Our view from the upstairs balcony on 17 January 2016
Winter is here and summer is but a memory. In the meantime, though, those warm and sunny days of summer and the memories made are still on my mind: the light breezes, garden produce, fresh berries and fruit that we look forward to each year. And, of course, family and friends are part of it all.
So forget about winter for a while and just remember those lovely warm days. I wrote about some of the summer events in October. As always, I spent a couple of months in Nova Scotia. It is a busy time with friends, family, entertaining, eating out, visiting and so on. I think it is the same for everyone.
Good food is always part of summer, homemade and restaurant made. Last year was no exception. In mid August my friend Jean, my sister Carol and I headed to what we call the Acadian French Shore along the Bay of Fundy coast. Jean did the driving. It is about an hour and a half west of Bridgetown.
We then headed over to the Bay of Fundy coast. Unfortunately on that day fog lay over the Fundy shore and we could see very little. We did stop, however, for a short visit before heading to a well-known Acadian French restaurant.
A group of young people enjoying ice cream atop the posts overlooking the water that is invisible.
Jean and Carol straining to see that cold Bay of Fundy water below. It is now winter so we can almost feel it, but on that day, we were in short sleeve tops.
Inland was brighter and the sun did come out. (It is still fairly close to the Bay of Fundy shore.) We arrived at La Cuisine Robicheau in the town of Saulnierville around noon hour. It is pictured below.
The main room of the restaurant is shown below. Behind it--the room with the green wall--is where we had lunch. We had a window showing the view beyond.
Eaton's catalogues are showcased in the ladies' room.
This is one of a couple of other side rooms.
This restaurant was begun by a long-time lady employee of the well known restaurant "Chez Christophe" in the town of Gros Coques (same area). The owner of that former restaurant died a few years ago and left his recipes to that lady who then opened "Cuisine Robicheau." She has decorated it inside much as the earlier one had been. It is now also a well known restaurant and in the evenings, on a weekend, a reservation is wise. We had no reservation but got there early for noon lunch. It was busy. A great place to stop for a delicious meal and, perhaps, an Acadian dish.
The three of us ordered their special that day: a platter of fresh haddock with creamed lobster and fresh vegetables. It was superb. (The creamed lobster sits atop the haddock.)
She has kept the same approach to her food (as to the decor): fresh seafood and homemade offerings. The specialties are creamed lobster and rappi pie, an Acadian dish ordered by many. I have not had it but it is certainly popular. All the seafood is usually caught that day. The unusual aspect is that one can bring in his or her own bottle of wine with no corkage fee. That was the same at "Chez Christophe."
Another must each summer is the Annapolis Royal market on a Saturday morning. I visited the market three times during the summer, each time with friends or family visiting the area.
My sister Carol in mid August on "Paint the Town Red" day. Many artists were busily working on their pictures in various parts of town.
A special event took place in early August. My sister Paula and her husband Laurie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. There were just a few family members and a couple of close friends. Paula served a roast of chicken with all the trimmings. Lots of
Champagne and wine flowed. For this event their daughter Carol, son-in-law Jack and three grandchildren from out West were there to enjoy the festivities.
The wonderful cake shown below was made by their friend John.
In the kitchen, my sister Carol and our niece, Carol
The second celebration was about a week later.
Paula is holding a little china dish that says: 50th anniversary!
A Chinese stir fry and excellent!
Fifty great years with three children, eight grandchildren at that time and with another now on the way.
My sister Carol, who was spending some time with me, decided it would be a good idea to make some maple fudge, a recipe from Madame Benoit, the late food writer. It was something I love but at 8:30 p.m. at night and after celebrating with Paula and Laurie? Yes, she thought she would.
So the heating and stirring began. As with most fudge when it reaches the right consistency, off the heat it goes and then the beating of it begins until it is ready to be poured into a plate or dish. One must know by the feel of it when that is the moment. Can be tricky. Using a candy thermometer would, of course, help, but I didn't have one. (Carol, above, had been beating it for a while!) It never thickened properly but Carol decided to pour it into a dish anyway. This was after almost two hours and it was getting late!
The next morning when I got up the fudge had not yet thickened. I figured it hadn't cooked long enough. So back it went into the pot, not something one would usually do I must admit. I watched it carefully and checked for readiness. I put a dish in the freezer to get cold and then put a dab or two of the fudge mixture on that plate. When fudge forms a soft ball, I know it is ready. It worked! I poured it into a pyrex dish and it was almost perfect. We offered some to guests that night and they all loved it! It isn't the thing to cook late in the evening, but it was a big hit!
Here is the recipe:
Madame Benoit's Maple Cream Fudge via Carol
1 cup maple syrup
3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup whole milk
1 cup 35% cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
In a large saucepan, combine the first 7 ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring until it comes to a boil. (It will foam up but that foam will subside.)
Cook until a candy thermometer reads 240F/125C or place a small bit of the fudge into cold water or onto an ice cold dish. If it doesn't form a soft ball when rolled, cook a bit longer and then try again. Let it cool for 15 minutes.
Then, add the butter, vanilla and nuts. Stir all together just until mixed and then pour into a pan or dish.
I haven't as yet made this fudge myself, but I was certainly part of making it that time. As with any of my fudge recipes, I have often halved the recipe and it was just fine. I gave my recipe for golden fudge and chocolate fudge in my post "Childhood Memories of Christmas in Charlottetown" on 14 Dec 2009.
A few special occasions follow:
I made a chicken salad for supper on this evening. Mary, visiting from Ontario, enjoying it with a glass of beer.
I mixed up some salad dressing and tossed sauteed sliced chicken breast, red peppers and green beans together. Along with some potato salad and fresh tomatoes, it was a pleasant and refreshing meal.
We decided not to tarry too long in Bear River as we wanted to head closer to home and stop at the Annapolis Royal golf course for a small bite to eat and a glass of wine. We each had a very good sandwich but the wine hit the spot!