I grew up with this pie. A final hurrah for summer. Trolling the back alley for berries, trying not to get scratched by the brambles and petrified I'd come across a snake in the long grass.
I wasn't even that keen on it as a kid (crazy I know). My brother, though, was mad about blackberry pie. Still is. I don't think any dessert makes him happier. He would pick berries until the cows came home, if mom turned them into pie.
Nowadays I have my own team of berry pickers. Eager to risk the brambles for the sweet delight waiting at the end.
Flaky pastry, sugar, butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, apples and blackberries. A dollop of whipped cream. Simple ingredients combined to bake the joys of summer into a pie.
A couple of short weeks we all look forward to each year.
After a night of musical beds, it was Jack and I up early together. So why not a special breakfast with my little man.
I've always wanted to try stuffed french toast and decided this morning the time had come.
Do yourself a favour and macerate the strawberries in sugar first, it really adds to the sweet gooey-ness. And speaking of sweet gooey-ness, the pink stuff is cream cheese mixed with strawberry jam. Not pictured is the cinnamon and vanilla added to the egg mixture, just adds an extra depth of flavour.
A sprinkling of confectioners sugar, and we were a couple of happy campers. Warm sweet strawberry goodness oozing out of fluffy french toast combined with Star Wars conversation, what more can a Mama ask for at 7am?
When I first saw the movies Babe and Chicken Run, I thought they were charming and sweet and something I would love to share with my future children. I was thrilled when we received copies last Christmas. The kids were charmed by the films too. Then, for Anna, the questions started.
"Why do they want to kill the chickens and turn them into pies?"
"Do we eat pigs, Mama?"
"Did a chicken have to die to be this nugget?"
After months of pondering her food and suspicious poking of her dinner plate, Anna announced she would no longer be consuming meat. T jumped right on the bandwagon, saying it was a healthy choice he had always been interested in. And Jack, well, if the "cool kids are doing it".
I had suddenly found myself cooking for a family of vegetarians.
It's been three months now and the change seems to be permanent. If I express desire for a steak, Anna just looks at me woefully and says "Mama, don't you love the animals? Why do you want to eat them?" I want to remind her that it wasn't that long ago we were battling it out for the last strip of bacon.
But she is committed, unwavering in her belief that she has put her family on the right path.
I think she might be right. So now I research vegetarian dishes and attempt to roll sushi.
I'm not sure what we'll be having for Christmas dinner this year.
Somewhere around his 3rd birthday, Jack became a boy. I'm not entirely sure what happened. Was it the influence of older boys at preschool? Was it his own personality shining through? Was it a boost of testosterone? Whatever it was my formerly sweet baby has gained a decidedly male attitude.
Life more or less revolves around three things. Super Heroes, Star Wars and Lego. If possible, incorporating all three at once is best. Light sabre duels, scowling, constructing spaceships, climbing, it never stops.
We pour over the Lego Star Wars book, we scour the house for tiny sized light sabres. There are days when we must refer to him as General Grievous. The "dark side" is much cooler than the "force". (In our defence, he hasn't watched the Star Wars movies yet...it's all Lego related.)
Oh, he's still my sweet baby in the quiet moments. Cuddling on my lap with a book, kissing and saying "I love you, Mama" (swoon). I hope he never switches to "mom".
But the boy-ness is growing, like a train picking up speed and I need to savour every bit of sweetness while I can.
Action movies, martial arts and video games are only just around the corner.
Because we can? No reason needed for an impromptu picnic dinner. Fish and chips take out wrapped in paper, a short stroll to our beach, cold beer and happy kids. The makings for a great summer evening.
We floated and relaxed and breathed deep another memory to hold us through the winter. Until our children turned blue and it was time to head home for hot showers and soft pillows.
Like I ever need an excuse to bake, but when a friend makes the trip to visit for a weekend I feel justified in breaking out the really decadent recipes. Behold Chocolate Chip Cupcakes, once again from Jamie at http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/
The cake part is fudgey, almost brownie like, with a slight tang from the sour cream. The frosting is a cream cheese base with melted semi-sweet chocolate. Absolutely must be chased by cold milk. You can thank me later.
The last few day have been hot and muggy, steamy and sticky. My least favourite kind of weather. The smoke from forest fires in the interior have drifted down to the coast and even our lovely fresh coastal air has become one hazy mess.
By the middle of the afternoon, we were hot and cranky and needed a change of pace. Or at least I did anyways.
So despite usually being very mindful of the watering restrictions, we turned on the sprinkler and enjoyed a good frolic in the icy cold drops. Me included. Pure bliss.
Topped it off with a freezie on the back deck. Boy do I love the little things in life.