Archive for the ‘news and notes’ Category

Depending on the paper, next week’s food column, or the week after that,  is all about Writers Reading Recipes.

It’s more than the very good idea of Book Madam Julie Wilson! It’s a literary feast, with celebrated authors lending their voices to tempting dishes. Better than bedtime stories. Almost as good as eating. Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer even reads in Flemish.

So find someplace quiet, have a seat. Take a pen with you. You might want to make a grocery list.

Writers reading recipes begins with a series of readings by five authors. Listen in here!

In order of appearance:
Julie Wilson, “Tender Eggs with Cream and Chives”
Sarah Leavitt, “Pumpernickel Bread Ring”
Iain Reid, “Coconut Ginger Lentil Soup”
Darcie Friesen Hossack, “Rollkuchen”
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer


Teri Vlassopolous reads Aunt Gwen’s Fried Egg Sandwiches in “H is for Happy” from An Alphabet for Gourmets, by M. F. K. Fisher, published in 1948.

Teri Vlassopoulos’s first book, Bats or Swallows, was published by Invisible Publishing in Fall 2010. She’s not only a good friend of mine from writing school, but we were co-short-listed for the 2011 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Her favourite meal is breakfast.

In the third instalment,

Writers Reading Recipes continues with Kim Moritsugu reading “Butterscotch Brownies” from The Joy of Cooking, by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker.

Kim Moritsugu is a creative writing teacher, food blogger and the author of four novels and one novelette. Visit her at The Hungry Novelist and kimmoritsugu.com. Follow her on Twitter at @KimMoritsugu.

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It’s been some time since I’ve updated this blog. The simple reason is that the Prairie Post, a newspaper distributed to my old home town of Swift Current (and a large swath around it), began carrying my food column in March! Although I send them the stories and recipes I still write every week for my other papers, there are certain ones from the last year that I’m saving for the column’s newest home.  Although I think Amy Jo Ehman’s Prairie Berry Clafoutis is already here, along with Mary Ann Kirkby’s Hutterite Sucre Pie. So maybe I just haven’t gotten around to posting and I need to get on it!

You know the rooms in your mind are cluttered when you can’t even remember where you put your excuses.

There are a few things to write about this week, though.

First, my first collection of short fiction, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award (tba May 28), following up a nomination for the Commonwealth Prize. Even better, my friend from writing school, Teri Vlassopoulos, also made the list of five, which began with dozens upon dozens of entries!

On Thursday this week a fun little item showed up on Twitter when Book Madam Julie Wilson Tweeted that she was looking for writers to read recipes for a podcast hosted on her blog site. My literary agent was quickly on top of what was still the seed of an idea, that quickly began to grow into beanstalk proportions. Today Julie posted the first audiofile of five authors reading their favourite recipes. Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer reads in Flemmish! I’m near the end, reading Rollkuchen.

In order of appearance:
Julie Wilson
Sarah Leavitt
Iain Reid
Darcie Friesen Hossack
Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer

I also heard from Teri Vlassopoulos that her mother-in-law tried the Baked Doughnuts recipe from this blog, loved them, but wished I would include pictures with my recipes. She’s right that I should, of course. ChefHusband is the only person I know who reads cookbooks without visual aids. Maybe not retroactively, or entirely, but in the future. Promise.

In the meantime, here’s a recipe and pic for

White Chocolate Brownies
1/3 cup butter
6 plus 2 oz chopped white chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 oz chopped dark chocolate
In a Bain Marie (heat proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water), melt butter. Add six ounces of the chopped white chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (set bowl in a couple inches of cold water to speed process, if necessary).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together eggs, sugar and vanilla until mixture is thick and pale in colour. Reduce speed to medium and add white chocolate mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold into chocolate/egg mixture until combined. Fold in remaining chopped white and dark chocolate.
Scrape mixture into a 9 by 9-inch square baking pan that’s been buttered and lined with parchment (not waxed) paper, cutting few extra inches of parchment for easy extraction later. Spread batter evenly into bottom of pan, using a small offset metal spatula or knife.
Bake in a 350F oven for 40 minutes.
Place pan on a cooling rack to cool completely. Carefully lift brownies out of pan along with parchment paper. Using a sharp chefs knife, trim off edges and cut remaining into squares.
Serving suggestion: Reheat individual brownies and serve each with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

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Congratulations to Jody, who won the giveaway copy of Amy Jo Ehman’s Prairie Feast, a writer’s journey home for dinner!

There were so many wonderful comments made by readers who both read my column (so appreciated) and hoped to win this book. If your comment ended up on a post other than the Prairie Feast topic, don’t worry, everyone was entered into the draw.
I think every single comment reminded me of something personal to do with gardening, cooking or family connections. Thank you to everyone who entered. I’ve loved your responses and only wish I had enough books for everyone! Please, though, consider picking up or ordering a copy. They’re barely more than $15 on Chapters.ca, and free shipping is available on orders over $25.
You can also get to know Amy Jo Ehman at her blogsite: http://prairiefeast.blogspot.com/ I know she’d love to hear from you, too.
Best wishes,


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The impulse to bake arrived later than usual this December.

Although a White Fruit Cake, from the pages of Diane Tye’s book, Baking as Biography, was part of my food column line-up for the holidays, it wasn’t until Wednesday, the 22nd, that I began to make use of my three bricks of butter, gunny sack of flour, and two wholesaler-sized packages of brown sugar.

Honestly, I was beginning to think this would be an unsweetened holiday. Even my church’s annual call for bakers, to help fill the need for 20,000 plus cookies at the Living Nativity, came and went. Last year I delivered twelve dozen chocolate gingerbread cookies. This year, not a one.

If an explanation is required, I can only say that launching and promoting a first book, touring it in different cities as though I’m a public speaker, not an established recluse, took everything, everything, I might otherwise have put into things like writing Christmas cards. And baking.

Honestly, if it wasn’t for my new Moleskine Recipe Journal, passed on to me by Alberta Books Canada’s, Susan Toy, I don’t know from where inspiration might otherwise have come.

As it happened, the other evening, I took the journal (a gorgeous little black book, so eternal looking) from the stack of titles on my dresser, having had a sudden impulse to write something down. It was well after midnight (as tonight), but I started with a Mennonite recipe for Rhubarb Platz, then moved on to Lemon Butter, a recipe my chef husband pinched from a pastry chef.

Heirlooms followed, including Grandma Friesen’s Verenyky with Cream Gravy. And recent forever favourites, like Braised Short Ribs with Winter Root Vegetables. Served with Potato Gnocchi, these two recipes are now also entered in the journal, and will be featured for Christmas Eve supper with my dad, ‘nother mother and brother.

The Chocolate Gingerbread and White Fruit Cake are already inked in, too. (A bucket of cookies and two loaves cooling on the kitchen island as I type).

It’s a little too late in the season, this being Christmas Eve Eve. But it occurred to me while writing things down, that the journals, while marvy gifts on their own, would be made even more special if they were started for friends and family. Family especially, with the passed-down recipes from generations already taking up pages before they’re unwrapped on Christmas morning.

It’s something to consider for next near. In the meantime, though, there are a lot of pages left. And I can see filling them in the following years. Like Diane Tye, I find baking (and cooking) is a biographical act. Especially when recorded by simply putting ink to paper in a journal so beautifully made, it’s likely to survive several generations.

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Official reviews will start tricking in soon (shudder). In the meantime, here’s where Mennonites Don’t Dance has shown up so far. Thank you so much to everyone who’s bought a copy!


Stories to Savour, by Lori-Anne Charlton Poirier, The Pear Tree

Cooked Up Stories, by Portia Priegert, eVent magazine

Mennonites Don’t Dance, by Portia Priegert, ABC BookWorld

On First Books and Chicken’s Feet, by Teri Vlassopoulos, author of Bats or Swallows: And Other Stories

BookClubBuddy, by Pearl Luke


Thistledown Press

HSW Literary Agency




Good Reads

Amazon.com Author Central

Books by and About Mennonites


Books by Teachers and Alumni of Humber School for Writers


Publicity for Darcie Friesen Hossack, by Susan Toy (Alberta Books Canada)

Book Club Buddy, by Susan Toy

Holy Cluck!, by Trish Tervit

And a Darcie in a Pear Tree, by Vicky Bell

Well, at least some people listen to me... by Susan Toy (Alberta Books Canada)

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