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Gluten Free Spiced Cranberry Scones
The Story Behind Musician Sean McCann's Memoir
How to freshen your decor while you stay home
Is it OK to eat food that just hit the floor?
One of 8 gluten-free recipes in the May issue, each prepared by Chef Bernie-Ann Ezekiel and her Academy Canada cooking class. Photos by Downhome staff.2 cups flour (1:1 gluten-free flour)1/3 cup sugar1 tbsp baking powder1/2 tsp xanthan gum1/2 tsp salt1/8 tsp nutmeg1/2 tsp cinnamon3/4 cup butter, cold1/4 cup dry cranberries, chopped2 eggs2/3 cup milkPreheat oven to 350Â°F.Sift dry ingredients together. Cut the butter in using a pastry cutter until it is the size of green peas. Mix in the cranberries. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and milk together, then add it to the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough is formed. Use an ice-cream scoop to portion the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls to about half of their height. Bake for 20-25 minutes. They should be golden brown and puffed up a little.Yield: 8-10 scones
Fresh off the press is the heartfelt, sincere story about true love, addiction and recovery written by singer-songwriter SÃ©an McCann and his wife Andrea Aragon. Here is Denise Flintâs review of the book. To read more about this couple, Deniseâs in-depth conversation with SÃ©an (formerly of Great Big Sea) and Andrea, about their life together and why they wrote this book, appears in the May issue of Downhome.One Good Reason: A memoir of addiction and recovery, music and loveSÃ©an McCann and Andrea AragonNimbus Publishing$29.95 (hardcover)One Good Reason is a memoir cowritten by musician SÃ©an McCann and his wife, Andrea Aragon. The book follows an unusual, but intriguing, format with the voice going back and forth between the two authors. The story centres on McCannâs struggles with alcohol, which he turned to after being abused by his parish priest when he was a teenager. He talks about his early life, his troubled teen years after he gave up the idea of becoming a priest, and his life as a famously drunken musician, husband and father. But itâs not all about him.Although the bulk of the book is written by McCann, several chapters tell the story from Aragonâs perspective. He writes about how addiction affects a person and she, who kept a journal throughout their relationship, writes about how it affects the people around the addict. There may occasionally be a little bit too much information here for the average readerâs comfort, but they both thought it was important to be as open and candid as possible. The result is a heartfelt and sincere examination of the trials the couple faced together.The book is peppered with photographs, hand-written lyrics and drawings, giving it a visually inviting look. But thatâs not the important part. One Good Reason is a story of addiction and the abuse that drove it; but at its heart, itâs really a love story about one woman who never gave up on the man she loves, and the man who made himself live up to her expectations.
By Holly Costello When spring finally arrives, everyone gets the urge for a fresh new look. And these days of social isolation, being stuck at home makes that more important than ever. Here are some easy ideas to help you achieve that without having to leave the house. Clean, organize, declutter Thereâs nothing like a spring cleaning to get rid of all that winter grime and gain the feeling of accomplishment you get when all your closets and drawers are organized and tidy. Wash those windows inside and out to let that spring sun shine in and clean that layer of dust off everything. Switch out all that heavy winter clothing, coats, boots, and accessories for the lighter spring and summer items. Rearrange the furniture Change is good. Switch your bed to a different wall in your bedroom, or change the layout of the furniture in your living room. A great tip here is to shop around your house for pieces of furniture that could be repurposed or used elsewhere. Switch a living room chair with one from your bedroom. Need a TV stand? Take a chest of drawers from a guest bedroom to use there instead. I have even swapped entire rooms in a clientâs house; to make a main floor more functional, Iâve switched the locations of the family room and dining room. Paint something! Paint a piece of furniture to give it a new look. Paint an interior door a bright accent colour. If youâre really feeling adventurous, try painting out a bathroom vanity or your kitchen cabinets. At time time of writing this, many local businesses that carry these type of products are doing deliveries or pickups. Change your accents Change up artwork, accessories, toss cushions, throws and rugs. Once again, you donât need to go out and buy new things: you can often shop your house for these switch-ups. Put away your cozy sheepskin, your fuzzy and chunky knit throws, and switch out to that lightweight bright yellow one. Swap out your cosy winter toss cushions for bright and/or light tones. Take all your artwork down and rearrange it, hang it in different rooms or in different configurations. Take those photos and frames youâve had stored away and get them up on the walls. Nowâs a good time to have those family memories out to see. Take out and display a favourite collection (like these cups in the above photo). Nothing says spring like yellow and orange, so add a punch of colour by displaying fresh bananas, lemons and oranges in a favourite bowl or glass vase - accessories that are inexpensive and readily on hand for cooking up delicious springtime meals. Decorate with seasonal dÃ©cor. If you do want to purchase some new springtime accessories, there are stores online and local that will deliver to you. Bring spring in Bring the outside in by adding fresh greenery or colourful flowers to your space. Go on a walk or forage in your own backyard for greenery or flowers that are starting to pop up this time of year. Or move your houseplants to a new location to be admired and appreciated anew.
What is with the five-second rule about food that falls on the floor?By Linda BrowneHave you ever found yourself in this predicament? You get ready to take a big, satisfying bite out of that long-awaited treat when suddenly a chunk of it cracks off and falls to the floor. In a moment of quick thinking (or rather, a lack thereof), you scoop it up and shove it into your mouth, hopefully before anybody notices. Donât judge; weâve (likely) all been there! But you managed to pick it up within five seconds, so itâs all good, right? The âfive-second ruleâ is one that many of us have invoked time and time again to minimize food waste (or just because we really, really wanted that gummy bear). But you may want to second-guess that âruleâ before you put another bit of floor food into your mouth. In their book Donât Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health, Drs. Aaron Carroll and Rachel Vreeman (both professors of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine) examined a study that put the five-second rule to the test. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology, looked at the survival and transfer of Salmonella typhimurium from wood, tile or carpet to bologna and bread. It concluded that Salmonella âcan survive for up to four weeks on dry surfaces in high-enough populations to be transferred to foods andâ¦ can be transferred to the foods tested almost immediately on contact.âIn this study, the âworst offenderâ of the five-second rule, explain Carroll and Vreeman, was bologna on tile. âOver 99 per cent of the bacterial cells transferred from the tile to the bologna after just five seconds of the bologna hitting the floor!â they write.âTransfer from wood was a bit slower (five to 68 per cent of the bacteria was transferred) and transfer from carpet was actually not very successful. After hitting the carpet, less than 0.5 per cent of the bacteria transferred to the bologna. When they did transfer, bacteria moved to the food almost immediately upon contact. By five seconds, it was too late.âCarroll and Vreeman note that itâs not just bacteria that people should be concerned about when their food hits the floor. âA study of pesticides on household surfaces shows that these toxic chemicals can also transfer to foods like apples, bologna and cheese. The pesticides seem to take a little longer than bacteria, though.âSo the next time you drop that piece of chocolate on the floor, forget about the five-second rule and send it straight to the trash.
By Interior Designer Sara KirbyIâm not afraid to take design risks. Iâm also not afraid to admit when that risk has run its course. In 2009, I was adamant that our master bedroom needed to be cloaked, wall-to-wall, in damask wallpaper. I did the installation myself, my first foray into wallpaper hanging. I was proud of my handiwork and lived for the look. Then one day, the pattern wasnât thrilling me anymore. It was overwhelming in an area where I wanted to feel anything but. So in a fraction of the time it took to put up, I tore it all down. It was super satisfying and the room (and I) breathed a sigh of relief.A significant change was afoot. The new mood I hoped to conjure in my bedroom was one of relaxed refinement; casual, like a favourite pair of jeans, but not lazy, like joggers. Pulled together, but comfortable. I am a subscriber to âthe bedroom is a sanctuary of peaceâ school of thought, and this go-round I was going to lean into it -- hard.Periodically taking an inventory of the things in your home is always a smart move. I started my quest for a serene sleep space by considering each piece. Criteria to stay were that I had to love it absolutely, it had to serve a purpose and it had to be beautiful. After review, two large furniture pieces needed to stay: the upholstered bed and a sizeable dresser. My main grumble with the dresser were the dated and boring handles, so I sourced new ones that were black leather and brass perfection. Armed with a drill, some great tunes, and a bit of downtime one Saturday afternoon, I installed them. I was immediately wowed by how a simple project can completely transform a tired piece. On the list of new items to bring into my bedroom: practical and pretty nightstands, fun lamps, an attractive rug, a few cherished family photos, and a handful of useful dÃ©cor items and greenery. Creating a mood board for the refreshed room was next. Uniting items from different design styles is something I love to do, and a mood board is a perfect medium for testing out combos without any expense or commitment. Merging pieces from different eras helps a space to feel more curated and personal. The lamps were chosen because of their great mid-century modern vibe, convenient USB plug-in and pull-cord (no more stretching for the off switch when youâre ready for shut-eye). The nightstands I selected were a better fit for the height of the bed. They had drawers for storage, but felt airy thanks to their open bottom shelf. None of the large furniture pieces in the room were identical in style or finish, but they complemented each other. Clear acrylic photo frames, dÃ©cor accessories in neutrals and brass, and a few touches of greenery kept things fresh. With furniture in place, I turned my attention to the walls. I knew I wanted a dark paint colour and millwork. After a lot of deliberation, I landed on #teamshiplap. Installing shiplap vertically felt more modern and helped to visually stretch the wall height. The bedroom windows look out over the cliffs of Middle Cove and Torbay, and the vistas and light are ever-shifting. Years ago, I fell deeply in love with a painting that pays homage to those views. Itâs been in the space since it was built, but relocating it above the dresser made it feel new again. Itâs moody blue hues and the landscape outside informed the paint colour choice for the shiplap wall. I sampled three deep blue-greys and landed on Gravel Grey by Benjamin Moore.The final elements left to consider were textiles, soft finishing touches that make a room feel cozy and collected. I have an enduring adoration for beautiful linen bedding; nothing imparts a relaxed, elegance quite like it. A linen duvet cover in pure white and a quilted linen coverlet in natural was all I needed. I referred back to the focal artwork to inform the choice of the throw pillows and rug. Desaturated, watery blue-greens provided subtle pops of colour and cultivated calm. The broken black and phentermine pills lumbar pillow acted as the exclamation mark on an otherwise understated bed.Now, when I open my bedroom door, I feel completely at ease. I love to linger here and enjoy a slow, Sunday coffee or a quiet weeknight reading in bed. In the homes I design, I strive to create ever-evolving spaces. Rooms are really a kind of invitation to create an open-ended oeuvre that is continually responding to the needs of its occupants, in ways subtle and substantial. How my bedroom will shift over the years will be interesting to see. For now, it feels like a warm hug, and that makes me very happy.
By Chef Bernie-Ann Ezekiel and her Academy Canada cooking classMoose FrittataMakes 4 servings 1/2 lb moose meat, julienne 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1/4 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 cup leeks, sliced thin 2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced 1/2 cup red pepper, julienne 1/2 cup green pepper, julienne 3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled 5 eggs, whisked Preheat broiler. Mix first five ingredients together in a bowl and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a non-stick, oven-safe frying pan over high heat. When the oil is hot, add marinated moose and sautÃ© quickly, moving it around the whole time. Once itâs seared all around, add leeks and garlic; continue cooking over high heat for another minute. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe the pan clean, spray with non-stick cooking spray, set the heat to low-medium and add the whisked eggs. Stir gently with a rubber spatula, pushing eggs to the middle of the pan to make a scrambled egg effect. Once eggs are nearly cooked on the bottom, place the pan under the broiler briefly, to cook the top. Once there is more info here liquid egg on top, place the moose, peppers and feta on it and put it back under the broiler to melt the cheese a little. Serve immediately. *If you donât have moose meat at home, substitute with steak.
By Kim Thistle One of the most confusing things for new vegetable gardeners is deciding when to plant. Thereâs all sorts of information available on the internet and in books and magazines on how to plant, and that advice holds true no matter where you live. The tricky thing is knowing when to plant. The long winters and cool springs of Newfoundland and Labrador leave many gardeners questioning planting dates. Some plants are tender and cannot withstand cold. Some can withstand cold, but not frost. Some will come through a frost and snowfall unscathed. What to do, what to do?First of all, it is important to keep a journal from year to year. Note things such as daily weather conditions, snowmelt and soil temperature. Log the date of seeding and transplanting your small plants. Make notes throughout the season on things such as how long it took the seeds to sprout, what disease and insects attacked, if water pooled in certain areas of the garden, dates that plants may have bolted and when you began harvesting each vegetable. By doing this you will have an invaluable reference to carry you through your life as a gardener.We all know that in Newfoundland the snow may melt in early April, but it may persevere till mid-May. Every year is different. In this article, Iâll address the plants that can withstand the cold and thus may be planted once the ground can be worked. In our province, this can be anywhere from early May until about the third week of that month, depending on snowmelt and soil temperature. Here's a map to NL frost dates: plantmaps.com/interactive-newfoundland-last-frost-date-map.php In Newfoundland and Labrador, most gardens have these staples: potato, carrot, onion, rutabaga (turnip), cabbage and beet. These are all hardy vegetables and can withstand the cold temperatures of spring. Potatoes Purchase certified seed potatoes every year to reduce the chance of carrying over diseases from year to year. Plant the whole tuber to reduce the incidence of rotting when planted in cold soil. Plant them approximately two weeks before the average last killing frost (see sidebar) or when your soil temperature is at about 6-7Â°C. Potatoes can tolerate some frost. Most Newfoundlanders plant on the 24th of May, but you can try planting a few seeds earlier and the bulk of your crop on the Victoria Day weekend. Watch the progress of both crops and note the difference in your log. You may find you can enjoy an early and a later crop. Carrots Carrot seed is quite small and can be a nuisance. Pelleted seed or seed tapes are your best options. Start planting seed when the soil temperature is 6-7Â°C. Carrots can withstand frost. I like to plant every two weeks or so up until mid-July. This gives a long season for harvesting, and you can leave your late seeded crop in the ground all winter for an early spring treat of sweet carrots. (Note: If you have a problem with carrot rust fly, avoid leaving any carrots in the ground as the maggots will overwinter and infect your crop the following year.) Onions You have two choices for planting onions. Most people choose onion sets, but I prefer to grow them from seed as there is a better success rate, larger onions, less bolting and the onions tend to cure better for storage. Plant your seed under lights in late February or early March, making sure that your soil temperature is at least 10Â°C. Alternatively, you could purchase started plants from your local garden centre at the time of planting. Seedlings withstand light frost and can be planted quite early in the season around about the same time you plant your carrots and potatoes. If you suspect a heavy frost, use a frost blanket. I follow the same guidelines for leek, scallions, and shallots. Rutabaga Rutabaga seed will germinate in temperatures as low as 7Â°C but 12-15Â°C is ideal. Again, it is a crop that you can seed three weeks or so after your initial planting for an early and late harvest. Small seed of any type is difficult to manage and is best sprinkled thickly so that small plants can be thinned after sprouting, leaving just the healthiest plants behind to mature. Donât throw away the thinnings, as the young plants make great salad or cooked greens. Cabbage For the easiest and earliest crop, grow your seedlings or purchase them at your local garden centre. Plant them outside when the soil temperature reaches 7-10Â°C. Waiting until it is warmer may increase the chance of your cabbage flowering rather than forming a head. Choose small healthy plants; larger ones have been in the growing packs too long, which will cause the plant to bolt (flower and go to seed). The same instructions for planting are applicable to broccoli, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts. Beet This favourite of mine can be planted from seed at the same time as carrots. Be aware that if planted when the soil is too cold, they will produce wonderful tops but may not form into well-developed roots. For this reason plant again at two-week intervals until mid-June, ensuring that you have delicious beet greens and an extended season of juicy young beets to eat fresh and larger roots for pickling. You can also seed beet in your greenhouse or purchase started plants to get a jump on the season. Sow the seed with the intention to thin and leave the strongest seedlings. Again, these thinnings may be eaten raw in a salad or cooked and eaten as a side dish. Kim Thistle owns a garden centre and landscaping business on the west coast of the island. She is also a well-known CBC Crosstalk gardening guest for almost three decades. Got a gardening question for Kim? Email email@example.com.
By Chad Bennett There are few things in life more satisfying than a thick slice of Newfoundland bread still warm from the oven and richly dressed in butter and molasses. But the history of Newfoundland bread is richer still. Found within each golden three-bun loaf and each shipâs hard tack is a story of innovation, lives gambled, fortunes made, and even industrial espionage. This is the story of two brothers from Glasgow, Scotland, and an American from New Jersey who all came to St. Johnâs, NL to make their mark. The brothers arrived first.In 1832, Scottish brothers William and James Rennie first set foot on Newfoundland soil. They brought with them a plan and many crates of specialized equipment imported from Germany. German equipment in this era was the best you could get. The tension of the ropes lowering the machinery to shore could only be matched by the tension felt by the brothers as they watched all their hopes dangle from a few twisted threads of hemp. Success or ruin is so often determined by the finest of threads. The Rennie brothers secured their precious cargo and headed to the outskirts of town to land along the banks of a river. It would take three years and a small army of local skills and labour, but in 1835, the first flour mill in Newfoundland began operation. Wheat was being ground into flour locally for the first time: the Rennie brothers had pulled it off. That same year, the Rennie brothers opened the first mechanical bakery in North America. After years of preparation, of studying the mechanics and engineering in Edinburgh, of meticulously planning every detail of launching an industry, it was all coming off without a hitch, except for two unknown variables. Two simple givens so small that the brothers hadnât even given them a second glance: water and local culture.In Europe, at the time, everyone bought bread from large-scale bakeries, so they never dreamed that this wouldnât be true in Newfoundland. Their bakery, which at first concentrated on soft breads, soon found that in Newfoundland nearly everyone already baked their own bread. The brothers were shocked: the local cultural ethos of self-sufficiency and the unbeatable golden three-bun loaves had sent their dreams into a tailspin. Shaken but rallying with true grit, they very quickly turned their attention to hard breads, a vastly bigger market. Unlike soft breads, hard breads could not be made at home as it required specialized equipment and consequently every piece of hard tack was being imported, mostly from Hamburg, Germany. Every ship, every home in Newfoundland and every foreign vessel that stopped into St. Johnâs to reprovision bought hard bread.After many unsuccessful attempts, the brothers finally arrived at a recipe and techniques that would work, to a point. It was at this moment that the Rennies fully appreciated the second overlooked variable: water. Their product hit the market and although it experienced some initial success, the Hamburg bread was still greatly favoured. It was joked that Renniesâ hard bread came with a complimentary hammer in each box so that you could eat it. Hard bread was great if it were crunchy, but less desirable if it could stand in for bricks. The brothers discovered that the subtle difference in local water was creating extremely hard bread. The Rennies spent the next decade making adjustments to their recipe and techniques in an attempt to compensate, but were never able to push into the import-dominated market the way that they had dreamed. Despite this, they did successfully run a flour mill for 13 years. The brothers added to the local cultural ethos of self-sufficiency by providing a source of locally produced flour as they became Newfoundlanders themselves, sounding a note which rings true to this day with modern food security coming to the forefront. The Rennies became leading citizens in their adopted St. Johnâs and left their mark on the town. The river upon which their mill was located is still named Rennieâs River.The Rennies sold the mill in 1848. They had laid the groundwork for the American to follow. Rennies Mill River in St. John's, named for the flour mill brothers.(Jim Desautels photo) Bakery Gathers Steam Robert N. Vail, born in New Jersey, looked at St. Johnâs and saw a fortune. He arrived in town around 1853, and like the Rennies, he initially focused on soft breads when he opened his bakery on Water Street. He, too, would quickly see hard breads as the only market worth pursuing, but thanks to the Rennies, he had someone to learn from. He studied the Renniesâ equipment, techniques and results. He then did something extraordinary, something most people are completely incapable of doing: he bet on himself. He decided he would solve the problem the Rennies had left, even if that meant engaging in industrial espionage.Robert Vail left his bakery on Water Street and travelled to the one place he was certain could produce a successful product: Hamburg, Germany. He bought all the German equipment and did whatever he had to, to find out what the Germans knew. Vail returned to St. Johnâs in 1857 under an air of mystery, claiming that he had the âsecret.â He whisked his crates of mysterious equipment to the banks of the Waterford River, where he constructed a flour mill and opened a steam bakery in the west end of town. Would it work? Could Vail produce a local product that would out compete Germany?Vailâs Steam Bakery launched. In the eyes, or perhaps the taste buds, of most, the Hamburg bread was still slightly better; but Vailâs hard bread was so close in taste and texture that it effectively made no difference. And crucially, Vailâs bread was cheaper, and thatâs a winner in any century. Within five years of launching, Vail had, according to one historian, captured 75 per cent of the market previously held by Hamburg. Another historian places the figure at closer to 90 per cent. Either way, Vail was astoundingly successful, pushing German producers from a stranglehold position to complete insignificance. Other local producers would emerge to further gobble up the remaining market, ensuring a new local industry. In 1863, Vail sold his recipe, bakery and flour mill to St. Johnâs merchants. A few years later he retired to New York an extremely wealthy man.The millstone from Vailâs mill was unearthed during construction along the Waterford River in 1989. In a fitting convergence of history, the stone was placed on display along Rennies River, marking the site of the Rennie brothersâ flour mill, and forever linking these three champions of local industry. (This has been a re-imagining based on real people and real events in history.)