Growing up, my mother would make us go fruit picking every summer. Looking back, I never fully appreciated how lucky I was to be able pick fresh fruit. Many years later, I moved downtown and was living closer to my best friend. We started crafting and attempting various do-it-yourself projects and eventually this led to home preserving. This year we wanted to hit up as many seasonal fruit as possible and the first one up was strawberries. So one sunny Sunday morning in June we decided to drive to Grimsby where we picked up a flat of juicy, ruby red berries.
Since we were new to canning, we decided to use tried and true recipes first before we start experimenting. To preserve jam, there is a science to balancing the acidity in order to prevent spoilage and to ensure your jam sets properly. For this reason we used the Bernardin strawberry jam recipe. This jam uses liquid pectin, and I’ve found the best jams we’ve made so far were with liquid pectin. Straightforward and easy to work with, this type of pectin seems to set the best as well.
The result is the most definitive strawberry jam. Sweet, exploding full of flavour and by no means healthy, it is decadent and heavenly. I was going to give these jams away as Christmas gifts…but I think I’m going to save them all for myself! Next year we will have to make a double batch for sure!
Last December we had a big holiday party where we served beef tongue tacos, featuring meat from our local butcher and fresh homemade corn tortillas from La Tortilleria in Toronto. We ended up buying too many tortillas so for the next couple of weeks following the party we did “taco Tuesday”, and have continued this yummy ritual ever since.
This week I wanted to feature all the tacos we’ve made so far in 2016. The possibilities are endless! Click on the gallery for a delicious taco slide show and hold your cursor over each image for a description. Enjoy!
Over the Victoria long weekend, we decided to visit my boyfriend’s grandmother out in Marmora. I’ve been there in the summer, fall and winter, but this was the first time I would see Marmora in the spring.
On the way, we stopped by Pitcher’s Place, a restaurant just north of Cobourg in Gores Landing that had received rave reviews for their brunch. Pitcher’s Place did not disappoint and we were treated to an incredible, home-style, totally indulgent, utterly comforting breakfast. I had the poached eggs on homemade toast, with a potato and squash hash (brilliant!), plus some charsiu (new word! It’s pork belly…) and a side of house braut (spiced pork sausage, oh my!) and house made pickled cauliflower, brussel sprouts and beets. Everything was exceptional and the owner was also super friendly and helpful. I wish they were in Toronto, I would go here every weekend! Although…the good thing about brunch in Gores Landing is that you don’t have to wait an hour in line.
Pitcher’s Place breakfast
The highlight of our day trip to Marmora was a visit to the Marmora Mine, an abandoned open pit iron mine just on the outskirts of town. From the years 1955 to 1979 the mine supplied iron ore pellets to the steel mills of Buffalo, New York and the size of the mine is truly impressive. Underground streams have since filled the enormous pit with water, turning it into a peaceful lake more than 656 feet deep and covering 85 acres across.
We spent over an hour walking along the edge of the mine and exploring down below. A really cool site and exceptionally scenic on this gorgeous spring day!