Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Wishing you a Healthy and Happy New Year!

Today we woke to a frosty morn...cold and icy but clear and sunny.
We have been catching up on all the news from our friends John and Cheryl,
who by the way, are incredibly gracious house guests.
They pitch in and help and put up with the badly mannered bungalow cats.

Last evening we shared a delicious meal.
John made a tasty appetizer which he got from a neighbour in Auvillar...whose name is's a keeper and has a very French flair...
I love working with others in my tiny kitchen...
sipping a Junipero martini while we chat and prep is my idea of fun!

Mix approximately1 cup of duck rillette, with 2 chopped shallots and 2 tablespoons of drained capers.

When mixed top slices of a fresh French baguette with a dollop of the mixture.

Place on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges of the bread are golden and the duck is warm.

I made a quick and colourful arugula salad with cucumbers, green onions and pomegranate seeds.
I mixed up my Humble Bungalow jam jar vinaigrette.

In a Bon Maman jam jar put 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, salt. pepper, and add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar...shake and dress and toss the salad just before serving.

Oysters with mignonette sauce and freshly grated horseradish.

Casual table setting...

Oysters are not to every one's liking but they are one of my favourites.
 I prefer the small varieties as they are much sweeter tasting.

We indulged in a cheese course...fresh from the French deli Choux Choux Charcuterie on Fort Street.

French macarons from Bon Macaron Patisserie for dessert!

Yes we ate them all...
and watched a lovely film on Netflix called Summer in Provence.
 A French film that was subtitled...
beautiful scenery, great story and wonderful actors...
I highly recommend that you watch it!

Thank you for stopping by and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Healthy and Happy New Year.

New Year's is a time to rethink old habits, make resolutions and start fresh...

What have you got on your list for the New Year?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Post Christmas Wrap Up....

Mr. HB gave me a new Butter Dish by Emma Bridgewater which I love as it is in my favourite Black Toast pattern but more than that it is really very apropos...

One of our cats, Pepper, has earned the nickname "Butter Lick-er"
She can smell the butter on the counter in the butter dish, which has a cover and she often is caught licking the outside of the butter dish which is really kind of gross and so unhygienic.

Now if she could read...
we'd be in terrible trouble!

Last week I met up with some girlfriends for lunch at Rebar  and was served the most amazing kale salad.
I decided to try to replicate it and I think it was quite successful so I thought that I would share it with you all.

I used small tomatoes that are sold on the vine and cut them in half.

Sprinkled them with sea salt and fresh ground pepper and a lean drizzle of olive oil.
Roasted them in a hot oven until they were soft...about 15 minutes.

I thinly sliced two onions.

I put them in a cast iron pan with a bit of olive oil and a small knob of butter and cooked them until they were transparent.

A secret I learned about carmelized onions is that they love a dollop of brown sugar and a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar...don't ask why it works, try it and you will be happy you did.

Gently wilt a bunch of kale leaves in a small amount of water...
(remember to remove the inner tough stalk and discard)

In a jam jar 
mix 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of vinegar...screw the lid on tightly and shake.

Shave some Asiago cheese...
put kale on a plate, top with carmelized onions, add tomatoes, and top with dresssing and shaved cheese.


I went online and found a recipe for turkey tetrazzini and it was yummy but not WW point friendly.
I'm going to need to get back on track after New Years!
We have been walking a lot but it doesn't really compensate for all the extra treats that have been consumed with gay abandon!

Chester has had a rough day...
I guess I won't be cooking dinner tonight unless he moves!

We took the tree down earlier and I vacuumed up the fir needles...
I cannot believe how much preparation we do to get ready for Christmas...
and then it's over so quickly...

We are leaving some of the decorations up as we are hosting New Years Dinner here for two other couples.

We will have our friends John and Cheryl here visiting for a few days too.

I'm looking forward to seeing them...
Cheryl and I plan the meals, shop and cook together in the kitchen
 we all go for long walks
there is a lot of chatting and catching up
we plan to take in a Yoga class
I'm going to ask them to tell me more about Paris and Auvillar.

So I may not be posting much here on the blog...
I'm sure you'll understand.

Happy New Year!


Friday, December 26, 2014

Boxing Day, friends, food and flowers...

Post Christmas I'm taking a day off to laze around...

Boxing Day thoughts....

So many busy days of cooking and entertaining and I am knackered.
So I am taking a day to catch my breath.
It's been a whirlwind of activity here in our Humble Bungalow...
I am weary but so very grateful and happy that our family was here for the annual Christmas feast.
(the wee ones make it super special!)

Family, friends, food and flowers ~ not necessarily in that order.

Rebar luncheon with my besties...

Wilted Kale salad with caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and shaved Asagio cheese.
The dressing was a very light vinaigrette.

Homemade baked beans made by my friend LA.
I have her recipe and have tried making these twice but they never taste as good as hers.
I must try again...
"If at first you don't succeed try try again!"

Last minute I realized that I had forgotten to buy flowers for the Christmas table.
They were purchased on Xmas Eve from my favourite flower merchants...

Blush roses in the main bathroom...

The centrepiece on the Christmas table.

Organic free run turkey just before cooking...
it was probably the best tasting bird we have eaten in years.

Brussells Sprouts
new recipe I found online...

Halve the sprouts drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Grate the rind of a lemon and arrange peel evenly over sprouts then pour the juice of that lemon on top.
Cook at 350 degrees until fork tender.
Top with shaved parmesan cheese put back in oven until just melted.

This recipe works with fresh asparagus too!

During the festive season we make an extra effort to make time for those who are near and dear to us.
We arrange to get together, we bake and make food.
We meet with friends and catch up on our busy lives...
we share stories, we cry, we hug.
We eat...celebrate the extraordinary, share the good and joyous, touch gently on the sadness and the struggles...
sharing among caring and supportive friends is part of what links and binds us.

Hold on tight...
life is precious and we must keep those near and dear close to our heart.

Thank you for your wonderful emails this holiday season.
I am so humbled by your kind wishes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Season's Greetings

Season's Greetings and A Humble Bungalow thank you.

The house has been decorated, the gifts have been purchased and wrapped.
The cookies have been baked, rum balls rolled and the chocolate bark has been assembled.
There are still some finishing touches to attend to, gifts to be delivered and food to be prepped
so I will be taking a few days off while I get busy here in The Humble Bungalow Kitchen.
I will be brewing many pots of tea and pacing myself,
savouring and noticing the special moments...

I've never read The Perfectly Imperfect Home...
it's obvious!
check out my nod to imperfection
(the stake in the pot!)
Price tag still attached...and it's a scrap that I stole from Mr. HB's workshop...
no chance of perfection here in The Humble Bungalow!
I kind of like real life...and who snuck the chocolates?
I had the oranges and chocolates alternating...
I know my family.
(I have extras in the pantry!)

I'll leave you with some images of our wee Charlie Brown tree which is almost exclusively decorated with vintage ornaments.

At no other time of year does our wee bungalow feel so brightly steeped in white light.

You might be able to see my coral coloured Lands' End sweater in the green bauble.
I wore black skinny jeans and a cream tank top with the sweater 
for our annual tree decorating and pizza party with the family.
It was a fun filled afternoon with two lovely "little helpers" who put smiles on the faces of all of the adults in attendance!

Embracing the imperfect,
 from the wee tree to the age and patina of the well worn ornamentation...
hung by our families on trees from Christmases past.

Wishing you a memorable and special holiday season.
I'll be back after the feasting and before our New Year's house guests arrive!


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Cheer...

Christmas is a few days away...
We are busy here in The Humble Bungalow, decorating, baking, wrapping and delivering gifts.
 I love the buzz and energy that is out and about in the community...

This couple were suitably attired in their green finery.

Love the pops of red with the greens.

Mother Nature has a lovely hand when it comes to colouring our world... 

I found these cute seasonal pop outs at Finn and Izzy on Oak Bay Avenue.
Isla and I assembled them last week on "Grammy Day."
Grammy Days are about the best gift I could ever wish for...
spending time with the grandchildren is such a precious time and I love it!
My heart swells in gratitude...

This little snowman is perched atop of this wee green tree and it sits on the table in their kitchen.

Mr. HB hung the Christmas Wreath in the dining room...
it is one of my favourite Christmas decorations.
His Mother had it made by a woman that she knew many years ago.
It is made with glass baubles, pine cones, ribbons and assorted vintage rhinestone brooches...
It's my kind of family "heirloom."

I took a break from baking and wrapping and toddled off to the thrift shop...
I find browsing the aisles for bargains is so much fun.
These two cheery red birds grabbed my attention and although the mugs were grimey beyond belief I took a chance and bought them. 
They cleaned up perfectly with a little soap and a massage with baking soda...
lovely daughter has them now.

These Dansk and Rostfrei teak modernist cheese boards with built in cheese knives...
practically leapt into the cart!

I plan to keep the Dansk IHQ board (on the bottom of the photo)
and will possibly sell the other one in our case at Vanity Fair Antique Mall.

New tea caddy by an English company, Hornsea.
I keep my teas in these to keep them fresh.

I found a vintage silk scarf that is huge!

I've not heard of this company before and there is not much information on the internet about it...
it is in mint condition and was only a couple of dollars.
  I wore it out today with a white Tee, jeans and my Barbour vest when we went out and bought our traditional  teeny tiny Charlie Brown Christmas tree...
Our annual Xmas tree decorating and pizza party are planned for tomorrow.

I'll be back with some photo after we have done the tree.

Thank you for stopping by and visiting...
I hope that you are happy and taking good care not to get too tired at this time of year...
we are only human after all so let's leave (delegate) some things to Santa!