Cook around the world: Germany & Tanzania

3 Feb

A little soup recipe round up from the last little while.

I am not a huge soup fan, I like it, but it’s not typically my go to unless I am in dental distress.

Germany

This purple pickled cabbage soup I LOVE. I love pickled things, so therefore a bowl of pickled soup is A+ in my books.

To supplement this soup I tried my first ever pretzel. I have never made anything like these before, no bagels etc, that required a water bath.

I misplaced the recipe for the pretzels, but honestly I just goggled it. Plus, although the pretzels looked alright, they were dense and fell a bit flat on the palate. I think that it was probably my inexperience, but i unfortunately don’t have a stellar fool proof recipe to share. What I do have to share, is the courage to just give it a shot.

The recipe gives you the option of leaving the cooked cabbage as is or giving it a little blend. I would recommend the latter. Stick an immersion blender in there and give it a little blitz. Then the crispy fried toppings, fresh dill, and yogurt can really show off.

This soup was recommended to me and I am recommending it to you.

http://annajones.co.uk/recipe/purple-pickled-cabbage-soup

Tanzania

Tanzanian Supu Viazia: coconut potato soup.

A quiet and unassuming soup, completely different from the bold bright flavours of the pickled soup. This soup relies on a deep base of tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers, and carrot. These vegetables are cooked down until the tomatoes are mush, almost charred, but not quite.

Skipping this step would render the soup fairly tasteless, as it is only simply seasoned with salt and pepper. A can of coconut milk is reminiscent of the palms lining the Tanzanian coast. Diced potatoes are added with water (or broth) and simmered until cooked.

This soup doesn’t have robust flavour, but I am learning that is ok. And typical of much of the world. It was comforting and safe.

http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/tanzanias-fairytale-coconut-potato-soup-supu-viazi/

Cook around the world: Thailand. Thai banana roti

21 Jan

As our toes dig into the sand path that connects the beaches and village on Ko Lipe my mind is on one thing. The little roti cart that stands at the intersection of the sand path and the sand road. On this tiny island that is direction enough.

At least it was in 2012, all of a sudden that was 10 years ago.

A yellow and white striped awning shades a piping hot griddle glistening with oil. Experienced hands throw the little ball of sweet dough around, stretching it with ease into a perfect circle before slapping it on the griddle, the sizzle as it hits is a glorious sound. Slices of bananas are layered inside and the roti is folded up containing the sweet little bananas. A perfect present. It’s sliced into squares and slid onto a flimsy paper plate. The plate is immediately translucent with oil. Obviously this is going to be absolutely delightful. White rivers of sweetened condensed milk seep into the treat rendering me completely addicted.

Thailand is obviously a fountain of delicious food. I’ve cooked a ton of it, but the banana roti (pancake) seemed too special, too exotic to recreate. This is my chance.

It came together easily. And the taste sent me right back to Ko Lipe. The island holds a most special place in my heart. Kyle and I had the most amazing week on that little sandy island after hiking Nepal. We constantly dream of returning to the quiet little shack. Relaxing in the hammock on the porch as the tide rolled right up to our steps. Watching the fisherman return from sea in their wooden long tail boats. Standing in the warm ocean as a torrential rain poured overhead.

I’ve reimagined it as heaven, and I am ok with that.

But back to present day and time to cook.

Recipe

A simple sweet dough was easy to bring together. I struggled with stretching the dough out a bit. I found it hard to thin the edges, and kept getting small holes in the centre if I stretched it too thin. But it became easier as I practiced. Watching professionals is extremely therapeutic, I’m definitely not there yet.

For the dough:

  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1/2 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Add 1/2 tsp salt if you used unsalted butter

Filling & cooking

  • Ripe bananas sliced
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Avocado oil or canola oil, and butter

Directions:

  • Combine flour, salt, and butter. Use your hands to rub butter into the flour.
  • Separately mix egg, condensed milk, and water.
  • Mix all together and knead until the flour is just absorbed.
  • Cover in a bowl for about 15 mins to rest.
  • Place rested dough on a clean surface and knead for ~5 min, adding flour if it is too sticky, it should be quite moist, but not stick to you.
  • Roll into an oval shape and cut into 5 equal balls. Place back into bowl and brush with oil.
  • Let rest for 2 hrs or in the fridge overnight. If you put into the fridge, pull out at least 3 hrs prior to use.
  • Stretch and thin the dough. Pull the sides as far as it can go without breaking. Pressing it into your work surface can help keep it from springing back. Keep rotating and repeating until you get a thing circle of dough.
  • Place roti in a hot pan with oil.
  • Quickly place sliced banana into centre of the roti and fold the edges over so it creates a square. Cook until golden, adding a bit of extra butter if you like. (Obviously do this). Should take 4-5 to cook.
  • Transfer to a cutting board and cut into squared and then drizzle with a healthy dose of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Close your eyes and enjoy while imagining a wave of hot tropical air washing over you and sand in your toes.

Check out a little reel on my Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/zoeogilvie

Cooking around the world : Haiti, Brunei, and Mediterranean

30 Dec

We had some neighbours over for a roast dinner so I busted out a world foods side dish experience. 3 geographically is unrelated countries, but the foods flowed well and gave everyone an option to have flavours they were into.

Haiti

Haitian Island Slaw.

A cabbage based slaw riddled with fine slivers of red peppers, red onion, carrot, green onion, and cilantro.

A light and creamy yogurt dressing packing lots of flavours with lime, acv, cumin, loads of cilantro, sugar, salt, pepper, and chilies.

I’m not typically into slaws, and mayo is blech, but I loved the light fresh flavour of this. I think it would be really awesome for summer picnics and potlucks, whenever potlucks become a thing again. The ingredients hold their texture well and the dressing would travel well.

I referenced the recipe from this cookbook:

Island Slaw by Ron Duprat in the cookbook:

The immigrant cookbook by Lelya Moushabeck

But you can always message me for detailed cookbook recipes.

Brunei

Nasi Biryani – celebration rice.

This was SO GOOD. You start off this dish by caramelizing and crisping thinly sliced shallots. This really sets the flavour of the dish.

Rice is then cooked with more shallots, ginger, garlic, turmeric, tomatoes, yogurt, chilli peppers, almonds, cashews, and cilantro.

Guys, the smell as it was cooking was to die for. Once it is done, you top it off with more fresh cilantro and those crispy caramel shallots.

Please make this.

*Also: don’t forget to trim your cilantro bunch before you set it in water and in the fridge. If the ends are scabbed over, it won’t drink, and you will be left with saggy sad cilantro faster than necessary. Which no one wants. Expect those poor people who think it tastes like soap. Poor souls.

This is the recipe I referenced:

https://www.food.com/recipe/nasi-biryani-celebration-rice-brunei-480624

Random Mediterranean, no country, but it was good so listing it here anyways.

My final side dish came as a last minute panic about the amount of food I had, and worries that these guests I barely knew would hate it.

I had some nice asparagus so whipped up a quick Mediterranean inspired addition to the table.

I sautéed the trimmed asparagus with olive oil, shallots, garlic, a tsp of za’atar, and some chilli flakes. Once that was cooked I added some lemon zest, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some feta.

Easy peasey lemon squeezy so to speak. Season it with your gut.

Cooking around the world … week 2

3 Dec

Being Hanukkah, everywhere I look I see delicious latkes piled high with cream and pomegranate tendrils. I have an amazing cookbook from the library, so I’ll be saving Israel for later.

For now, I will be satisfying that appetite with a potato pancake out of Luxembourg. I rode the train through the tiny country when I was backpacking Europe, but can’t remember much… except for the fact I did.

Gromperekichelcher

I’m not exactly sure how it differs from latkes except maybe the parsley. Doesn’t really matter, what matters was that is was delicious. Typically it is served topped with apple sauce. I wasn’t feeling super keen on that, but did anyways, and I was pleasantly surprised. The sweetness of the sauce really paired nicely with the salty oily nature of the fritter. Kind of freshened it up a bit.

Recipe I followed:

http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/crispy-potato-fritters-gromperekichelcher/

Japan: Salt cured salmon with rice and vegetables with a side of okonomiyaki

My friend Erika used to make okonomiyaki for us a decade ago, and the sweet sauce still brings back memories of eating with her as soon as I tasted it.

It’s sort of a marriage between an omelette and a veggie pancake. The fillings (and toppings!) are endless. It would be quite traditional to add seafood, but I made them with veggies. Cabbage, yam, green onion, daikon, nori, and potato. They fry up quickly and I topped them simply with Japanese mayonnaise and the homemade okonomiyaki sauce.

For the main, I salt cured some salmon Kyle had previously caught.

In the morning I completely coated the skinned and deboned fish in salt. I let it sit in the fridge for the day.

To prepare the fish I rinsed the salmon and the brushed some sashimi sauce on it. The texture of the cure salmon was amazing, I was super worried, but it was amazing. Like the texture of lox. I stuck it under the broiler to try and char the top of it, but my broiler kinda sucks. Next time maybe I would toss in a scorching pan for a second. TBD. You don’t want to cook the fish. Just give the outside a little sear.

Cook up some sushi rice and toss it with rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. Spiralize a daikon and shred some red cabbage. Slice a perfectly ripe avocado. You can buy pre seasoned sushi rice vinegar, but it is simple to make.

Take your seared salmon and cut it into bite size pieces. Place it atop a mound of sushi rice and arrange the vegetables around it. Sprinkle black sesame seeds and green onions over it all. Serve with sashimi or nikiri Sauce.

The fish was obviously salty, but I love love love salt so it was all good in my books. I would definitely try that form of salmon preparation again. It was really nice to have something a bit different than how I usually prepare it.

The okonomiyaki batter stayed fairly well in the fridge and made a really great breakfast the following day.

For the okonomiyaki sauce I used this recipe

https://www.justonecookbook.com/okonomiyaki-sauce/

For the okonomiyaki itself I referenced these two recipes and then went rogue using both a bit of flour and panko, eggs, and the veggies listed above. I sprinkled in some furikake in the batter, and on top.

https://www.justonecookbook.com/okonomiyaki/

https://www.loveandlemons.com/okonomiyaki/

For the salt cured salmon I used this cookbook

The Immigrant cookbook: collected and edited by Leyla Moushabeck

https://www.immigrantcookbook.net/

Cooking around the world… week 1

30 Nov

Peru, Norway, El Salvador, and Sudan.

I know you’ve also been in a major cooking rut. Maybe not now, but at sometime.

Every. Single. Night. What the heck to make. When my friend said she was going to try and cook a recipe from each country in the world in a year … I was all … yes… a thousand times yes…

But then I started to over think it. Do I go A-Z ? Geographically around the globe? ugh. I couldn’t start.

Then I just did. I started with foods that weren’t foreign, from places I’ve been. With foods I already had in my fridge. And guess what, it wasn’t scary or overwhelming… well a little overwhelming because then I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what I wanted to make next.

I started with a simple quinoa soup out of Peru. Kyle and I travelled to Peru in 2013 and we ate this brothy vegetable soup quite frequently. We did a (rainy!) jungle cruise down the tributaries of the Amazon basin, a trek to Machu Picchu , and hunkered down in the high altitudes of Cusco.

Lima was also an incredible culinary experience, but that is a different story.

The rain, cold, and altitude of the jungle and Cusco brought us ample opportunities to be soothed by quinoa soup. We always felt so comfortable when it was served. It was easy to make and translates well to the holiday season when we are often seeing rich meals at every corner.

Try it!

Peruvian Quinoa Soup

https://eatwellenjoylife.com/peruvian-quinoa-soup/

I loosely followed this recipe, and added a little fresh ginger while I was frying the garlic, a little extra quinoa, and fresh cilantro with the fresh parsley at the end. The fresh herbs are mandatory.

Next up was salmon. Kyle has caught a fresh one on the weekend so it needed to be incorporated. After a bit of research it seemed as though salmon was frequented in Norway so I cooked up a Norwegian butter sauce to top the fish.

Sandefjordsmor.

I definitely don’t typically make sauces that require attention. But it was actually pretty simple. It didn’t get very thick though. so either I rushed (probably) or it needed to cool before I served it, as after we ate the leftovers were nice and thick.

I mean it was made of lemon, butter, whipping cream, and parsley. Sort of hard for it not to be delicious.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/257242/norwegian-butter-sauce-sandefjordsmor/

El Salvador’s pupusas with curtido

Definitely something I would have been afraid to try and make. Multi steps. Dough. Neither thing I’ve been fond of. But I went slow, made some adjustments, and trialed it before the kids got home.

Make the curtido the night before, it absolutely MAKES the dish. But I don’t recommend giving yourself a gnarly finger slice while chopping jalapeños. Blech.

The dough was soft, and felt sloppy and messy. It was tricky at first. But, if I kept my hands wet and oily the dough stayed smooth and formed little pockets of cheesy goodness. I used what I had on hand for the filling: beans and mozzarella cheese…. But the filling options seem endless. Squash seems to be a popular one, which I would really like to try. The kids would only try plain cheese, but they tried it, so that’s a win.

https://www.acozykitchen.com/how-to-make-pupusas#wprm-recipe-container-37353

So delicious. I froze them on parchment once they were formed and they cooked up really nicely again a few days later for a quick lunch.

Sudanese tomato salad

My final country of the week was Sudan. I needed a quick light meal for night shift and a simple tomato salad from South Sudan was the answer.

Fresh tomatoes, green onions, and parsley. Topped with a spicy peanut sauce.

Yup. So good.

Flavours I am used to. But not ones I would usually combine. I’ll definitely make that again for a simple side dish.

http://globaltableadventure.com/recipe/sudanese-tomato-salad/

Almond Italian Plum Torte

31 Aug

When the boughs of the plum tree are heavy with juicy purple gems it is time to pull out this sweet end of summer recipe.

The moist dense cake is scented with almond and the sweetness of the dough creates almost a caramelized crust on the bottom. Pockets of jammy plums dot the top of the torte with the juices seeping into cake.

Good eaten both hot out of the pan, and a day later once the flavours have fully integrated with each other.

Pairs well with morning coffee, potlucks, and unsweetened whipped cream.

Recipe

Oven 350 deg

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup softened butter (115gm)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 tsp pure almond extract

20ish small purple Italian plums – halved

Topping:

2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp sugar

(You may use brown or white sugar, or a drizzle of honey!)

Method:

While oven is heating, cream butter and sugar. Once blended add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract.

Mix dry into wet.

The batter will be very thick. Scrape into 8-9 inch circular silicone or spring form pan.

Arranged halved plums to cover the batter with skin side up.

Sprinkle top with lemon juice, cinnamon, and sugar.

Bake about 45 mins, until toothpick just comes out clean.

Enjoy XO

Learning to Forage: Wild mushrooms

15 Jan

Among all its crap, 2020 was the year to learn something new.

Since I already baked sourdough, cooked elaborate home meals, and camped, I needed to expand my horizon. We tend to spend a lot of time outside, but it was time to extend our repertoire of outside activities as well as the length of season.

Here on Vancouver island, BC., fall and winter mean rain, rain, and more rain. And rain brings mushrooms. The previous fall my brother-in-law and his knowledgeable wife took us on our first ever hike to search for mushrooms. We were pretty intrigued!

Our first solo haul…and soggy learning experience

Then in the spring, in the early COVID days, we went on out first solo expedition on Hornby Island after hearing rumours oysters were out and clinging to the dead alder. We were hooked. This delightful meal turned into a bit of a horror show once the mushroom flesh hit the hot pan. What was going to be a delightful dinner turned into a wriggling mess of tiny white worms trying to escape their sizzling garlicky death.

Hard pass. But we were hooked none the less. And learned a valuable lesson regarding picking quality over quantity.

Over the summer, the mushrooms dried up and I dabbled in skateboarding, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. It rewarded me with severely damaged front teeth and a broken and dislocated toe, as you may have previously read or heard me complain incessantly about. Come fall, I had zero interest in harnessing the power of the wind and stepping on to an out of control board.

Luckily, the fall rains promised a bounty of mushrooms. The early fall gave us a vibrant display of flaming red lobster mushrooms and radiant yellow chanterelles. I favoured the chanterelles over the fishy flavour of the lobster, but they did lend themselves well to a chowder.

Keep your eyes open for mushrooms and dried flowers
A family affair

As the fall deepened, a bounty of white and yellow chanterelles were unleashed upon us. The kids (3 &5) were quickly becoming adapt at finding an assortment of fungi and identifying a few key varieties. Our explorations stretched us to further reaching areas of our island and up and down rugged logging roads. Into majestic old growth with giants so tall and wide you feel like an inconsequential speck of dust.

Our best day!

Although the hikes can be quite long with the kids sometimes, I definitely recommend taking the kids along. Because you are searching the forest floor deliberately, you are moving slowly, at a pace the kids can handle. They are aware some mushrooms are poisonous and know they are never to eat any without parental approval. Not that they would eat a mushroom ever if it was put on a plate for them.

Theo especially has loved the independence of having his own collection bag in which he can collect what he wants. At home, he takes it into his “workshop” to create a mushroom soup to play with. He is loving learning which types are edible and is always asking questions. Just remember to pack them copious snacks and wear rain gear as the forest floor is usually pungent and damp.

Practicing his knife work.

I feel fortunate that our wild mushroom season has extended into the winter. We’ve braved some serious rain for some golden chanterelles, oysters, and cats tongue. Theo has an impressive stash of inedible fungi brewing in a broken baby pool. Although I am super drawn to the uniqueness of the cats tongue / toothed jelly fungus, I keep wimping out when I get home and not using them. I’ve seen some neat ideas on candying them. But I can’t commit.

We searched hard for hedgehog mushrooms this winter, but they’ve alluded us thus far. If 2020 was our year of the chanterelle, maybe 2021 will bring us hedgehogs.

For now, it’s chanterelles with sage, garlic, and nutmeg on repeat. Don’t forget that fresh grated nutmeg.

There is something special about tasting the forest at the dinner table. It has opened up not only a new hobby, but also a new avenue of cooking for me to explore. I encourage you to grab a pocket guide to mushrooms in your area and talk with friends who might know there way around gills, caps, and spores. ( we are still very much beginners!) Walk into that forest (with someone!) and see what you find. At the very worst you will be breathing fresh air and walking among the giants.

Don’t forget to look down.

X

Don’t forget to look down

Tofino Rain or Shine

14 Aug
We are getting pretty good at self timer jumping pics

We were a bit of a hot mess rollin’ into Tofino at sunset but we made it. I haven’t don’t the summer drive to Tofino in probably over a decade… or maybe like 15 years. (Now I feel extra old). We so rarely make it that direction, and it always seems to be November. The drive was bathed in golden evening light and the slate grey rocky peaks looked like they were smoking as the whispy clouds clung to their peaks. Everything is a living green.

The highway is dicey at best and in a perpetual state of construction. It’s becoming less of a death trap, but rockslides still seem too frequent. The traffic was light and the delays short.

I had failed to find a fitting air cast in Port Alberni, so am rocking crutches and buddy taping. I always wanted to try crutches as a kid. Turns out they majorly suck. But I can see myself in Pippa and Theos excitement around them and their constant desire to play with them.

But holy hell, my armpits.

Our first day in Tofino sort of blew. It rained. Then poured. Then rained. Then poured. Just all night, all day. So. Much. Water.

Tent flooded. The path became a puddle. The bathroom an ice rink on my crutches. We went into town to get me a air cast (Tofino pharmacy for the win, I guess they must get a lot of sport injuries haha). We guzzled hot coffee and treats from Rhino, a booming little coffee and doughnut shop.

White chocolate lemon. Apple fritter stuffed with cream cheese? A thousand times YES.

And coffee, always.

We are camping with awesome friends but we were ships in the night that first day. All of us just trying to survive and keep the kids somewhat happy-ish. Less wet-ish.

Hiding in the truck bed surveying the disaster
Catching raindrops
Out to play in the rain

We survived and were rewarded with a spectacular day. Blue skies. Orcas. Sunsets. And, very importantly, heat to dry All. The. Things. Naturally everything child-related was soaked and filthy.

I had been so very very excited to go surfing so was pretty freaking disappointed about my foot. But the swell was small, summer usually is. Maybe it the morning fog dampened it with her quiet effect. Not sure. But in the end I didn’t miss out on too much.

I became an expert sand crutcher and Kyle and our friends really stepped up doing everything for me and ALLL the set up. Thanks Kyle.

We stayed low key and opted out of the trail hikes and beach exploring. We settled into Mackenzie beach and soaked it all it had to offer. Interestingly, as kids we often stayed on this beach, but on the other end. It felt like a brand new place on the other end of the vast expanse of sand.

The beach was busy with clusters of families enjoying each other. By night, little campfires dotted the beach and bongos and a fiddle danced in the salty air. A scene of normalcy and peace.

Late night swims
#dadfluencer

The bathroom use was limited as was the trail/ stairways to allow for distancing and I felt very much like people were extending the respect they give to the west coast environment to the people around them.

I would definitely recommend the campsite Bella Pacifica for locals travelling the island. But don’t try and get my spot ahead of me !

View is ok
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China Creek thermals

7 Aug
Kyle heading out

As we wind down the forest road past racing F250 trucks the knot in my stomach tightens. A pit of fiery anxiety. I know Kyle wants me to get out on the kiteboard, but I can’t feel excited until I see the place. Feel the wind. See the shore. Test the vibe.

Kyle shredding

It’s too scary.

China creek campground (not to be confused with China Beach on the coast) is situated on the Alberni inlet enroute to Bamfield. Thermals from the chilly coast race to scorching Port Alberni creating a relatively reliable onshore wind for kiteboarding and other wind sports. With Nitinat closed due to covid more people are flocking here, to what was once primarily a fishing site.

The campsite is super children friendly with a playground, bike park, step stools in the bathroom, and lots of flat trails.

There is the main area for launching and landing kites on the beach, but also a safer area for family swims and kids learning to windsurf. The water was brown but so warm. Booms of misplaced logs are washed up in bundles and the emerald trees top boastful cliffs. My water babies jumped right in to the water and swam until frozen solid. Because that is the best way.

Although I had secretly hoped for no wind on the second day so we could boat

To bamfield the wind howled. I spent the day working myself up into a complete state about getting out on the water and Kyle slayed it. Got Theo out on the boogie board which was fun though.

By diner I finally was mentally prepared and the wind still blew. Launching is by far my biggest fear, especially after a few dicey experiences. And the fact there are people all over the tiny beach watching. And the beach is slippery barnacle rocks. And I am scared to slice someone’s head off with my lines. And a million other things. Launching was far from perfect. But I didn’t get injured, nor did I injure the kite. I didn’t get up on the board before the wind died and I felt “done”. Just getting in the water and trying the launch was good enough for me.

Blech. Stressssful.

Andrea and I admiring our matching kites after going out on the water

In the evening dusty golden light filters down on us through the Firs. BBQ smells waft though the pathways and we roasted s’mores. Again. Because yum.

The last morning was a big mess of rolling up soaking tents and gear after a big rain in the night. Our friends had a kids windsurf and I felt that was a safe option instead of risking kiteboarding.

Me: making smart decisions!

Also me: managed to destroy (break/ dislocate) my big toe and had to abandon the campsite and head to the hospital

I smashed it down sideways hard on a barnacle rock on one of my first attempts. It hurt like hell. But I figured it was a bruise and because there was a tear in my bootie maybe a barnacle bite. I kept at it, adrenaline pumping through me, and got sailing a few times! Not far, but I felt like I was doing quite well.

My foot got progressively more and more painful so i decided to take off my shoe and check out the situation. Maybe my toenail was off?

Nope. Big toe smashed right sideways. Not good.

It definitely isn’t supposed to look like that
Dislocated & Fractured

A trip to Port Alberni hospital revealed that indeed I both broke and dislocated my big toe. Two Drs yanked it into place and an air cast should help the fracture healing. I am most disappointed in myself.

But onwards we shall go.

Double dang

Campsite information:

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Home away Hornby

4 Aug

Do you have places you go that feel like a second home? Not like your vacation cabin, but outdoor spaces? Places that breathe life into you. Places where you can be fully you. Where you are your best self, living your best life?

Whaling station: looking over to the point

For me. I think that is Hornby island. Home on Hornby has evolved over time. I have been vacationing here since I was born. Both my husband and I learned to walk here as toddlers. Fumbling over sandstone and dry grasses on opposite sides of this little sliver of heaven.

The rain after a huge thunder and lightening storm.
Cabin view. The “rocky” beach looking over at Texada Isl.

As a child and young adult the Heron Rocks campsite was home. The smell of dry grasses and salt air immediately set my heart at ease. The drift wood shelters became gathering places where families shared food and memories. Other areas of Hornby were magical of course, but those dusty trails were home. The place you were called to return to…. and rarely left while we camped.

Heron Rocks Campsite

I am lucky to have married into a family that also shares a deep connection with this island. The twisted branches of the arbutus have forged a path across the island for us and home now feels very much nestled into the white sands of Whaling station. My adult home and my childhood home. Two important places for anyone. A timeshare.

Whaling station with mama jo

These past few days home has been the sandy shores of Whaling Station. The island boast massive tide changes on its sandy beaches, and the timing is critical in enjoying the warm waters. The tide was perfect. Super low in the morning. Kyle and Theo could explore the conglomerate and sandstone point searching for crabs and shells. As the day moved on the turquoise hinted waters moved slowly in across the fine pale sand. The bay stays shallow for ages, keeping it warm. It is perfect for paddle boarding and learning to swim. A relatively recent addition is a massive driftwood tree. A jungle gym at low tide, an island and diving board at the sunset high tide.

Me and Pippa having the best snuggle

The kids swam and swam. Then swam some more. I was worried they would have forgotten a bit due to the pools being closed for Covid. But nope, here we are, little water babies swimming away in the cool salty water. For our biggest beach day we spent a solid 9 hours at the beach. Mostly in the water. Pippa had a little nap in my lap while I lay in the inflatable hammock. It was the best ever. We had our giant sunshade and alllllll the toys.

Set up!

Kyle and his brothers fished and pawned each day looking for tasty sea treasures to bring home.

It’s always so hard to leave.

But we will be back.

Celebrating our 12th anniversary in Qualicum with Hornby in the background
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