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: Rose

it’s rose time
yellow roses
pink roses
they look like wild roses
are they?

I collect the petals
I bring 1 cup of sugar with one cup of water to a boil
I pour the syrup over two cups of petals
I let it steep half a day
or more
I pour it in a jar
it’s pretty
I pour it over ice and add bubbly water

I bet I could pour it over vanilla ice cream
now I’m talking










Catherine Bussiere: dining on the wild side

nestled in a small village on the Bay of Fundy
between Cape d’Or and park Chignecto
the Wild Caraway restaurant propose some of the best dish this province has to offer
the secret is a blend of passion, curiosity, enthusiasm
mixed with the best, fresh, local ingredients available
you can’t go wrong with that
yet it is hard to find

every single time I go to the Wild Caraway I am intrigued
there is always a fine taste that hits me and makes me wonder

me: how do you get that smoky taste in the dressing?
Andrew: you smoke the sour cream
me: oh! … smoke the sour cream … of course

Andrew and his partner Sarah have been running this delightful business for a few years now and the fact that they are far far away in this isolated place that is Advocate harbor does not seem to deter anyone from making the trek.
It is that good.

This week Eric and I treated ourselves to their once a year foraging dinner.
I have been interested lately about wild edibles so I couldn’t let that dinner go by.
Several courses were presented to us featuring such things as squid ink rice cracker with smoked mackerel mousse (one of my highlight), pickles of fiddleheads, spruce tips, knotweed and dandelion capers, rose hip gel, grilled cattails, flounder goujonettes (isn’t that a cute word; goujonette), sea lettuce and oyster leaf, sea rocket and goose tongue greens, smoked halibut cheeks and flash fried squid …

One after the other, dishes were brought to us. All beautifully presented, all using land and sea to feed body and enlighten the spirit.

The final touch before sending us off was a selection of sorbets and ice creams. Violet sorbet, dandelion sorbet, sweet cicely flower ice cream, black currant leaf ice cream.
I never knew dandelion could taste so good.
A spruce tips shortbread happily dissolved in my mouth as I was sipping my tea.
Who would think of such delight. Really.

The sad news is, you most likely missed this foraging dinner. The good news is that their ever changing menu always involves something from the wild side.
Go for a drive and check them out. You will be both delighted by the scenery and your taste bud will beg for more.













Catherine Bussiere: fiddle heads & omelets

we went for a walk in the woods
we listen to nature waking up
the beauty of it all just makes me smile
I feel happy

we are out to collect fiddle heads
one of nature’s first edible
there may be others
only recently have we been going out to gather wild edibles
so far mushrooms and fiddles heads are what we collect
there is something quite enthralling about gathering food from the wild
I love it

by the river we find some tightly curled ferns
they’ve just started showing up through the leaves
you can’t wait too long
when nature wakes up she’s got no time to waste for stretches, coffee, and all
she’s on the move

this morning I made us a fiddle head omelet
for two people I used three large farm eggs
beat them up with a little cream, a pinch of salt, cumin and fresh ground pepper

I steamed a couple handful of fiddle heads
I grated some cheddar cheese and chopped some chives
I pour the egg mix onto a cast iron pan
when the egg mix starts to set I place chives, fiddle heads and cheese on one half of it
I wait a little
the cheese melts
I flip the bare half onto the dressed half

a nature walk feeds the soul, lungs, eyes
today, a nature walk also fed two hungry bellies

happy Sunday
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Catherine Bussiere: Christmas

December 21st
it’s hard to believe
I see the Santas here and there
a few decorations
but really walking around Barcelona
wearing a light shirt under a sunny sky
I don’t feel like Christmas is in a very few days

My son Sam joined us this week
we had said good bye to the hills of Provence
spent a day in Marseille
got off the bus really early one morning in the city of Gaudí
and a few days later Sam was here, on our door step
not in my computer talking to me on skype
but right there in front of me
sleepily standing between his brother and sister who picked him up at the airport
Could I possibly want anything else
my three babies for Christmas
my three adult babies
maybe that’s even more special

Barcelona is great and I should tell you all about it
but in a way
at this point in our trip
it is more like a shell that holds us all
a beautiful shell I must say
it is where we get together as a family for a precious amount of time
where we walk and talk
shop (mostly for food) and cook and drink
laugh and snuggle
where we just hang out and enjoy being together

it is precious isn’t it
once the kids grow up
once life takes us apart
when we all fly our own direction
to be able to take the time
make a pause
and reconnect with our dear ones

of course there’s always someone missing
make that a plural
my son’s fiancé
our moms and dads
brothers and sisters
nieces and nephews
the list goes on

But for what I have I am thankful

I wish you who may read this blog a happy Christmas
I wish you to spend time with anyone who is dear to you
may it be family or friend, make the best of it
Merry Christmas!

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Catherine Bussiere: Bouillabaisse

Bouillabaisse: a traditional Provencal fish stew originating from the port city of Marseille.

I can’t say how long I’ve wanted to eat bouillabaisse
growing up I read Marcel Pagnol, a god amongst Provencal literature
his series: Marius, Fanny, Cesar take place in the heart of Marseille where Cesar, a lively choleric character, runs a bar
the world of Pagnol is a world like any: family, friends, love, foes, food, drinks
it is lively, it is flavorful, the language sings
it is french from the south, from the sea, with accent, punctuation, words like no others
The bouillabaisse is a classic dish from this part of the world
as it requires specific fish and spices one can really only eat the “real thing” here

Friday night we were invited to a party of ten at “la table D’eux” restaurant to eat the famous soup
and I was excited
as we walked into the restaurant I was taken aside right away to the kitchen to see a basin filled with odd looking fish covered with garlic, saffron and who knows what

Our host have been fantastic
we help out all week
we’ve mostly been cleaning up the olive grove; mowing, chopping, making it nice
we get a lovely place to stay, the best grocery, (I have a tab at the boucherie where I’ve been trying all sorts of local specialties)
and on Friday we go out

Now we could just go out and eat but Geraldine (she likes to be called Gerry but Geraldine is so pretty and she does look a little bit like Geraldine Chaplin) goes above and beyond
She knows we are curious so she makes sure to introduce us to the locals
She arranged a couple tours to local olive mills
Took us out to try the Beaujolais nouveau

In the kitchen of the restaurant the mother of the cook explains to me how the soup is made
the various fish have been sitting in a wonderful mixture of spices for hours
The broth is made
veggies are cooked
one by one, depending on their size, the fish will be added at the last minute so they cook to perfection

in the restaurant the table is set
as we wait we are treated to a few rounds of sparkling wine to celebrate Isaac and Haley’s engagement
the traditional plate of charcuterie sits on the counter
someone tells me to try this and that
I try everything

We are now ready to hit the table
Bouillabaisse has a special order of thing
first the broth is served pipping hot topped with rouille spread on croutons
rouille is like a spicy homemade mayonnaise with garlic and saffron

The broth is heavenly
rich, flavorful
the crouton soak just enough of the broth for an easy chew
the rouille tops it all
I am in heaven

Then comes two huge platters of fish
it has all those crazy fish I saw earlier in the kitchen plus mini crabs, mussels and squid
I try everything
Next you place any of the fish you want in your plate
grab a few potatoes if you wish and cover that with the broth that has been kept hot

we all go for several rounds
wine keeps filling our glasses
our bellies are getting fuller and fuller
there is so mush fish to be eaten

several hours later
that’s the way it goes here
a proper meal takes hours
the fish is gone and we are served an expresso followed by a few shots of Lemoncello
jolly and filled to the rim we exit the restaurant with kisses on the cheek to the cook, his mom, the waitress

another meal in Provence gone by
I am looking forward to next Friday
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Catherine Bussiere: I love today

today is the light of autumn with the heat of summer
the smells of fallen leaves and the sounds of crickets
the dear fly buzzing around my head as if it were July

today I want it all
I want to do nothing and do everything
I want to sit all day and soak it up
I want to hold it so it doesn’t end
I want to make the most of it and harvest and clean up and trim and get ready
but I don’t really
it’s Sunday and it’s indian summer and if I could I would push on pause

I’ll go visit someone today
I’ll go to the garden and find something to make a nice meal
I will throw myself in the pond for one last time
and run to the sauna if I get cold
or lay in the sun
yes, I will lay in the sun

now there’s a plan

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made apple jelly yesterday

I am productive sometimes

Catherine Bussiere: a kettle and a pan

I missed my blog last week
the Bash overtook everything
today you would barely know there was a music festival here
crazy how fast things go

This time of year, pretty much right after the Bash, is my wedding anniversary
To celebrate Eric and I have been going to Advocate at the Wild Caraway where Eric plays some tunes in exchange of a fine meal and a few coins
The Wild Caraway is one of the best place to eat in Nova Scotia
Andrew, the chef, is a passionate cook
The food always surprises me
In every bite I pause to figure out what went into this wonderful explosion of flavor that invades my mouth
Eric and I take different dish so the pleasure is expanded
I love everything about the Wild Caraway
the food, the presentation, the attention to service, the simplicity yet complexity of every dish
Andrew and Sarah use as much local, fresh ingredients as possible
Several options last night included Chanterelles
Straight from the woods
The potatoes salad I ate tasted smoky!!
How did he do that?
Home made smoked sour cream.
Every bite is a wonder
every bite is exciting
every bite is a delight

After the show Eric and I went camping on the stretch of beach between the Ottawa House and Partridge island in Parrsboro
Whenever visitors come to Cumberland County I always refer two places to go to:
The Wild Caraway and Partridge island
(of course there’s Cape d’Or and Chignecto, and Fiber Fest; the list goes on…)
That beach is one of the most stunning place Eric and I have ever camped at
and we’ve camped by the Grand Canyon, the Red Woods and Joshua Tree National park

When we got there we parked by a picnic table, built a little fire, admired the starry night, listened to the water bubbling through the rocks as the tide was coming up. There was nobody on the beach.

The next morning was the funnest part
I had packed up everything for a fine breakfast
a little kettle for hot water was all the was needed for a cup of cowboy coffee
a camping pan, fried up to perfection a couple fish cakes and some eggs
I had brought some hollandaise sauce (Fancy!) I had picked some blackberries and cherry tomatoes the day before, we had bagels and home made rhubarb sauce

I was playing Wild Caraway in the wild
fine food enjoyed in one of the most stunning scenery in the world
with a kettle, a pan, a fire, fine ingredients, a gentleman and a glass of wine
(that was a first for breakfast but I highly recommend it)

it was simple and grand

I love Nova Scotia for that
It’s rugged, it’s beautiful, it’s majestic yet there’s hardly anybody here.


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Catherine Bussiere: it’s time

it’s berry time

it’s garlic time

it’s cherry time

it’s chanterelle time

oh my, not enough time in a day time

I love this time

chanterelle cherry garlic raspberryqueen anne


Catherine Bussiere: rhubarb and fiddle heads

I woke up to a warm morning
how glorious is a warm breezy morning in the country side
no bugs yet
no bitting bugs anyway

I put the kettle on for coffee
looked around… no husband
I thought, and I was right, he must be gone looking for fiddle heads

the water wasn’t even boiling that my son was up
to my surprised expression he responded: happy mother’s day
smile (awww)
then offered to make a smoothie

the smoothie was on it’s way when my daughter came down
with a gift and a card in her hand
I really was not expecting anything

I like to make the most of my adorable, most willing to do something for me, children
I had invited my mother in law for brunch and was about to make the first rhubarb pie of the year
to the garden we go, help me gather enough for a couple pies
the rhubarb isn’t high yet
but with three sets of hands it didn’t take long
as we were picking my husband showed up with a bag filled with fiddle heads
it’s the first year that he gathers them
last fall he found edible mushrooms in the wood, now fiddle heads
there’s something quite fantastic about foraging
it has to be some of the best food one can eat

the meal consisted of fish cake Benedict (that is a fish cake with a poached egg and hollandaise sauce), steamed fiddle heads and rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream for dessert
we had some white wine with cassis liquor and frozen strawberries to go with that
which may explain why this blog is posted a little later than usual
a nap had to follow that scrumptious meal

it is a blessing to be a mother
to honor the ones that have nurtured us and to nurture in return

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Catherine Bussiere: Easter pancakes

Beautiful sunny day here in northern Nova Scotia

I was gone for three days last week with my daughter to a conference in Sydney.
Through multiple presenters we learned how and why the arts and crafts are a leading economy. It was interesting and inspiring; the creative economy is one to be reckoned with.

When I came back home a few things had happened that were of great excitement. First, the ice on the pond was gone. It may not seem like much but with the ice gone the pond gets fixed (by the beavers, instantly it seems, they come and fix any little or big leaks and the water goes up). A pair of ducks arrived for their annual visit and the peepers will soon, any day now, deafen us with their high pitch chorus. The sound of the peepers is one of my favorite. It’s the sound of nature celebrating the end of a harsh winter and the prospect of life about to blossom.

Oh, I love this time of year.

This morning I’m waking up to the smell of home made baked beans. My husband has been making them with beer and smoked pork lately and they are just divine. There is bacon slowly cooking and pancakes will be made. Of course this whole lot is also home made. Maybe I should share the pancake recipe with you on this Easter morning.
When I make pancakes I don’t bother, I grab the bag of premix flour, add an egg, milk, little oil and bam we go. They’re good. Fast and easy.
When my husband makes pancakes it goes up several notches.
First he takes say 8 eggs (maybe a dozen if they are small or 6 if they are extra large)
He separates the whites from the yolks. He beats the whites like he was making a meringue and set that aside. Then it’s the usual. Mix the yolks with milk, melted butter, a little vanilla if you wish. Add the flour but do not add any baking powder. See that’s the beauty of these pancakes, no baking powder or baking soda, none of that taste. When your pan or griddle is ready to go, gently fold the fluffy egg white in your pancake mixture. It’s like incorporating cloud bundles. Then gently scoop that up and cook it.
The result is the spongiest, tastiest, most syrup absorbent pancakes you will ever have.

I hope today is as beautiful and warm for you that it is for me. Enjoy spring, fine food and the presence of family.

Happy Easter!

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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

Catherine Bussiere: February 9

I like how winter is going by
days getting longer
How many minutes a day again?
only a bit (about three)
and so in a sneaky way
day by day
we get more light

I like this time of year because I can look up to things
Spring, summer, garden, heat
All things that I love are in the horizon

There is a lot penned down in my calendar for February
It’s almost surprising
Wasn’t I hibernating
wishful thinking

This week will be my daughters birthday
how come it sounds so much more then 16
funny how numbers are
she asked me to make her a tiramisu
that in itself is rather exciting
Tiramisu is an italian dessert that involves ladies finger (the cookies), fine chocolate, mascarpone cheese (like a rich and creamy italian cream cheese), whipped cream and whipped eggs
it may involve brandy
it’s light, it’s rich, it’s scrumptious

This past Monday my son had an opening
he will be graduating from art school this year
he is a creator, a sculptor, a designer
he is a fine artist

my photos this week are from his show
it was called In(ter)action
the premise: you may touch the art
in fact it demands to be touched
















Catherine Bussiere: stormy day

it’s the first big one
it’s been announced for days
last week the teachers were planing for it
“it” being, fingers crossed, school closure tomorrow
but that is tomorrow
today is Sunday
winter storm day

lovely this week, my boys are home for the holidays
I did The Big Grocery (which will most likely be followed by several little ones)
I stocked up on spirits
cooking and baking and wrapping has kept us all busy

This year we agreed to dig out our percussion tree
originally it was a large branch on a stand that was covered with percussion instruments for a performance piece
over the years it has been used off and on as our christmas tree
it’s kinda like a Charlie Brown tree but without the needles
or like a Dr. Seuss tree if we attach evergreen branches on it
I’ll show you next week when it’s decorated
I love it

This year the plan is to dig out the old train set
that is my husband’s train set
it will be placed around the tree
we are wrapping all of our presents in boxes and plain craft paper
each box will be painted as buildings and will create a town

We did that once when the kids were little
they decorated all the boxes
it was great
now that they are grown up they want to do it again
I love it

yesterday I made salty pumpkin caramels for the first time
in all my years of baking and cooking and jelly making I never bothered once to get myself a candy thermometer but once I saw that recipe online (and the beautiful video that went with it) I just decided it was time
you don’t want to mess up when it comes to candy
you can very much do it but, hey, I thought I was ready for a new utensil

today I’ve cut them up
just to give you an idea, those caramel contain: cream, sugar, maple syrup, butter, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, spices, and yes, corse salt to decorate, and enhance the whole melt in your mouth bring me to heaven experience

absolutely delicious
clic on CARAMEL for the link

alright, off I go, making tamales tonight!

Happy early Holidays

– hope there’s no school tomorrow –





Catherine Bussiere: food and friendship

I was away this week end
amongst other things, I was visiting a good friend of mine who is moving away
it was a last chance to see her for a while
she is moving to Korea for several months and who knows where after that
as there is hardly anything left in her apartment I suggested that I would bring fresh goods from my garden and cook for her
aside from garden produce I had a prize item that I knew she would appreciate

for the past few months my husband has been passionate about wild mushrooms
if not everyday, every second day he will walk the woods to see what may have popped up
lately he has been searching for the great king bolete
it’s bolete season you see
in Italian it called porcini
whatever it’s called it is a star mushroom for any food aficionado

last Thursday my diligent men found “the king”
just imagine the excitement in the house
well that is for me and my husband
my lovely daughter could care less about fungus at the moment
someday maybe
so with whom could we share this wonderful treat?

turns out it was with my lovely friend Ambera

I do not have pictures of the meal I made for her in her empty apartment
where all that was left for tools was one small cutting board, two pots and a sharp knife
no more chairs or table
we were camping in the city
turns out all you need for a fabulous meal is a handful of fresh ingredients and good spirit

Before we left for the city I had picked : tomatoes, leeks, red onion, green beans, basil, parsley, I had a bulb of garlic and had brought some fresh homemade vinaigrette
Of course there was the king, all prepped up by my husband ready to be cooked
I bought red wine, cream and fresh linguini

Ambera had butter, salt and pepper
she had paper plates and plastic cups
and another bottle of wine

As soon as we arrived the first bottle was open
as they sat on the kitchen floor I got busy
First the leeks, cleaned and thinly chopped lengthwise
in a pan with melted butter I made them caramelize
just enough, then added the string beans with a little salt

that’s done
set it aside

chopped tomatoes, red onion and basil
put that on a plate with the vinaigrette

so exciting because you know when you make something for the first time and you just know it’s bound to be delicious,
I melted a good chunk of butter and threw the kings in
I had them sautéed for a while until just brown
I added that whole bulb of garlic (minced)
mixed it a little and put in the rest of the first bottle of wine

by then there was about 1/2 cup left

I let that reduce as Ambera opened the second bottle

the wine was going down nicely and so was the conversation

when my wine had reduced to about a tablespoon (the one in the pan) I added the cream (1 cup of 35%)
you can’t go wrong with cream
In the meantime I had had the pasta cooking
by the time my cream had reduced (not too much) I added the parsley and the pasta and lovingly tossed that ensemble

I served my love and my friend
the paper plates filled with a meal fit for a king
glorious in it’s simplicity

on the floor of Ambera’s empty kitchen
we savored our friendship
in the most beautiful way
without artifice

with warmth, king boletes
oh what the heck, lets open one more bottle





Catherine Bussiere: Beckwith Bash

another stunning morning
can August be 90 days
90 days of August followed by 90 days of September
that would suit me very well
do I love those two months

today and all this coming week I will be busy
with all sorts of things to prepare and organize
this coming Saturday is our annual festival
a day filled with music, food and fun
we call it the Beckwith Bash
this year is it’s fifth anniversary

year after year this little event has grown
to something enjoyed by people of all ages
my highlight last year was a comment from a four year old asking if we could do this again cause it was so much fun
I like that
of course we will
you just keep on coming

this year we have several acts: blues, folk, rock and world music
something for all

the day starts with a drum circle followed by a yoga and a hula hoop workshop
that’s on my to do list of this week: finish those large hula hoops
I like that on a list

a big part of the list is food
Gumbo is the star
I’d like to say that we make the best gumbo north of Louisiana
it is such a big claim I won’t say it
but it’s pretty good that’s for sure
then there’s treats like baklavas, brownies, oatcakes, butter squares
homemade ice tea
and for the next morning
fresh baked cinnamon rolls
those I prepare ahead of time, freeze them before the dough rise
get them out of the freezer at around midnight so by morning they are thawed and have risen just enough to put in the oven
it’s a nice treat for those who are helping with the clean up the next morning

if you are around next Saturday and don’t have much planned
do join us in Beckwith
good time, good food, good people







photo credits this week goes to the beautiful Haley MacPhee who gracefully took pictures of the event last year

the poster is from my wonderful son Isaac

the video is mine with music from Fresia

it’s a family affair

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



Catherine Bussiere: sushi time

sometimes one just has to learn how to make things because the things one wants isn’t available
in the food department there is plenty of that

in our cosy little villages and towns
you will find delicious fare
but because of lack of demand
the variety is limited

I love all sorts of food
sushi roll is one of them
it’s pretty, it’s healthy, it’s variation is infinite
plus, you feel good when you eat it

the secret in anything is the quality of your ingredients
aside from that the important thing with sushi is your rice
you will need sticky rice (or sushi rice) and you will need to rinse it well

Here is an adaptation of a recipe found online (I’ll put the link at the bottom)
It will make four sushi rolls.

For the rice:

1 cups sushi rice
1 cups water
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt

Place rice in a bowl and rinse with water several times until water is clear.
Put rice and water in a pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, cook for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed by the rice. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.

Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot and heat until sugar and salt is dissolved. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and fold in the vinegar mixture. Cool to room temperature.

To make the rolls you will need:

1 medium avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
4 sheets nori
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded
1 medium size carrot
1 red pepper
2 green onion
12 medium size shrimps
cream cheese (optional)

For serving:

Pickled ginger
Soy sauce

Cut all veggies into matchstick size. Lay 1 sheet of nori, shiny side down. Wet your fingers with water and spread about 1/2 cup of the rice evenly onto the nori. Sprinkle the rice with sesame seeds. Place veggies and in the center of the sheet. Grab the edge of the nori closest to you, keeping the fillings in place with your fingers, and roll it into a tight cylinder. Cut each roll into bite size pieces. Serve with pickled ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.

You do not need all the veggies mentioned above and you can replace shrimps with crab meat, fresh salmon, fresh tuna, or have none of it.
The beauty of these is that any of the above is optional except for the rice.
Although just rice might be a little boring

• You don’t like nori, use rice sheets instead (like the ones used for salad rolls)

I tell you


here’s is the link:

Catherine Bussiere: Grow a Farmer


Over the past few years
slowly but surely
there has been a movement
of young men and women
that have educated themselves
by school, trade or self
about the essence of who we are
our very core, implanted in us
to grow and gather our own food

a forgotten art

Taken care of by something so big that it has lost sight
and so have we
of natural beauty and perfection
in a need to control and profit
our health and our environment has been jeopardized

But it is so easy and we are so busy
to support such endeavor
I can go to one place
the world is there for me
from China to Argentina, Israel, Costa Rica
Fruits and vegetables, perfect, shined, preserved, waxed
flown express from unknown fields to impersonal mega stores

in the meantime the air is polluted
the water is polluted
those vegetables have lost their original traits
and we are made to believe that we should at all time eat
one cup of this and two cups of that

what to do, what to do
I’m so small and I’m just me


over the past few years
slowly but surely
there’s has been a movement
of young men and women
that have educated themselves
these men and women are working hard and are not hard to find

Go to your farmers market
join a CSA program (community supported agriculture)
buy locally grown produce
meet this new generation of growers
embracing the battle of health and well being
bring your neighbor
tell your coworker

It is an easy thing to do
it is a pleasant thing to do
it’s the right thing to do

A couple links for you
now that you are all excited about such a nice and easy way to promote beauty!

CSA in Amherst:

A great link for more csa and farmers market around Nova Scotia:








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


Catherine Bussiere: snow, tea and milk fibre

It’s a wet damp winter wonderland this morning
a mist filled wind is slowly working it’s magic on the trees
depending on how the weather goes
nature will be covered in bling or go back to mud
it’s a Cinderella kind of morning I guess
it could go either way

As far as I’m concern I know pretty well what’s on my board today
I have a hint of a cold naggingly scratching the back of my throat
I’m going to take it easy
drink some tea
have a sauna
watch a movie

that sounds like a great plan

In other news
to be random
I got some – Oh my God this is So Soft – wool at Deanne’s on Friday
I never buy wool.
I’m neither a knitter, a hooker or a crochet(er)
but this wool was on the counter begging to be touched
and it was less than half price
so I picked it up
read the label which said : 60% Milk Fibre
Milk fibre?
Have you ever heard of that.
Then: 30% silk and 10% cashmere
You can just imagine
So I picked up five bundles of an ochre color
with no plan except maybe
to ship it to my sister so she can knit me something
last night
bundled up with my two favorite girls and a sleeping son
while watching Funny Face
I attempted to knit (I was just practicing)
I don’t even have knitting needles around
I had to use chopstick
But it was fun and the feeling of that Milk Fibre…
well, you’ll just have to try it someday

Last but not least for anyone with a cold (or not)
Yogi tea (not the bear, the other yogi)

Bring 1 1/2 cup of water to a boil with: 3 cloves, 3 black peppercorn, 4 cardamon seeds, a pinch of powdered ginger, 1/2 stick of cinnamon. Boil for 5 minutes then add 1 tsp of black tea. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Add a little milk and a little honey. Very tasty.

DSC_0029 DSC_0032 DSC_0035 DSC_0041 DSC_0042 DSC_0048

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


































Last week end I made jelly
I love making it
Picking apples from different trees
I wash them, I quarter them
I put it all in a big pot
Covered with water they simmer for a while
It becomes mushy
I collect the juice
For that much juice that much sugar goes in
In the big pot it boils
Cinnamon sticks are added
Such a nice taste
Boil and boil until it gels
In a jar it goes
Clear, pink, sweet



Look with Lorna

Brenda made this delicious rhubarb upside down cake for our Hooking People workshop this week.

2 Cups Rhubarb ( cut up in cubes )

1 Cup sugar

1 small package of strawberry jello

1 white cake mix

Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, spread the rhubarb over the parchment paper, then mix the sugar and jello (dry) together and sprinkle over the rhubarb. Mix the cake as directed on box ,then pour over the rhubarb,sugar and jello mixture.Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy !

some things do matter


Dear Diary, One night my husband came home from his childhood home with these beautiful tools. They had been his mothers, and now that she had left this world, they were ours.

He brought them home like the artifacts they were, solid remembrances of a life time of lebanese cooking. The cousa digger, that hollowed out pale green squash that were to be filled with rice. The mamoul shaper, that made the easter pastry filled with nuts or dates, that were dusted with powdered sugar for celebration.

We say that things don’t matter. We toss that phrase around like it’s the truth, but some things do matter because, the thing itself, is a reminder of what mattered, what blessed us, who loved us, who made us tea when we were tired, combed our babies hair, fed us, and loved us, and taught us that we are here to be good to each other.







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.







Chicken and Coconut Soup

Chicken and Coconut Soup

Make a stock from the bones of a chicken. Bring it to a  boil and simmer it for two hours. Remove all bones. Clean chicken off bones and set aside.

Add pinch of saffron, pinch of turmeric, pinch of coriander, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/4 tsp ginger,  1/2 tsp lemon grass…obviously you can play with this.

Once the stock has simmered to a rich broth add 1 small sweet potato cubed, 1 carrot cubed, 1/3 yellow pepper chopped, 1/2 onion chopped, 1/4 cup vermicelli noodles. Simmer for ten minutes until vegetables are tender. Add 1 can coconut milk, 1 cup fresh spinach chopped fine, simmer for ten more minutes. Serve with a dollop of Balkan yogurt.




small town sunday morning

Hockey Day in Nova Scotia

Dear Diary, What is more winter in Canada than hockey. I have hooked a good many rugs of hockey players over the years, mostly in the yard. Truth is most of the hockey I’ve seen happens at the rink.

It is my winter reality….watching hockey. I’ve watched for fifteen years and I still don’t know what “off sides” is. I do know though that my family loves it, and I love them. I just follow them around, keeping Five bucks in my pocket for a chocolate bar at the rink. Sort of like when I was little and used to go to bingo with my mother. After I ate my chips and drank my orange crush, I just waited to go back home.

Sometimes that’s the price of love; you get to follow people around.

This morning was pretty good, because I followed them to a big bacon and egg breakfast. A bunch of seventeen year old boys, served a couple of hundred people bacon and eggs. The parents were happily in the kitchen, whisking, washing, and making coffee.

scrambling the eggs

Mothers and fathers were crowding the kitchen. Everyone wanted to do their bit.  It is a social event for parents, gets you out of the house, keeps you busy enough … sometimes too busy. But most would not have it any other way.

they all got mohawks for their playdowns
they all got mohawks for their play downs

Number two is my favorite player.

What hockey has really shown me over the years, is just how much parents love their kids and want good things for them. It is a great example of commitment both on the part of the parents, the children, and the community.

One of the men who helps with my son’s team told a story yesterday about my husband when he was seventeen and they were playing in Digby ( a six hour drive by the way …you are on the go if you play hockey in NS). He has been volunteering with minor hockey that long.

great fudge, one mother made.... 25 cents a piece

My good daughter reminded me that it was ten o clock in the morning when I reached for my second piece of fudge. Being a good example ( oh except for the first piece, she looked at me with shame in her eyes…… was not like I showed up at the hockey breakfast with a bottle of Canadian Club) I did not try the chocolate until 11 when my son’s friend Jerret, came and we ate the rest together.

married men..... buttering toast?
married men..... buttering toast?

I love the robin’s egg blue against the yellow in this picture, also the feeling it gives…men cooking.

warm as toast
husband and wife....working together
all for the love of a bunch of great big boys
keep the coffee coming
the kitchen hustle
Shawna made chocolate fudge too... I had both

So there it is another snap shot of small town life…

lots of not so small lives…

doing their thing….

on a Sunday Morning

everybody loves simon

the art of eating

Dear Diary, I love living in a small town. I have had brief stints in a few small cities, but most of my life I have been in a small town.

It is easy to get to know people. Take Simon for example. I never knew him until last summer, but I have known his mother a little for twenty years. His grandparents and my in laws had been friends most of their lives. That makes it easy to get to know Simon.

One day I was talking to Stephanie at Flow Lifestyle Boutique and she told me he was thinking of starting a deli. This was before I met him. I called his mother, got his number, and told him, “I am hungry for a sandwich, a really good sandwich…if you start a deli I’ll shop with you.”

good bread, good food

He started last summer , making it easy for me to keep my promise because the food is good.

he likes to feed people

Part of being good at having a restaurant is wanting to feed people. Simon likes food himself. He likes to make people happy with good food. It is such a simple recipe.

time to sit and be

He keeps good magazines, the Globe and Mail, and bits of interesting things to read. You can sit, read, have your lunch and grab good salami to put on the pizza tonight.

smoothies...nothing but fresh
toys or cheese anyone?

Simon was good at creating an atmosphere, making the deli a place that is comfortable to go.

a place that feels like a place
I just like it here
the sin fridge

The sin fridge is where he keeps all the sugary drinks, but mostly I think he thinks the fridge looks great  in his place. I think he’s right.

keep up on the art of eating

Simon keeps up on what is going on with food. You see magazines and cookbooks flying around there. Makes you believe he wants to feed ya.

keeping it simple

That’s my loaf of raisin bread on the counter, next to Simon, who knows how to keep things simple, but let them be beautiful at the same time.

lots of stainless steel

I think Simon likes the gear too….he must…cause who would need that many steel tongs.

tracy is keeping an eye on things

Tracy and Liz( she was out the day I took these pictures) both work in the deli with him. Tracy says about Simon, “He is just so full of joy.” Now isn’t that a nice thing to say about your boss.

a good feeling

Well you can tell I like the deli, and that I like Simon and I am glad he is a block from my studio. He has travelled around the world,  worked internationally, only to come back to downtown Amherst and start a deli. He is one of those people who is building a life. One of those people who knows something good when he sees it.

I am glad he is in my town.

Welcome Home Simon Turner

Visit the Art of Eating Deli, on Church Street in Amherst, or to order phone 902 660 9105

strong tea is not for the weak kneed

hot tea

Dear Diary, there is nothing better than a a cup of hot tea, that someone else prepares for you. I love it when some one makes me a good cup of tea. For me, that is Newfoundland style, with a bag in a cup. No tea pot, no fancy loose tea in strainers. It is a kettle that has been stormed, that is it has come to a full rolling boil, you pour it over the bag and let it steep. Don’t take the bag out for at least five minutes, maybe longer, maybe ten. My neighbor Don White, always used two bags in one cup. I sometimes rogue the bag of the less strong who like a weak cup and throw it in mine for  awhile just because I can stand it. It makes me feel like a real woman… a real Newfoundland woman. The only thing better than doing this all yourself, is to have a man’s hand pouring the kettle. Don’t try this recipe unless you like your spoon to stand straight up in your tea. It is not for the faint of heart.

hands on the cup

the only thing better than making it yourself is to have your good man’s hand on the kettle

the art of the pour

beef stew for a cold winter night

beef stew

Beef Stew

Pan fry 1 clove garlic, 1 large onion, 2 1lbs sirloin steak until meat is seared and browned.

Add 6 cups water, handful of fresh chopped herbs, and a bay leaf. I used rosemary, time and oregano, salt and ground pepper. Simmer for 1 hour or more on low heat. Meat will become tender.

Chop two small turnips coarsely, 1 small parsnip small, and four carrots large. Put in pot, cover and simmer till tiring is almost tender. Add four potatoes chopped large. Cook until potatoes are tender.

Bring mix to a boil. Mix 3 tbsp corn starch with 1/2 cup water. Pour slowly into stew, bit by bit, stirring stew, until the gravy thickens. Serve with crusty bread, rolls, or biscuits.

The Stew is Cooked

So the stew will form a nice gravy. This is a winter meal, one we had at least once a week growing up. Simple, economical,nutritious, and easy to make. It warms the kitchen on a cold evening. You can fancy it up adding red wine, a few peas at the end, vary the herbs. Recipes are just like a rug hooking pattern. They expect to be altered.

As a child my mother would serve me bread and gravy. A thick slice of home made bread covered in gravy. Still sounds good to me.

cookies at my door

Dear Diary, yesterday, Brenda who works with me brought me down a delicious pack of home made cookies…. and here is the highlight…remember to use butter, it makes all the difference in these beauties.
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
3/4 chopped candied cherries, red and/or green
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans or almonds
3/4 cup shredded coconut
Mix all ingredients except coconut, when well combined shape into2 rolls, roll in coconut, wrap in plastic wrap
and chill in fridge for 2-24 hours.  Cut into 1/4 inch slices bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 10 to 12 minutes
or until edges are golden.

Beef and Mushroom Stew

Beef and Mushroom Stew

2 lb  beef sirloin cubed, 1 large onion, 1clove garlic,2 cups sliced mushrooms fry in two tbsp olive oil, until beef is browned, in a stew pot. You should sear the beef so it has a bit of a crust on it,

Soak 1/2 cup dried mushrooms(mixed)  for ten minutes, then toss into beef mixture. Add four to six cups of water, 1/2 cup red wine, salt and pepper and simmer for ten minutes.

Slice four carrots sliced, and cube one small turnip. Simmer for 1/2 hour on lowest heat. Add three potatoes chunked quite large. Simmer for another hour, or more on lowest heat till everything is tender. Be careful not to overcook so that the vegetables are mushy. Mix 2 tbsp corn starch with 1/4 cup cold water . Bring stew to a boil, mix in cornstarch mixture to thicken. Turn heat to low, and serve with crusty bread.

it’s fruitcake time again

Dear Diary, I have it soaking, the fruit for this years cake. I am making it late so that I don’t have to make it three times like other years. When it is in the fridge I just keep going back to the kitchen.

Deanne’s Fruitcake
4 cups mixed fruit
1/2 cup  mixed peel
3 cups thompson raisins (dark)
1cup red cherries chopped
3cups pecan halves
2 cups slivered almonds
Soak in one  or two  or three or four ounces of southern comfort, bourbon, or rum over night. I used about three quarters of a cup.

Soften 1 1b butter, and cream with two cups of sugar and 1/2 cup molasses, 2 tsp vanilla. Beat vigourously. Add 12 (yes the whole dozen) eggs, one at a time.

Mix in3 1/2 cups flour, 1tsp cinnomon, 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.

Combine flour mixture with fruit mixture and fold together. Scoop into four loaf pans, that have been well greased and lined with wax paper or tin foil. Bake at 275, for 1 hour and 20 minutes until knife comes out clean. I put a pan of water on bottom oven rack to allow it to steam a little. It keeps the cake moist.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do