A Vintage Butter Tart Recipe

It is raining this Labour Day, so what better to do than bake up a batch of what I consider to be the best butter tarts? Apparently there is some debate as to whether butter tart fillings are better with nuts rather than raisins, syrupy rather than firm. I prefer them with raisins and a firm filling, and the following recipe is the one I return to every time. It is from my mother’s old Purity Flour cookbook from the 1940’s. Butter tarts-1

 

2 eggs

2 cups brown sugar

2 tablespoons vinegar (I use cider vinegar)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups raisins (I use Thompson raisins)

Pastry (I use Glutino pastry mix)

Beat eggs only until whites and yolks are well blended. Beat in sugar and add vinegar and vanilla. Stir in the  melted butter and raisins.

Line tart tins with pastry and fill  1/2 to 2/3 full with butter mixture. Bake in hot (425 degree F) oven for the first 5 minutes, then reduce temperature to a moderate (350 degree F) and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until filling is firm. Place tins on cooling rack.This recipe makes 24 small tarts or 12  2″-sized tarts.

Every time I bake a batch of these I remember back to the first summer of my  marriage. I had baked 4 dozen tarts in preparation for a family reunion the following day. After they were cooled and removed from the tins, I put them away and left home to go to my job. After my shift, I returned home to find DH and his friend sitting at the kitchen table happily munching their way through all four dozen tarts! Well, if that isn’t testimony to how good these are, I don’t know what is.

What ever you are doing this Labour Day, I hope it is something you love to do. Enjoy.

 

 

Shabby by Design, or Accident?

The porch off our kitchen has evolved into a shabby enclave. Years ago I gave up fighting the rain, heat or humidity that made exterior painting such an unrewarding, futile exercise and just let the paint crack and peel into its  current shabby appearance.

porch-1-3         Porch-1-2     porch6      porch-4

I have propped up an assortment of old doors and shutters to create a sense of privacy and protection from chilly north and east breezes. Seating is provided by wicker chairs whose seats are slipcovered with fabric purchased many years ago on one of our road trips. (I loved the pattern and colours so much that I bought the entire 50 metre bolt.)

The buoys on this part of the wall were collected over the years, souvenirs from various trips to the coast. There is a fishing shack by the harbour outside Orleans, Cape Cod that had a wall covered with buoys and  it was the inspiration for this display. porch-3

The bird house was home to a wren family this summer and has been shelter to sparrows during the winter.

This shabby  oasis is my favourite place in the spring,  summer and early autumn for enjoying morning coffee, or afternoon tea, for reading,  watching birds, listening to frogs, crickets and trickling water from a nearby water fountain.

porch-5

porch-2

 

This Thanksgiving weekend as I rock away on our porch I have made up a list of things that need to be done before winter arrives. Storing the wicker furniture in the cellar, bringing the geraniums into the house, draining water from the fountain and taking it apart, storing the doors and shutters in the barn all need to be done – but just not yet!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

Canada Day 2018

Happy Canada Day (July 1st) to everyone, whether Canadian or not.

The weather here is promising to be extremely hot and humid – a good day to get outdoor chores done early and head inside before the sun gets high in the sky.

The hiatus I took from writing this blog lasted much longer than intended, so now I have tons of catching up to do. It won’t be in any particular order.

Canada belongs to the British Commonwealth and  Queen Elizabeth is our head of state. Therefore, the wedding of her grandson, Prince Harry to Megan Markle was an occasion to celebrate. Having watched every one of the televised royal weddings in my lifetime, beginning with Princess Margaret’s to Anthony Armstrong Jones, I soberly realized that this one could be the last on television for many years.

Television coverage began  locally at 4:00 a.m. which meant rising early. A few days before, I planned an “afternoon tea” to celebrate  the wedding. For some strange reason, anyone I invited to join us at 4:00 in the morning declined. Alas it would be tea for DH (my dear husband) and me.

 

Our lilacs were at their best and very abundant this year and I didn’t mind cutting a few branches to decorate the living room. China teacups and tea service were set on the tea trolley.PrinceHarry_and_Megan-1

 

Egg salad sandwiches, fresh baked scones, lemon curd  and strawberry meringues with whipped cream made up the menu. PrinceHarry_and_Megan-2

Fashion for watching the wedding on television: I wore coral coloured satin pyjamas,  and for fun, (since it was required of the wedding guests), a hat; DH was dressed in lounge pants and oversized tee- shirt. What a fashionable couple we were!

PrinceHarry_and_Megan-3

 

When the lovely ceremony finished, we toasted the couple with champagne and enjoyed our tea.

Valentine’s Day and Your Heart

In another life I think I must have been a bear, because I certainly do like to hibernate! Here we are at Valentine’s Day 2018 and I have been neglecting this blog. Hopefully I haven’t been neglecting my heart health though, getting daily exercise and watching my diet.

February is Heart and Stroke Month and because so many  in my circle of friends and family have suffered from heart disease, and/ or stroke, I campaign for donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Two facts: every seven minutes, heart disease or stroke take a Canadian life, and family history can double your risk of heart disease or stroke.* Even more sobering is the fact that heart disease and stroke are the number one killer of women globally. *

On a lighter note, today is Valentine’s Day, which we associate with love. I was curious how the heart became the symbol for love and found out that ancient Greeks believed that the heart was the organ that controlled feelings and emotions.

Way back when, as a school child, I learned the tradition of exchanging Valentine cards with my friends and it always seemed that the teacher used making a  card for “Mum and Dad” as an “art lesson”. In keeping with that tradition,  here is a simple card with tips for tools that make the process easier:

Valentine-1
A paper trimmer

Since I was using a 13.9 X 13.9 card blank, I wanted to trim the sheet of red card stock to fit inside.

Valentine-2
A die cutting machine and dies

Next, I die cut a heart shape from the front of the white card blank.

Valentine-3

Using the die cutting machine and word dies, I cut out the words “love” and “you” above the cut- out heart, and embossed the bottom of the card front.

Valentine-7
Scoring board and bone folder

The red card stock needed to be folded to fit inside the card. A score board and bone folder make it easy to get a good, crisp fold

.Valentine-8

I applied double sided tape to the perimeter of the card front using a “tape runner”. Then I applied liquid glue in spots around the cut out words and heart shape. The folded red card stock was placed inside the white card and adhered to it. To my horror, I discovered a sticky smudge on the front of my card, so I cut some more red hearts using the leftover scrap of card stock. I glued them randomly over the front, thereby disguising the ugly smudge.

Inside the card, I glued a white paper doily and wrote the words “lots”. Valentine-11

Simple, and fun to make.

As always, I hope you have a happy day and take your health to heart.

*According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Happy Birthday!

One hundred and fifty years ago, on July 1st 1867, the British colonies of Upper Canada (Ontario), Lower Canada (Quebec), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia came together under the British North America Act to form the Dominion of Canada. The anniversary of this confederation had been called “Dominion Day” until being changed to Canada Day at some point. Searching on Google, I found that the  new name of this statutory holiday came about when  a private member’s bill (C-201) passed quickly, and rather sneakily,  in October 1982.  Only thirteen parliamentarians were present for the vote! (see CBC’s  Inside Politics Blog, posted June 30th, 2012) Interestingly, a survey conducted by the blog’s author (Kady O’Malley) showed that 48% of Respondents preferred “Dominion Day” while only 41% preferred “Canada Day”. H-m-m-m.

Whatever your preference – I hope you celebrate this very special occasion!

Happy Birthday Canada!

Canada Day2017 copy