KATE’S CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE – Elegantly simplicity.



CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE

Away way back in time coffee cake was a simple treat.    It was an uncomplicated cake.  The ingredients were always at hand.  It went together quickly .  The delicious aroma of the baking cake filled your kitchen.  It was warm and welcoming  hospitality on a plate.   One made coffee cake to be enjoyed with coffee or tea and dear friends   It was elegant simplicity.  

Then we add sour cream and blueberries, buttermilk and cranberries, rhubarb and apples.  Coffee cake became a production.  It lingered long in the oven and frequently longer cooling .   It was definitely not something you whipped up on the spur of the moment.This recipe for CINNAMON COFFEE CAKE  goes back to the late Fifties.  It is a doodle to whip up.  Presents beautifully.  And tastes decadently divine.    I have probably made it over seven hundred times  and last week I made it for my  friend Kate.   It was received with so much enthusiasm and appreciation  I renamed it  KATE’S COFFEE CAKE.    Kate is a remarkable woman in a demanding profession.  She was  ships bridge officer on luxury cruise ships for years and now continues her relationship with marine transportation at  SeaSpan here on the west coast.     This recipe is perfect for Kate.   She loves baking but has little time to shop for exotic ingredients  or spend hours in the kitchen.

The recipe came with a bag of Robin Hood Flour and it is simplicity personified.  Flour sugar salt and baking powder mixed with butter.  An egg whipped into milk.  A quick and gentle stir and into the pan and  a little brown sugar butter and cinnamon sprinkled over the top.   This sweet little coffee cake goes together quickly so be sure to turn your oven on before you start your recipe.  The recipe awaits you in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS.

 



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ZEN AND THE ART OF STRAWBERRY JAM

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She weighed the strawberries.

Measured the sugar.

The wisdom of tradition whispered to her.

This is state of mind.

This is a way of being.

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Her thoughts weighed heavy on her wrists.

She filled the jars

With the warmth of the sun.

The perfume of the crushed berries.

The  blue she had grabbed from the sky.

The music the wind across the fields.

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This alchemy of jam.

This seeing things without distortion.

She placed a flower on Buddha.

This she thought is the zen of strawberry jam.

ZEN AND THE ART OF IRONING LINEN NAPKINS

The voice of Kiri te Kanawa soars through our home.  A favorite and much loved CD … Chants d’Auvergne (songs of the Auvergne).    I’m ironing  napkins, gorgeous banquet sized antique linen damask napkins.    The final memory filled  task of Saturday’s dinner party,  a memorable evening with friends and family.

No ordinary napkins these, but heavy, large 24″ by 24″ drifts of shimmering white.   I treasure hunt for vintage linen.  Finding them in thrift shops and garage sales.  Buying  single orphans.  Incomplete sets.   Monogrammed napkin embroidered with the initials of others.

At the end of the evening  the napkins soak in cold water over night. If there is a recalcitrant stain I add a little powdered bleach.   I wash them in more cool water, gentle cycle, mild soap. I hang them to dry.

I spray them with L’Occitane’s lavender-scented Linen Water.    It’s  lovely to see the beautiful damask patterns come to life under the heat of the iron.   I fold the napkin in half and press a sharp crease, then fold and iron again.  My Mother, who was a beautiful ironer would not approve of this.  It wears the linen away.   But,  I like the sharp, crisp crease.  I do the same with my linen tablecloths (it’s the French style).

The napkins, still damp and immaculately ironed, air dry on the laundry rack.   I tie each set with with coloured ribbons and carefully tuck  them away to wait patiently for the next dinner party.

This simple act of calmly and quietly ironing, and storing them in an orderly fashion is the zen and art of ironing linen napkins.

GLAMOUR ART GOWNS MODELED BY THE MOST GORGEOUS CHICKLETS DAZZLE THE FANTASY FASHION WORLD

The fabulous. The fantastic.  The Fantasy.  The magical world of art gowns  created by  Resa of Queen Street West, Toronto.  The unique catwalk presentation had the audience of thousands on the their feet cheering and applauding.

Virginia  flew in from Paris to participate in this one of a kind COOP event.  Resa’s  Empress d’Amore gown, created for Virginia, opened the gorgeous parade of gowns.  Ooh and aah over the dazzling art gowns and their wonderfully unusual models.  Read all about this one-of-a-kind fashion event on   RESA’S ART GOWNS.

THE JEWELED FRUIT TARTS OF PARIS . . . Caramelized Plum Tart

caramelized plum tart

It is at this time of year when the days shorten and dusk creeps quietly into our lives.  When we put away the warm whispers of summer.  When we scuff through fallen leaves removing the silver dust of Paris.  This is my favorite season in the city of light.

 It is at this time of year I return to my little house in Paris to pack away the summer memories.  To take down the linen  curtains that dance at my windows and replace them with  enveloping rich dark green velvet.  To cover the stone pavers of my kitchen floor with a faded and warm carpet.

And it is this time of year, market basket under my arm, I raise very early and head for the markets.   I am abroad even before the street cleaners.  Searching for the last stoned fruit of the season to make just one last plum tart.

The Paris pastry shops beguile us with dazzling displays of fruit tarts.  They are perfectly imperfect with simply arranged seasonal fresh fruits made even more irresistible with sugar-studded , heavily caramelized, crunchy rims.   This is pie perfection!  Honest pies that promise you everything and deliver.   My alter ego happily shares her dreams of Paris and her recipes with you.  Bon Appetit, dear friends.   MRS BUTTERFINGERS

Living with chemotherapy induced Peripheral Neuropathy

 

Three years ago I was diagnosed once again with breast cancer.  I had a mastectomy.  After surgery my treatment was oral  Exemestene – an anti-cancer hormone treatment not normally given to woman over eighty years old.      Two years of Exemestene and  the many serious  side-effects of this drug became so debilitating, the quality of my life so miserable,  I made the choice to stop treatment.

One of the unpleasant  side effects was painful burning and numbness in my feet and legs at night.  My feet became numb and I was having trouble walking, climbing stairs, anything relating to balance.  It was diagnosed as peripheral neuropathy.   I received little help from the oncology neurologist other than  suggesting  adding a B Multiple supplement  to the vitamin supplements I was taking.   This was the beginning of my extensive research on treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral sensory neuropathy.

Courtesy Google I researched many North American  sites reporting positive results treating  people with  type two Diabetes with large amounts of Vitamin B 12 and Alpha laporic acid (an antioxidant, ) but little information on chemotherapy induced neuropathy.    The information I required was found  on Dutch and German medical sites.    I discussed the decision to add  vitamin B12 and alpha laporic acid to my supplement regime  with my family doctor and my nephrologist.

It has been just three months since I started taking B12 and alpha laporic acid and  I have been able to sleep with less burning pain.   Physiotherapists  gave me exercises to strength my feet and legs and  improve my balance.  Periperal Neuropathy weakens the muscles.   I’ve made major changes in my diet with  emphases on fresh fruits and vegetables and protein.     The  Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy is an excellent source of information.  But, it is important to be your own advocate.    Do extensive research and question everything.  And most important to discuss your choices with your family doctor and not self diagnose.

On the most positive note  –  my research has improved the quality of life for my younger sister.  She has type two diabetes and  had never been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy.  She discussed treatment with her physician and after adding vitamin B 12 and alpha laporic acid to her vitamin supplements  she ended years of suffering and has  absolutely no burning night pain in  her feet.

It is not my nature to be so open about something so intensely  personal.   Cancer has been my unwanted companion for eleven years.  If this experience helps just one person  that is what this post is about, and I will have made a difference for some one.

https://www.foundationforpn.org/

https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/peripheral-neuropathy-risk-factors-symptoms#1

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S MAGIC. ZUCCHINI ‘S TUMBLE INTO YOUR BASKET AND BECOME ZUCCHINI RELISH.

This morning’s garden expedition is zucchini hunt.    The zucchini has an uncanny ability to hide its slender form under large, bristly leaves.   It masquerades as part of a thick stem.  The unsuspecting gardener turns her back and before you can say ratatouille  it becomes  a behemoth of a vegetable.

There is simply nothing more glorious than canning the bounty of your garden.  The heady fragrance of spices simmering in vinegar.  The chop chop chop sound as your knife flashes its way through mounds of vegetables. The wonderful feeling of accomplishment as you tuck away the jars of produce to enjoy in the months to come.

This recipe for ZUCCHINI RELISH is deliciously tangy and sophisticated  accompaniment for hot dogs, burgers, and any cold meats that require a little zing.   Slip over to the place I cook up wild and wonderful food.  Click on ZUCCHINI RELISH  and let the magic begin.  Bon Appetit dear friends.