Wednesday, December 20, 2006

12 days stuffed into a garden stroll

Over the weekend, a couple of friends, DH and I piled into a truck and headed down to the Butchart Gardens for their winter holiday light show. It was the first time either DH or I had been to the gardens. On the way, we stopped by Cowichan Bay for lunch at Hilary’s cheese & deli for some yummy homemade soup and sandwiches. Of course, we also made a few delicious purchases next door at True Grain bakery, including a 20kg bag of freshly milled organic Red Fife flour. (Thanks Jonathan!)

BTW, True Grains is going to be closed for the month of January. Hilary’s cheese will be closed for the first 3 weeks of January.

This years display was the 12 days of Christmas. The weather was cold and crisp and the perfect for strolling about all bundled up in my down and fleece cozies. The display was awe-inspiring. From running brooks of lights to dazzling landscapes, it was a constant parade of “Oh look at that!” and “Wow, how did they do that?”

Thanks Travis and Sarah!

Here’s photos from our magical evening:

So, we’ve been busy getting ready for our big, end of the year climbing trip. I’m so excited. We’ve been drooling over ice-climbing guidebooks and planning and scheming for this last week of 2006. Due to the fact that DH was stuck in retail hell last year this time and couldn’t get any time off, we’ve both been antsy for ice and just for some fun winter romping.

I’ve baked up a load of granola, a bucket of fruit & seed cookies and mixed up a batch of trail mix with our stash of dehydrated local fruits and organic nuts. I devoted yesterday to baking bread.

I made a cheesy pesto bread with pesto I froze up from this summer’s basil crop and local cheese, an olive and local cheese bread and a 3 Seed bread. There’re all made with organic Red Fife wheat milled by True Grains bakery.

Last night, we dined on bread, cheese and wine. More specifically, olive bread, a wedge of Hilary’s St. Denis and a bottle of Saturna Island’s Pinot Noir. The wine was a light and lively and brought a well-balanced brightness to the savory bread and cheese.

Tonight, I’m hosting a small Winter Solstice Eve dinner since we’re planning to be in Vancouver by tomorrow. I’ve got a pot of bison stew made with island-raised bison, local veggies (carrots, onions, parsnips, potatoes, sunchokes, shallots) and a bottle of Cherry Point Bete Noire that I made on Monday. I’m also going to sauté up the last of my collard greens and Brussels sprouts with some Hertel’s smoked bacon (nitrate-free, yippee!). Dessert will probably be a tasting of Christmas cake, nut brittle and cookies. Oh yes, and wine, lots and lots of good locally-grown wine. Now, that’s how I like to celebrate the shortest day of the year!

Have a great winter solstice and holiday season and I’ll be back to rant and ramble in the new year.

Happy Eating!


P.S. - "Welcome!" to the latest addition to the Hansen brood.


Cin said...

Love the photos - I had hoped to get over to Victoria and see the gardens myself, but there's simply no time. I'll have to wallow in your photos instead, and plan to go next year.

Gina said...

Have a wonderful holiday and a wonderful trip! Happy New Year!