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Monthly Archives: January 2016

The baker, the builder…

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Has the world sped up this year? Is it orbiting faster, ready to spin off into another universe entirely? I’ve no other explanation for it already being the end of January.

Mosquitoes are hounding me as I try to clatter out a blog post in the wee hours of the morning before everyone (by whom I mean the small, orphaned, very noisy chick who was delivered to me yesterday evening) wakes up.

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It’s been an exciting month, both of planning and doing. While I wait for the stars to align for my shipping-container commercial kitchen to come together, I’ve been building the vardo storefront (with lots of help from Mandy!), which is coming out sickeningly cute! Also quite utilitarian, with ample headroom, counter area, and storage space.

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In typical fashion, the kitchen experiments are never-ending. Mandy returned from a brief trip to the French islands with many tasty treats for inspiration and replication, including such items as Baba au Rhum and tales of such wonders as roasted-onion-filled loaves of bread…

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The baba au rhum are an in-progress experiment. Great flavour the first time around, but a little overkill on the size and not quite there on the texture. Not a bad thing to have to “use up” however…

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The renowned onion bread has been a great success, so much so that I’ll be making it again this week!

Before I forget, let me thank all of you who came out to our Coffee Morning for Good Samaritan of Haiti! It was a great event, and your donations go to support such important work in two communities, providing education, nutrition programs, and more. Stay tuned for more fun events in the next couple of months.

The sun has appeared over the hill in my valley home, so it is time to feed the chickens, make coffee, and move on to “real” work for the day. The early clouds are lifting, the breeze rolling in with promises of a clear, sunny day…perfect for the last coat of paint on the vardo roof.

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Cheers!

2016

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There is so much to tell already, in this exciting New Year! I’ve been most remiss in writing, caught up as I have been in a literal whirlwind of ideas, plans, and changes.

Some of you already know that a few weeks ago I took the “leap” and made the decision to focus full time on my own cottage-industry business and homesteading lifestyle, Nidulari. I’m approaching my 3rd year back here on St Croix, and after a few unexpectedly meaningful conversations with dear friends I realized that I was at a “now or never” point: follow my dreams, or possibly live to regret not doing so, bogged down in a mire of other people’s dreams and desires.

My dream is to work for myself. To do the things I love. To feed people. To grow food. To turn simple ingredients into wholesome, mouth-watering dishes. To spend each day surrounded by trees. To hear the birds each morning, and the cicadas and tree-frogs each night. To work hard. To sleep soundly; tired, content with my place in the world. I seek neither riches nor fame. In a country where more than half the population hasn’t a months’ wages to their name, I do not believe that monetary wealth is sustainable. In a country where healthcare is unaffordable to the masses, I do not believe that a life of stress and the associated health problems, mental and physical, is sustainable. The things that I do believe are sustainable, and indeed, the only way that society will survive, are small, home-based businesses, and low-key, small-scale, organic, sustainable food production.

As long as there are people on this planet, they will need to eat. And the more we all learn about where our food is coming from–factory farms, chemical fertilizers, highly toxic pesticides, arcane processing with extreme heat and chemicals such as bleach (yum, huh?), fossil fuels used to ship foodstuffs around the world, and environmental devastation from all of the above–the more we all must realize that the safest food, the best food, comes from our own backyards, from our local small farmers, and our neighbourhood bakers, brewers, and artisanal chefs.

I get it; sometimes local foods are overwhelming. Maybe you’ve never seen that vegetable before, maybe you’ve no idea how to cook it. Maybe you’ve no idea how to cook anything. Maybe you have a super stressful life, and you don’t have time to cook. Or maybe you’d just prefer to spend that time at the beach, not getting stressed out over a hot stove doing something that you don’t enjoy. That’s where those of us who love to cook come in. That’s where I’ll be when you need me. Cooking up some good, wholesome, real food to nourish your body and mind.

I’m currently building a “storefront” for Nidulari (goodbye old blue tent), which will make its first appearance sometime in February – yes, there will be a party! Crucian farm stand will meet European Gypsy Vardo with a dash of small-town baker’s shop…and it will be love at first sight. Or first taste. One or the other. Over the next few months I’ll also be expanding into a small fully-licensed kitchen, which will allow more variety in ready-to-eat foods! If you haven’t already tried some of my new soups and spreads, get over here this week! I’ll also be gradually working up to being open 3 days per week–Saturdays will be the first to come, then eventually Mondays as well.

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Our last coffee morning. Photo courtesy of Bev Lewis (B J Lewis Images).

Meanwhile, there will be some extra events, starting with our 7th Coffee Morning for Good Samaritan of Haiti Foundation next Sunday, January 24th, from 10am-1pm. Bring your family and friends over to the rainforest for Nidulari’s delicious wood-fired cinnamon rolls with coffee or lemonade! There will also be savoury lunch items, bread, chutneys, jams, and more available for sale from Nidulari, jams, jellies, and soaps available from Queen CariBEE, artwork by Mandy Thody, and Haitian arts and crafts.

If public events aren’t quite your thing, I’m also available for private in-home dinner parties. While my specialty is authentic Indian cuisine, I can turn my culinary hand to most things, so don’t be shy to ask!

With that, my friends, I shall leave you for the evening–with promises of photos and more news in the very near future. Hope to see many of you on the 21st at Art Thursday in C’sted, or on the 24th with cinnamon rolls in hand!

Cheers!