Saturday, January 5, 2013

Books and Bricks...

I'm passionate about cooking and naturally great cookbooks help to keep me inspired and challenged in the Humble Bungalow kitchen.
Often I am fortunate enough to receive them as gifts...
this Christmas I was given one of the new Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and have been reading, browsing and planning what I'll cook first. Ina has such a wonderful assortment of basic staple recipes and none of them look too challenging, nor do they require exotic spices or ingredients that might make preparations a bit daunting.

She's really quite pretty
I'd love to be able to watch her cooking shows again
but they are not available on our current channels
and we have many!

Do you read the smitten kitchen blog?
Well Deb has a cookbook!
This is a vast volume with an wide array of interesting and tempting recipes
I cannot decide what I'll make 
but I'm thinking I should invite my son, DIL and Isla to dine with us 
when I do decide as they gave me this gift.

I found this cookbook while browsing the aisles at Home Sense.
Williams Sonoma Weeknight Fresh and Fast 
which is often what I need on a busy weeknight after work.
Fresh, healthy and tasty meals that don't take hours to put together.

Williams Sonoma has not set up shop in our town
whenever we go anywhere that has one 
Mr. HB knows he'll be exploring their wares with me
and it's difficult harnessing my desire to buy when surrounded with so many great tools.

This book has been out for quite sometime and I was eyeing it at the local book seller 
but I resisted until it went on sale at a price that I could not resist.
Bunny's writing is easy ~ yet pleasant
the pictures are lovely
and the pages are full of great ideas 
 suggestions on what supplies are necessary for entertaining
and home keeping basics that one might need to have on hand.
I'm in my element reading her thoughts.

One of my prized "possessions" is a Sidney Island brick
mostly prized as there are very few whole ones left plus it was discovered on one of my most memorable dates!
Mr. HB and I found it on the beach at Sidney Spit when we were teenagers.
He used to take me over there in his speed boat and we'd hold hands and walk along the sand barefoot.
I'd hazard a guess that we found it about 45 years ago...

There was a brick factory over there for awhile in the early 1900's.
The Empress Hotel was built with these bricks.
Many broken bricks still litter the high tide mark near the public campsites.

There is a bomb shelter there too which is narrow dark and I used to be brave and run through it until I spied several spider webs blocking the entrance.
It's rather silly being afraid of something like spiders but I will avoid them at any cost.

The Marine park is one of my favourite spots to cruise to 
and spend the day beach combing
then if the winds are light stay the night.

The sunsets are beautiful and in the summertime you can glimpse the highest fireworks at Butchart Gardens.

~ ~ ~

Besides books and bricks...
I've been using the IPAD mini quite a bit and was rather concerned that it did not get scratched or walked on by the cats so I found a simple sleeve which also works as a stand made by Hipstreet.

my manicure is holding up rather well
I dressed it with a top coat of fresh colour and am thinking 
 maybe I could try to emulate Faux Fuchsia 
she has the prettiest nails on the blogosphere
and her blog has a bit of something for everyone...
flowers, friends, food, fashion and family.

Recipes are easy to find online but one never knows how good the recipes are...
I learned this the hard way when I made Boston Baked Beans
that bombed!

Speaking of bricks we had to have our 100 year old chimney rebuilt as the mortar was crumbling
a stainless steel liner was inserted down the chimney to prevent us from getting carbon monoxide poisoning
we have purchased a simple CO2 detector and had no knowledge that this might pose a risk to our health so mention this to heritage home owners just in case you had not heard...

Take care
Hope that your New Year is off to a great start.

If you haven't already heard Downton Abbey starts tomorrow!
Mr. HB and I watched season 3 online thanks to our clever son who showed us how to download it.
Not going to spoil any of the story line...
I'm just saying it's a season not to be missed.



  1. Lots here, Hostess! I too received Foolproof for Christmas and have already made the Gremolata Green beans - delicious! I will have to have a look at Faux Fuschia - I can use all the help available in the manicure department!

    1. Oh they do sound delicious... Must get that one under my belt!

  2. You are just a plethora of knowledge today! I am taking notes, and going off to the bookstore!! Oh, and I have to have my fireplace rebuilt! Heatalators were the rage when we built our home 30 years ago. Well, it has rusted out, so needs to be removed and I will have fire bricks installed. Such a project!
    I do miss having a fire in the living room, so I will be happy when it is complete!

    1. We love our fireplace as it adds warmth and ambiance. I heartily agree that you'll be happy that you had your fireplace restored when you can sit back and enjoy it.

  3. I love Ina...she is my favorite food/cooking personality. Seems very down-to-earth.
    I have an iPad mini also and still need to find myself a good cover for it. Thanks for the reminder - had forgotten all about it.
    Yay for DA starting tomorrow! You're lucky. I wish my husband would watch it with me. He can't stand shows like DA. But my stepdaughter loves it as much as I do - so she and I will view it together.
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Mr. HB seems to enjoy it as much as I do...
      we also watched the older classics Monarch of the Glen and To The Manor Born together.
      Bravo for Tory!

  4. I bet you are an absolutely terrific cook.

    Maybe we should have a blog linkup party, a potluck. Everyone posts the recipe they'd bring to an imaginary cooking party:). With commentary, of course!

    You are reminding me yet again that I should give Ina Garten a whirl.

    1. Oh that does sound like fun!
      We'd need to establish whose home it might be in and what tone to set.
      It might take me days to figure out what to bring!

  5. I've been thumbing through my Ina Garten "Barefoot in Paris" cookbook for some recipe inspiration. But I must say that Williams Sonoma "Fresh & Fast" has piqued my interest, as that's the kind of cooking I must do most of the time. If I haven't already wished it to you, Happy New Year, Hostess!

    1. Happy New Year to you!
      Fast and Fresh has great pictures too as well as healthy options. I have never made risotto and they have quite a few variations in the book which I might need to test one night soon. It sounds so easy.

  6. Love Ina and love cookbooks. Fresh and Fast looks like another good addition. Of course, I had to sign up for the latest Ina Garten and have it delivered immediately.

    Happy New Year to you~

    1. She has quite a few newer books...which one did you order?

  7. Happy New Year, Hostess! Our daughter's FIL grew up on James Island - his father supervised the TNT plant there, and later he worked on Sidney Island, I believe, overseeing the brick plant. How fun that you have one of those bricks! A real local treasure.

    1. What a small world Lorrie!
      Imagine growing up on James Island...
      he must have had to come over by boat to attend school.

  8. Oh, I am so glad you reminded us about Downtown Abbey. I had forgotten and I have been lookin forward to the series resuming. We got rid of our cable and hooked up antenna in the attic. I was so excited that we got free TV then my husband decided he needed to at least have TiVo which at least is only about $15 a month. (vs the $70 or $80 a month we were paying).

    I love the fact that you have the Sidney Island brick. How sweet those memories must be.

    Happy New Year

    1. We have cable and there is quite the fierce competition from the local providers to have us switch...
      we do not have an antenna or a satellite dish. The TIVO is much like our PVR system, watch TV when convenient and fast forward through commercials! Enjoy DA!

  9. Happy new year Hostess!

    Ditto for the book-- I have them all. Try the filet of beef ( balsamic vinegar and mustard) in the basics book-- absolutely infallible.

    Downton is on my calendar for tomorrow. Even Mr Lane is hooked.

    1. That does sound delicious...
      Isn't Julian Fellowes clever? I've read all his novels and have kept them to read again in the future.

  10. I adore Home Sense. I've purchased 2 of Ina's cookbooks there. In the states, our version is called Home Goods and they are almost identical. I find the same merchandise in both!!
    Even though I don't eat meat, her books are filled with wonderful recipes I use again and again.
    Have a terrific Sunday!

    1. I've found myself trolling the aisles of Home Sense a lot more than any other shop other than the grocery store. The assortment of stationary, towels, soaps and kitchen wares has me never leaving empty handed! Have you tried her apple tart? It's a keeper.
      Take care Jennifer!

  11. I've just downloaded Season 1 of Downton Abbey, so I'm playing catch-up.
    Love that brick of yours -- a fabulous local artifact with such a great bit of personal romance attached!

    1. I hope you'll enjoy Downton Abbey as much as we all do mater...
      the sets and costuming are so rich and the characters and acting divine.

  12. Going to watch the last two episodes of Season 2 today to get ready for Season 3. Really looking forward to it. Another amazing cookbook is Jerusalem. I gave it to a few friends for Christmas and they've been raving. It's a very interesting read as well.

    1. Is is all about cooking in Jerusalem? I've never heard of it, over to Amazon I go.

  13. I love Ina and her cookbooks are great. I agree with you that her show is wonderful too ~ she has great style all around.

    1. Her apple tart might be a great choice to serve when you have tea served with your new Coalport set!

  14. I really love Ina Garten's cookbooks. I'll be honest, when I first saw her shows, they were so low-keyed compared to some of the other cooking shows that I couldn't stay interested. I was seduced by all the razzle dazzle. Then I took a good look at her books....and bought several of them. Everything I've made from her books is FABULOUS and DELICIOUS. I won't name names, but I tried several recipes from one of the other razzle dazzle show hosts and I hated them...they were awful. Now, I choose Ina first.

    1. Jamie Oliver is another chef that is not all razzle dazzle and his recipes are pretty basic. I love the series with his gardener Brian where they harvest things from his potager and then he makes something delicious in his kitchen or rustic outdoor oven.

  15. I would not mind having a nice row of kitchen books. I´d even have a place for them. Lot´s of it.
    But for me, they´d only be look-books, as following " rules " gets me mixed up.
    And finally, the truth - I don´t like to cook (;-

    1. Look books are fine too mette!
      We cannot possibly all love the same things...
      riding horses scare me.
      My sister has had many spills and broken bones plus I was bucked off her horse when I was pregnant! All ended up fine but Mother was almost hysterical and I have never been on one since.

  16. Oh I just love Boston Baked Beans. Ina is very much your type!

    1. I must find a great baked bean recipe...
      beans on toast is a frugal lunch
      maybe Ina has one!

  17. I was given a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas...feel there might have been a hint,hint behind the gift,still many of the meals can be made in 10-15 mins which suits me...thinking of writing a cookbook myself....Quick,healthy meals in 10 minutes,leaving us all free to enjoy the true treasures of life!!!! Ida