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

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

in and out of bloom

I’ve been tracking the summer’s passing in the coming and going of some of my favourite blooms (or the ones I recognize, which, to be fair, are not very many). The lilacs in my parents backyard were some of the first to show off before I noticed their perfume all over town. Next there were the tulips, the peonies, the apple blossoms…all of them seeming to peak and fade before I stopped to smell them.

Then, I was lucky enough to take two classes at Blumenstudio (my dad and I had the same idea when it came to birthday gifts for my mum, apparently). We made dreamy little succulent terrariums and learned about throwing together garden bouquets. When Kat opened her second Blumenstudio in the west end of town, I wrote about it for Ottawa Magazine – and so I happily spent a lot of time around her pretty plants and Klaus the dog.

Then, there were lush little gardens lining streets in Montreal, beautiful blooms on the farm, and tiny doggy flower crowns.

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Then, one of my best friends got married. One of the bridesmaids, Michelle, happened to have worked as a florist for many years (she’s also a brilliant scientist and communicator, there is nothing this girl can’t do) and so she took on doing all of the floral arrangements for the wedding. This also left her responsible for leading the rest of us bridesmaids through making our own flower crowns, something we were super excited about.  Once we actually started, though, I was struck with analysis paralysis (was I making it too heavy on one side? Did the colours clash? Was I crushing delicate blooms?). Over mimosas and Top 40 tracks we crafted our crowns, left them to stay fresh in the beer fridge during last minute prep, and then our friends got married! The wedding was absolutely beautiful and our flower crowns lasted a whole night of dancing – I don’t think I’ve ever cried so many happy tears, or taken so many selfies.

THEN, as I went for a run along the canal yesterday evening, brown leaves fluttered on to the path in front of me and suddenly summer seemed like a blur. There are still another 20 days of summer left on the calendar, so there’s still time to squeeze out every last humid, sweaty drop (and Continue reading

on the berry bandwagon

Well, I still have rhubarb recipes gathering dust in my drafts file and I had hoped to post those before popping back here to simply announce that the next instalment of Kate’s Plate is live over at Ottawa Magazine (online and in print!), and yet here I am. Something about the best laid plans going awry…berry prep Continue reading

rhubarb revelations

SONY DSCWell, this is kind of exciting– “Kate’s Plate” has gone beyond this little blog! After my first article in print came out in January, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to continue working on a regular food column for Ottawa Magazine…called Kate’s Plate. Who would have thought.

The column focuses on one local seasonal ingredient; I get to play with it and chat with great people in the city. For the spring issue of the magazine the editors had picked rhubarb as the star ingredient. So, in January I embarked on a rhubarb adventure completely out of rhubarb season. I had rhubarb on the brain a lot. Probably too much; I started referring to my very lovely editor at the time, Ruth, as Ruthbarb. (Sorry, Ruth!)

Sounds fun, right? Totally! But also a little intimidating, having mostly just written, taken photos, and cooked for myself without any pressure.  So, to anyone who heard me talk about the “edgy veggie”, or who taste tested, or helped in any way — thank you for supporting Kate’s Plate’s first off-blog venture!

The spring magazine should be on newsstands tomorrow, but you can go check out my little column on Ottawa Magazine’s website. One of the recipes is just in time for Purim, too!

Hope you guys like it and, as always, thanks so much for reading.