Identifying My Canadian Voice

Mom and Valerie on bus

The Canadian Food Experience Project: End Reflection The Canadian Food Experience Project has had a profound effect upon my life, my understanding of Canadian food, Canadian culture, and upon developing a much more distinct Canadian voice within my own writing. Certainly, the project has heightened my sensitivity and awareness to regional Canadian cuisine, culture and deepened my passion, love and loyalty to this multicultural and unpretentious country we live in. Overwhelmed by the … [Read more...]

Sour Cherry Tarts with Marzipan

Sour Cherry Tarts with Marzipan

The first of my "Pucker Up" Series for 2014 with a DYNAMITE Giveaway! Mmmm. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a French Tart fiend. They make such a gorgeous presentation, don't you think? And sour cherries with almond? A match made in heaven. Wish the almonds grew in my back yard like these gorgeous cherries do. The power and versatility of this fruit never ceases to amaze. Great in sweet and savory recipes, fresh, frozen and preserved. Just look at those babies. Can you hear them … [Read more...]

Sour Cherry Juice: A 2014 Tart Cherry Must


A perfect solution for the imperfect berries you don't want to pit Of course, I have an even tastier solution for berries you don't want to pit: Sour Cherry Liqueur (made exactly the same way as my pommette)! Oh my! With my abundant crop last year, we made enough for a few centuries and still had cherries to last the winter and give away. Making juice or syrup is another option that makes such wonderful treats.   Making a small batch is so simple, it is almost embarrassing. Simply wash … [Read more...]

Cherry Harvest 2014: Freezing and Pitting Sour Cherries

Evans Cherries Zone 3 Garden

Sharing simple tricks to keep you enjoying this remarkable berry all Winter long! My Evans Sour Cherry Tree produced 50 pounds of pitted cherries in 2013. What a bumper crop! This year, we lobbed off a massive branch of the tree that was infringing upon our deck and a blustery spring storm whipped off many of the delicate buds just opening with the promise of the candy apple red jewels, lost in the wind. My 2014 harvest fit into the two bowls below. After pitting and weighing, I got about … [Read more...]

Petar’s Famous Rostilj: The Serbian Grilled Meat Platter

1 Traditional Serbian Grilled Meat Platter

The family celebrates together! Saturday, Vanja's brother's family came as they were returning from their summer holiday to see the fruits of our labour at Petar's house, and to spend one day together before we leave. Of course, the only meal to be served on such a special occasion in the summer is Petar's famous rostilj better known throughout the country at the traditional Serbian Grilled Meat Platter. Versions of this meal can be ordered in every restaurant throughout the Balkans. It is … [Read more...]

Semberski Salas Restaurant in Bijeljina, Bosnia

1 Petar Lugonja and Valerie Lugonja

Superb Traditional Celebration Meal at Semberski Salas! And on the last day, let there be rest. And a celebration! Waking up last Thursday morning to a cozy clean organized home was such a blessing that we welcomed the opportunity to take Petar out for a delicious traditional dinner. Where to go? Many of the beautiful locations along the River Drina had also been seriously affected by the flood and were not yet back in business. None of us had been back to the Ethnic Village since our … [Read more...]

Petar’s House: It’s a Very Very Very Fine House

7 Petars House

And we cried all the way home.... And we are home. Tired, but grateful. Hands cut, burned, scraped and blistered from our labor of love. If you haven't read After The Flood: Bijeljina Bosnia 2014, you may need to as context for this article. Above, the outside table is where all coffee and all meals are taken throughout the entire summer. The smoke house, just to the right (not in this photo), with the flowers growing upside it, is the outdoor kitchen. The heat and humidity is stifling so … [Read more...]

Celebrate Strawberry Season: French Strawberry Tart

1 French Strawberry Tart

A little late, but still Strawberry Season! Sitting here at the free wifi cafe "The Park" in Bijeljina, Bosnia, this August, I have an hour before Vanja picks me up and can finally post my French Strawberry Tart experience. Those of you who do not blog may not know that those of us who do that do have many posts, and in my case, over 100, that have photos in them and are ready to be written.... but there wasn't the time to get to them. I have several waiting from our trip to Italy in 2011. … [Read more...]

Sunka and a Serbian Breakfast

1 Petars Sunka 2014

Or... lunch, supper, snack... guest fare.... This is a family of serious carnivores. Lots of meat, potatoes of some kind, and a salad, usually tomato, with every meal. Don’t forget the chicken soup! Breakfasts and light meals always consist of smoked meat, almost always homemade, either sunka and slanina, or both. Thin slices of fatty flavourful and double smoked air dried sausage, tomatoes and bread may also appear. Often cheese is added into the mix, but it is not necessary. This would … [Read more...]

Cooking After the Flood in Bijelinja Bosnia August 2014

Sunka and a Serbian Breakfast

The Outdoor Kitchen (Smoke House) and Serbian Musaka There is a kitchen in the house that Pava only used on rainy days, and through the Winter. In the Summer, she always cooked in the smokehouse since they were displaced after the Bosnian War. Before that, she had two gorgeous homes: one lovely apartment in the city and a country house a little bit away for relaxation and family. The second home in the country is a Serbo-Croat-Bosnian tradition. But, as a child, she lost everything in WWII, … [Read more...]

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