiwi scooping it out of the skin. Since the red tamarillo are more tangy, I thought it would make sense to cook a savoury dish with it. I served it with chicken and it was delicious. While I liked the taste, I doubt I will be buying it again too often as it was very expensive. Have you ever had a tamarillo or is new to you too?

Tamarillo Chutney

1 tamarillo
1/2 red onion, peeled and chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar

1. Cover tamarillo with boiling water and allow to stand for 3-4 minutes. Then drain and when cool enough to handle peel and chop.
3. Cook the onion and garlic in a small amount of oil for about 4-5 minutes.
2. Combine ingredients in a saucepan and cook for about 30 minutes (add small amounts of water as needed) until the consistency of jam. Remove cloves before serving.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Winter Fun at Island Lake Conservation Area

The husband hasn't skated in about 25 years. I thought he didn't like to skate - or at least that's how I remembered it after all these years, but it turns out his old skates were uncomfortable so he never went. We fixed that problem on Saturday by buying him new skates and on Monday we went to try them out. 

I don't like to skate indoors because of all the nasty smells so I did some Googling to find outdoor skating in our area. We decided to go to Island Lake Conservation Area near Orangeville, Ontario. It turned out to be so much more than just skating and was a great choice.

There was a skating area on a pond for hockey and one out on the lake for pleasure skating. I guess skating is like riding a bike because the husband did well once he got going. It was a cold day (-15C), but no wind so we actually warmed up while we were skating and walking around and even had to take our mitts off. 


There were about 40 ice huts on the lake and a fishing derby for the kids. I have seen fishing huts lots of times at the cottage, but never up this close. I looked inside one of the huts (well two, but one of them had people inside looking back at me - gulp). I figured you like interiors as much as I do so I even took a picture of the inside of one. They are a little plain inside and could do with some decorating. In addition to all the ice fishing huts, there were lots of holes in the ice and even a clever contraption to cover the hole and allow access to it.


Other activities for the kids included making snow art using paint and bird seeds and minnow races. These were both new activities to me. The snow art would have been something I would have done with my own kids if I had thought of it when they were young, but the minnow races ... well, let's just say the minnows looked a little hypothermic and the rain gutters were freezing over and leave it at that. There were also snow shoe rentals and plenty of trails through the woods to use them on and there were campfires to cook marshmallows and hot dogs. 

Island Lake was a great place to get out and enjoy winter. I'm on the lookout for some more outdoor skating rinks now that we've established that the husband likes to skate.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Do you get the urge to bake when it is cold and wet and stormy outside? I sure do. Today was one of those days - with a winter storm giving me a snow day and putting me in the mood to bake.

I decided to make a version of Ann's blueberry coffee cake (from On Sutton Place). Naturally I can't just make a recipe as is, but have to tweak it somewhat. The husband and I are trying to eat healthier so I cut down on the sugar slightly, used whole wheat flour, and added sunflower seeds. After a long snow-shoveling session this afternoon I had a piece of cake and a cup of tea, and man, did it taste great. 

1/4 cup margarine or soft butter
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups whole wheat flour

1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
For topping: 
1/3 c. Sugar 
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup soft butter or margarine

1. Mix the first four ingredients together.
2. Add the baking powder and flour in a separate bowl.
3. Add slowly to butter-sugar mixture.
4. Fold in blueberries

5. Pour into 8 x 8 greased pan.
6. Sprinkle topping over blueberry batter.
7. Bake at 350F for 40 – 50 min. or until a pick inserted in center comes out clean.