Camp Food Day 1: Bon Echo

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I fully admit it: I’ve been slacking on the blogging.  In a blink of an eye, summer was half over and while I could have been diligently typing away on my laptop, instead I was super busy prepping, packing, unpacking and then re-packing again for my favourite type of trip: camping.  Being able to choose from so many beautiful provincial parks is one of the many reasons I love living in Ontario and ever since the age of four, I have gone camping every single year of my life. Camping has become essential for my soul and I love leaving city life behind to connect with nature and above all: to make copious amounts of yummy camp food.

Our car camping trip this year was to Bon Echo, a beautiful provincial park in the South Eastern part of Ontario just north of Kaladar.  While there are several lakes throughout the park, Bon Echo is most known for Mazinaw Lake, the second deepest lake in the province. The other main feature of this lake is the Mazinaw Rock, a massive 330 foot escarpment that towers high above the water and is adorned with native pictographs.  The rock is a popular challenge for outdoor climbers, and is most impressive up close by canoe.

We arrived really late on the first night and were setting up our tent as quietly as possible at two in the morning.  Relaxed, we had the munchies and were so tired that we disregarded the number one rule about camping and brought some Pringles into the tent.  Within seconds there was an animal poking around the outside, and we could see their little paw imprint searching for the zipper – freaky!  The chips were quickly thrown into the car, and while we were rid of animals, the rain started soon after we fell asleep and we woke up to a few puddles in our tent.  Murphy’s Law – as soon as we put the up the tarps it never rained again, but we didn’t complain!

2015_Bon Echo-1606For lunch we roasted some maple pork sausages from The Healthy Butcher over the fire.  Crispy, juicy with an addictive sweet and salty flavour, a roasted sausage over the fire is still one of my favourite camp foods.  So simple, yet so effective.  We bought some fresh Italian buns and topped off the yummy sausages with some sauerkraut, hot banana peppers, mustard and pickles.  And so…the meat marathon began!

Bon Echo - Smoked Pork

Bon Echo – Smoked Pork

For dinner we smoked a pork shoulder in my handy little Bradley smoker, one of my best additions to my camping equipment to date.  I can smoke anything, anywhere, anytime!  We rubbed the shoulder a few days before with Paul Kirk’s Dry Rub and smoked it for three hours, about an hour per pound.  We also wrapped some apples, asparagus and carrots (with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper) in aluminum foil and roasted them over the fire.

2015 _Bon Echo-1613

The sweet roasted apple was the perfect compliment to the fatty, salty pork and we paired the dinner with a Crazy Beard Wild Apple Ale, a natural apple flavoured ale that had a bit of sweetness like a cider, but cut through the rich pork like a beer. Pork is really one of the tastiest meats to smoke.  I remember thinking “will it really be as good as I remember?”.  Yes, yes it was.2015_ Bon Echo-1615

The Babadook

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The Babadook

The Babadook

Written and Directed by Jennifer Kent

Released 2014. Available on DVD as of April 2015

Starring Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Hayley McElhinney and Barbara West

*spoiler alert!

Moody, beautifully shot with a haunting, ominous soundtrack, The Babadook slowly reels you in and gets under your skin. The feature debut of Australian writer/director Jennifer Kent, The Babadook tells the tale of a widowed single mom Amelia (Essie Davis) her son Samuel (Noah Wiseman) and the tragedy that has haunted their family. One fateful night when the husband was driving pregnant Amelia to the hospital, their car was involved in a fatal accident that left her newborn son fatherless. Ever since then, she has been unable to deal with her grief, refusing to celebrate Sam’s birthday, and living a very sheltered life. Needless to say, Sam grew up to be a bit of a odd child, so when he reads the darkly disturbing The Babadook storybook and claims to see monsters, this doesn’t strike his mother as strange at first. However, as he continues to persist that he is telling the truth and his behavior becomes more erratic, Amelia starts to believe that there might be something more to the book than just a creepy story.

Essie Davis anchors the film with her portrayal of Amelia, playing the character with a balanced intensity that starts off as a fragile and mourning widow who is gradually driven to a sleep deprived state on the brink of madness. Noah Wiseman lets loose as the unhinged kid, making us question whether he is possessed or just a real brat. The stage for their performance is an overly gloomy, German impressionistic palette inspired house, almost humorous in it’s obvious attempt to be as dark and creepy as possible.

*The theme of grief is an interesting monster analogy, threatening the family unit as Amelia slowly loses grip on reality. The longer she denies the existence of the Babadook – a monstrous version of her dead husband – the stronger the Babadook becomes. He represents her suppressed grief and until she deals with what she is repressing, it continues to grow and come back to haunt her in a terrifying form.

There was quite the hype surrounding The Babadook after it premiered at the end of 2014 with William Friedkin, the director of The Exorcist being quoted as saying “I’ve never seen a film more terrifying than The Babadook”. This is quite the statement coming from the man who made the “scariest movie of all time”, and having read that I have to say I was disappointed. While I was at first drawn into the story by the strong performances and elegant cinematography, the grieving monster became such an obvious connection early on that The Babadook no longer felt like a threat. The tensions shift throughout the film, first the child terrorizing the mother than the mother terrorizing the child. This made the film feel a bit disjointed at times, the audience losing interest as their sympathies shift.

While The Babadook is a fun ride through a fantastical reality of nightmares and demons, it nonetheless wraps up a bit too neatly, choosing to end on a childlike note instead of really opening the door to hell.

Perfect Eggs Benedict For Two

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Perfect Eggs Benedict

Perfect Eggs Benedict

I just have to let you know, that you’re lucky to see a photo for this recipe. I hadn’t planned on blogging this breakfast, but these eggs were so perfectly delicious, that keeping them all to myself just seemed selfish. My boyfriend and I were enjoying a lazy Sunday morning, when I decided to treat him to eggs benedict, his favourite. I based my eggs benny off of Gordon Ramsay’s recipe, but I modified my ingredients for two people and created some shortcuts. The secret to hollandaise sauce is to watch the heat when you’re whisking the egg yolks – less is more – and to whisk those yolks as if your life depended on it, particularly when adding the butter. The result: soft poached eggs topped with a light, creamy, buttery hollandaise sauce, sitting on top of some crunchy bacon and a toasted whole wheat English muffin. We had breakfast on the balcony, enjoying the warm summer morning and sipping strong espressos. Perfect moments like these are what life is all about!

Perfect Eggs Benedict For Two

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Perfect Eggs Benedict For Two

Ingredients

  • 1 package of thick, smoked bacon
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 85 grams unsalted butter
  • ½ tablespoon peppercorns
  • splash of lemon juice
  • two whole wheat English muffins
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a cast iron skillet on high heat, lying 8 strips of thick smoked bacon flat around the pan.
  2. Once the bacon begins to sizzle, turn down to medium high. Rotate the bacon around the pan so that they brown evenly. Turn down the heat to medium low once enough bacon fat gathers, and rotate the bacon in the fat until the edges are crisp.
  3. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towel, blotting the excess fat, then covering to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, boil the vinegar, and peppercorns in a small saucepan until reduced to half. Strain and reserve to the side.
  5. Using a microwave, melt butter in a small bowl in 30 second intervals until melted. Crack two eggs into a coffee cup and set aside. Separate two egg yolks into a small heatproof bowl and set aside. Slice the English muffins and place them in the toaster, ready to go.
  6. In a medium saucepan, boil 4 cups of water and two tablespoons of the reduced vinegar.
  7. With the end of a straining spoon swirl the vinegar water briskly to form a vortex and slide in the eggs so that the eggs stay together when cooked. Set a timer for 3 minutes.
  8. Working quickly, add one and half teaspoons of the reduced vinegar to the egg yolks and whisk very briskly while holding the bowl closely over the boiling water cooking the poached egg. Beat vigorously until the mixture is light and foamy, making sure it doesn’t get too hot otherwise the yolks will cook. To prevent the sauce from overheating, take it on and off the heat numerous times while you whisk.
  9. After three minutes, quickly remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon – this works best if someone can help you so that you can keep whisking the egg yolks. Crack two more eggs into a small cup, make a vortex, slide the eggs into the boiling water and set the timer for another three minutes.
  10. Place the heatproof bowl with the yolks back over the boiling water and slowly pour in half of the melted butter, whisking vigorously, and continually taking the bowl on and off the heat. Pour in the last of the butter and a splash of lemon juice, and keep whisking vigorously over the heat until the mixture is thick and creamy. Remove the second batch of poached eggs with a slotted spoon after three minutes.
  11. Lightly toast the English muffins and warm up the bacon in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  12. Assemble your eggs benedict. Lay two halves of bacon on each slice of the English muffin. Using the slotted spoon, drain the poached eggs and place on top of the bacon. Pour the hollandaise sauce over the eggs and top with some freshly ground pepper. Serve with additional bacon.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2015/07/14/perfect-eggs-benedict-for-two/

What breakfast recipe do you like to make for someone you love?