Thursday, November 26, 2015

Oh, Hello Snow

We had our first snow of the season a couple of days ago. Although it melted after a day of below zero temperature, the soft white blanket made me wish for a white Christmas this year.

Oh snow, if you are not so cold, I can have you all the time! You are so beautiful!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Woodland Christmas Centerpiece

Back in August, one of our 8-year old pine trees fell after a freak storm. I felt really bad about it and couldn't bear the thought that the once beautiful tree will rot and will be gone forever. I asked my dear hubby to save the tree trunk for my future projects - that way, the tree will still be with us even in different forms.

Last weekend, an idea popped up in my head when we were blanketed with thick fog surroundings suddenly became an enchanted woodland! 


I requested dear hubby to cut the trunk that the saved for me, I fetched fresh pine branches and rummage through my Christmas ornament boxes and viola ... my Woodland Christmas centerpiece was born!

The left side of my woodland spread highlights my favorite decor ever -  abandoned bird's nest which I collect from our front and and back yards every fall. I also included a scene with reindeer and chipmunks who love to make their summer "houses" near our chicken coop. All the elements are elevated using the cut pine wood trunk in various heights.

The centre of the spread is of course my Nativity Scene which I arranged on a cheese board with glass dome. It is elevated by one of the cut pieces of our fallen pine tree. I also added a vixen and her baby nestled under a wooden tree and created a "bonfire" using twigs and small battery operated candle.

On the right side, I created a scene highlighting my beloved chickens and their coop.

Wherever we are - the woodland, the countryside, the city, dessert or sea, may the true spirit of Christmas be always in our hearts!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Comfort Food @ Home | Cheese, Chive and Cream Scones

Outside, the days are shorter. Gone are the beautiful red-colored leaves that lined our wooden fence. The sunsets are more dramatic and fierce. The geese are flying south - moving away from the expected cold and long Canadian winter.

Inside the Birdsong kitchen, the familiar sound of my pots and pans are undeniable. Now that there is no more vegetable garden to tend and it is too cold to spend afternoons and evenings at the back porch sipping chilled wine, I am back in the kitchen revisiting my recipes under the heading "comfort food". After an hour or so, the delicious smell of these freshly-baked scones from the oven truly evokes wonderful memories of our early days in our old house in Montreal as new immigrants trying to survive our first winter by baking and cooking comfort foods.

I can have these scones from breakfast to dinner - the warm flaky bread slathered with butter is a true comfort food! And oh, the smell of the kitchen after baking a batch of this cheesy treat is heart warming too.

Cheese, Chive and Cream Scones

2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp very cold, unsalted butter 
1 cup mature cheddar cheese, grated
2 Tbsp chive, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream {more for brushing}

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Cut in butter until it resembles coarse meal.
Add cheese ans chive and mix thoroughly.
Stir in heavy cream until it comes together in a shaggy ball. It will still have lots of loose, sandy pieces. If you the mixture too loose and sandy, you can add a little bit more cream to bind it a bit more — it shouldn’t affect the outcome if a bit more cream is added.
Place batter on a floured surface and roughly work it into a ball.
Press the ball down into a rectangular shape.
Fold the dough like you’re folding a business envelope (in thirds, first right fold to center, then left fold to center). Notice that it is still quite shaggy and loose. That’s OK.
Now press the dough down into a disc about 2-3 cm in height. 
With a sharp cookie cutter (I used circle),  cut out scones and place them on a baking tray that is lined with parchment paper.
Brush the top of the scones with cream. 
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown on top.
Remove scones from the oven and serve with butter.

Linking with :  THE SCOOP 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Small Town Love | At the Corner of Cochrane & McDonald Streets

I just can't get enough of fall colors!

While running errands in a small town call Port Perry the other day, I passed by Cochrane street {where hubby and I love to brisk walk in the summer time} to check on the maple trees that adorn those gorgeous century houses in that part of town. True enough, the trees are in their full splendor!

Truly ...... "Autumn is the second spring where every leaf is a flower".

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

From Harvest to Table | Acorn Thai Soup

It is that time of year when all I see in my favorite Farmer's Market is quash! Yes all of them : pumpkins {with matching huge pumpkin patch!} butternut, spaghetti, delicata, buttercup, ambercup, name it and you see it! Over the years, I tried cooking each kind of squash to find out which I like best. I find that they differ in moisture content, texture and of course taste. My 3 favorite kinds are : ambercup, spaghetti squash and acorn. I find them buttery. flavorful and moist, One of their common denominator that I like the least.....  ALL of them are hard to peel! 

If I am cooking soup and want to serve it in the "squash bowl", I prefer cooking with acorn. Its size and shape are perfect as a serving bowl without compromising the flavour. For this soup recipe, I used roasted acorn. That way, I don't need to peel and was able to save the cup for serving.

Before baking, cut acorn squash crosswise in half. Remove seeds. With a sharp knife, carefully trim both ends of squash so that it can stand without being wobbly. Place squash on a cookie sheet {with trimmed ends at the bottom of the sheet}. Sprinkle each squash with salt and pepper and bake at a pre- heated 350 degrees F oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender. When done and cool enough to handle, scoop out meat and set aside for soup recipe below. 

Remember : if you are using the squash as a serving bowl, leave enough meat on the squash to make a sturdy bowl.

Acorn Squash Thai Soup


3 cups meat of roasted acorn squash {I previously roasted 2 big sized acorn squash. See procedures above}
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 big thumb-sized fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 can {400 ml} good quality coconut milk
2 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp green curry paste
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
salt and pepper


In a large cooking pot, heat cooking oil over medium heat,
Saute onion, garlic, ginger and bay leaf. When onion is cooked, add roasted acorn squash. Mix and cook for 2 minutes to incorporate the flavour.
Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, fish, sauce, curry paste and cilantro leaves. Stir. Simmer for 5-10 minutes while stirring regularly.
Turn off heat. Puree using am immersion blender {or puree by batches using regular blender}
Re-heat on the stove and season with salt and pepper.
At this point, you can add more broth to achieve desired soup consistency.
Serve on acorn "squash bowl".

Bon appetit! ทานให้อร่อยนะครับ/คะ 


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Fall Vignettes @ Home

From my vantage point in my veggie garden, I can see a small part of home looking as if the house is surrounded by the beautiful fall leaves. Unfortunately it is not. Instead, I tried to bring the outside in to create a warm fall atmosphere. Here are some fall vignette @ Birdsong. Welcome.

As the temperature continues to go down and the leaves are being blown by sweet autumn air, our home will be filled with warm hugs {for both human and feline}, pumpkin soup, warm apple cider, comfy blanket and most of all LOVE.

Linking with :  THE SCOOP

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