Crandall House….Closing Day

when we bought itExcitement and a sense of pride goes hand in hand when buying a house. A marvel that this is yours. The beginning of something new. A blank canvas for you to put your stamp on. For most people. In our case, purchasing Crandall House, not so much of the above. Really, you say? Here’s the thing. We never planned on buying a house. We weren’t even looking at properties. Crandall House sits right across the road from our heritage barn that now houses the winery and tasting room here at The Old Third. Originally part of the same property, this dilapidated 19th century remnant of a once proud greek revival home was severed off in the 1960’s. Although occupied, it was in desperate need of TLC. We stressed over who might buy it and worried about the curb appeal of our piece of heaven.

from the eastStarting a vineyard and winery from scratch is plenty of work for two people. How about adding a full fledged renovation of an old farm house? Years of hard work followed. Many were the times when lighting a match or renting a bulldozer came to mind, but persistence succeeded in the end. Today I am very thrilled that we have brought Crandall House back to life. She now sits proud.

Please enjoy this collage of photos from Crandall House – Closing Day. With many more stories and pictures to come.

bathroom breakfast room breakfastroom diningroom diningroom2 from the west hallway kitchen kitchen2 kitchen3 livingroom

Budapest Roll

b7I was quite spoiled growing up. Having a stay at home mom who baked and cooked everything from scratch had its perks. I’m sure I wasn’t always appreciative about it though. I mean, why couldn’t we have tasteless store bought loaves of bread like most of my friends? I do now, however, look back at it all with very fond memories and a lot of gratitude. Breads, cookies, cakes and jams as well as all kinds of food. One of my all time favourites and a real treat was “Budapestrulle”. A melt-in-your-mouth meringue and hazelnut roll with whipped cream and mandarins. Originally created by Swedish pastry chef Ingvar Strid in the 1950’s. It has, surprisingly, no resemblance to Hungary’s capital Budapest. It is quite easy to make although you might need to take a deep breath before rolling it up. I guarantee you will love it. In this recipe I have substituted the hazelnuts with almonds which works just as well.

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6 egg whites

1 1/3 cup sugar

150g ground almonds

1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

2 cans mandarin oranges

Dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Slowly add the sugar while beating the egg whites on low speed. With the use of a spatula, carefully fold in the ground almonds and vanilla with the egg whites. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 20 min, or until set. You can check by poking it with a toothpick. If it comes out dry, it’s ready. Move meringue and parchment paper to a drying rack and let cool completely. While meringue is cooling, drain the mandarin slices. They need to be fairly dry before being put on the cake.

Flip the cake upside down onto a new sheet of parchment paper. Carefully peel off the parchment paper (brush it with warm water if it doesn’t loosen). Spread the whipped cream over the bottom of the cake. Place the mandarin slices evenly on top of the cream.

Now comes the tricky part. The rolling. Don’t panic if it cracks or start to break. Place the long side of the cake in front of you and start rolling it. Don’t press too hard (you’ll end with an empty roll of meringue and a pile of whipped cream and mandarines in front of it if you do.) I find using the parchment paper helps the rolling ones you get started (hold on to the paper rather then the cake). Remember not to press too hard. Once rolled up make sure the edge of the roll is facing down.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top. A dusting of icing sugar is pretty as well. Cut diagonally in a zig-zag pattern so that you end up with triangular pieces.

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Orecchiette with Pork and Fresh Vegetables

p4I adore pasta. Perhaps I was Italian in a previous life? Who knows. Something I would bring to a deserted island? Definitely. It’s convenient. Something to fall back on when peeling a pot of potatoes seem like an enormous task. It comes in a large varietal of shapes and forms. I have my favourites of course. Orecchiette is being one of them. Bruno gets his fair share of pasta when I’m cooking although he is not as fond of it as I am. Don’t take me wrong, he likes it. I love it. In this recipe I use ground pork rather than ground beef. The more subtle flavours of the pork allows the other ingredients to pop. A great dish whether it’s snowing or sweltering outside. It  goes amazingly well with our Golden Russet Apple Cider!

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2 stalks celery

3 shallots

3 green onions

2 radishes

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1000g ground pork

4 tbsp soya sauce

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1/2 cup creme fraiche

2 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)

Ground pepper

500g pasta of your choice

Finely chop the vegetables and put aside.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta.

In a frying pan, heat up the butter and olive oil. Fry the ground pork on medium heat until cooked. Add the soya and Worcestershire sauce along with the vinegar. Let simmer until liquid is reduced by half.

In the meantime cook the pasta until Al Dente. Drain.

Add the creme fraiche and sambal oelek along with some ground pepper to the pork and stir well. Toss with pasta, or serve separate. Sprinkle celery, radishes and green onions on top. Serves 4.p1p3p5

Grandmas’ Pickled Cucumber Salad

c1This is a simple and delicious recipe for a pickled cucumber salad. I remember sitting in my Grandmothers’ kitchen as a kid. Green and orange flowery wallpaper covering the walls and a matching round dining table set. Also green. We were about to devour her amazing meatballs, potatoes, creamy gravy and these perfectly matched pickled cucumbers.  On a shelf next to the table was a hand cranked coffee grinder. Simple design, yet its leavers, slots and drawers fascinated me. A perfect distraction and entertainment at the table until food arrived. I wonder what happened to it…

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2/3 cup white vinegar

1/3 cup water

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cucumber, peeled and very thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 pinches salt

2 pinches pepper

In a bowl add vinegar, water and sugar. Whisk until sugar is dissolved. Add the cucumber and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir well, then place in the fridge for 2-3 hours, stirring it once in a while. Serves 4

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Swedish Cheese Tart

ct3ct2Pies and tarts are two things I will never grow tired of. The options for the filling are endless. Sweet or savoury, it doesn’t matter. This Swedish inspired Cheese Tart is more delicate than your regular quiche. There’s no ham, so vegetarians can rejoice and enjoy. A great option for a light week night dinner or to be served at a weekend luncheon. Would you feel the need for meat, prosciutto is a great side. I serve it with a dollop of sour cream, arugula lettuce and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar glaze.

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Crust:

200 g sifted flour

100 g unsalted, cold butter.

1 egg

pinch of salt

2 tbsp ice water

 

Filling:

3 Eggs

300g Shredded Cheese, such as Gruyère or other hard, nutty cheese.

3/4 cup whipping cream

3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp finely chopped tarragon

Pinch of salt (not too much, the cheese will add saltiness as well)

Pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400F.

Crust:

Add the flour to a food processor. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour along with the egg. Pulse a few times and add one tablespoon of ice water at a time. Keep pulsing until it forms a ball of dough. It shouldn’t take more than 30 to 45 seconds. You may need a third table spoon of ice water.

Remove the dough and flatten the ball somewhat. Dust with flour, and place in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour to rest. It is important not to over manipulate the dough to ensure flakiness.

Roll the dough and line a pie shell, prick it with a fork then bake blind for 10-12 min.

Filling:

Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the pie shell, and bake in the lower part of the oven for 30-35 min, or until tart is set and has a nice golden colour. Let it cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8.

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Vichyssoise

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v7It doesn’t look like much at first, this soup. The palest green possible, almost white in colour. Poured into a white bowl you’ll hardly realize it’s there. So why am I making such a fuss over this soup you might wonder. Because it’s worth it. I want you to taste it. The velvety smooth texture and the subtle flavours of leeks, potato, cream and white pepper. You can’t help but think “This one of the best soups I’ve ever had”. It is one of the highlights from the french cuisine. Some people serve it warm, but cooled is the traditional French way. I decorate this simple, sumptuous classic with onion sprouts and a light grating of nutmeg.

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6-8 medium sized potatoes, peeled and quartered.

3 leeks

4 tbsp butter

4 cups chicken broth

2 tsp salt

3 tsp ground white pepper

1.5 cups heavy cream

Ground nutmeg

Green onion sprouts

Boil the diced potatoes in salted water until just tender. Drain and put aside.

Cut off the dark green part of the leeks. You can discard them, or save them if you are planning on making a broth. For this soup, you only need the white and light green parts. Slice the leeks in half, lengthwise. Rinse to remove any dirt. Cut the leeks in 1” pieces. Sauté them lightly in the butter in a sauce pan for a few minutes. Add the chicken broth.

Once the broth comes to a boil, lower the heat, and let it simmer until the leeks are soft, 10-15 minutes. Add the potatoes, salt and the freshly ground white pepper (it might seem like a lot, but it’s important to taste the white pepper). Let simmer for another 5 minutes before transferring the soup into a blender. Blend until smooth. You might need to do it in two parts. Pour the soup through a sieve, pushing it through with a soup spoon. It will give the soup the extra smooth, velvety texture. Taste it and add more salt or pepper if needed. Let it cool and keep it in the fridge. 30 min before serving, move it to the counter to warm up slightly and stir in the cream. Makes 6 appetizer size servings.

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