stay home – and bake, maybe? [blood orange stout cake]

Top o’ the morning/afternoon to you! What a weird time. I’m operating with a slight but consistent undercurrent of anxiety that I don’t usually carry with me, but I figure this is normal for the moment. I’m lucky that I can mostly maintain my “normal” by working at home, but (like everyone, I’m sure) am worried about my friends and folks who cannot. While my anxiety spikes when I think of the health and economic impacts of this pandemic, it’s comforting to know there are things we can do to help so here’s my little list (with some Ottawa links for locals):

  • Practice social distancing! Stay home unless you must go out (and thank all the folks who are working at grocery stores, pharmacies, in health care, etc. who are out there helping while those of us who can stay home).
  • Donate to your local food bank & community partners
  • Donate blood – it is still safe to do so, and Canadian Blood Services is worried about a shortage with so many folks cancelling donor appointments during the pandemic.
  • Support small businesses: get takeout from a local spot and produce from farm vendors, buy gift cards, pay for a service that you have to cancel if you are able to, order beer, wine, or cider online from your fave local producers…there are so many ways to support our indie spots.
    • Edible Ottawa has pulled together a great list of local food businesses we can still purchase from and support (all while maintaining our social distance, of course!).
    • Amy has started a spreadsheet (that you can add to!) of small businesses nation-wide and how you can purchase from them/any promotions during this time (check the tabs to browse/add by province and territory).

What are you finding helpful and/or reassuring these days?

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Waking Up in Chile

From top to bottom in Chile, we’ve heard the same thing: the country has been a pressure cooker and the protests were bound to happen eventually. Decades of widening disparity between the rich and the poor had led to an inevitable boiling over of frustrations. The younger generation, the ones that didn’t grow up during the Pinochet dictatorship, are less afraid to take to the streets and demand social justice. 

Revolución en Chile.

The protests in Chile had been going on for just under a month by the time we landed. I’d been trawling social media and the news to see what the situation in the country was looking like as our trip approached (and, selfishly, how protests might affect our travel plans). Our initial apartment booking in downtown Santiago was canceled a couple weeks ahead of our trip, as the building was in the middle of the protest area and the landlord felt that it was unsafe. When we arrived at our newly booked apartment in Las Condes, an affluent neighbourhood just outside of the city centre, it was almost impossible to tell that there were protests happening a few kilometres away (aside from a few buildings that had proactively boarded up their windows). Our hostess advised against wandering into the downtown area, qualifying that “más que peligroso es feo” (“more than dangerous, it’s ugly”) – but ugly is subjective (and less concerning than dangerous!) so we did a little wandering anyway.

On a sunny Sunday, the crowds at Plaza Italia – the epicentre of the protests in the capital city (renamed Plaza de la Dignidad by activists)– were relatively quiet. A few hundred people chanted, cheered, banged pots with wooden spoons and waved the Chilean or Mapuche flag. Santiago, like every other Chilean city we traveled through, has been covered in graffiti.

We saw small rallies (more like gatherings than protests) in Punta Arenas (where the building next to our hotel had been burned down the week before) and Puerto Varas (where they had an impressive drum line). In San Pedro de Atacama trendy shops had window signs supporting the protests and signs declaring “no estamos en guerra” (“we are not at war”), a common rebuttal to President Piñera’s initial misguided response to the riots, claiming that the country was at war and criminalizing the millions of civilians protesting.

In Valparaíso, the seaside city famous for its vibrant street art, many murals had been altered to show people with bloody eyes, and countless bloody eyes have been painted around the country in reference to the hundreds of Chileans who have suffered eye trauma or been blinded and maimed by the police. Over twenty people have been killed, and thousands seriously injured. Last week, Amnesty International reported that Chilean military and the carabineros (national police) are violating human rights by intending “to injure demonstrators in order to discourage protest, even to the extent of using torture and sexual violence against protesters.” At the same time, the Valparaíso-based feminist collective LASTESIS has gone viral with their performance of “Un violador en tu camino” (“A Rapist in Your Way”) – decrying violence against women and the human rights violations happening in Chile. The song has now been performed all over the world (here’s an English explainer).

Blinded in Valparaíso.
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On Repeat [Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake]

If you like food and you like the internet, you probably already follow viral-recipe queen Alison Roman. (I really do think that the cookies were worth the hype.) Her recipes are made for home cooks and are typically riffable while still feeling slightly special.

Anyway, I’m at the airport and I should be taking advantage of this layover to get some work done, but I figured I’d pop in quickly to this dusty corner of the internet to post the recipe for a little loaf cake I’ve already made three times in the two weeks I’ve had Roman’s latest cookbook. It’s like sunshine in loaf form; I think you’ll like it. Happy weekend!

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Auditioning for The Great Canadian Baking Show

[and a recipe for sesame marzipan & sea salt mandel bread]

audition ready with tika the iggy!

One of my best friends encouraged me to apply for The Great Canadian Baking Show last winter. After quickly looking through pictures from the first season of the TV show I told her there was no way that I was in that kind of baking league, but Andrea’s a great cheerleader (and works in reality TV!) so her encouragement was persuasive. Before leaving work that day I quickly threw together an application online and figured that would be the end of it.

The next day I received a phone call from the casting producer and was invited to audition. My mum – who has witnessed many a Katie-kitchen-mishap – thought this was hilarious, but kindly offered to chauffeur me to Montreal since there were no auditions in Ottawa.

nothing like having to shovel your car out of the snow before an audition…
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new year, same blog

gingerbread house mug topper 2017It’s been six years of casual blogging on Kate’s Plate (a name I’m still not sure that I like, but oh well)! My little corner of the internet has often been neglected, but I’m glad it’s here, and that you’re here, too.

The first recipe I posted was my mum’s gingerbread. (I refer to it as my mum’s since I will forever associate it with her, but should probably give the cred to Martha Stewart.)
I can’t remember why, but I split that first food post into two parts: one with a bunch of exclamation marks (gingerbread! “festive, and oh-so-delicious!”) and awkwardly lit photos, and a separate post with the recipe.

2017 was a bit of a post-drought over here, so it seems silly to mark any kind of blogiversary, but last year I had my mind set on making mini gingerbread houses to be mug-toppers (“festive, and oh-so-delicious!) to celebrate five years of this hobby. I made them, but the template I went with was way too large, and I didn’t even check the size of the template in relation to the mug (rookie move – you call yourself a blogger?!). So, they were just miniature houses that comically perched on some of the largest mugs I had around.

This year, I was determined to get it right. The structural integrity of these little houses was certainly questionable, as was the ratio of icing to cookie, but! they were tiny and twee. I was happy.SONY DSClast-five-years

I’d like to think that the quality of the photos around here has changed – happily, our holiday traditions haven’t (gingerbread galore!). So, all in one place, here are a bunch of gingerbread photos and the recipe (really, this do-over is so that the next time someone asks for the recipe I’m less embarrassed when I send a link to my blog. Heh.).

Here’s to years five and six of this little blah-blah-blahg. Thank you so much for popping by. It’s a hoot to share with you the things that bring me joy and/or enthuse me enough to ramble on about it on the internet. I hope you’re mildly entertained and/or have time to try a recipe, whether it’s this gingerbread (clearly an obsession of mine) or something from the archives with dimly lit photos.

And, thank you to my mother, who puts up with kitchen messes every time I visit, and is probably the first to read anything that’s posted here. Call me when you find a typo. xolast-five-years7

That recipe’s here!

Bue Grasso [Earl Grey Pound Cake]

thumb_dsc_0526_1024One of the things I love about the restaurant/food industry in Ottawa is the collaboration that exists between many business owners, entrepreneurs, chefs, brewers, etc. (In fact – I was lucky enough to write about that very topic in the latest Edible Ottawa magazine! Subtle plug, I know.) Through having the opportunities to write beyond my little neglected blog I’ve loved getting to meet and know many of the people that feed this city. It’s nice, too, that it sometimes overlaps with Tristan’s community, colleagues, and friends.

Matt Gardiner is one of those aforementioned entrepreneurial industry folk. After hosting Continue reading

Dipping A Toe In

*dusts of cobwebs*

…oh, hi there! Yes, I’m still here. I was beginning to worry that I would make it a full year without a new blog post, but no. Getting in under the wire at 364 days.IMG-0411.JPG

My twin and I recently celebrated our birthday. He came in from Montreal with his fiancé (and Tika, of course) to celebrate with family. I made our cake, inspired by this beauty, but it was a bit of a #PinterestFail… I was thinking a beautiful cake would be a nice return to blogging, but a mediocre-looking cake will have to do. (The recipe is one that I’ve been decorating poorly for years – luckily it still tastes good.)

Heading back to the little blog to find my mum’s one bowl chocolate cake recipe reminded me about how much I appreciate having this little space on the internet (though neglected) to record the clues to some favourite recipes and moments. I’ve been writing a little bit elsewhere, but I’m hoping to be around here a tad more often.

Back soon! (I hope.)



Back to Rhubarb

As a privileged, white Canadian I know that I am not the demographic for which last night’s election results are the hardest to swallow. Not even close.

I believe there’s a lot of good in this world, but we must continue to hold our own government to account – on climate change, on Indigenous rights, on social justice – and not fall into divisive and fear-based politics. We must amplify the voices of those more vulnerable, and be better allies.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been telling myself to assuage the knot in my stomach.

I stayed up til the wee hours of the morning to watch Donald Trump’s victory speech (file that under things that feel surreal to type), so ended up feeling a bit like a zombie today. Between sadly watching HRC’s concession speech with coworkers and clicking through countless articles and tweets dissecting the election results, it didn’t feel possible for much else to occupy my thoughts today. (We treated ourselves to ramen, though, which was a bright spot.)

But in an attempt to multitask and focus on something apolitical while watching the coverage last night, I turned to my much neglected drafts and decided that the blogosphere could probably use a drink. So we’re going back to rhubarb…DSC_0335 copy Continue reading