Friday, April 04, 2008

A Trip to Maple Bay, Day Two, Part Two

What to do after a delicious lunch made by Raisa's own fair hands (see post for the first part of day two here), and a couple of glasses of that Australian traminer/riesling (mm!) on a sunny autumn Saturday afternoon?

What to do? Why, swing on the cabin's hammock, of course:

That's the best kind of ruminative rumination – relaxing on a hammock. So far, two largish meals were happily weighing us down. Of course, we had to help that digestion along after a while, so we set off for the beach, pulling the kayak and portaging the canoe (every Canadian must portage at least once in their lifetime. It's the law) to the bay. We arrived, donned lifejackets, and had a great afternoon on the water.

It occurs to me at this point that perhaps some of you might want to know where we were on this lovely day, and that some of you might not know where Maple Bay is at all. So here's a little map of the spot, Vancouver Island on the left, the mainland and Vancouver on the right, and our journey marked with a dotted line. We left from Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. When we were on the water I didn't know at the time that heading off from the bay in the canoe was taking us in the direction of Salt Spring Island. I wonder how long the journey would've been?

Thankfully all that paddling (though not all the way to Salt Spring!) added up to increased appetites, which was perfect, considering what Meg had in store for us.

Dinner on Saturday: Frenched lamb chops with a cilantro and sundried tomato pesto, glazed potatoes, and a cucumber, avocado and heirloom tomato salad. And of course, birthday cake!

Phew. Our appetites returned fully by the evening, which was lucky, as it was Meg's turn to cook – Alisha's birthday dinner, this time. But first, a drink. (Of course – Meg was cooking!). Here is evidence of our apple juice tasting – a taster between two types of juice (one purchased at the farmer's market, I believe) to decide which juice would better suit the applejack drink Meg was making.

The finished drink was comprised of apple juice (initially the farmer's market one), ginger ale and Jack Daniels, and finished with some apple slices for a garnish. We've made this again fairly recently, so obviously its simplicity and tastiness was a hit!

Drinks were handed out, and the beginnings of the (not so secret) chocolate birthday cake were started on. I think at one point everyone was helping make the birthday cake – even the birthday girl! There was a single small swirl of flour that went into the batter, but for the main part it was a flourless chocolate cake.

Meanwhile, Meg was reanimating the sundried tomatoes in some water and creating a glaze for the new potatoes – something involving some soy, tamarind, tomato paste and sesame seeds (perhaps she'll post the recipe later!). Once coated in their glaze, the potatoes were popped into the oven to roast.

Whilst into the blender went the sundried tomatoes (looking perkier), a whole lot of olive oil, and plenty of cilantro for the pesto. One moment there was a lot of cilantro, the next, a lot of pesto! I like the lone leaf on the side of the blender in the last picture – it tried to escape the carnage!

The 'frenched' lambchops (meaning that Meg had very nicely asked her butcher to trim the fat and bits of meat around the bones on the rack of lamb for aesthetic purposes) were then liberally coated in the delightfully green pesto, making for a nice contrast, and pan-fried on each side before having a dollop of goat cheese applied to the top. This was marvellous (hopefully recipe to follow too!) and I must admit to hunting for the ones that had the most goat cheese on them once they were put on the table!

In the living room, a rite of passage was occurring – as it was Alisha's birthday she was the happy recipient of a "Raisa Robe," a gorgeous gift made by Raisa for all of us (Michelle and Meg got theirs during this picnic, and I got mine during my birthday dinner (post to come!)). Each robe uses the same main material (the lovely waffle material) and has accents trimmed in an individually-chosen fabric, so they are uniting and unique at the same time! Here Alisha models hers:

Back in the kitchen it was the cake's turn to come out of the oven, and I started to decorate it (definitely a task the birthday girl wasn't to do). Meg and Alisha finished off the lamb, quite a task (but well worth it!)

Meg had made a delicious salad using heirloom tomatoes, sliced avocado and cucumber that was a hit and went well with the flavours of the lamb and potatoes (perhaps even more recipe to come – poor Meg!) and suddenly things were whizzing off to the table. Here are the finished potatoes and the finished lamb, beautifully plated:

We drank a very nice red with dinner, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was (quelle surprise!) so if someone with a better memory than me has an idea, please feel free to include it in the comments. It was a delicious dinner, and I really liked the lamb (I'm sometimes unsure about lamb). After dinner, it only remained for the birthday girl to blow out her candles.

Happy Birthday Alisha!

More to come soon – day three, frittatas, smoothies, French cidre and steak sandwiches in the sun!


Leeeeesha said...

Laura, thank you so much for bringing that day back to life - it was such a lovely (and appetizing) 30th birthday for me. The whole Maple Bay trip was great, and I'm so happy we were all able to finally spend a holiday together. (Next stop, New York? Or perhaps San Francisco . . . ?)

Mmm, those lamb chops with the goat cheese were so amazing! Meg, you must post the recipe so that we can all enjoy them again.

And that flourless cake. So rich and decadent! And my second helping tasted very yummy accompanied by the last of the red wine and that heated game of Taboo.

(Sigh, to be 29 again . . .)

YoonJu said...

Next stop, definitely San Francisco!! I can't believe I missed this trip... :(

moyrad said...

We had such a great time kayaking and canoeing. The meals were delicious. I love all the layers of flavour in our food. I think generally people don't have enough depth/layers of flavour in their food.

I love the blender collage.

We should play more board games too.