It brings me joy to unveil a homemade four layer birthday cake and share simple recipes that are always the biggest hits.

SIDE DISH: Memories beat recipes

Chantal Ireland takes a trip to the family cabin

Short notice invitations and long anticipated celebrations keep our summer days filled with questions of what to bring and where to go. It brings me joy to unveil a homemade four layer birthday cake and share simple recipes that are always the biggest hits.

I’m writing this month from a family cabin on the lake in BC’s Cariboo. Eight of us converged from our three points on the Canadian map, helped plan the menu, prepare the food and gather water for dishes. I brought coffee, craft beer, cider, BC wine and STUMP Coastal Forest Gin by Phillips Fermentorium Distilling Co. to pair with meals and afternoons. The others brought the history of this place (my partner’s Dad built this cabin in 1970), and talk of meals their parents made here. The plates, wood stove, coffee on the deck, each tied to a vivid memory and tremendous sense of place. Their Dad’s handwritten pancake recipe adorns the kitchen wall.

Where we feed our families, raise our glasses, and what we take to share with friends can live long past the meal itself.

For inspiration or foolproof guidance on what to take or serve at summer gatherings, try some of my favourite resources like smittenkitchen.com, itstodiefor.ca, theforestfeast.com and guiltykitchen.com. Do not be afraid, make something new. Remember, no one else saw the photos in the recipe.

One of my favourite summer salads is a cabbage salad. Use half a head each of green and red cabbage, cut in half and sliced as thinly as you can, 2-3 carrots and 1 apple grated on the large holes of a box grater, 4-5 green onions chopped in rounds (use the white and green parts), 1-2 avocados quartered, peeled, roughly chopped, 1 lime squished over the apple so it doesn’t brown, a palm full of roughly chopped fresh cilantro if you like it, 2-3 cap fulls of good apple cider vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons of good olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Chop it all on one board, scoop it up, toss it into a large bowl (for a crowd-sized double batch, use a clean sink to mix it). Mix it with your hands, squish the avocado into the cabbage and toss it all together. Serve heaping out of your favourite bowl. Keeps great in the fridge or the cooler for a few days.

If you’re taking your celebration out and want casual patio seating, try the Adirondack chairs at Big Wheel Burger, Rock Bay’s Wheelie’s Motorcycle Cafe, sidewalk tables at Cascadia Bakery or Bard & Banker, or the sunny courtyard of Market Square at Wannawafel. For larger menus, try Canoe Brewpub, Il Covo Trattoria, Bubby’s Kitchen, Prima Strada Cook St. Village, or Lure Restaurant and Bar.

Try it you’ll like it:

Strawberry Milkshakes at Big Wheel Burger, $5.

Gnocchi at Stage Wine Bar in Fernwood, $13.75.

Joie Farms 2014 Rosé available at Private Liquor Stores, $22.

 

Just Posted

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

Government House gala a great time to announce new Langham Court season

Production chair Alan Penty unveils 90-year-old theatre company’s plans for the coming year

Wild about nature photos: Royal B.C. Museum set to kick off annual exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition winners, finalists’ works on display starting Friday

REVIEW: Allan Reid finds a meal fit for a king

Monday’s intrepid restaurant reviewer gets the royal treatment at the Fireside Grill

FILM FEST WRAP: Your winners, reviewer’s favourites make for differing lists

Kyle Wells takes a look back on the Victoria Film Festival’s 25th anniversary event

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Women dominated in Grammys nominations, but will they win?

This year’s nominees mark a departure from the 2018 Grammys

Most Read