Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake


I want you to have a really great weekend. I want you to do and see all the things you want to; to sleep in late if that’s your thing, or get up with the sun and get ‘er done – whatever floats your boat.

I want you to have a relaxing weekend where you find snippets of peace and happiness in between your yoga class, your hurried trek to get the kids to swimming lessons on time, that unexpected drop in by your in-laws. I want you to have the sort of weekend where you say to your self: “Self, let’s do this!” and you go on, happily, calmly and without locking your keys in the car or putting the milk in the oven and the muffins in the fridge. Deep breath – don’t forget it’s the weekend.

I want you to have a delicious weekend: double long cappuccino with the foam just right, your favourite deli’s sandwich, perfectly wrapped in waxed paper, eaten joyfully in the sun on a park bench, maybe something grilled to embrace the warmer weather if it is indeed warmer where you are.

And this cake.  (more…)

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts with Almond Crusts

Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts with Almond Crusts

Nature is amazing. A big statement? Well, yes, but what else can you say? The whole planet is filled with natural marvels and miracles. Some are epic and majestic and obvious, others are minuscule and easily missed. For me, I find that growing things is an incredible reminder of how powerful and determined nature can be. Watching a garden grow, or even a single plant, is humbling and provides a real sense of what it takes for the things around us to come to be. (more…)

Strawberry Banana Bread

I’ve been thinking about my friend Sheri a lot these days. About a month ago, she got a call out of nowhere from her mother’s neighbor. Her mom had died. Suddenly. With no obvious cause. When she called me to tell me what had happened it took 2.4 seconds for me to know that something awful had happened. Sheri doesn’t often cry but the way her voice broke as she said the words poignantly conveyed the breaking of her heart. At first all I could give her was stunned silence, then a  well meant, but utterly meaningless, “I’m so sorry. (more…)

Strawberry Rhubarb Graham Pie

Strawberry and rhubarb. Was there ever a more dynamic pairing? Fresh tasting, sweet-tart and synonymous with early summer, it is a favourite at our house. Now, you can cook these two food-friends into a crisp, or a crumble, a buckle or a betty. You can spike your lemonade or iced tea with them, or have them straight up, warm from the garden or cool from the fridge (maybe with a quick dip in something sweet for the rhubarb). Whichever way you  bring them together, it’s glorious.

Possibly one of the most delightful things about this little tart is that it’s really nothing more than a quick jam poured into a cookie crust. No complaints here! Nothing could be easier and if you’re really out of time or energy, buy the crust, pre-made! So before it’s too warm to even think of cranking up the oven and before the strawberries are beyond their current juicy, rubicund perfection whip up one of these simple tarts and sit back, lemonade in hand, while your family and guests ooh and ahh. Feel free to smile smugly, I know I did.

Strawberry Rhubarb Graham Pie

The two components of this pie, the crumb crust and the jammy filling, can both be made ahead of time and kept separately, refrigerated, for a day or so before bringing them together. I prefer the tart at room temperature, but cold from the fridge would be lovely as well. Vanilla bean ice cream or a cloud of whipped cream makes a delightful accompaniment. 

For the Crumb Crust:

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter. In a large bowl,  add the butter to 1 1/2 cups of crushed graham crackers (from about 2 dozen crackers). Stir well; the mixture will be like damp sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of a 9″ pie pan. Bake the crust until slightly darkened and crisped, at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

For the Fruit Filling:

4 cups strawberries; hulled and quartered

4 cups of rhubarb; chopped

zest of 1/2 a lemon

juice of 1 lemon

3/4 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized, heavy bottomed sauce pan. Cook, over medium heat until the fruit is broken down and has reached a jam-like consistency.* If Pour hot fruit into the warm or cooled crust. Any extra fruit can be kept for up to 2 weeks in a well sealed container in the fridge.

Allow the tart to cool completely before serving or refrigerating.

*You may notice a fine foam atop the fruit. This may be skimmed, but will not affect the flavour or texture of the end product.

Strawberry Shortcake

Spring has decided to be fashionably late this year in Vancouver.  It’s May and it’s still very cool and wet. I could go on and on about it, but really, we are not facing radical weather like some parts of the world have lately, so really, I should be glad that all we have are soggy feet.

<Incidentally as I am writing this we are having a hail storm unlike any I have ever seen! I’m so glad we held off planting our tomato plants last night — they would have been crushed!>