It’s already the middle of the month, wow! May is flying by, but I am so happy to see things really starting to green up. Asparagus are in at the markets which to me is the first real sign of new season veg, such an exciting time. Little bits are starting to pop up in the garden at home too, and I am sure I will be using rhubarb at the end of the month when I get home from Ireland and England.

I have posted classes through to the end of August on the website. The two time sensitive workshops, jam and pickling, I have chosen the dates very carefully, ensuring that fruit and veg will still be available in the markets for you to put your skills to work at home.

It’s been a busy two weeks between trips – I arrived back in Edmonton after spending time in England, and a week in Sicily at the beginning of the month. Sicily was incredible! We stayed at the most beautiful villa, owned by two Ballymaloe grads, which I didn’t know until I arrived. I had never been to Sicily, and I knew I would love it, but I don’t think I knew quite how much. The food culture is so inspiring, the markets are full of the most beautiful ingredients – fish, cheese, cured meats, nuts, spices, fruit and veg… As you’d expect everything is so fresh. The villa had a visiting chef, Skye Gyngell from Spring Restaurant in London, come to do a culinary week. Syke brought her head chef, Rose, and her head pastry chef, Sarah along too. We spent hands on time in the kitchen, heard about their food stories, the restaurant, and ate beautiful food with them. Some of the food was also prepared by the villa’s staff – and let me tell you, it was some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. Wow! I will be writing a blog post about my trip to Sicily in the next few days, what inspired me most, and will share a recipe or two. Watch social media or check back to Apron Anecdotes for the post.

Tomorrow afternoon I am headed back to Ireland, and although I know I’m leaving tomorrow, I am not at all ready – but I will be! I can’t wait to be back in Shanagarry – the village where the cookery school I attended is. Ballymaloe puts on a food and wine festival every May called A Food and Drinks Literacy Festival at Ballymaloe, this year’s theme is sustainability. As always when I head back to the school and farm, I know I will come home inspired and full of new ideas. I am eager to see The Bread Shed at the cookery school, and bake bread with Tim (who taught me to make bread) and the students one morning.

Head over to Facebook and Instagram, like the pages and see what’s new with Real Bread Edmonton. The idea behind Real Bread Edmonton is to connect people – bakers of all levels, farmers, and people who want to know more about Real Bread Edmonton. Connect people and encourage the conversation about why real bread matters. There is a meeting scheduled for July 7th, get in touch by email for more information. Let’s get the conversation started!

Food waste – a huge topic in the food world right now. We talked a lot about it in Sicily, I know there will be a lot of conversation around the topic in Ireland, and I am working to incorporate the conversation into all things I do at The Ruby Apron. I’ve taught two workshops in the last couple of weeks where we made fresh pasta, which leaves you with an abundance of egg whites in the fridge. You can of course make meringue or pavlova, or add them to omelets or scrambled eggs, but I chose to make an angel food cake. People always tell me a from scratch angel food cake doesn’t compare to a boxed cake, and let me tell you, a boxed angel food cake doesn’t compare to a from scratch angel food cake! I thought I would share the recipe that I used, it’s from one of my favourite cookbooks to look through, my grandma’s copy of Better Homes and Garden Cookbook.

Angel Cake
A little trick to make cake flour, measure 1 cup of all purpose flour, remove 2 tablespoons of flour and add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.

1 cup cake flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ¾ cups egg whites (about 14 large egg whites)
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
¾ cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Sift the flour with ¾ cup of sugar four times. Whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer (ensure the bowl is perfectly clean), with salt until frothy; add cream of tartar and whisk until stiff but not dry. Add remaining ¾ cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisk until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla. Sift the flour mixture over top of the egg whites in two additions and gently fold in. Bake in a 10” ungreased angle food cake tin, in a 325F oven for 75 minutes. Invert to cool.
Serve with fresh seasonal berries (or a compote made from frozen berries), with softly whipped cream. Another way I love to eat angel food cake is with fresh lemon curd, softly whipped cream and strawberries when they’re in season.

“We are only as good as our ingredients.” – Syke Gyngell