Spaghetti and Meatballs Just Right

So I grew up with homemade spaghetti nearly every Saturday. It was good. I have always made ok Spagetti myself. But it was just ok. 

Until tonight. It was really good because I did it differently.


2lbs lean ground beef

2 eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Mix and form into two inch balls

Spaghetti Sauce:

In food processor, finely chop 1 red pepper, 2 cloves garlic, 1 large onion, 5 large mushrooms

Sauté in 1/8 cup olive oil. 

Pour in 1 cup white wine and two tablespoons balsamic vinegar. 

Sauté five minutes.

Add I can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce. I used Hunts thick and rich.

Two teaspoons each: Italian seasoning, basil, oregano

1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

Bring to a boil. Stirring. Take the meatballs and put into boiling sauce, turn heat down , and cover til meatballs and thoroughly cooked. Basically I boiled the meatballs in the sauce and it made a nice thick sauce that stuck well to the noodles.

Pesto Chicken

Pesto Chicken

Just so fresh and delicious , an easy meal

I pack linguini cooked

2tbsp olive oil

1 clove garlic

1 small white onion

2 thinly sliced chicken breasts

2 cups baby spinach

1 cup water

2 tbsp sour cream

1/2 cup grape tomatoes

1 tsp basil

2tbsp pesto

Parmesan freshly grated.
Pan fry garlic and onion in oil. Add chicken and cook. Add basil over chicken just before it finishes.

Toss with hot cooked pasta.

In the pan you fried chicken throw in one cup of water and bring to boil to get pan juices and flavour.

Mix in sour cream to form sauce. Toss spinach in with pasta.

Take the sauce and throw it over pasta. The spinach will wilt a little.

Top with cherry tomatoes and fresh parmesan.

Maritime Mary: Hamburger Soup

When I first heard that some of my friends had made hamburger soup, to be honest, the word ‘delicious’ did not come to mind. Now I am a convert and I enjoy making a Dutch oven full of this hearty soup, enough to share. 

This is how I  made it yesterday. 

Cook 1 1/2 pounds of loose hamburger and one cup (or more) chopped onion in a Dutch oven. When the meat is no longer pink, drain out the liquid. 

Add a few minced garlic cloves. Cook for a minute, stirring. 

Add: about two cups of both chopped celery and sliced carrots, 1 large can undrained diced tomatoes, 1 small can tomato soup, 2-3 cups beef or vegetable broth, 1/2 cup barley, a handful of dried thyme and basil, salt and pepper to taste. 

Simmer on low heat for a few hours, stirring occasionally. 

This tastes even better the next day and freezes well. 

Serve with a fluffy biscuit and enjoy while your cheeks are still tingling after a great winter walk. 


Catherine Bussiere: veggie chicken pie

first days of autumn
no killer frost yet
it seems like the seasons are shifting

as I head to the garden I wonder
what could I make today
the garden is still full of goodness
kale, abundant as ever
broccoli gone into florets
onion’s harvested but leeks still thriving
best carrot crop in a while
few potatoes
thin celery

I have a little bit of cooked chicken left over in the fridge
to celebrate this first wonderfully warm day of autumn I will make a veggie pie
and throw in that bit of chicken

Veggie Chicken Pie

I used

3 small leeks (or 1 good onion)
4 large carrots
3 medium potatoes
a bunch of kale
a bunch of broccoli florets
4 small branch of celery (or one large)
1 1/2 cup cooked chicken cubed
olive oil

Chop all veggies to your liking.
In a large skillet sauté the leeks and carrots in oil. Let it caramelize a little.
Add celery and potatoes. Cover and cook until the potatoes are almost done.
Add broccoli and kale. Cover and simmer until all veggies are tender.

Add sauce to the veggie mix. Add chicken. Taste. Make seasoning adjustment.
Drop spoonful of biscuit dough to cover the top.
Bake at 375ºF, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until biscuits are cooked.

Serve with your favourite preserve.
I love it with pickled beets.

For the sauce
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
2 1/2 cups of broth (or milk)
thyme, sage, salt, pepper

In a medium size pot melt butter and add flour. Cook until slightly golden. Add broth. Mix mix with a whisk for you don’t want lumps. Add seasoning. Add more broth (or milk) if too thick.

For the biscuit
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk

In a medium size bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add milk. Mix just enough so it makes a dough.






Catherine Bussiere: veggie burger

I have been experimenting with veggie burgers lately
and, I have been juicing

I have loads of carrots, beets, and our apple trees are bountiful
good time to use a juicer
sometime the juicer feels a little over the top
really, couldn’t I just chew a little
but to drink fresh juice from the garden feels quite regal
so why not

I decided to make the most of it
and aside from drinking the most delicious juice
I would use the pulp left behind
here is this week’s recipe
healthy, nutritious, and tasty

Veggie burgers with quinoa

for a dozen large burger you may use

6 cups of shredded veggies (kale, carrots, beets, celery, onion, use what you have)
1 cup of quinoa (to be cooked)
400 gr of grated cheese (I like cheddar)
3 large eggs (I always get them from a local farm now)
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup oats
2 Tsp hemp seeds, or sesame seeds or, again, whatever you have kicking around
4 Tsp za’atar (a delightful Middle Eastern mix of oregano, thyme, savory and sesame seeds)
salt and pepper
olive oil

Rinse the quinoa. Bring 1 1/2 cup of water to boil. You may add a little salt or miso to your water for flavor. Add the quinoa. Simmer for 12 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Let it sit for another 5 minutes.

Chop, grate, shred your chosen veggies. If you have been using a juicer and don’t know what to do with all that beautiful pulp, here is a good place to use it.

In a large bowl place all ingredients. Mix, mix, mix with your hands. Best tool ever.
Form patties and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. If you don’t have parchment paper just oil the pan. Bake at 350ºF for 45 minutes or until slightly brown and crispy.

Eat in a bun with garnish or with a side salad.
My favorite this week is a kale salad with one of those burger diced on it.
Tastes good, feels good!

ps. replace za’atar with your favorite herb, I used basil last week and it was delicious
pps. can’t eat them all, freeze them for later


Catherine Bussiere: Mexican inspired breakfast

I had the delight to hang out at a CSA drop off this week in Amherst
turns out it’s my nephew and family who do all the hard work
they offer fresh organic vegetables
it was plain beautiful to see customers drop by with bags
excited with the weekly produce
asking how’s Oliver (the red headed little one)
as Oliver was happily busy filling and handing bags of cherry tomatoes

this morning I was wondering two thing:
what to eat
what the blog recipe should be

why not combine?

here is a Mexican inspired breakfast
it involves lot’s of what was offered at the CSA this week
swiss chard, tomatoes, onions, corn
I had fresh coriander seeds kicking around
and a cute little hot pepper in the green house
so I added them to my recipe
as always recipes are to inspire
use what you have

Mexican inspired breakfast

you may use

1 fresh onion
1 corn
2 medium size tomatoes (more if they are invading your counter)
a small bunch of swiss chard (or kale or beet greens…)
1 small hot pepper (if you like it hot)
4 eggs
2 tsp fresh coriander seed (or 1 Tbs fresh coriander leaves chopped)
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 tortillas

Chop, then sauté the onion in a pan with some olive oil. Caramelize at medium heat. Add corn off the cob. You may add the chopped hot pepper if you wish. Add tomatoes and chard. Cover the pan and simmer until tender. Season with salt and spices. Crack eggs and cover to poach. While they poach; heat a couple tortillas in a pan.

as soon as the eggs are done place eggs & veggies in a tortilla
eat up
it may be messy if the eggs are runny
but it’s so tasty
add sour cream, cheese, whatever you want

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Catherine Bussiere: Carrot Potage

I have been posting a weekly recipe on the Cumberland Food Action Network website this summer
here is one I posted this week
I love this soup

Carrot Potage

1 tablespoon each olive oil and butter
1 large onion, or two leeks minced
6 large carrots, chopped
1 good size potato, cubed
salt, pepper, nutmeg
2 cups of broth of your choice
a touch of cream or lots
one more spoon of butter

add 1 inch of grated ginger if you want to add a little kick to that soup

Heat oil and butter in a good size pot over medium high heat. Throw in the onion and reduce. Add carrot and let them caramelize a little. Add potato, salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg (you may add ginger now if you wish). Pour in enough milk to cover the veggies. Bring to a boil then simmer until well done.

Blend and add the broth. Return to medium heat. Taste; make adjustment. Depending on thickness add a little milk or cream. You may also want to add a final dab of butter.

ps. if you are lactose intolerant just use a good broth and skip the milk and cream. Or better yet, try some coconut milk and do add ginger, I bet it would be delicious.






Maritime Mary: Chowder

Friday was a cold, rainy, dreary kind of spring day, a perfect day for a simple supper of scallop and lobster chowder. The result was delicious as it ‘hit the spot’ on that cool evening. 

Cube up and cook 3 to 4 small potatoes. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside. 

Meanwhile melt about 4 tbsp butter in a large pot. Chop 2 onions and 3 stalks of celery. Sauté in the butter, being careful not to brown the vegetables. 

Add 2 tbsp dried thyme and salt and pepper to sautéed mixture.  Add potatoes and the meat of 1 or 2 lobsters (or a thawed freezer pack) and a pound of small scallops. 

Blend in 2 cups of 18% cream and 2 cups of milk. (I used skim.)

Heat up slowly in a low heat. Sprinkle with dried tarragon and serve. 



Maritime Mary: Pumpkin Cookies

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that twice in September my husband and I went out squash picking. On our first outing, I picked up two small pie pumpkins, thinking that I’d make a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Well, fortunately for me, my daughter volunteered to make the pie but took a pass on using the pumpkins, preferring the ease of the canned product.

Yesterday we baked those cute, whole pumpkins in the oven, just like we did the squash. So now that my pie motivation has gone with the holiday, some of that pumpkin will be made into loaves and some I used for cookies. These tasty, soft little nuggets are not too sweet and perfect for having ‘Coffee with Deanne’.

Pumpkin Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin, fresh or canned
Cream butter and sugar well. Add eggs, vanilla and pumpkin.

Mix together:
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup raisins
Chopped nuts – optional ( I didn’t use any)
Add dry ingredients into creamed mixture. Mix well.
Drop by tablespoons on greased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.




Maritime Mary: Soup – Simply

“Soup is the song of the hearth … and the home.”
Louis P. DeGouy, ‘The Soup Book’ 1949

My mother makes the most fantastic soups. She uses ‘soup bones’ and whatever vegetables she has on hand. While raising her large family, the deep chest freezer would be filled with bags of garden vegetables all chopped and ready to be dropped into the pot. We always had soup in the fridge or on top of the stove.

In turn, my own little family is fond of a good soup as well. As you know, I recently went squash picking. ( In truth, I went back again for a second load.) We have a winter’s reserve in the freezer and of course, I have been making squash soups.

Each variety of squash has a remarkably distinctive taste, thus each squash soup creation is a little different. Buttercup has a fuller, more hearty taste compared with a mixture of butternut and an orange variety which was milder and more subtle in flavour.

This is my basic, simple squash soup recipe.

Bake one large squash in the oven at 350 degrees. It may take an hour or more.
Cut in half when cooked, scoop out the seeds and remove the ‘meat’.
Add to a large pot with approximately 4 cups of low sodium chicken or vegetable stock.
Allow to simmer.
Using an immersion blender, blend till smooth.
Add a can of coconut milk. (The low fat is fine but the other is finer!)
Allow to warm slowly, season with ground nutmeg and or cloves, pepper to taste.



Maritime Mary: A Grunt

Just the other day I heard Deanne say something about wanting to have a grunt soon. The power of suggestion is strong so that whetted my appetite.

An odd word, a grunt is really just a name for a very simple dessert that is cooked on the stove top. We make it with blueberries but I suppose you could exchange any similar fruit. Rhubarb might be tasty in this form. Apparently the dessert is supposed to grunt while cooking, hence the name. (I can’t say that mine do.)

The trick to making a good grunt is to not lift the lid and peek while it’s cooking, while the magic happens. In my house, I let everyone know not to lift the cover, which in turn makes this very challenging, for myself included.

On Friday I bought ten pounds of beautiful local blueberries at the Farmer’s Market. It was time for me to have a grunt too!

Blueberry Grunt
Combine first five ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then let it simmer.
5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
Finely grated lemon rind

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter
1cup milk
Mix dry ingredients together, cut in butter, add milk and still till moistened. Drop by spoonfuls on to the simmering fruit. Cover pot and allow it to continue simmering for 15 minutes. No peeking!!
Serve warm. Delicious with vanilla ice cream or a key lime sherbet!





Maritime Mary: Blueberries

Every time we drive to Parrsboro, on to the beautiful Fundy shore, the Fats Domino song,”Blueberry Hill” goes through my head. On Sunday, my husband and I had a Parrsboro afternoon and during the latter parts of that scenic drive, I was again, silently (thank goodness) singing that song. I love how the rolling hills carry that tinge of blue from the tiny blueberries at this time of year. After the season ends, those hills are a spectacle of beautiful reds, a rich carpet of colour.

Yes, blueberry season is here in Cumberland County and we love to share the goodness of these delicious and nutritious berries. Here is a great recipe that I made with fresh berries that we purchased at the market on Friday. Lemon and blueberries are a winning combination in my books so if you concur, give this a try. It is a very moist loaf.

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp (or more) finely grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh blueberries

Glaze – optional
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp melted butter
1 cup icing sugar

Beat together butter, sugar, juice and eggs. Combine dry ingredients. Stir into egg mixture alternately with milk. Fold in zest and blueberries.
Bake in a greased loaf pan, 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour.
Glaze – Combine all ingredients. Drizzle over loaf while it is hot and still in the loaf pan. Let it cool for a bit before you remove it from the pan. Be gentle with it, it is very moist.





Manasseh Supper # 5 Warm Potato Salad

I have been trying to eat local and in season when I can. It really is not very hard. I really like the market around the corner from my studio. Tonight I picked up a sparling apple juice. After a hot day hooking rugs…well I was parched. I finished a small rug today, and a bit of a larger one.

I came home and mixed the cider with diet ginger ale and poured it over ice, threw in a couple of fresh strawberries and woo hoo I was having my own little party. I even poured it in one of those big wine glasses that take half a bottle.

I also picked up some Simply for Life Spinach and Goat cheese Sausages, which I pan fried. My trick is to pan fry them until almost done and the split them and fry them again with the split side facing down. It is really great because it is like having two sausages but only eating one and all sides are browned.
With that I made a warm potato salad…

6 medium potatoes chopped small and boiled
1 cup of green beans, more if you like.
I toss the green beans in with the potatoes, then drain them when cooked.
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs … I used dill , chives, parsley and oregano
1 clove garlic crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp vinegar
Lots of pepper
Toss all together , serve warm with sausage and vegetables.




Pork Satay Curry…another Manasseh Meal

We never eat much pork . There is always really good local pork at Manasseh so I am playing with some recipes.

1 small sirlion pork roast cut into small cubes
1 tbsp fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1 onion
1 stalk celery
Two tbsp olive oil
Chop onion , garlic, celery and ginger and fry with pork in oil until lightly seared, and about half cooked.

Then add 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 cup water, 3 tbsp curry powder, 1tbsp tumeric. Bring to a boil, then simmer for an hour.

Cook some Speerville Mills basmati rice.

Serve pork with rice and top pork with fresh plain yogurt and some cilantro or parsley.

Great Recipe. I will make it again.




Local eating is no hardship…

I just finished preparing tonights supper and again it is all local, even the cook book by Micheal Smith of PEI. I am grilling tenderloins, five of them for $15 at Manasseh Local Foods in downtown Amherst. The recipe from Smith’s Chef at Home book is a favorite of mine, though this time I omitted the butter. We’ll see how that goes. The blue cheese is Dragon’s breath from the Dutchman in Economy. I am discovering that it is mot really a hardship to eat local. Mind you I do supplement it with somethings but all in all it is becoming quite easy. Since the local food store opened downtown I have tried to get my groceries there first, then I go to the bigger stores or the local Highland Market . It is fun to create the challenge of eating local and then finding new and interesting recipes to match up with that challenge.

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Supper from Manasseh: Chicken in Cream Gravy

My friend Elizabeth has opened a local food store just up the street from the studio. As often as I can I have been shopping there. It has been interesting, because everything is local what is available in Nova Scotia is both limited and surprising.

So I have been buying what is available and then coming up with recipes for it. Last night I made Chicken in a sour cream gravy. Here is the recipe. It was delicious.

Chicken in Sour Cream Gravy

Four Chicken breast sliced in two and dredged in flour
1 onion chopped fine
1/4 cup celery
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup sour cream  1 cup chicken stock


Slice chicken breasts in two , dredge in flour and pan fry browning on both sides in olive oil. Transfer to oven when the chicken is golden brown on both sides and bake at 350 until it is cooked, ten minutes or so.

In the pan with the chicken juices, fry one onion, one clove garlic, and 1/4 cup of celery. Add a tablespoon of butter.Toss in four cups sliced mushrooms. I used a mixture of portabello and button mushrooms. Fry until mushrooms are reduced in size slightly then add 2 tbsp flour and stir. Slowly add in 1 cup chicken broth. You will have a gravy at this point, then add 1/2 cup of sour cream.

Remove chicken from oven and top with mushroom gravy. I served it with boiled potatoes with chives and fiddleheads.

Surprisingly she has spinach, tomatoes, peppers, even this early from a local greenhouse. I am really enjoying the challenge of cooking local.


Maritime Mary: Baked Stuffed Peppers

Last week as I was viewing the contents of the refrigerator wondering what we would have for supper, I pulled out some great ingredients for what turned out to be a wonderful meal, if I have to say so myself. And as we sat down to enjoy our supper, I thought, as I often do when a successful meal is made, that we should have invited someone in for supper. And because we didn’t, we got to have the leftovers the following evening. Bonus!

These peppers are delicious and nutritious.

8 long sweet red peppers, seeds removed
1 pound ground turkey
1 onion sliced finely
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil), sliced thinly
2 -3 handfuls fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
Grated cheddar cheese

Cook ground chicken, drain juices. Add onion and sun dried tomatoes, cook for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add spinach and cook for another minute or two till spinach begins to wilt.
Carefully fill peppers with ground turkey mixture. Bake in a 400 degree oven until the peppers soften and begin to brown. Top with a bit of cheddar cheese.
You will need to remove these carefully from the baking sheet.
These would be great served with some quinoa or rice.





Catherine Bussiere: Souvlaki

There are mornings where I feel like cheating
Meaning I will not try too hard to write a blog
I’ll just post a recipe
It’s not really cheating
it could be seen as a gift
sounds much better
it’s all about point of view

speaking of view here is today’s weather report
it’s another grey day but there are no snowfall warning in effect (= improvement)
the sap is running
and the sun is trying hard to pierce through all these layers of grey
I have a feeling it might succeed

Last night I was hungry and inspired
those are two things that can equal into a good dinner
I happened to have all I needed to make a Greek style meal
I made my own version of souvlaki

You will need:

pork, chicken or lamb

for the marinade: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper

Chop meat in cubes. Marinate in oil mixture for 8 hours (for 1 pound of meat have 1/2 cup of oil mix – with lots of fresh herbs – looks and smells like a tasty dressing)

Cook meat on parchment paper in hot oven (doesn’t take long)

Serve on pita with tzaziki, chopped tomatoes and cucumber
or serve with rice and Greek salad

Tzaziki: drain 750 g of balkan yogurt in cheese cloth for a few hours. Put 1 grated cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle salt over. Let sit a couple hours to extract water. Rinse and drain cucumber (squeeze all that water out). Mix drained yogurt and cucumber. Add grated garlic, pepper, mint or dill. Taste, see if it needs salt.

* Lately I mix a small container of sour cream with half container of astro balkan yogurt and skipped the draining bit for the yogurt. Of course I get the 14% sour cream. Works well.

cucumber herbs red pepper souvlaki

Maritime Mary: Easy as Pie

The old adage ‘as easy as pie’, when taken literally, does not apply to me. I understand that Lorna, who works here at the studio, finds that making a pie is a quick, easy and reliable dessert to whip up. Buy I try to stay away from rolling out pastry as we are a messy combination. Instead I generally go for other fruit based desserts that do not require pastry.

Last year, while having dinner in a restaurant, we had a Limoncello Mousse for dessert. It was sweet, lemony and so satisfying that I went to the local LC to purchase a bottle of the liqueur and went in search of a recipe that was similar. I was successful and found one that calls for only a small amount of the liqueur. That bottle is going to be in the back of the cabinet for a long time. Fortunately it won’t spoil.

I made the mousse for friends in Saturday night. It’s perfect with little ginger bites and so quick and easy. You can fancy up the presentation or even add a cookie crumb bottom. A few fresh raspberries on top would be beautiful. And yes, it was easier than pie!

4 egg yolks plus 1 whole egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup Limoncello
1 cup whipping cream

In a medium sizes saucepan over medium heat, whisk together yolks and egg, sugar, juice and salt. Stir for about 10 minutes till mixture thickens. Remove from heat, stir in butter, a bit at a time until it melts and then stir in Limoncello. At this point you can strain the curd through a sieve if you have any lumpy parts. Let cool and thicken, stirring occasionally. When cool, whip cream till very stiff. Fold into curd and spoon into a pretty dish or glass.





Ginger Peanut Salad dressing

Blend together:
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
3tbsp of sesame oil
1 clove chopped garlic
3tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
Juice of half fresh lemon
1 teaspoon soya sauce

Serve over mixed green salad , or rice noodle salad.



Shrimp and Peas Pasta

There are some special ingredients in this recipe, but they are worth buying……

Angel Hair Pasta for four cooked. I used almost a box.


2 cloves Garlic

1 tbspoon of butter

2 tablespoons of top quality olive oil

1 teaspoon of lime infused olive oil.

Crush garlic with salt and lightly sauté in butter and oil.

Toss in but do not cook….

2 cups of  pre cooked Atlantic baby shrimp ( these have a different flavour than imported shrimp and are a must for this recipe.

1 cups frozen peas

Toss this with cooked pasta. Leave a few tablespoons of pasta water in there.

Dress mixture with 1 teaspoon butter, 1 tbspoon lime infused olive oil, two tbspoon top quality olive oil.

Drizzle with 1/2  to 1 teaspoon of truffle oil.

Heat  gently to warm shrimp and peas.

The combinations of the different oils , the subtle flavour of Atlantic Shrimp, and the fresh crispness of the peas make this delicious.

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Maritime Mary: Gumdrop Cookies

Gumdrop cake or loaf was always something I baked at Christmas time. Then one year I paid attention and realized that I was the one consuming most of it. So it was time to stop the loaf! But still, part of Christmas baking has always been cutting up gumdrops, nice and sticky. I then decided to switch it up and make gumdrop cookies instead. That plan has worked well as everyone dips into the cookie jar for these.

These cookies are not going to win an award in the most attractive category but they are very tasty. My family likes soft cookies so I always try to undercook them a bit. They freeze really well so perhaps you can bake up a big batch or two and them hide them behind the frozen turkey. Good luck with that!

1 cup butter or margarine.
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 salt
1 1/4 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups gumdrops, cut up (I use more.)

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and add vanilla.
Add remaining ingredients, mixing well. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. (Not too closely together as the spread.). Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes. Let cookies sit on the sheet for a few minutes before removing. Makes 4 dozen.




Grilled on the Woodstove

In our house we barbecue in the winter, not the summer, cause we use our wood stove.  Usually it is my husband’s thing to do. Last night though, there was no one home and there were two t bone steaks in the fridge that a local farmer had dropped off for us. I thought I can do this grilling. I baked myself a potato and cooked a steak on the wood stove on the open fire. Then I sat to a quiet meal with the paper.

It is a bit hard to control the cooking but I managed to get it done the way I like.





Maritme Mary: Oh Fudge!

My title has been a joyful affirmation of success and a polite expletive for a failure.  Either way, it’s about fudge.

Usually twice a year I attempt to make fudge.  Today it was for Halloween.  Sadly my family can attest to the fact that many batches are not worthy for distribution, either too crumbly or too sticky. They never complain because one thing I do get right is the taste, guaranteed by lots of sugar. Delicious!

I didn’t grow up in a fudge making home but our neighbour Margaret never ceased to amaze me as she easily poured perfect brown sugar fudge on a buttered plate.  It was always smooth and creamy.  And then there was ‘Mrs. Big Archie’. (I never did know her real name.) Her fudge was worth the trek through fields and down a long lane as we tripped over homemade Halloween outfits.  Once a year, we were treated to her perfect, fresh brown sugar fudge that she made especially for us.  I can bet that  her family did not have to eat up the batches not worthy of her trick-or-treaters.

Today was a good ‘Oh Fudge’ kind of day.  This is the recipe I used.

Brown Sugar Fudge

2 cups packed brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 tbsp. corn syrup

2 tbsp. butter

1/8 tsp. salt

2/3 cup whole evaporated milk

1/2 cup coconut or chopped nuts

Measure first 6 ingredients into a heavy saucepan.  Stir often over medium heat till it boils.  Boil without stirring until it reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees on a candy thermometer .  Remove from heat.

Cool until you can almost hold your hand on the bottom of the saucepan.  Beat until it loses its glossy appearance. (Be careful, this is where I go wrong.  It ‘turns’ very quickly.  Too much stirring means crumbs.) Stir in coconut or nuts.  Pour into greased 8 x 8 square pan or buttered plate.  Cool and cut. Share.


Zuchini Lasanga

Zuchini is the most plentiful vegetable around here this tome of year. In fact, the joke goes that people start to lock their cars in the fall in case someone tries to put some zuchini in it. It is shared, let us say that.

Last night I made a zuchini lasagna that used zuchini to replace the noodles. It was pretty tasty.

I took a can of crushed tomatoes, and spiced it with oregano, garlic, and basil.

Then I layered the zuchini, and tomato sauce, and added a layer of fresh spinach and a layer of ricotta in the middle, followed by another layer of zuchini and tomato sauce. I then topped it with a thick layer of mozzarella and baked it at 350 for 40 minutes.

It was good. Though you know I did think it would be tasty with some pasta on the side.


Maritime Mary: Hot Pepper Jelly

Many years ago I acquired a large old canning pot that had belonged to an elderly neighbour and each time I pull it off the basement shelf, I think of all the processing she would have done in it to provide for her family of four children. Last week it was time to bring it out again because we had used up the final jar of Hot Pepper Jelly which is a favourite in our home.

Last summer we had a robust crop of green peppers in our garden, so green pepper jelly it was. This season our peppers did poorly so I purchased three long sweet red peppers and they were perfect for two batches.

I usually put some of the jelly into small 125 ml Mason jars as they are a great size for little hostess gifts. Sometimes I even decorate them with small bits of leftover backing from my rug hooking and strips of wool cloth. Waste not….

We enjoy the jelly topped on a soft goat cheese and my friends agree with me that it goes nicely with a glass of wine.

Credit for the recipe goes to Jean Pare, author of the Company’s Coming series.

1 1/2 cups (350 ml) seeded, chopped peppers
1/4 cup (60 ml) jalapeño peppers(I use the pickled bottled type)
1 1/2 (350 ml) white vinegar
6 1/2 cups (1.5 L) sugar
6 oz. (170 ml) liquid pectin

Combine peppers and vinegar in a blender. Blend smooth and pour into a large pot. (I use a Dutch oven.)
Add sugar. Heat on medium-high and stir until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
Stir in pectin. Return to a full rolling boil on high. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off the foam.
Pour into hot sterilized jars to within 1/4 inch (6 mm) of top. Seal. I then put the jars into a hot bath and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Take the bottles out and listen for the lovely ‘sealing pops’.
Makes 14 mini bottles.





Catherine Bussiere: Cinnamon Rolls

I promised it two weeks ago here it is: Cinnamon Rolls
The dough for this recipe can be made into rolls, ham and cheese croissant, chocolate croissant, Easter braids with sesame seeds on it, you name it. It is light and rich, slightly sweet, quite delicious.

For one small batch of cinnamon rolls you will need

1/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup of butter
1/4 cup of warm water
1Tbs yeast
1 egg
2 1/2 cups of flour

Extra butter (room temperature)
Mixture of sugar and cinnamon (as much cinnamon as you like)

Heat milk. Remove from heat, add sugar, salt, butter. Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture. Add egg then flour gradually. Knead until smooth. Rise until doubled.

Roll down on flat surface 1/2 inch thick in a rectangle shape. Butter the surface generously. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll, then cut into 12 pieces.

Now if you like sticky, gooey get a 9 inch square pan and butter it generously, add brown sugar to the bottom and fit your dozen piece over that.

If you don’t want too sticky just use a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper and lay your pieces evenly on it.

Either way, rise until double and bake at 375 until nicely golden.

No matter what you do this dough is simply beautiful. You will feel it when you kneed it.
The secret in to not add too much flour. The other secret is that you might as well double or triple the recipe because it will be all gone in a flash.

I usually multiply the ingredients by 6 and freeze the rolls before they rise. The great thing about that is whenever I want fresh cinnamon buns in the morning or if I have friends over that are staying the night I get my frozen rolls out of the freezer before I go to bed, place them on a cookie sheet and let them thaw and rise overnight. By morning they are ready to put in the oven and by the time my guest (or kids) are up the house is filled with a delicious aroma of fresh baked goods. Nothing like it.









Catherine Bussiere: boat rides and pies

it’s a drizzly day today
the sun is trying hard to break through
birds are hopping around delighted by all the worms coming out of the ground
my cats are sleeping
radio is playing
it’s a lovely Sunday morning

we’ve been invited my husband and I to a boat ride later today
If you’re thinking fancy styling boat think again
my friend who is man of all trade has inherited this old pontoon party boat
every time he invites us for a ride it is somewhat of an adventure
the tide is too low
we just about run out of gas
you never know
being a mechanic you feel safe enough that if something breaks he can repair it
plus we’re going down a river
we all can swim
the river’s edge is never too far

one thing that is always a given is that there will be plenty of delicious food
my friends love to eat and so do we

to add to the picnic today I will bring a fresh baked rhubarb pie
I have a huge patch of rhubarb in my garden and I just ignore the fact that rhubarb has a season and that the season may be over
as long as I see rhubarb there is potential for pies

Here is my recipe for 3 double crust pies

For the crust:

5 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound of shortening
about 1 cup of cold water with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (sometimes I mix an egg in my water)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Cut in the shortening until the shortening bits look like bits of oats. Add the liquid. Mix as little as you can to make it hold.
Put aside in the fridge until ready to roll.

Rhubarb filling:

You will need about 6 cups of cut rhubarb per pie and the sugar ratio is 1 cup of sugar for 4 cups of rhubarb. It’s neither too sweet or too tart.

18 cups of cubed rhubarb
4 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cups of flour (or tapioca)

The flour or tapioca acts as a thickening agent. Cooked rhubarb is really runny and no matter what, the juice from my pies always bubbles over and makes a mess in my oven.
If smoke is coming out of my kitchen chances are I’m cooking rhubarb pie.

Alright, I better smoke my kitchen



Harry the Printer Potato Salad

Harry the Printer Potato SaladIMG_2173

Here is the recipe though it is  one of those things that change every time.

 Potato Salad

6-8 medium sized potatoes

Two stalks chopped celery

Four green onions chopped

Two boiled eggs chopped

Good handful of chopped Italian parsley and fresh dill

Heaping tablespoon of good curry powder

As much mayonnaise as you like it


Make sure to mix all the ingredients with potatoes when they’re still warm.


Lime Tart



Lime Tart

My niece Kathleen made these for me when she was visiting from Calgary last week and they were delicious. She made them twice, so I am sure. I just made it tonight as a one big tart cause my sister in law has come to visit.


In a food processor combine:

1 1/2 cups of almonds

1/2 cup pecans

8 dates

2 tablespoons water

Grind together and it will form a paste. Press into a greased pie plate or tart shells.


1/2 cup lime juice fresh squeezed

2 egg yolks

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Blend together and pour in tart shell.

Bake for fifteen minutes at 350. Let cool for three or four hours ( that is the only thing I don’t like about this pie….the wait)

We ate them just plain but you could top it with whipped cream and fancy it up with a bit of lime rind but there is no need, they are lovely as is.



Catherine Bussiere: lemon cheesecake

A treat for you today

to enjoy and share

Happy Father’s day to all the wonderful dads out there

and a special one to my husband who has been the best dad I could dream of for my children

Lemon cheesecake (unbaked)

250 g sweet biscuit crumbs, 175 g  melted butter, 500 g softened cream cheese, 400 ml can sweetened condensed milk, 300 ml whipping cream, 3 tsp gelatin dissolved in 1/4 cup of boiling water, 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Combine biscuit crumbs and butter and press into the base of a 25 cm springform pan. Refrigerate.
Beat cream cheese until smooth.
Beat in condensed milk and gelatin mixture until smooth, then add lemon juice and beat until combined.
Whip the cream then fold in gently in cream cheese mixture
Pour mixture into prepared base and refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

For the glaze

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water (can be substituted by 1/2 cup Limoncello but it’s optional. I used water and added the juice of a few raspberry to color the glaze )
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Make glaze by combining sugar and cornstarch, blending in water and lemon juice until smooth. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cook 3 minutes. Chill until cool but not set.




Macaroni and Cheese and my pantry

Dear Diary, Last night I went to a house concert of a band called the Fretless. The music was lovely, two violins, a viola and a cello all played by four people under thirty. House concerts are a thing now. Live musicians travel across the country plaing to small private groups in peoples homes. It is a lovely way to see a band.

Today we had the fibre arts group with about eight or ten people coming for all or part of it. It was nice to have eceryone coming and going. I framed prints today instead of hooking. I just find a job and go back there with them to visit. It is so nice. Actually it has become one of my favorite days in the studio.

I had to leave early today for a meeting with two dairy farmers. Why you ask? Well these dairy farmers have a purse project, they import purses from Kenya, get local people here to sell them and send every cent of the money from the purses back to the women in Kenya who make them. We sell the purses in the studio. They are $50 , $40 goes to Kenya, $10 to the local food bank. I’ll do a blog post on them soon.

After that I had a fibre arts meeting and then I came home and enjoyed my house for a few hours. I had an afternoon nap for just half an hour because I was awake far too early. It was nice just to come home, get the fire going and read a lazy novel.

One of the things I love about my house is that it has an old fashioned pantry thst is actually a separate room. As lovely as an old house is, they can bug you but my pantry has always had my respect. It is such a homey thing.

Today as I went in  the pantry to grab an onion for my mac and cheese I caught my jars so nicely as you can see here. So it has been a nice day around here. Cozy and peaceful after a very early morning.

Macaroni and Cheese
Cook 4 cups of macaroni
Toss macaroni in casserole dish with one small chopped onion, salt and pepper, 1 cup of evaprated milk ( canned milk ), 2 tbsp butter
Top with 2 cups grated old cheddar and bread crumbs.
Ps. this recipe works great with gluten free pasta and crumbs too


Catherine Bussiere: Oatcakes

These are my favorite oatcakes
A friend of mine brought me a batch years ago
she then gave me the recipe
which I have shared several times
Buttery and just sweet enough, they are the perfect companion to that afternoon tea

here it is

1 cup of softened butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup of oatmeal
1 cup of flour
a pinch of salt

Combine butter, sugar and vanilla.
Add flour, oatmeal and salt.
Roll between wax paper to about 1/4”
Cut into squares.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375˚

Want to dress them up
melt some chocolate
and dip them in
or zigzag over

• you may need to share this recipe


White Chocolate Macaroons

White Chocolate Macaroon

These are just so delicious. I keep going back to the cupboard again and again for another one.

2 bags unsweetened coconut 200 grams

1/2 sup sliced almonds

1 bag white chocolate chips

1 can sweetened condensed Milk

Toss ingredients in a bowl and stir the milk until the ingredients are very well coated. Spoon onto cookie sheet with parchment paper on it and bake for 15 minutes at 325 to 350.


IMG_1256 IMG_1267 IMG_1270

Catherine Bussiere: Felting

cover cat

on a stormy December day
near the very end of the year
most like a blizzard really
how comforting to look at felting
in itself it makes you think of warmth
cozy colorful bundles of warmth
I have not wrapped myself in it
rather played with it
creating little people
it became contagious
my kids got to it
and a cat was made
and a princess was made
and so was a mermaid
the plain white Christmas stockings were hit by the needles
in an ongoing process that may evolve over the years
how fun
and refreshing
to see my teens
get away from a screen








What’s for supper? Chicken Santa Fe

Feeding Men, from the Show, “The Art of Visiting

Dear Diary, I still cook supper nearly every night . Tonight though the Highland Hookers are ordering out Chinese so I’ll have that. I might still cook supper for my husband. Might. Just Might. Twenty five years of suppers means I am always on the lookout for a new recipe.

Sometimes when I see people in the course of my day, I ask them , “What are you cooking for supper?”. If it sounds good then I go to the grocery store and make the same thing. I ran into a friend Veronica out shopping one day and she said she was having company. As is my habit, I asked what she was serving, and here it is.

She dropped in the recipe and I adapted it slightly and made it last Friday night. Yum. A delicious supper.

Santa Fe Chicken

1tbsp Vegetable Oil

4 boneless checken thighs

2 boneless Breasts cut into four pieces

1 medium onion, 2 cloves garlic, two teaspoons chili powder, 1 tsp crushed coriander seed, salt and pepper

15 oz black beans  1 can crushed tomatoes

ChickenHeat the oil over medium heat and brown the chicken. Remove to a casserole dish. fry onion and garlic in same pan, and toss on top of chicken. Then spread chill powder and coriander over the chicken.  Spread can of black beans around the  dish. Cover with crushed Tomatoes and bake for one hour at 350.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream, and a mixture of grated cheddar and mozza.

Great with a side of rice and a few tortilla chips.

Gluten Free

by Catherine Bussiere

salad rolls are delicious, fresh, beautiful
one can put just about anything in them
they are gluten free
as the fine wrapper you will need is made from rice
there is a variety of option if you search a little
or you can just see what is in your refrigerator
to create your own combination
I put vermicelli to start
a little mango and avocado
sweet and creamy
red pepper and cucumber
keeps it fresh
chive and mint
it grows in my garden
(hardy chive and mint, first up in the spring, last to let go)
now best of all
because it is soooo tasty
Peanut Sauce
to dip those little rolls in
if you don’t like peanuts
or if you have allergies
no worries
there are other sauce


* for additional fun, take pictures of the process

































From the Downhomer cookbook

Sweet Mary Anne Bars from the Downhomer Cookbook, an old favourite of mine, made in Newfoundland

Melt together:

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup peanut butter

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together over medium heat but do not boil. Add 2 cups rice crisps, half cup peanuts. Press into 8 by 8 pan. Melt chocolate chips and cover base with them. Cool and serve.




Mint Tea

Dear Diary,

Mint tea means summer evening. It means a big yellow chair and a book. It means I am ready to rest. Simply Pick some fresh mint leaves from the garden and steep in boiling water. It is the simplest idea around.

It is a cure for busy. It is a balm for tired. It is a recipe for simplicity.

Straight from the garden to your cup.

In the winter you can grow it on your window sill.






Fiddlehead and Lobster Chowder

Brenda told me she made this last week, and she gave me fiddleheads to make some of my own. Fiddleheads are the ferns that come up early in spring on the riverbanks around here. The fiddlehead is actually the fern before it unfolds. I made this for supper last night. Simple food. Good Food.

Fiddlehead and Lobster Chowder

1 onion

2 cups fiddle head greens

1 lobster Cold Pack

3 potatoes

2 cups blend cream

4 cups of water or enough to cover potatoes

3 tbsp olive oil or butter, salt and pepper

Fry finely chopped onion in butter. Then toss in potatoes cubed and fiddleheads. Boil for fifteen to twenty minutes until tender. Toss in salt and pepper. Put in cold pack, turn off heat and let sit for twenty minutes. Stir in blend cream or coffee cream.

Serve in a beautiful bowl.









I think I love my printer

Dear Diary, A few weeks ago I was talking to Harry the printer on the phone, and when I went to say good bye, I said, “Okay love you”, thinking I was talking to my kids I guess. So then I said, “whoops sorry I was thinking I was talking to Robert or the kids”, so then I said, “Well I do love you too!”  Now I don’t throw around “love you’s” so we had a good laugh. He is good to me, efficient and creative. He has helped me make so many great new cards,kit labels, books, and this years calender.

Well after yesterday I am sure I love my good friend Harry the printer because he bought me the most decadent chocolate mousse cake I have ever eaten. I know you shouldn’t love people cause they give you stuff, but cake,  come on, it’s chocolate mousse cake. That’s tricky to make.

You are talking to a woman who spend all day yesterday making fudge. Three pans. One pan was hard and sugary, one was to sticky, one had to be thrown in the garbage. All the while I was making it I called the woman ( aka Lori the man magnet) who gave me the recipe twenty years ago for specific instructions. I even called her mother. When Lori called back that night to check on the fudge I told her about the fiascos. Then I asked, ” Have you ever doubled that fudge recipe?” Well, we took to laughing. She said,” double it, you can’t even make one batch.” So I appreciate a good piece of fudge, or a cake that is tricky to bake.

Yesterday, Harry brought me this cake… the recipe is below.

I went home. I unwrapped the cake. I took pictures of it in the sunlight coming thru my kitchen window and I ate one beautiful piece. I am now just waiting to go home so I can do the same thing again after lunch. It was and is gorgeous.

I think I might make him some fudge.


Harry the Printer’s Chocolate Mousse Cake

1 pound unsalted butter

1 pound bakers semi sweet chocolate

1 cup strong black coffee

1cup brown sugar

8 eggs

Melt chocolate, butter,coffee, sugar together gently over a low heat, not letting it get too hot.

Beat the 8 eggs. Temper the eggs by adding the melted chocolate mixture a bit at a time (like you would for mayonaise). Add it slowing, while beating the mixture continuously. If you add it too quick or it is too hot, the cake will not turn out right.

Put in a cheesecake pan and wrap with two layers of foil. Put in a bain marie (that means you put the wrapped cheesecake pan inside another pan of water so it steams a bit the way you bake a fruitcake) and bake for one hour at 350.

Top with fresh raspberries.


mary jones and the amazing fruitcake

Dear Diary, After Mary Jones left to go back to the Island after our hook in she sent me this note with a fruitcake recipe to share.So here it is….

What a great time we had at the “hook-in” on Sat! I’m going to make my fruit cakes tomorrow which reminded me to send along the recipe to you which was given to me by a NFLD hooker who used to live here on the Island. The best white fruit cake ever!!!!! Cheers… Mary Ploughman Jones


(can easily be doubled)

Soak in Amaretto overnight (about 1 C):

1 1/2 C golden raisins

4 oz dried citon peel

4 oz green cherries

4 oz red cherries

8 oz mixed fruit

Cream well:

1 C white suger

1 C butter

4 eggs (one at at time…beat well)

1 tsp almond flavouring

1 4 oz pkg slivered almonds

Mix a 1/4 C flour with fruit.

Add 21/4 C flour to batter

Mix fruit in batter.

Use parchment paper to fill line loaf pans 3/4 full.

Bake at 275 for 2 hrs (watch closely after 1 1/2 hrs)

Mary’s extras…

Here is Mary , handcutting her wool at the hook in

Now if you havn’t drunk the rest of the Amaretto….poke holes in the cakes while still slighty warm and drizzle Amaretto over them.Soak cheese cloth in Amaretto and wrap cooled cakes with that, then Saran wrapand tin foil and store in cool place. Now finish the bottle!

Ambrosia Bites from Cheryl Boudreau

Dear Diary, Today at the Hook in, we had about forty rug hookers in the studio, for tea and talk, and time to hook. It was a lovely day, we’ll do it again.

We had rug hookers from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI and there were new friends made I’m sure.

Cheryl Boudreau brought a big container of home made cookies to add to the treat counter and they were a hit.

She even gave us the recipe

Amrosia Bites


1 cup soft butter

1cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tbsp grated lemon rind

1 tbsp grated orange rind

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup coconut

Mix together , spoon pan and bake for 12 min at 350.







lemon and honey salad dressing

Dear Diary, So I told you I went to Gloria Dunbar’s pottery open house last weekend in Lawrencetown, and came back with a small casserole dish, just a beauty, that stacks into a set of casserole dishes I got last year when she had myself and her friend Nancy as overnight guests at her beautiful place in Lawrencetown. So I have a set of four handmade pottery dishes that stack, serves from oven to table or even as a salad bowl. They are completely functional, and add to the other pottery I have and love.

I decided to use the largest one as a salad bowl the other night and it worked fine, more than fine , beautifully.

Here’s my Honey Lemon Dressing recipe…

lemon juice from half a lemon

2tbsp honey

4tbsp white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Blend together, it will thicken nicely, and pour over mixed greens

I used chopped romaine, pecans, craisins, raspberries, red onion, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese

great salad in a great dish, which I think is important….