Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thorn and Thistle outstanding flower merchants and the dinner party.

Thorn and Thistle is a delightful flower shop in the Dean Heights shopping block on Foul Bay Road.
It is a small space filled with beautiful plants and flowers. They have soaps, vintage silver and candles.
What I like is that they sell a wide variety of "greenery" as well as their roses and posies.

I love packages wrapped in brown paper.
Honestly one of my "favourite things."

I happened to be shopping for some cheeses and a baguette at the nearby Chiarell's deli and popped in on my way by...the gals inside are knowledgeable and friendly and eager to help. I really appreciate the personal touch and find I'd rather patronize a shop run by people who love their jobs and greet you with a smile.
If you live in the Victoria area I would highly recommend that you go into Thorn and Thistle and see for yourself.

a simple green centrepiece

It is meant to be low,
 so the guests can see each other across the table when dining.

Keeping things simple when it comes to table setting is very much in keeping with our Humble Bungalow.

On the menu for our dinner party:

Served with Phrog Gin martinis
Caramelized onion Cheddar and Pecorino Cheese, Smoked Salmon, sliced French Baguette
~ ~ ~
Fresh Green Pea Soup served with bacon cubes (Park Avenue Cookbook)
French baguette
~ ~ ~
Roasted Cherry Tomato Bake (Barefoot Contessa ~ Foolproof)
Mushrooms with roasted Pine Nuts (Park Avenue Cookbook)
Basic mashed potatoes
Roasted Herb encrusted Pork Loin ~ Bone in
Apple Crostata (Barefoot Contessa ~ Parties)
served with Coconut Bliss "ice cream"

Humble Bungalow Pork
Pork loin (bone in) topped with dijon mustard, chopped thyme, rosemary and parsley.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Topped with bread crumbs.
Easy and delicious!

I plan to keep the rosemary inside for the holidays.
I use it quite a lot when I cook.
It will look a bit festive if I twist some simple twine or vintage garland around it.

Bunny William's book is on my coffee table and I am halfway through reading it.
I can relate to her story...falling in love with a house.
It was love at first sight when we stepped into our Humble Bungalow 30 years ago.
It was waiting for someone to come in and restore it to it's former glory.
It has been a labour of love and we are not finished yet!

Before I go and read...
I would be remiss not to mention the other gem on the Dean Heights block...
Chiarelli's a fabulous deli that stocks exotic ingredients, mustard, pickles, jams, teas, superior olive oils and vinegars. They have a wide assortment of crackers and cheeses, olives and so much more.

Mandarin oranges in the shops alert me that the Holidays are just around the corner.
I don't know about you but I am going to shop and plan ahead this year to avoid holiday stress.
It really helps to keep things simple.

Remember that kindness never goes out of style.



  1. We were on the same trajectory yesterday, as I was at Chiarelli's after a lovely ramble up and down the avenue and a peek into two open houses. I'll have to go back for a look at Thorn and Thistle - it sounds lovely.

  2. I'm going to make your pork loin when I get home. We have a florist shop close to home and I love to buy greenery and flowers wrapped in brown paper and raffia. Sometimes I take an heirloom vase in and choose the flowers for the vase. Flowersellers always seem to be happy people.

  3. You write such cozy blogs. I wish I had a florist near me. I live in Toronto(west side) and there isn't one for miles. There is a Sheridan Nursery, but they don't have cut greens/flowers. The local grocery stores have cut flowers but they look artificially dyed.

  4. I really like your simple centerpiece. Just my style as well.

    Also, I love Bunny William's An Affair With a House--one of my all time favorite house books. I've even tried some of the recipes. The pancake recipe is a popular one at our house.

  5. I love that little rosemary "tree." I'm also a fan of simple centerpieces. Yours is so elegant and understated.

  6. I'll have to pop into Thorn and Thistle next time I'm in the area (which isn't very often). Love the simple white table with the green centerpiece.

  7. Oh my...your dinner sounds delicious and I love the simple elegance of the centerpiece.

  8. How long does it take you to prepare a meal like this? I mean from shopping for ingredients to sitting down at the table. You must be very experienced in entertaining guests, I would be all over the place worried about whether I've got everything I need, and worried about the timing of everything! I guess it helps if your guests are familiar old friends, but serving other kinds of guests takes a toll on my poor nerves! :-)

    1. Initially I plan the menu several days ahead, browsing leisurely through cookbooks over a cup of tea. I write out my grocery list which takes only a few minutes, The grocery shopping is easy and depending on how busy the store is I can be done in 30 minutes.
      Then I decide if I can prep anything ahead and have it in the fridge. On the day of the dinner party I spend a couple of hours getting everything prepared and ready for the oven and then I set the table.
      I think like anything the more that you do it the more confident and proficient you become. If the invited are dignitaries or royalty anyone would be nervous!

    2. Thanks. They don't have to be dignitaries or royalties, they just have to be critical (even just silently) and I'll be all over the place! For example, in-laws, relatives, etc.!

  9. Do you bake the pork loin? For how long and at what temperature? I'd love to try this simple recipe.

  10. I followed the cooking guide online for pork. You need to know the weight of your roast in order to know how long to cook it. I used a high temperature 450 degrees for the first 45 minutes then reduced the temperature to 375 for the duration, which was approximately another 45 minutes. The thermometer needs to read 145 degrees and then you remove it from the oven and put foil on top and let it rest for 10 minutes and the internal temperature goes up while it is resting. Then you carve and serve. I hope this helps.

  11. Love your table and menu. I will use both as inspiration. I was wondering, have you done a post on lighting in the bungalow? We have an older home in Portland where we have a similar weather pattern. I find it challenging to get the lights and lamps in harmony with the darker interior elements, especially in the winter months.

    1. I don't remember doing a lighting post. I will make a note of that though as it sounds like a great idea. We have had most of our lights custom made at Waterglass Studios. They have a wonderful shop in town and they have a website. The owner is an arts and crafts enthusiast who has a keen and descerning eye for detail. We also bought some large standing lamps, I think it was called The California Craftsman Lighting can see the glow of one of them in the dining room picture on this post.

  12. Love your menu. What a delicious meal that must have been! Looking forward to seeing how you decorate for the holidays!

  13. What a beautiful menu- I can see all the colours on the plate! I think I like planning a special dinner even more than cooking! (And certainly more than cleaning up.)

  14. Oh my! I love this fabulous dinner. I'm starving now! Your table and room look so inviting. What a wonderful hostess you are. I just picked up a bunch of seeded eucalyptus. They are so versatile and lovely. We love having rosemary close by too. Lovely holidays at your place!

  15. Your dinner table looks calm, relaxed.
    I also like the rosemary.
    I avoid all shops close to Christmas = no stress.