Dinner in the Garden with Friends

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Our pals Chops and Leslie came over for an outdoor barbecued dinner last week on Tuesday. The weather was perfect for it, and we had a very nice visit with these long-time friends.

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My herb garden did very well this summer, as did some of the flowers I put in pots, the key word being “some” as we had quite a few duds this year!

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The ceramic hedgehog is new to our garden, purchased at Urban Barn on Queen Street West. (I got him right after seeing his sibling over at Kim and Chris’ during this dinner at their place.)

We got our chair pads at the beginning of the summer from Home Depot. We spend a lot of time out there so to keep the ones on the big chairs looking fresh and free of sunscreen and, ahem, cat hair, I covered them with vintage cotton sheets when it was just us. Those were easy to throw in the wash and left the pads looking good for company. (See this post to see what I mean).

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The crocheted coasters are the ones I made last year (shown here). They’ve been used a lot and have held up well. I attached a plastic disk to the bottom of them that have made them perfect for icy wet drinks served outdoors.

The tablecloth is a recent new-to-us find from the thrift-store. (I have a post coming up showing you all that I found there.)

Chops brought along a nice bottle of white wine, Wolf Blass Yellow Label. Additional drinks included this rum punch.

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Dinner was Nick’s grilled shrimp with homemade peanut sauce to start, followed by my recipe for ribs (we don’t have them often but try to make them at least once a year during barbecue season). Side dishes were bbq baked potatoes, served with sour cream, and a big tossed salad. All was thoroughly enjoyed.

Chops is my-partner-in-crime when it comes to enjoying a good hot sauce, so I shared some of the artisan sauce I picked up at the Aboriginal Pavilion earlier this summer, seen here. It’s very good sauce, in deed.

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Leslie is an excellent baker and brought a peach and blueberry pie. It was a surprise and I’d also made some dessert — some fresh peaches seasoned with cardamom, cinnamon, a dash of sea salt and pure maple syrup — so we had a bit of each. Clearly, Ontario Peaches are in season and they’re beautiful this year.

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^ The tray under the pie is the one found during this thrift-store trip. ^

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As you can see, Eddie the cat loves company, and these two are especially good friends. Nick and I are with him on that point!

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They arrived in the afternoon and we talked and laughed until well after sundown (Sorry neighbours).

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Thanks for checking out my blog.
xo loulou

Posted in Dinner Details, Hanging out at Home, Outdoor Living | 1 Comment

When Nothing to Do Was Just Right

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Ha. I’ve just sat here at my computer, looking at a blank screen for the past 10 minutes, wondering what to write to go along with these pictures.

They were taken on a beautiful Saturday afternoon last weekend, when nothing much happened. We’d eaten lunch at home — cucumber, tomato and cheddar cheese sandwiches, with mayonnaise and shredded basil leaves, dill pickle on the side — so there were no restaurants to head over to. Nothing needed shopping for, nor were there major plans to prepare for. Basically, we were free to wander about without a goal or destination — free to stop and smell the flowers, as they say.

So that’s what we did.

This was the same walk I mentioned in my previous post, when we’d lucked into finding the Trinity Bellwoods Flea in process.

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We stopped in at the Portuguese Bakery, Caldense, for six of their Pastal de Natas to take home. They are small custard tarts with a very flaky crust, and a huge tray of them was just being set out as we entered the shop.

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Have you ever tried one? They’re delicious and come with an interesting back story :

“Pastéis de nata were created before the 18th century by Catholic monks at the Portuguese Jerónimos Monastery. At the time, convents and monasteries used large quantities of egg-whites for starching of clothes, such as nuns’ habits. It was quite common for monasteries and convents to use the leftover egg yolks to make cakes and pastries, resulting in the proliferation of sweet pastry recipes throughout the country.

Following the extinction of the religious orders and in the face of the impending closing of many of the convents and monasteries in the aftermath of the Liberal Revolution of 1820, the monks started selling pastéis de nata at a nearby sugar refinery to secure some revenue. In 1834 the monastery was closed and the recipe was sold to the sugar refinery, whose owners in 1837 opened the Fábrica de Pastéis de Belém. The descendents own the business to this day.

Since 1837, locals and visitors to Lisbon have visited the bakery to purchase fresh from the oven pastéis, sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Their popularity normally results in long lines at the take-away counters, in addition to waiting lines for sit-down service.

Now, they can be purchased in many places all over the world, in bakeries, and sold in many hotels etc. : They’re custard tarts with a very flaky pastry, that were invented by Portuguese monks in the 18th century.” [Thank you Wikipedia – here]

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^ the Pastal de Natas are up-side-down on the bottom right ^

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^ I’ve never met a red bench I didn’t want to sit on. ^

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^ Old School — This is an all night diner, decorated in a mid-century style. We haven’t been yet but want to try it out. ^

I wore the 1940s dress that I’d picked up at the pop-up store, Jack Lux, a great vintage shop in Montreal, that briefly filled a Queen Street West storefront last summer and that I’d written about here. (It was a bit big and too long, so I hemmed it and made a tie-belt to cinch the waist, with the part I cut off.) My hat is one I found at Winner’s last year, adorned with a vintage enamel brooch I got on ebay ages ago. My necklace was made by Alvaro Sanchez, picked up during this visit to the Artisan Market on Salt Spring Island on Canada’s west coast.

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Nick wore his new Goorin Brothers hat, and what has become his favourite item of clothing this summer — an old jean jacket with the sleeves cut off, decorated on the back with the handmade printed patch by Kat Gomboc, that he got last summer at the Queen West Art Crawl.

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The gardens left me envious …

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Thank you for dropping by. I hope you had a great weekend.
xo loulou

Posted in Clothing and Accessories, Streets of Toronto | 2 Comments