In recent years we seem to have transcended the stereotype that paints Canadians as almost-like Americans but with a colder climate and a funny accent, thanks in no small part to those beer ads that advertise all the passions Canadians have. All the wonderful pastimes we enjoy are certainly part of what makes up our identity as Canucks, and I for one am proud and happy that we live in such a wonderful place.
I strolled through the “back 40” this morning with our dogs and listened to the resident marmot squeak his alert as he performed his sentry duty from the top of the orchard bins. The wild bunnies in the field had their ears perked up for his alarms, knowing that meant that Simon was likely headed their way and up for a morning chase. Birds of all kinds chirped in the trees and the sun beat down even early in the morning in true Okanagan fashion. As I walked between the fruit trees and brushed away the webs from the “Cirque du Soleil” spiders that trapeze from tree to tree, I thought to myself, “It just doesn’t get any better than this!”
Once home I got to pick radishes and arugula from the garden, for the salad I will serve at our picnic dinner tonight. Martin was picking the first of the sour cherries and already planning a sauce (I could practically hear his creative juices flowing!)
The dogs said hello to other neighbours out for a walk; everyone is casual and comfortable as we all know one another. How fortunate we are that we can relax and enjoy our neighbours, that we live in a place where we can grow food in the yard and that we have the space to look out on a landscape full of promise.
I know as a nation we tend to be rather humble and reserved but Canada Day is the one day if any where it is truly appropriate to wave the flag and be proud. We always talk of supporting the community and eating local; this weekend you should congratulate yourself for doing those things and celebrate! You might even want to make a red-and-white dessert, like good old-fashioned strawberry shortcake!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 stick butter, chilled
- 2/3 to 3/4 cup half and half, milk, or cream
- 2 lb of fresh strawberries
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
Wash your strawberries very well; drain and let dry for an hour on a paper towel.
Freeze your mixing bowl so it is very cold once your start with the cream.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at center level.
Using a pastry cutter and your fingertips combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar on a clean table counter. Add the butter to the mixture and keep cutting with your pastry tool – try not to warm up the butter too much with your fingers. Make a well in the center and add the cream or milk, just until dough is moist using your tool. Do not overwork the dough, it’s ok to have pieces of butter showing. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface - fold 4 times but do not over work it, be gentle.
Roll the dough 3/4-inch thick and cut your shapes – be creative. Transfer to non-stick mat and brush on an egg yolk to give it a shiny top. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until risen and golden brown. Don’t over bake! Let cool before assembling.
While it’s baking, hull and slice the berries. Whip the cream until soft and add ½ cup sugar and finish to whip it but not too much.
Assemble by cutting your cooled biscuit and add as much strawberries and whip cream as you want. Top with some fresh mint and icing sugar and voila!
Happy Canada Day!!