My Bright Spot for the Week

….I thoroughly miss baking at the inn twice a week

It’s been more than a year now that the bakers and I at Montgomery’s Inn have gotten together to make and bake bread. I miss the friendships and the actual physical attributes of making dough and baking bread in a wood burning oven.

My one bright spot of the week is when I can drive to the inn to pick up fresh vegetables, eggs and meat from the Farmers’ Market. For the last two weeks the vendors have been able to set up outside. This week I took time to walk around the Inn and enjoy the views.

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Thanks to Becky B for hosting BrightSquare https://beckybofwinchester.com/2021/04/16/bright-square-16/

A Trip to St. Jacobs

….a great farmers’ market and lovely small town

Last Saturday the forecast wasn’t great for an outing but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from going to the Farmers’ Market in St. Jacob.

We were actually quite surprised how busy the parking lot was and then we were surprised by how many people didn’t wear masks. Coming from Toronto, we are used to wearing masks and seeing the older people in the crowd not wearing them was quite shocking to us.

On the positive side, people were socially distancing and there were barriers and directional signs to help customers move along safely through the market.8-FCA3-E87-B2-D6-49-C7-AB1-D-045-D53-A68187
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We met up with friends, who are also from Toronto and walked through the market together. There were a lot of great deals on bulk purchases so we split the cost on some items and shared the bounty.  Before leaving the market, Max shared some of the freshly made apple fritters with us. I can see why they were a must have item for him.
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Dining in here is still a no go in Ontario but it is about to change for some areas later in the week. After buying a variety of fruits and vegetables and meats we parted ways. Max and Monica returned to Toronto and Kevin and I decided to drive north to the town of St. Jacobs and explore a bit.

St. Jacobs is a popular location for tourists due to its quaint village appearance, retail focus and Mennonite heritage. Waterloo Region is still home to the largest population of Old Order Mennonites in Canada, particularly in the areas around St Jacobs and Elmira.

We did see some Mennonites at the market but not in town. The first place we stopped at was the local craft brewery called Block 3.

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I loved this wall of mugs where local customers had their own personal mug for drinking beer. We sampled a few beers but because it was raining and we couldn’t sit outside we purchased a dozen to drink at home.
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After loading up the car we started to venture out to the main street but I ended up going alone while Kevin waited in the car. (purely for health reasons). I could have spent a much longer time looking through the stores but I knew that my time was limited so I chose one store in particular to explore.A1-AB765-F-7054-4-E2-F-A26-F-47-CB66-DC13-DE
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Lens Artist Photo Challenge – Summer

….thanks to Amy for hosting this week’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge

Summer is different this year. So far I’ve spent all of it in the city. I miss the Island and hope to get up there soon.

Even lawn bowling looks different this year.80-DB252-E-02-B0-46-E6-B680-9-FB56-FE069-E4

Swimming off the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto
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Growing vegetables in our backyard gardenF6-BFC0-ED-1394-4-D51-8307-78-BC2-C2-ADBB2

Farmers’ Markets have opened again
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Enjoying a meal on the deck in the backyard.
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A Photo a Week Challenge – Stacked

…thanks to Nancy Merrill for hosting A Photo a Week Challenge
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Baking During a Blizzard

….crazy weather didn’t keep us from baking outdoors this week

A couple of weeks ago the weather forecast was dismissal so the Farmers’ Market was cancelled. A lot of vendors come from out of town so with their safety in mind calls were made and notices went out to the community that Montgomery’s Inn would be closed for the market.

This week the weather looked grim again but we went ahead and prepped for the market. On Tuesday morning the snow was coming down pretty heavily so I opted to forgo driving to the Inn. Luckily three of the other bakers braved the snowy roads and prepared a smaller batch of dough than normal. Instead of 7 breads they prepped for 4. The turnout to the market has been down this winter because of bad weather so the decision was made to make less and hopefully have less waste. Not that the bread is wasted. In the end whatever doesn’t sell goes into the freezer or is given away to the other vendors.

On Wednesday the sky didn’t look promising but I drove to the Inn to join my colleagues and get ready for the market. Everyone showed up so I was in charge of making lunch. All the ingredients for a homemade lentil soup had been bought so I started preparing the onions, carrots and celery. It’s a pretty basic soup and the lentils don’t need to be soaked ahead of time. I added a small diced smoked sausage, about a cup of tomato sauce  and some leftover mashed potatoes along with the broth and water. Then I let it simmer for a couple of hours and before serving I seasoned it with salt, pepper, basil and thyme. It turned out to be a very hearty soup. Perfect on a cold winter day.

Getting the wood oven to heat up turned out to be a bit of a challenge this week. Since the oven hadn’t been used in two weeks it was ‘stone cold’ and it took quite a while to get the inside up to temperature. When it finally did reach the desired temperature the snow  and the winds picked up and we had to proceed with putting the loaves in the oven  during the worst part of the day. We decided to score the bread inside to keep our stay outside to a minimum.IMG-0982

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The bread turned out exceptionally well this week. I don’t know how many people showed up for the market but hopefully the bread sold. At least the vendors and those who showed up had a nice warm fire to cozy up to inside the inn.IMG-0989

Baking Bread Outside in the Winter

….actually all year round

The biggest difference between baking bread now and in the summer is the weather. In the summer we can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine while the bread bakes in the outdoor wood fired oven but in the winter the sun may shine but the wind and the cold drive us indoors to wait out the baking time.

Today it was a beautiful sunny day but when the wind picks up and we can’t all stand in front of the oven door to keep warm we headed inside. It was a busy market day because it was also the Christmas market. We had to work quickly so that the vendors could set up but we also made more product because we knew that there would be twice as many people coming today. We experimented with a new recipe and made some mini panettone. The first five loaves sold in a matter of minutes and I’m sure that the remaining three didn’t hang around for long.IMG-9688
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