If I had to pick a favourite past time of my fellow countrymen and women, I think it would be the weekends at the cottage. Until recently, I was a cottage virgin, even a cottage country virgin! It was only recently I’ve visited Tobermory, which is considered by many as one of the nicest cottage destinations. And then I asked myself, why haven’t I done this earlier?
A few days ago, our little group got together and spent the long weekend at the lovely cottage/cabin on Rideau Lake, about 50 km away from Kingston. It’s set right on the water, which was usually luke warm, and although some of us got bit by the naughty sunfish, we spent most of our time lounging in or by the water. The above is the view from the cabin.
We split up making our meals, and the second morning, it was mine and D’s turn to make the lovely fritatta above. Fritattas are always such a crowd pleaser, and the best thing about them is that they are super quick and easy. I sauteed some red peppers, mushrooms and pancetta, while D scrambled the eggs and added shredded mozzarella. While I was cutting the peppers I noticed they made these cute flower shapes, so I decided to keep them as decoration for the top. The eggs are then poured into the pan, stirred around a bit and into the oven it goes for about 20 minutes or until it sets. Top with more mozzarella, let it melt and serve!
We used 24 eggs for 8 people, which looked like it was a lot – the pieces were super tall, but there was none left! Although, that is mostly because we have DM on our team :)
And as if we didn’t have enough food, there was also delicious fruit salad!
Our first dinner of the cottage weekend was prepared skillfully by DM. He calls it heart attack, or as some would call it - a really really fancy Mac and Cheese. There was several kinds of cheeses, heavy cream, yummy creminis and Panko topping. I think we all agreed he had won the weekend with this yumminess! (recipe pending)
And, because this group likes to eat, we also had grilled corn, courtesy of DVG. Back home, corn is grilled without the husk, right on the fire and it comes out slightly charred but smoky and delicious. I haven’t seen it done this way in Canada.
The nights were spent lounging on the terrace until the wee hours of the morning, watching the candles blow in the wind, being wildly inappropriate (thank God the neighbours’ house is out of ear’s reach!), drinking way too much tequila and laughing uncontrollably.
For me, the most delicious thing of the entire weekend was C’s peach pie. I’m probably biased because I love sweets, and even more ripe and sweet peaches! C made this srumptious creation, so skillfully (she thinks her dough skills are not so good, but I can put this insanity to rest once and for all!), and it came out looking like something out a fairy tale! And, it was calling my name! I wished there were two! The recipe is generously shared by our dear C below. Thank you!
Super awesome peach pie was gone in minutes!
Another peach dessert was being prepared by my dearest DVG, and it took all day for the peaches to be soaked in rum and balsamic vinegar, before they were put on the grill that evening. They came out soft, juicy and with slight touches of rum. Yum!
And while the others were enjoying some necessary terrace time, my dearest DVG was nice enough to pose for me. Here, you can see his cannonballing skills!
That evening, B and M made some of the juiciest chicken that I’ve ever had. Beer can chicken is one of the easiest ways to make your chicken juicy. The contraption can be bought at any kitchen store, and it basically looks like a stand, fitted for a small beer can (beer can doesn’t come with it). The chicken is then stood over top of the stand and the beer can, so that the beer can sits safely inside the chicken (let the dirty jokes begin! :)). The can can be filled with anything. The two that were made were curry chicken and wine bbq – so the can doesn’t have to necessarily hold only beer. Make sure you rub the outside with spices that you like and the chicken will come out looking nice and brown like the one below.
The chicken went well with the grilled red bell peppers and zuchinni below. The preparation: toss the veggies with salt, pepper and olive oil, put in tinfoil and grill!
The cutest member of the bunch – Bubba. He even got to swim in the lake!
J and M make us delicious cannelloni one evening that was accompanied by these colourful organic beets from J’s garden. The colours are so vibrant that I couldn’t resist taking so many photos! The red and white one looks like a candycane!
Sunday was so rainy that we mostly stayed inside, played games and read. When the rain stopped, I captured this little droplet about to fall to the ground.
And soon enough, the sun was out again…
We came away from the weekend, feeling relaxed and serene, such as the photo below. Good friends, good food and good tequilla – what can be better!?
Grate 1 cup of butter and freeze
Add to 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoonsugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Combine until it looks like a coursemeal. At 6 to 10 table spoons of ICE water just until it will holdtogether. Divide in two, make into balls wrap and refridgerate forat least an hour.
6 cups peelingand sliced peaches, 1 cup white sugar, 1/2 flour all tossed together.
Roll your crust, fill it with the peachmixture and bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then drop the heat to350 for an additional 30-35 minutes
Take it out and eat the whole thing!
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 1/2 pound macaroni
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
- 3 cups milk (add 1 cup cream if sause is desired)
- 1/2 cup yellow onion finely minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 large egg
- 10 ounces (300g) sharp cheddar (Balderson 2+ works well), shredded
- 10 ounces (300g) full bodied cheddar, shredded
- 2 Hot italian sausages (remove casing, chop)
- 2 cups Cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups assorted wild mushrooms (Oyster, Shiitake, Chanterelle), trimmed, sliced
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt Fresh black pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter 1 cup panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large pot, begin boiling salted water.
While the water is heating, melt 1 tbsp of butter at medium in a cast iron pan. Add mushrooms, season with 1tsp of salt, and saute until softened, browned, and slightly scortched. About 10 minutes. Set aside.
Add marcaroni to water and cook to al dente. Drain and set aside when done.
While pasta is cooking, melt another 1 tbsp of butter at medium-high in the same cast iron pan. Add chopped sausage grounds and season with salt and pepper. Sauté and separate chopped sausage into grounds until nicely browned. Set aside.
In a large pot, melt the remaining 3 tbsp of butter. Quickly whisk in the mustard until smooth. Whisk in the flour and keep whisking for about five minutes making sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for 10 – 15 minutes and remove the bay leaf.
Temper in the egg (this is important). Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix in the set aside mushrooms and sausage. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a large casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest.