Monthly Archives: May 2005

A Picnic for My Mother’s Birthday

In the last few weeks we have celebrated Mother’s Day, my mother’s forthcoming retirement, -and today- my mother’s birthday. My father, mother and brother drove out to the city to meet John and I and as soon as we walked outside it began to drizzle. We decided we would not be scared away and headed […]

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tara - Happy Birthday Gemma’s Mom! What a sublime picnic!

D - u should try this site….i think u would appreciate it

gemma - Tara, it was a lovely event. I am still so impressed that it never rained. Our good spirits must have chased it away.
D, thanks for the site. I remember looking at that long ago when I was planning a trip to the Devon area here in Chicago, I should consult it again.

keiko - I’m glad you had a wonderful time. Happy belated birthday, Gemma’s mum!


My mother gave me a sweet little cookbook when I was home a few weekends ago entitled Pancakes and Waffles by Kate Habershon. In thanks I took her waffle iron to begin experimenting. This morning, in order to coax myself out of bed, I decided to make crumpets using Habershon’s recipe. I have made crumpets […]

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Lyn - I have never been able to make crumpets and have tried many times. Yours look fantastic. I’m so jealous. You have inspired me to give it another go!

gemma - Oh you should Lyn! I was so pleased when I first learned how to make them. Very tasty, and they don’t have to rise too long so they are nice for weekend mornings when you can get up to start the dough, jump in the shower, and come back to them being almost ready to bake.
As I said, this wasn’t my favorite recipe. I will try to make some more soon and post some pictures using one of the better recipes.

Molly - I love a good crumpet, Gemma, and those look pretty outstanding! We have a wonderful crumpet bakery here in Seattle, but I’d love to try making them on my own. If you find a recipe that you think is worthy of sharing, pretty please do so…

keiko - Gemma – I didn’t know crumpets were common in the States, yours look so delicious! (It reminded me of a short film called Harvie Krumpet – it was so sweet)

tara - I have a deep and profound love for a good crumpet – hot and fresh, dripping with butter. When I was a little one, that meant peanut butter :) Though I English Muffins have their place with their toasty crenulations, there is something about the smooth crevices of a crumpet that has my heart!

gemma - Oh! Thank you all for the kind words. I do love crumpets.
Molly, I will definitely get you a good crumpet recipe. This weekend I will hopeful have the time to experiment a bit and remember exactly which one gave me the best results.
Keiko, crumpets aren’t that common here (I don’t think I have ever seen then for sale in a Chicago bakery) but they can be found at the supermarkets (though these aren’t as good) or at certain bakeries in other parts of the country.
Tara, I am with you on that. English muffins are good, but given the choice between the two, I would be all over the crumpets. There is something about their silky density and the crevices holding onto the butter rather than absorbing. So good!

Steve - Gemma I am a Chicago resident looking for a local source of crumpets which I currently bring back from Canada – can you recommend a supermarket in chicagoland that sells them?
Many thanks
Steve David

Dr.ScottTrot - I have 3 balls. But anyway, I’m looking for a crumpet recipe and can’t seem to find one anywhere on the web, last night I looked for around 5hours just looking. But all the recipies include some strange ingredient called milk, but I want to know what this substance is, and where I can buy it. I want to make crumpets!

Melanie - Please, those are the best looking crumpets that I have seen home made ever! I have tried a couple of different off-the-net recipes but they all come out like English muffins. Could the author please post a nice crumpet recipe so the rest of the world can enjoy those Crumpets!! From Melanie in Sydney, Australia.

Francesca - very interesting and new this recipe for me. I want to try!

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

On Tuesday night I went over to Mindy’s to make pies. Mindy had received two pounds of lard from her sister last time she was visiting Minnesota and we finally got around to using some of it. I have made several pies in my day, but never with lard in any quantity. I normally use […]

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tara - I have a fear of piecrust. It never seems to go well for me. But seeing photos of lovely pies likes these almost makes me want to recant that fear. Why does it have to be Diet Sprite? Would tonic/soda water work as well?

Zarah Maria - What a lovely pie Gemma! And I love how one can “recieve 2 pounds of lard” – as long as they don’t put it on my hips, I’d love to be the reciever too!;-)

mindy - My sister also commented that we could leave the tinfoil on the sides until the pie was almost finished. (until there was only 5 minutes left, instead of 15)

mindy - Also–
I had lots of fun too Gemma. Thanks!

gemma - Tara, I am also afraid of pie crust. I bite the bullet and attempt them every now and again with much variety in the finished product. People keep telling me to just practice and practice, which I know is the best advice, but somehow I am still convinced that there is a secret out there that I haven’t been let in on yet. I don’t know if regular Sprite would work. Mindy and I speculated that the sugars might effect the result, but we are not sure. I have also been told a bit of vinegar promises the same results.
Zarah, Mindy does bring back some lovely things from her trips back home. It is quite nice.
I agree Mindy, though I think they turned out pretty well. We should do this again soon (there is, of course, plenty more rhubarb!)

A Weekend in a Small Town

This past weekend I took the train from the city out to see my family. My brother had just returned from a year at Grinnell College and my mother was having a party to celebrate her soon to be retirement. John met us Friday night and on Saturday afternoon he and I decided to visit […]

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lizzy - my friend andrea always has to import sandwiches from wisconsin to oregon – for me it’s the #6 from big mike’s. she’s discovered the best way to fly with subs is to order the #6 with everything on the side, they wrap up all the ingredients separately and then we reassemble the sandwich once she arrives in portland. big mike’s has actually been carried all the way to england like that.

gemma - I think I remember a sandwich and a six pack of New Glarus Spotted Cow being presented to you when I first met Andrea. That is excellent.
Did you have Florian pizza while you were here? John’s mother brought Ben a pizza all the way from Chicago to Beijing. That is quite a trip and he was reportedly extrememly happy.

IMBB #15: Avocado Mousse

Elise at Simply Recipes is hosting this months Is My Blog Burning. The theme is gelatin. I have to admit, I’m not a big gelatin fan, but I thought I should give a nod to my midwestern roots and try something. I made Avocado Mousse. I was hoping to find a recipe for avocado panna […]

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Jennifer - I absolutely love this idea! I’ll be searching for an avocado panna cotta too. I’ll let you know if I find one.

elise - Hi Gemma,
I made an layered avocado tomato juice aspic last year and as much as I LOVE avocado, it was just bland. I like the idea of an avocado panna cotta and will keep my eye out for a recipe!

Nicky - I’ve been wanting to try something similar for ages, but in lack of a convincing recipe I haven’t yet… Your mousse looks so smooth and airy, I shall give this recipe a try soon :)

chronicler - I would have never thought of an avocado mousse! I too struggle with gelatins. Eek. (I guess because I live newr the desert and it usually just melts away in the heat.)
I will have to give it a try too!

gemma - Thanks folks! Yes, I too was sad to find that the avocado taste that I craved had all but disappeared in the final product. If anyone has better luck with an avocado dish in this style, please let me know!
I have been searching for an avocado panna cotta since I had the opportunity to taste one at the Green Zebra, a very fancy (and expensive) vegetarian restaurant here in Chicago. It was absolutely divine.

sarah - omg! gemma! i totally wanted to make an avocado panna cotta, too! how FUNNY! but i just couldn’t figure out how to add avocado puree to the cream without getting it all chunky clunky. instead, made lime panna cottas and served with avocados on top. then you really get the avocado taste :)
i could eat avocados three times a day….

gemma - That was my problem too! It just didn’t seem to makes sense with the basic panna cotta recipes I looked at. I know it can be done though! I ate a divine avocado panna cotta in a foofy restaurant. One day. . .
Your panna cottas are so pretty. Nice work!
I too am a fool for avocados. Mmmm..

Jessica - I found a recipe once in a magazine for an avocado mousse dessert. It was very simple calling for chilled avocado blended with some sugar and heavy cream. Then you fold this mixture into whipped sweetened cream and chill again. It was very wonderful!

gemma - That sounds delicious Jessica. Thank you for the recipe. I find gelatin kind of odd, so it is great to know about a recipe that would be similar without it. Thanks!

Liz - You know you can make an excellent avocado smoothie, right? They’re very common in Brazil, Kenya, and other far-flung places.
To make, chill the avocado in the fridge. Then just put an avocado, a small amount of milk, and sugar to taste and puree in a blender. Add more milk if it’s too thick- though it should have a drinkable, pudding-like consistency.
So avocado-y, so delicious.