Canadian Design: Teatime and Flowers with Marvindale

Apple Blossoms, Marvindale, Kiku Corner

Apple Blossoms


As I’ve mentioned before, I adore Cori Lee Marvin‘s watercolour paintings. The following pieces feature teacups, mason jars and sugar bowls, all done in a light, whimsical style. Her original paintings, limited edition prints, and art cards are available on the Marvindale websiteContinue reading →

Dilly Lentil Salad

Dilly Lentil Salad, Kiku Corner Dilly Lentil Salad, Kiku Corner  Dilly Lentil Salad, Kiku Corner Several summers ago, I spent a few weeks at our family friends’ farm north of Toronto. Their Polish grandparents came to visit and brought along a few giant bunches of fresh dill. For the next several days, every meal included dill, much to one grandson’s chagrin. Potatoes, eggs, fish – all covered with dill. Fresh dill has such a stronger, brighter flavour than dried dill, so take advantage of the summer by using as many fresh herbs as you can! I love the different colours in this salad, the bright green dill, the magenta radishes, and the jewel-like cranberries. Refer to my Summery Garlic Salad Dressing to dress this salad – that is also quick and easy.

Dilly Lentil Salad, Kiku Corner Continue reading →

Simple Peach Syrup

Simple Peach Syrup, Kiku Corner

Ontario peaches are at their prime in August and September. The Niagara region of Ontario has plenty of fruit, and the peaches are so luscious, perfumed, and dripping with juice that I can easily eat six in a day.

Sometimes, however, the basket of peaches turn out flavourful but mealy in texture: no juicy flesh. I only buy local Ontario peaches when they are in season to minimize the risk of getting a basket of mealy ones. A peach will turn mealy if it is stored at the wrong temperature. After being picked, mature peaches are cooled to between 0C and 2.8C, at which point they are shipped to wherever they are going. However, if they warm up to between 3.3C and 10.5C during storage, their flesh becomes mealy. The best way to avoid mealy peaches is to buy them in season and as local as possible, to minimize the chances that they were held in the mealy-making temperature range. If you buy peaches out of season (aka you buy them during the Canadian winter when they are shipped from who-knows-where), there is a higher chance that somewhere along the shipping lines the storage temperatures where not optimal.

Instead of throwing out the mealy peaches (what a waste), use them to make this peach-flavoured syrup:

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Barley Salad with Grilled Chicken, Cranberries, and Dill

Barley salad with dill, chicken, and cranberries, from Kiku Corner

After cooking barley for the first time this summer, I was hooked. Barley is so easy to cook and unlike most other salads, this salad keeps a few days in the fridge without getting soggy. It’s a robust salad, great for a picnic or as a weekday lunch. I’ve tried quite a few variations and found that barley works with almost anything you have on hand. Try this version first though because it’s delicious!

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Deconstructed Banana Split

How to update your banana split, Kiku Corner

Early this summer, Donatello told me he was in the mood for a banana split. We went for a classic one at Dutch Dreams and devoured it on the spot. Then one day he picked me up from class and suggested another round. Except he didn’t want the chocolate ice cream, and I didn’t really want the strawberry.

Then we had an inspiration! We stopped in our favourite grocer in Chinatown and picked up mango and green tea, my two all time favourite ice cream flavours.  We also found some plump cherries, juicy uchuvas, crispy cookies, and ripe bananas.

An uchuva is the Colombian name for a little orange berry that has many names in English including cape gooseberry, Inca berry, and giant ground cherry. In North America they are usually used only as garnishments for fancy tarts, since they are quite expensive. Luckily, they were on sale and I jumped on the chance to try them again.

Since I was already trying new flavours and fruits, I decided I also didn’t want to split the banana lengthwise- it didn’t quite fit in my martini glass. Why not try banana coins?

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