Citrus compote with yogurt and granola

 
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I loved the winter retreat. We had our usual flock of sewing machines whirring away in the dining room, some crafting and knitting in front of several Avengers movies, wine and macarons by the fire. My next retreat will be early June and I already know I’m going to do the macarons again. Practice makes perfect. Especially when you need a mountain of them.

After my last retreat in the Fall, I was able to write up a quick post to document all the inspiration I had used for the meals I cooked. It was a great list and I’ve received wonderful feedback about the links. So I sat down to do the same for this retreat — but it turns out I decided to wing it and followed zero recipes that I can link you to for inspiration!

The ramen is assembled with fabulous ingredients from Mama Earth Organics, the macarons were a mishmash of blog posts I read (although you can find a post about that here), the breakfast tostadas are just eggs and salsa on a crispy fried tortilla (that I happened to buy pre-fried cuz nobody has time to perfectly fry a corn tortilla and clean up the mess), the dumplings and kimchi fried rice follow more of a method than a recipe, and the braised beef on polenta is my own dump-amazing-ingredients-in-the-pressure-cooker method that I have yet to make the same way twice. Even my cheesecake doesn’t really follow a recipe so much as a ratio of eggs to sugar to cream cheese.

Hold it!

Breakfast! I have a recipe for breakfast! Hurray. I can now change my blog post from “no recipes for you” to “Citrus compote with yogurt and granola”! I think I even have a picture or two.

 
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(Don’t you guys love it when I just sit at my computer and type and type away without a real plan for things? it’s the only way these posts happen. I make up my mind to just start typing.)

Sunday morning breakfast at my retreats are often a lighter, easier meal. I minimize the dishes required so I can focus on my guests before they pack up and leave. This citrus compote was made on Saturday night so the flavours had time to develop, and then I served it with my favourite granola (by Ste Anne’s Bakery) and some thick greek yogurt.

Here is the original recipe from kitchn.com.

In short: (because that’s what I do; I learn a recipe and then simplify to something I can remember)

  1. Supreme some beautiful citrus fruit

  2. Squeeze all the juice into a saucepan, add some honey, ginger, and a cardamom pod and simmer for a few minutes.

  3. Remove the ginger and cardamom pod and pour the juice over the citrus fruit and let sit in the fridge overnight. Enjoy over yogurt and granola.

It’s pretty. It’s delicious. And it’s so simple. Especially when you used mostly grapefruit, like I did, cuz they’re the easiest of the citrus fruit to supreme because they’ve got nice big segments.

 
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I’ve got two spots left in both my Summer Retreat and Fall Retreat. It’s a weekend full of food and nothing; you bring whatever you want to fill the nothing. Click here to check out the retreats and join meeee!!!

I'm the boss, so I cook what I want

 
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Last weekend’s retreat was wonderful.

They always are. (Maybe not retreat number 7… but I can laugh about that now.)

There were impressive projects being completed throughout the weekend: photobooks, bullet journals, fancy zippered pouches, tote bags, knitting projects, and episodes of Sherlock. I had my first spinner attend the retreat: a yarn spinner, not a DJ, although it didn’t stop us from making DJ scratching sounds every time she went to go spin. We’re hilarious like that.

While everyone else is working to #completeatretreat, I spend most of my time cooking meals. And I really love it. I just cook the food I like, and hope that the guests like it, too.

I don’t think I always did that. I struggled in my early retreats to balance what I wanted to cook, and what I thought guests would want to eat. If I dared to try something different, I was haunted by the giant plate of leftovers and further divided about what to do next time.

But I’m in a new chapter now. I’m the boss. I’m going to embrace that.

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I served some familiar meals, like the charcuterie and cheese platter on Friday night, but I also made a pearl couscous lunch with roasted tomatoes and olives, with discs of eggplant and a lemony kale salad. And I served a roasted rack of pork with lots of earthy fennel flavours and a salty, crispy crust that fell apart when I sliced it but then I just scooped it up and sprinkled it on everyone’s plate. It’s so nice to just cook what I want, and trust that the guests will love it, too.

 
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Most retreats are filled with recipes and inspiration from Ina Garten. Although she is my forever-chef-crush, this past retreat was inspired mostly by Deb Perelman’s recipes. She has such a wonderful Instagram feed that links to recipes old and new — but always in the right season. I imagine she is actually making all these things in her small NYC apartment in real time.

Registration for my 2019 retreats is open. I decided to offer 4 retreats this year. Why not. If there isn’t enough interest, then I’ll just cancel one, or merge them together. You guys don’t mind if I mess around and try new things, right? It’s so nice being the boss.

Come for the surroundings. Come because your project pile is neglected and growing. Or come for the really delicious food. You get to see how much love I put into the meals, eat everything, and then not have to wash a single dish. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

There is an early bird discount right now for $50 savings if you register before the end of the year.

As added incentive, I’m doing a draw to win my extra copy of the amazing Handmade Getaway book. It’s a limited edition hardcover copy! The book is fabulous, filled with project ideas, guides, tips, and planning details to host your own amazing handmade getaway. All early-bird registrations will be automatically entered into the draw.

Hope to see you soon. xo.


Fall Retreat Menu

Early bird pricing for the September retreat ended today. I'm pumped for the guests who have already signed up and are ready to catch up on their crafting!

If you're still thinking of joining me, I have room for you and even a coupon code for the rest of this week! Use almostEARLYBIRD for 10% off the Fall retreat! Valid until August 21.

Perhaps you need to see a menu before committing to the weekend?

 
 

As usual, the Fall retreat is my favourite not only because of the colourful foliage and crisp morning air, but because Ontario has so much to offer for delicious, local produce. I'm serving some of my favourites this retreat, but mixing it up with a savoury zucchini and potato pancake for breakfast. 

I'm also going to build a towering taco salad for guests to munch on for lunch. 

Dinner will be a braised beef short rib that I'll finish on the bbq. I usually love to eat braised beef over a bowl of creamy polenta, but since it's not a chilly winter weekend, I've decided to crisp up the polenta and serve them as fries. 

These weekends are all about providing you with everything you need so you can focus on your craft! That creative project that is sitting at home waiting to be completed and all you need is a little motivation. Let me host you this September!