Tag Archives: summer

friday favourite – gin (surprise!)

I think it’s been weeks (months even) since I wrote about gin. Oh but warm weather is coming and that means new gin options popping up all over.

I am pretty proud of my gin collection but found a new one this week to add to the lineup. Gin Mare – a Spanish gin that’s “distilled from olives, thyme, rosemary and basil.” Sounds intriguing.

And I got a refresh of Dillon’s Unfiltered Gin 22 – a local Ontario gin with a grape base.

I’ve been trying different tonic water (finally) and am loving Fever Tree gin – not nearly as sweet as the usual suspects. I have a new tonic to try – Jack’s Tonique, made in Quebec.

Cheers to my international Friday Favourite. Hello. Long. Weekend.




It’s August and tomatoes are plentiful. Perfect time for gazpacho. I usually just throw things in the blender when I make this delicious cold soup but decided to look up some recipes for our readers!

I started with Ina Garten’s gazpacho but was surprised by the quantity of olive oil and vinegar (1/2 cup each) so I moved on to the NYTimes recipe. This recipe had no peppers, less vinegar but just as much olive oil — and you strain it at the end. I had never done that but tried it with this batch. I also included the gazpacho recipe from Epicurious which is a reasonable hybrid of Ina Garten and the NYTimes.

The bottom line is you really can’t go wrong! Throw some ripe tomatoes in a blender, add some cucumbers and maybe peppers, garlic, salt, oil, vinegar and some tomato juice. Blend until smooth, season to taste, chill several hours. You can top it with sour cream or croutons or fresh herbs. Perfect for an August lunch.



long summer weekends

For some of us, today is a vacation day. The third of the anticipated long weekends through the summer – depending on where you live.


In Canada we have May 24th, July 1st and Labour Day. And most of us also get the first Monday in August off. Known loosely at Civic Holiday, it is named in many cities for founding politicians or significant citizens.

Whatever you call it, it’s nice to have another long weekend in the summer.

Happy John Galt Day.


cool food for a muggy night

It seems like we have had heat warnings since May and the humidity has all but drained my dinner ideas. So I’ve come up with my go-to dish for when I just want to whine about the weather.

It’s a cold plate of whatever happens to be around.

cold plate smaller

This week, it was a combo of local English cucumber, grape tomatoes, broccoli that I had steamed yesterday, manchego cheese , leftover grilled sausage and some chewy, sourdough bread. You could throw some dressing over it all. But if that’s just too much effort, go plain.

Dessert just might have been some freezer to table refreshing strawberry balsamic sorbetto.


What do you make for dinner when it’s too hot to even open the fridge to cool off?


feeding a crowd

It was no big deal when my boys showed up with some friends for an impromptu pool party on the 4th. We just needed lots of everything.

We served up four kinds of salads – tabouli, broccoli slaw, pasta with pesto, and a fresh green salad with peach and roasted corn (thanks Maddie).


For the protein course, we had steak tips marinated in Trader Joe’s soyaki sauce, ribs and chicken sausage.

Cold beer, seltzer and taste tasting of three gins – Hendrick’s, Uncle Val’s Botanical and Boodles rounded out the beverage course.


And dessert was a blueberry/strawberry pie and a side of watermelon.

Add in a little basketball and frisbee in the pool, and the day was perfect.




summer starts in Canada

It’s May two-four weekend. Victoria Day. The first weekend when we start to celebrate summer. Named in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday, it also shares the honourable distinction of referring to what use to be the standard size of a case of beer in Canada.

The risk of frost is “usually” gone and gardeners flock to nurseries like beer bugs to a vat of Labatt’s. Weeds come out. Mulch goes down. Fireworks go off.  And BBQs buzz with the ceremonious sizzling of steak to bring on the few short months that make up summer.

Here’s what happened around my yard this long weekend.

Thanks Victoria for a memorable break in your honour.