Bring it on! Storefront here we come.

It’s happening!

In case you haven’t heard the awesome news yet – WE’RE GETTING A STOREFRONT. I’ve never needed to use all caps in a sentence before as much as just now.

Where you ask?

74 Prescott Street, St. John’s NL! It’s a historic street – once home to Johnny Burke the “Bard of St. John’s” responsible for traditional NL songs such as “Excursion around the Bay” and “The Night Pat Murphy Died”… YES THAT SONG – couldn’t believe it when I found out. There’s an actual plaque on the home that housed him and everything! I may or may not be a huge fan of traditional NL music 😉 It’s an incredibly scenic street – being one of the most photographed in St. John’s for it’s classic colourful row houses. And most importantly it’s going to be our street! Our home 🙂

We’ve had an extremely busy August doing renovations and we’re almost done believe it or not. Days have been filled with gutting, ripping up old flooring, nailing on the new floor, sawing, painting, painting and painting. Oh endless painting.

 

With renovations almost complete we’re now turning our minds to stock and how the store is going to look once it’s done. This when I become eternally grateful that I have the most amazing family. My dad and husband have been busy in the workshop making our new store counter (which looks totally amazing by the way) and are currently making a mercantile style shelving unit – just saying that brings to mind all the ways we’re going to be able to make this space the most magical place ever! On the other hand, my mom literally whipped up the most elegant curtains for our back windows as well – in that european style she know’s I love to inject into Hillhead House 😉 That woman is seriously a magician on the sewing machine (and not too bad with a paint brush either 😉 )!!!

 

The next step: Stock. Ooooo this most exciting thing. We’re amping up our unique take on rustic, classic elegance. We’ve been hanging onto some new vintage finds to surprise you all with (from our amazing antiquing trip down to Brimfield, Mass.!) We’ve also been busy curating new lines, ordering, making new stock to include with all our other favourite handmade products. We’re also going to be carrying some exciting new things from local artisans and producers!!! How exciting is that! So be on the lookout on our Facebook page and Instagram accounts for new product alerts as we get ready to open.

As for me, well this mama is preparing to send her little guy to daycare once the store opens! You don’t really believe it when people tell you time flies once you have a baby… until you have one and BHAM it’s been 11 months and you’re thinking how on earth am I going to be able to not have my kid with me 24/7. Then you rejoice a little because you’re not going to have your kid with you 24/7 haha. In reality though, time has truly flown by. I’ve spent the last year seeing not only my business flourish but also my child… and one day very soon I hope you’ll all get to meet him when he comes to visit Mom at the shop. I can just imagine helping my “Little Shop Helper” to bag up a customer’s new finds, or ring up an order, or letting him reprice things, which I did endlessly when I was my Nan’s Little Shop Helper many moons ago (more on that later 😉 ).

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Until next time!

Melissa

 

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Christmas Partridge Berry Duff

Christmas Partridge Berry Duff

The Christmas Pudding is a classic in almost every house, but sometimes one can only eat so many fruit cakes 😉

While my family still has the traditional fruit cake (it’s Christmas after all!) on hand for family get togethers and for entertaining during the holidays, our ALL TIME FAVOURITE, and most requested treat, is my Mom’s Partridge Berry Duff. It first made an appearance on our holiday table more than 15 years ago and has been a holiday must every year since.

Paired with the most delectable butter/sugar sauce, you’ve got yourself a Holiday Winner that will impress your palate as much as your guests. (Btw! This freezes perfectly. I always make mine weeks ahead).

Ingredients

  • 1/2c. Butter
  • 2/3c. Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbls. Orange Zest
  • 1/3c. Milk
  • 1/4c. Orange Juice
  • 2.25c. Flour
  • 2.5tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4tsp. Salt
  • 1.5c. Partridge Berries (Frozen) – Use any wild berry you have!

Sauce

  • 3/4c Butter
  • 3/4c. Sugar
  • 1 Egg (beaten)
  • 1tsp Vanilla

Directions

  1. Beat butter and sugar until smooth and light. Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Mix in zest, then milk and juice. The mixture may separate at this point. Don’t worry! It happens because of the milk and juice combining.
  2. In a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix with a spatula until it forms a thick dough. 20171217-DSC_4173
  4. Grease your pudding mold well with butter or margarine. ***VERY IMPORTANT STEP*** Otherwise you won’t be able to get your pudding out when it is finish cooking.
  5. Add frozen berries to your pudding dough and mix well. Immediately transfer to the greased pudding mold. If you don’t do this immediately the frozen berries with cause the dough to cease a little making it difficult to work (I often forget this step haha and go do other things before transferring the dough to the mold 😀 It’s not the end of the world if it does cease, but just easier to get into the mold if you do it right away.

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  6. Boil a kettle full of water.
  7. Place pudding mold into the pot.
  8. Carefully pour boiled water into the pot, avoiding getting the water on the mold. This will prevent the dough from getting wet. Boil on medium for 1-1.5hrs. You can check for doneness just like other cakes – when you insert a skewer or tooth pick it should come out clean.
  9. Once done, let pudding rest in the mold for 20mins or so.
  10. When rested, I run a knife along the edges and the centre of the mold to help loosen the pudding from the mold.
  11. Place a wire rack upside down on top of mold and confidently flip rightside up. Give it a couple taps with your hand or spatula and then gently remove the mold from the pudding.

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  12. SAUCE DIRECTIONS: Melt butter in a small saucepan on a low/medium heat. Add sugar and vanilla and stir until combined. With a whisk, beat the egg in a small bowl and then slowly add it to butter mix in the saucepan, whisking vigorously. Keep it on the heat and stir until thickened and then remove from heat and serve hot!

I hope this recipe warms your heart and homes as much as it has ours for many years. ENJOY!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Melissa

 

 

Ultimate Homemade Pancakes

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It’s Pancake day here in Newfoundland.

Or as I like to call it Pancake Night. Yup. You read that right! Seeing as Shrove Tuesday always falls on a weekday (aka Pancake Day) there’s never much of an opportunity to get together in the morning and make some pancakes for the gang. So Pancake Night was born! It’s something I can remember looking forward to soooooo much as a kid, because, who are we joking? It’s an annual excuse to eat breakfast for supper (not that I need much of an excuse for that even now!).

Now, as an adult, I look forward to getting together with my entire family. Which is a feat considering that we’ve all pretty much live in our own homes.

The tradition hasn’t changed much for us over the years. We still get into the back-and-forth tango of who controls the making of the pancakes. This ‘privilege’ comes with the special perks of kinda-sorta knowing which pancakes have the most money in them! Yup money (throughly sterilized now mind you, although my husband still cannot bring himself to bite into a pancake that has money in it). We  also always put in a ring, a toothpick and a button wrapped in foil. The lucky one who gets one (or more) of these little prizes can expect to be the next one married, a carpenter, and a seamstress respectively. Of course, you could get all 3 and you were either VERY lucky when this happened or it was going to be a complete disaster. One or the other 🙂

After stuffing ourselves with numerous pancakes and tallying who exactly won on the money front, we’d all talk about how we do this every year, and somehow every year it’s always a little different. Perhaps one of us missed out on the year previous, or we’ve had a new addition or two in the way of new spouses or children. I’m thankful this is something that does happen every year without fail. It makes us stronger as a family, and nothing beats that!

Now ENOUGH with the story telling and down to the meat of this post! The recipe!

For years, Pancake Night has also meant braving the grocery store and trying to find that last bottle of syrup or box of pancake mix. This is because, invariably we’d forget about checking to see exactly how much of these essential supplies were left in the pantry… and it was usually none. What can I say, pancakes are more than a once a year deal 😉

A few years back I perfected the most awesome pre-made pancake batter mix which is now a staple in a cupboard! I like to whip up a large batch so I can go back to the mix more than once before having to make more. So the following is a for two servings of pancakes (1 serving being roughly 10-15 pancakes).

 

Ultimate Pancake Mix

  • 2.5 cups of flour
  • 6 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 2 tbls sugar

Mix all the dry ingredients and store for up to 6 months (for freshness).

Half the recipe if you’d like only one serving and no leftover mix to poke away.

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When you’re all set to whip up a batch of pancakes, simply:

  • Measure 1.5cup of mix into a large bowl.
  • Add:
    • 1 egg
    • 1 1/4 cup of milk
    • 3 tbls of melted butter
  • Whisk until there of no lumps, adding additional milk if you find the batter too thick (although I’ve never had to add more than a drop of or two of milk.)
  • The batter should be slightly thicker than your traditional box mix batter.
  • In a pan or griddle, add a little bit of butter for grease.
  • Spoon in about a 1/4c of batter into the pan at a time.
  • Once you start to see bubbles forming on the top it’s time to flip!
  • Fry until golden brown.

 

And there you have it! Easy-peasy!20170227-dsc_8148

For years I had no idea you could even make your own pancakes! At least not good ones.
Plus, how could you beat the fail-proof stuff in the box? Well I can guarantee these pancakes are not only just as easy and “fail-proof” as the boxed stuff. But they’re also the most delicious and fluffy pancakes on the face of the earth!

 

Happy Baking, Happy Pancake Day and Happy Shrove Tuesday!

Until next time,

Melissa

 

A Feast of Strawberries – 3 ways

Strawberry Blog

Happy Friday!

Summer may be winding down, but strawberry season here in Newfoundland is still in full swing. Strawberries are probably my favourite fruit to eat… EVER! I can’t seem to keep them in the house long enough.

Whether you harvest your own berries, buy them at a local stand or at the grocery store, these 3 easy recipes are my favourite ways to use alllll those strawberries I buy over the course of the summer.

Strawberry-Lime-Mint Water

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This gently flavoured water is perfect for the summertime table. Not overly sweet, with hints of sweet strawberry, tangy lime and spicy mint. It’s also the easiest of all 3 recipes to whip together.

Ingredients20160803-DSC_8767

  • 1/2cup strawberries (sliced)
  • 1 lime (finely sliced or minced)
  • 2 sprigs of mint

Directions

  1. Sliced strawberries and lime, set aside.
  2. Strip mint leaves from stem and bruise with the back of a knife or spoon.
  3. Combine all ingredients into a pitcher of your choice.
  4. Refrigerate for 1-2hours.
  5. Optional – For additional sweetness simmer 1/4c. sugar in heated water until it dissolves and add it to your pitcher.

Tangy Strawberry-Vanilla Jam

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Another one of my all-time favs! This tangy jam is not your usual strawberry jam recipe. Infused with real vanilla and lemon zest, it makes that morning toast sooooo much more delicious 🙂

Ingredients20160726-DSC_8147

  • 4 quarts of strawberries
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice)
  • 1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped out)
  • 2 cups of sugar

Directions

  1. Husk all the strawberries and cut into quarters.
  2. Zest and juice one lemon.
  3. Slice a vanilla pod down the centre and scrape out all the seeds.
  4. Combine sugar and the rest of the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Simmer at a medium-low heat for roughly 1.5-2 hours until much of the water has evaporated and the jam has thickened. A good test to see if it is thick enough is to drop a spoon into the jam, cool it slightly and if you can draw your finger across the back without the line closing then you have the perfect thickness of jam!

Strawberry Scones

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These scones are a brunch-lovers delight. Fluffy and oh-so delicious.

Ingredients20160802-DSC_8760

  • 2cups    flour
  • 1/2cup   sugar
  • 2tsp       baking powder
  • 1/4tsp    salt
  • 1/3cup   butter (grated)
  • 2/3cup   10% cream
  • 1cup       minced strawberries
  • 1tblsp    lemon zest

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in the large bowl.
  3. Using a fork, mix in grated butter until mix is crumbly.
  4. Stir in berries and cream until dough just comes together. Add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Do not over mix.
  5. Using a large spoon, drop mix unto baking sheet and shape into 1in high scones.
  6. Bake on the centre rack of the oven until tops are golden brown. 15-17mins.
  7. Makes approximately 12 servings.

 

There you have it! 3 easy peasy and more importantly DELICIOUS recipes to satisfy those summer strawberry cravings.

 

Until next time!

Melissa

 

The BEST Picnic Sandwich Recipe

Happy Friday!

You asked for it and here it is 🙂

Recipes!!!

These two recipes combine to make my very favourite picnic lunch.

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It all starts with the bread. The Challah loaf style bread is perfect for on-the-go sandwich stuffing. All you need to do is rip off a section of the braid and voila! You have a ready made piece a bread to wedge all kinds of deliciousness in. No cutting slices of bread. No spreading of mayo on each slice. No wrapping individual sandwiches and making sure they don’t get squished.

I’m partial to stuffing these pieces of heaven with my curried chicken salad recipe, but you can prepare anything that you fancy.

Now for the recipes!

Challah Loaf

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Ingredients

  • 4.5 to 5.5 cups     all purpose flour
  • 1 pkg                      dry active yeast
  • 1 1/3 cups              milk
  • 3 tablespoons     sugar
  • 3 tablespoons     butter
  • 1/2 tsp                   salt
  • 2                             eggs
  • 1-2 tsps               poppy seeds (you can also substitute/combine sesame seeds as well!)

Directions

(Makes 2 medium loaves or 1 very large loaf)

  1. Mix together yeast and 2 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, butter and salt. Stirring occasionally, heat over medium-low heat until the butter starts to melt and the milk is lukewarm to the touch. (Be careful to avoid scalding the milk mixture! If the milk is too hot it will ‘kill’ the yeast. You want the milk to be lukewarm to the touch when a little is placed on the underside of the wrist.)
  3. In an electric mixer or with a wooden spoon, pour milk mixture into the prepared flour/yeast and beat vigorously for 2-3mins.
  4. Add eggs, mixing one in each at a time.
  5. Slowly incorporate the remaining flour. Kneed for about 8 to 10 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch and bounces back when you insert a finger into the dough. This is when you know your dough is not too stiff and has developed enough elasticity to rise well!
  6. Grease a clean bowl and place dough inside. Lightly grease the top of the dough that is exposed. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place to rise until double (approx. 1 – 1.5hrs).
  7. Once dough has risen, beat it down and let sit for 10mins. This will allow the dough to become more pliable because we’re going to braid this baby!!! Yup, I said braid!
  8. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Split the dough in two halves if you’re making 2 loaves, which is what I always do. Then for each half, split them into 3 roughly equal parts. Using a cutting board, roll each 3rd into a log.
  10. Now for braiding! Don’t be scared because this is such a supe20160603-DSC_6884r easy thing to do, and is actually easier than braiding hair believe it or not! Line up your three logs of dough right next to each other and start braiding from the middle of the loaf. You’ll braid normally from the half towards you. Then braid backward (passing each log under the next) from the middle of the loaf and away from you. Pinch each of the ends together firmly and tuck them under slightly.
  11. Place each loaf on the baking sheet with parchment paper and let rise for roughly 45mins.
  12. Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.
  13. Make a quick egg wash combining 1 beaten egg and splash of water stirred together. With a pastry brush, gently brush egg wash over each loaf and then sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  14. Bake at 375F for roughly 25mins, until the loaf is golden brown on top AND bottom. Depending on your oven, you may need to cover the bread with tinfoil halfway through baking to prevent the top from burning before the bottom is nicely brown. Simply check the bottom before hauling the bread out if the top is golden brown. I find this is more of a problem with convection ovens than in conventional ovens!
  15. Cool on a baking rack and ENJOY!

Keeps in a bag well for 2 or 3 days. But believe me when I tell you, you will not even see a crumb left after day 1 😉

Now for the sandwich stuffing!

Curried Chicken Salad

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Ingredients

  • 2-3                            Chicken breasts poached and shredded (or use a rotisserie chicken!)
  • 1/2                             Red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1-2                             Ribs of celery (finely chopped)
  • 2-3                             Green onions (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 cup                      Raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons     Mayo
  • 1-2 tablespoons     Mild yellow curry
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and peper (to taste)

Directions

(Makes 5-6 Sandwiches)

  1. In a saucepan, poach chicken breast over mediu20160604-DSC_6919m/high heat for 20-30 mins in enough water to cover them. Add salt and pepper. Once cooked through, take chicken out of the water and let cool. Shred when cool enough to handle. Or if you’re like me, go ahead and shred if you’re crazy enough to sacrifice some feeling in your fingers! (not that I recommend this 😉 )
  2. While you’re waiting for the chicken to cook through, go ahead and begin chopping up some veggies! Finely chop the pepper, celery, and green onions (I forgot the green onions this time around so I just added some onion powder to make up for it).
  3. Add mayo, curry, and splash of lemon juice. Mix thoroughly. Add more mayo if necessary.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste and you’re done!!!!

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There you have it! My ultimate picnic sandwich recipe and now it’s yours to enjoy. I hope you all enjoy it at many family outings in the future.

Until next time!

Have a great weekend!

Melissa

 

Shoreline Picnic

Happy Tuesday!

It’s still a little dreary in terms of weather here in Newfoundland. Raining, chilly temperatures, the threat of frost (seriously mother nature???).

Well! I wasn’t going to let that stop me from having an adventure  with some friends this past weekend.

The plan? Make my signature picnic ‘dish’ and head out on a short hike along the east coast trail to the now resettled community of La Manche.

I spent the morning making my absolute favou20160604-DSC_6901rite Challah loaf recipe. I find making bread  so therapeutic, and the end results soo0000 delicious. It’s also the perfect bread to make for a picnic because all you have to do is take the whole loaf with you on the picnic and rip off sections of the braid and stuff them with your sandwich meat or in this case I made a chicken salad. (Watch for our next post! We’ll be sharing our picnic recipes!)

We set off shortly after lunch on our little adventure and boy we were not disappointed! Sure it might have been a measly 10 degrees out, but who cares!!! We threw on a couple of extra layers and away we went.

We climbed over many a rocky hill. Through the wooded paths to finally arrived to this view.

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This tiny inlet was once the site of wharfs, wooden schools, and the salt box homes of the community of La Manche settled in the 1840s.

20160604-DSC_7016Now there is not much left of the community that was abandoned in the 1960s.

Stairs to nowhere.

Slate rock foundations covered in moss and wild clover.

Sadly beautiful.

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As we passed these old foundations I could just picture the small animals that probably call these crevices home… or even the fairies! (That’s a whole other story 😉 )

20160604-DSC_6988We settled down along the shoreline and took in the sights and practically inhaled our late lunch.

There is just something about eating outside. Everything tastes better! I also always feel so much more refreshed when I take the time to eat outside.

It’s something you truly don’t appreciate until you actually make the effort to do it!

I didn’t need to put in the extra effort to make fresh bread, or fresh chicken salad. Or even go out at all!

But because I did put in the extra effort it made our day out so much more extraordinary.

I’ll savour this day out with my very best friends for many days to come. So the next time you find yourself with a little bit of cabin fever, plan an adventure with your friends and family. Make yourself a beyond ordinary lunch or quick picnic to take with you and MAKE the effort! You’ll be happy you did 🙂

I was. My friends were. And so was my puppy!

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Until next time,

Melissa

May 24th – The Unofficial Start to Summer

Happy Wednesday!

It’s May 24th, a date that is well known in Canada and especially here in Newfoundland.

It means the dreary sprinter (winter/spring… because spring here is really just an extension of winter) is almost at an end!

It also means family getaways to the cabin or cottage, cook-ups in the woods, and trout fishing in the province’s many ponds which we lovingly refer to as “gullies”. It’s a ritual that is repeated every year come rain, shine or (heaven forbid) snow.

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The smell of a simple pan fried trout is enough nostalgia to make us revel in the revival of those hot summer days spent pond side with lots of family of friends.

This is just one of the many little things that make summer special.

This summer, make the effort to enjoy the little things. Plan an adventure, whether it’s in your backyard or beyond. Make your life extraordinary where ever and when ever possible!

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Until next time,

Melissa