Definitely homemade – Aunt Muriel’s Farmhouse Carrot Cake – photo – Karen Anderson
When I was a little girl I loved to visit my great Aunt Muriel.
She lived in a big old farmhouse high on a hill overlooking the St. Croix River near my hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. I remember her huge vegetable garden and a tire swing hanging from the bowed branches of an old willow tree across the yard from the creaky screen door of her kitchen. She used to make this carrot cake for my cousin Debbie’s birthday party each year and when I moved away to college I asked her for the recipe as it was definitely my favourite cake growing up.
I’ve lived in Alberta 30 years now and I know many of the farmers that grow my food. Now when I make Aunty M’s cake I use as many things from their farms as I can. I know she would’ve loved the golden hue and rich flavour of the organic canola oil I can source here. She farmed organically because that’s just how you did things.
Once in awhile when I’m on a farm in Alberta, I’ll catch sight of a tire swing hanging from a tree and my mind will race back in time to meet a little girl swinging with all her heart – her cotton dress fluttering and flying up around her. She’s laughing and throwing her head back to catch the rays of the sun as a warm summer breeze rustles the soft leaves of the giant old willow above.
Twirling, twirling, twirling – today I iced my cake with swirls and twirls and remembered again the joy of time on a family farm.
Read on for my Aunt Muriel’s carrot cake recipe. I’ve noted all the farms I was able to support in the making of the beautiful cake. It’s my small way to toast a farmer – the social media theme for the World Food Day – and the International Year of the Family Farm. Enjoy.
I have 25 asparagus plants in my backyard
Edgar’s Asparagus has 26 acres – I rely on them for the bulk of my eating
Asparagus on Hand – self portrait – Karen Anderson
Taste Alberta: Chefs help feed eat-local movement with Taste Alberta Tuesdays.
Tuesdays are going to taste like Alberta in the month of June. Don’t know what Alberta tastes like? Just go to the restaurants featured in Lisa Monforton’s Taste Alberta article above and you will find out what the taste of this place, Alberta, is. This concept is known as terroir and has been used for centuries by wine growers. It’s what allows wine masters to take a sip of wine blindfolded and know exactly what appellation in France or vineyard in Australia the wine came from. A well made wine tastes like the minerals, soil (sometimes a fired meltdown from a volcano), water, air – all the elements – of the place it came from. The idea of terroir is slowly becoming mainstream for food lovers around the world and here in Alberta as well.
John Schalkwijk and his Award winning Sylvan Star Cheeses – photo credit Karen Anderson
Taste Alberta: Two Alberta cheesemakers in Canadian Cheese Grand Prix finals.
The Taste Alberta feature above by Lisa Montorton celebrates the fact that two Alberta cheese makers, Sylvan Star and Latin Cheese Co., have both made the Canadian Grand Prix finals. When I read this piece it reminded me that I did a lot of research into Alberta cheese makers last year for an assignment I received from City Palate magazine. I don’t know who was more suprised by how many cheese makers I found in this province, me or my editor. It was a delight to discover 14 different artisans and to know we have this great ingredient to add to our larder of local.
What follows are the two pieces I wrote on this topic City Palate magazine in 2012 (updated). I hope they will be of use to my fellow Albertan cheese lovers. It turns out, we have a lots of this great ingredient to help us savour our food.