I say it all the time, but where has the time gone…. How is it August 1? It’s been a fun, busy spring + summer here at The Ruby Apron. After Sicily, I was home for two weeks and then blasted back across the pond, spending time in Shanagarry (Ireland), and London. As always it was so good to be back at Ballymaloe, seeing everyone, relaxing, and taking in all things LitFest – the best festival, with so many inspiring chefs, so much delicious food to eat, and basically a weekend that is a good Irish party.
While I was away, Global Edmonton got in touch and asked if I would do a cooking segment on their show – gulp – but how do you say no? I shouldn’t tell people this, but as I was driving to the studio, I thought to myself, “what if I just call them and say, sorry, I can’t do this? what’s the worst that could happen, they’d never ask me back?” Ha! The guys were awesome, reminded me that if I was talking about something I know and am passionate about that it wouldn’t be an issue – and let’s be honest, for anyone that knows me, I can talk about bread and the farmers I source from all day long. It went really well, and the feedback from the segment was overwhelming. It might sound slightly cliché or cheesy, but I am so lucky to do what I love, and to teach what I love – not only bread, all things in the kitchen. A quick thanks to everyone who has supported me over the summer and booked classes with me.
The fall schedule is up as promised, plenty of sourdough – Introduction to Sourdough, as well as Advanced and a new class, Sourdough III (uses for leftover starter and leftover sourdough) for those who have already taken my Introduction Workshop already. All Bread Workshops sell rather quickly, so if you’ve been waiting for new dates, I would recommend snagging a spot. Some new classes and requested classes are also on the schedule, and I am really excited to be welcoming Ashley Gevenich of DandyLion Confections into my kitchen to teach a Macaron Workshop, as well as Michelle Peters Jones of The Tiffin Box to do an Indian Class. One Class that I want to mention, that I think will be a lot of fun is a Mystery Class – I have the menu finalised for this class already, it’s jam packed full of great recipes and technique, and there is the opportunity to win a gift certificate to a future Workshop.
Hoping to have the new Real Bread Edmonton website launched over the next month or so, lots going on in my mind with how things are going to progress with the idea. Head over to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to give us a follow, and sign up for our newsletter for updates. I am really excited about this project and can’t wait to get things rolling over the next little bit. On a recent trip to High River I sat down with Alberta Wheat and chatted a bit about wheat (of course), all things bread, and their new campaign Life’s Simple Ingredient, I can’t wait for the interview to come out, and will be sure to share it once it is. Here is a sneak peak of the logo done by Lydia Hugh Jones in Ireland, who also did my logo — I love to support local, and always joke that Ireland is a little bit of my local too! I am thrilled with the logo she has done, can’t wait to see the final copy!
I recently posted about my “preachy,” lifestyle on social media– for anyone that knows me, or has been to a class, I am quite particular about how I source my ingredients. Like my cookbooks that aren’t just for show in my kitchen, I don’t just live like this for show and the food I cook for family and friends is truly from scratch, if that makes sense. I rarely shop at mega supermarkets, and most often my meals are sourced completely locally, featuring more than one farm and producer. I have said it before, there are things of course that we can’t buy locally, and that is when I turn to small local shops to source. Not everyone has the time or desire to shop and cook the way I do, which I get, but my hope is to slowly inspire people to do things – make one change at a time (commit to going to a farmers’ market once a month to start, commit to cooking one from scratch meal a week), and I believe that as you make small changes, you’ll appreciate the ingredients and food so much more. I have a new section on my website, that is still being updated as logos and information gets sent to me, but thought I would start featuring one producer in each newsletter. Starting off with August Organics – every Saturday I make a visit to Dan and Kristine Vriend’s stall at Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. Their stall is located at the far south-east corner of the market, and is currently (as it will be for some time), buzzing with incredible produce. Lovely good for you greens, cabbage, carrots, beetroot, peas, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, onions, garlic, herbs galore, beans, raspberries, tomatoes, and new potatoes. I was recently having a conversation with Kristine about “new” or “baby” potatoes, and joked with her, “you mean to tell me, you can’t buy new or baby potatoes all year?” Their potatoes right now are truly, new baby potatoes – they are the first of the season, they have not been modified to grow small, nor have they been drenched in chemical to kill off the tops so they can harvest the “baby,” potatoes at a later date. Head down and say hello, try a carrot, buy a punnet of raspberries, I promise the raspberries won’t make it home, as you’ll gobble them on the drive home. Their farm is located in the county of Leduc, they grow 25 different vegetables, with more than 150 different varieties. The farm is certified organic and they work hard to keep this certification, which really does show in their produce – just try a pea, carrot or raspberry when you’re chatting with them (tell them I told you to!), and you’ll taste the difference. August and September their stall will continue to grow, and every few weeks there will be something new showing up – such an exciting time. Dan, Kristine and their team take such care in the way their stall is set up, the way the produce looks as it comes to market, and are so good to their customers. Another thing to think about when we talk supporting local – their produce is grown in Leduc as I mentioned, harvested when ripe for the market, and driven the 25 minutes to the market, something incredible about that. We are lucky to have producers like August Organics, they make supporting local easy.
As things continue to grow for The Ruby Apron, and I meet new people, I get asked a few questions frequently – it’s funny how those questions can take me right back to the beginning. I thought I’d answer a few of them in a blog post, head over and read it if you’re interested in learning more about how and why I started The Ruby Apron. Check back to the blog, too, as I have quite a few posts in the work – one including the importance of using fresh flour in our kitchen, why and how to source it and chatting a bit about (gasp!), gluten.
“… I would like to say that I am totally into elitist food, I’m afraid… not afraid at all actually, pretty proud of it, but what I really think is that all of the food being sold in [grocery stores] should be elitist because all of the food being sold should be good for everybody…” – Rory O’Connell