a couple of days doing nothing…perfect! my old school friend, ron, joined me for a few days of campfire smoke, free range cooking and marshmallows. we had intended to camp in manning park but a fire ban for the region came into effect one day before departure, so with a little research i found that the kamloop’s fire district was still allowing campfires (it’s not camping without a campfire).
over the years i had noticed the kentucky-alleyne park but had never ventured in, which was too bad as it turned out to be a beautiful spot. located on high semi-arid hills about 40 kilometres east from merritt and 60 kilometres north of princeton, it is situated amongst 3 smallish lakes, with old pine forest and prairie grasses. the lakes are known for excellent fishing, however our neighbour and his small daughter had no luck while we were there.
we did a bit of exploring down the kettle valley to princeton and back via the old coalmont kettle valley route through coalmont, tulameen and otter lake. on the way we spotted a road? pointing towards brookmere, a small village 10 km off the coquihalla highway at the coldstream exit and only 30 kilometres to the coalmont road, 20 of which are rough gravel (must have a 4 wheel drive vehicle) which connects to aspen grove and another 20 km to kentucky-alleyne park. we took this on the way home and though much shorter, it is a slow drive! the road should only be used if you have a a 4×4 and nerves of steel as the single track has some severe switchbacks, deep potholes and drops off into a deep canyon at many points. meeting another vehicle can mean backing up until you find a wide spot. once on the paved section you are in the small village with quaint houses, relics of the old kettle valley railway and majestic scenery.
one of my friends has a large grand banks motor boat and asks us to join him from time to time. we spent three days cruising among the gulf islands after sailing across the straight from coal harbour in downtown vancouver.
here are a few shots of our days on the sea from the hundred and thirty that i took.
the wife of my french language buddy in montréal is, i believe, a marvelous cook. she has sent me several recipes over the months, however this is the first i have tackled. i thought it would be fun to share with you, including Odette’s step by step instruction, with my pictures.
this is remarkably easy and fast to prepare…only the anticipation takes time.
6 egg whites (large eggs) chilled overnight. (freeze or use yolks in a main course for the same meal)
200 gm dark chocolate 75% cocoa
200 ml heavy cream
60 gm sugar
pinch of salt – 1/16 teaspoon
clean, clean, clean! make sure no grease is in the bowl or on the whisk,wipe bowl and whisk with vinegar after washing to ensure no oils are left on the bowl. after cleaning, i chilled the bowl for an hour then before adding the egg whites i put a single drop of vinegar in to help with the stiffening.
why add vinegar? adding vinegar (acid) makes the foam less likely to get lumpy, lose moisture and collapse. this happens when over-beating and egg-white proteins start to congeal.
use a good quality dark chocolate. i used 85% cocoa (because i sent rick to do the shopping 😉 however, the recommended is 70% to 75% cocoa for this recipe. chop the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl, large enough to hold the mousse when complete.
whip the 6 egg whites with a drop of vinegar and a pinch (1/16 spoon) of salt. slowly add the 200 grams of sugar (4 tablespoons – you could add a couple more if you prefer sweeter) until the volume has increased to a fluffy, but stiff state (about half the depth of the mixing bowl.)
bring the 200 ml of cream to a boil. i used a double boiler to prevent scorching. pour the hot cream over the chocolate in three batches, stirring the chocolate mixture each time until all the chocolate has completely melted.
load the whisk with a 1/4 to 1/3 of the meringue and whisk it into the chocolate cream mixture by hand until fully incorporated. using a large spatula, fold the remaining meringue gently into the chocolate mixture…be gentle, you want it to stay fluffy. cover the bowl with parchment an leave overnight in the refrigerator.
don’t forget to reward yourself for your efforts 🙂
the following evening, serve the mousse with a garnish of chocolate shavings and a dollop of whipped cream. a side of raspberries would be nice too! bon appétit!
recently i posted on my facebook page about the generosity of neighbours. this has been an ongoing theme for us since moving to hope, three years ago this month. Randy, a local carver has been exceptionally generous. in the last two weeks an early easter bunny arrived mysteriously on the doorstep; he’s since migrated to the pond, but is still looking for a permanent home. yesterday, i asked a favour, looking for a small round of wood to add to a birdhouse i was working on….a few hours later i got my round, and a whole lot more! i think I’m safe in saying i may have one of the most unique birdhouses anywhere.
all i had to do was cut the opening in the mouth and assemble the pieces!