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Monday, 30 July 2012


     My daughter and I travelled to Uman, Ukraine in order to visit the grottoes, lakes, waterfalls, and fountains of romantic Sofiyivka Park.  

 In the late 18th century, A Polish nobleman bought his beautiful wife for two million zloty (she had been sold into slavery at an early age by her parents) and built her this beautiful 150 hectare garden, but she broke his heart. 
In Uman,  I managed to decipher  the word “Farshovani” in a little restaurant  called Café Bar Kornet, on Sadova, so my daughter and I had delicious stuffed peppers there, much like

Savella’s Nachinyoovani Paertsyi  (Stuffed Peppers) page 255
 ( somewhat modified)

4 sweet peppers                                            ¾ tsp salt
3 tbsp onion                                                   ½ tsp pepper
1 tbsp butter                                                  ¼ cup chopped dill
½ pound ground pork                                               bread crumbs
1/3 cup Chinese or basmati rice                  1 cup tomato juice plus 4 tbsp
1 egg

  1.  Set a large pot of water on stove to boil peppers.
  2. Cut ends off peppers and remove cores.
  3. Parboil the peppers for 5 minutes and drain.
  4. Cook rice until done.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Finely chop onion.
  7. Cook onion in butter for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add the meat and stir until browned.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Stir in rice, egg, salt, pepper, and dill.
  11. Place peppers in casserole.
  12. Stuff the peppers and add 1 tbsp tomato juice to each pepper.  Top with bread crumbs.
  13. Pour 1 cup tomato juice around peppers.
  14. Bake for 40 minutes.
  15. Serve halves as a first course or whole peppers as a lunch dish.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

HALUSHKY? Looks easy . . . OOPS!!!

A cookbook I picked up at the library, From Borshch to Blinis, says, “One of the most popular Ukrainian dishes, galushki, are pieces of a pasta-like dough. . .”

Mom never made halushky – and I think I would remember because, when I was little,  I loved the occasional perogy that lost its filling.

My cousin Marilyn wrote: "Mom's friend, Mrs B.. did these but not as a special dish.. just used up the bits of dough left over from making pyrohi.. That was the first time I had seen that!"   Marilyn adds, "As a kid, I probably would have loved this as I hated pyrohi."

My daughter, however, says we had some nice, light halushky in Ukraine.

Picture taken at The George, our hotel in Lviv.

My main objective was to make Bohdan Zahny’s KOHUTI TRADITSINI. His instructions are to make dumplings with a stiff batter using “enough water” and rolling the dough to 3/16 inches. 

The library cookbook told me to roll the dough until ½ inch thick, but it has nice pictures and it seemed less vague so Idecided to go with it.  Well, I can tell you 2 eggs and 2 tbsp of butter will not blend with 2 cups of flour to make a dough . . . so I added 2 tbsp of water and kneaded hard until the dough was ‘smooth’.
I rolled it to about 1/4 inch – a compromise between the two cookbooks but the result looked like the picture in the cookbook.

I boiled the squares 10 minutes (as suggested in both books) but the square I tasted seemed tough so I gave them another 2 minutes. 

 (Maybe I should have given them another 10 minutes!!!)

Mixed with the chicken, the haluski were edible, but . . . tough. 

Fortunately, Bryan had been busy as well.  He eased us into dinner with some nice peach daiquiris.

Next time I’ll try Savella's Halushky.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Square Pillows

  Mary Stadnyk said that when she was growing up:

                Pillows were 36 inches square with red and black cross-stitch embroidery on the front.  
                A special cloth called feather ticking was stuffed with goose and duck feathers.  (The feathers were not washed.)  Even wing feathers were used but they would be stripped.

                Work bees were held at Gedo’s house for stripping feathers, and a dance followed.  The house had bare, unpainted floors although some people did paint their floors.  

                Everyone sat on benches and told jokes and sang.  Everybody was covered in feathers and there were feathers in all the corners of the room.  The boys wore ordinary clothes, but the girls dressed up in pretty dresses.  Mom remembered one girl in a wine and black taffeta dress with a fringed sash.


When Mary's brother Wes got married to Marion, Baba gave him a big pillow because he couldn’t sleep on a small one. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


Marilyn and I asked Mom to write down anything she remembered about the old days.  This was on one of the papers she gave me:

There were a lot of matchmakers:  sometimes a friend or an uncle.  A matchmaker was called a “starosta”.   

A young man wishing to get married either knew a girl or matchmakers would tell him about a girl. 
The matchmaker or matchmakers (there could be 2 or 3 men) would take wine to the girl’s parents’ house and present themselves as starosty.  They would be welcomed and given lunch or dinner.   They would get talking about marriage between the girl and the young man.  If the idea was accepted, right away they would plan the wedding.

These starosty then played a big role throughout the wedding.  They would see that everyone got drinks and food and had fun.


 Cakes and pies sat on the long tables at wedding receptions in the 1950s and were also served during the late lunch.  


3 ounces unsweetened chocolate                                           ½ cup butter softened
2/3 cup honey                                                                                   2/3 cup sugar
1 ¾ cups enriched flour                                                                                1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda                                                                             2 eggs
½ tsp baking powder                                                                      2/3 cup buttermilk
¼ tsp salt                                                                            

  1.  Melt the chocolate and honey together over low heat.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Butter a 9 inch square pan.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla  together in a large bowl.
  6. Beat the eggs in, one at a time, with a mixer.
  7. Beat in the honey-chocolate mixture.
  8. Alternately beat in the flour and buttermilk  by thirds.
  9. Bake 40 minutes and test with a toothpick.
  10. When cool, frost with your favourite icing.

2/3 cup pecans
1 cup coconut

1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup light cream
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter
¾ tsp vanilla

1.        Chop pecans and set aside with the coconut.
2.       Stir milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla in saucepan over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil.
3.       Keep stirring for 5 more minutes.
4.       Stir in coconut and pecans. 
5.       Cool before spreading on the cake.

SAVELLA’S Chocolate Medivnyk is a good cake but

Bryan’s mother’s chocolate cake is still the best:

Grease and flour 9x9 pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Into large mixing bowl put:
1 ¾ cups flour
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp cocoa
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
Stir all dry ingredients  to blend.

Now add:
1 cup cold water
½ cup salad oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg

Use hand mixer to combine all ingredients .  Turn into pan.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Spread with Vanilla Butter Icing.

*I love to serve cake hot out of the oven.  Just ice the pieces individually before serving. 

Ice the remainder of the cake when it cools.

Monday, 23 July 2012


Mom’s first stove was called, quite appropriately, the “Homesteader”.   Dad bought it from a Mr. Haney for $2.50.  Mom said she had to plaster the oven with a mixture of ashes, salt, and water, which made a kind of cement, because there was a hole between the fireplace and the oven.  (Salt was cheap.)

“It was a wonderful stove,” Mom said.  “Sure baked good bread.  It baked everything.  It was warm.  You could sit on the hearth in front of the fireplace.”
“We got rid of it when Keepers were moving to Flin Flon and were selling their stove for $5.00.  It wasn’t as good.  I missed the other one.”

3 loaf pans
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup shortening
2 tsp sugar
5 tsp yeast (or 2 envelopes)
2/3 cup molasses
2 ½ tsp salt
enriched flour

1.       Boil 3 cups water.
2.      In a large mixing bowl, stir water into rolled oats and shortening.  Let stand.
3.      Generously grease another large mixing bowl and set aside with a clean tea towel.
4.      Stir sugar into 1 cup lukewarm water.  Sprinkle on top the yeast.  Let stand 10 minutes.
5.      Stir molasses and salt into oats bowl.   Let stand another 5 minutes.
6.      Set oven to 350 and heat for only one minute.  Turn off oven heat.
7.      Adding one half cup at a time, beat 2 ½ cups of flour into oats with mixer.
8.      Beat in yeast.
9.      With a wooden spoon, mix in 5 to 6 cups more flour.  You will have to knead the last cups in.
10.  Knead until smooth.  (The friend who taught me said that when it’s ready it should feel like a baby’s bottom.)
11.  Place the ball of dough in the greased mixing bowl and rotate it in order to grease all over.
12.  Cover with tea towel and place in slightly warm oven to rise until doubled.  (1 ½ hours)
13.  Grease 3 loaf pans.
14.  Punch down and shape into 3 loaves. 
15.  Cover with tea towel and return to warm oven to rise again until doubled.  (30 to 45 minutes)
16.  Take out of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
17.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. 

Remember not all ovens are the same.  My first oven was hot so I always reduced the requested temperature by 25 degrees.  My next oven was probably perfect so I only baked this bread 30 minutes in it.  My present oven seems to be on the cool side so I can keep the bread in for35 minutes.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

MY DAD enjoyed cabins, too.

Bryan and I bought our cabin at Wakaw Lake, 88 km northeast of Saskatoon in 1980. 

  I loved it because of the view from the table at the corner of the deck.  It had 3 levels and hadn’t started slipping towards the lake yet. 

We took Dad out in our 16 foot "cadillac" canoe.

Fishing isn’t great at Wakaw Lake, but our neighbor, who was squatting on the public access, showed Dad the best places to fish.

Dad was a master at filleting fish. 

1.        Brush the fillets with oil and spread with mustard.
2.       Sprinkle with pepper.
3.       Broil 2 to 3 minutes.  

Saturday, 21 July 2012


Mom loved Hornby Island.

Beautiful scenery,

whales, sea lions, seals, pottery, wineries – all this plus the company of family and lots of wonderful food --  

-- of course she loved Hornsby, as she called it.

Mom said that it would have been a great place to live and enjoy a garden and chickens.   She would have needed high fences though – what with all the deer grazing in everyone’s yards.

Anyway, it was really nice when Kathy served Mom’s Rhubarb Pudding for dessert our last night there.

 Mom made other things with rhubarb, such as jam, but her Rhubarb Pudding was best of all.  It is such a family favourite that it would be unthinkable to have a garden without a rhubarb patch.
I love the way the red juices bubble up above the golden cake topping and make a kind of sticky toffee on the sides of the pan.

Mom served her pudding with thick farm cream and that’s still my sister Diana’s favourite. 

Kathy served the pudding with vanilla ice cream; the way I like it best. 


5 cups finely cut rhubarb
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 ¼ tbsp flour
1/8 tsp (pinch) salt

2 tbsp butter at room temperature
1 egg
½ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

  1.  Slice up the rhubarb.
  2. Rinse the rhubarb in cold water and drain.  Do not dry the rhubarb as the rinsing is needed so the sugar it gets tossed in will stick to it.
  3. Mix 1 ¼ cups sugar in large Pyrex bowl or casserole with 2 ¼ tablespoons flour and a pinch of salt.
  4. Mix the rhubarb into the sugar and flour.  Set aside.

  1.  Preheat oven to 350.  (A self-clean oven is more air tight and the heat is more consistent so I use 375 degrees in the self-clean oven.)
  2. Cream butter and ½ cup sugar. 
  3. Add egg and beat.
  4. Add milk, flour, baking powder, pinch salt, and vanilla.  Beat well.
  5. Spread dough over the rhubarb.
  6.   Bake for one hour.  It should be well-browned and syrup has bubbled over some of the cake.  Stick a toothpick in centre of cake to test if you want.
If it is not well-browned, bake for 10, 15, or 20 min more.  Record how long it took in your oven for next time.

Serve with milk, cream, or ice cream!  

Friday, 20 July 2012


There were always ducks on the farm.  Once Mom wrote that her daughter-in-law, Shirley, had 13 ducks.  “They are white.  As the pond dried up they will not have no place to swim.”

From the bus window as we passed through Ukrainian villages, we saw white geese, white ducks, brown & white & black goats, white & brown turkeys with chicks, and red hens (cluckers) with yellow chicks and ducklings.

In Grandpa & Grandma’s village, we saw lines of white geese and ducks leaving different houses and going to this village common.  In the evening, they all trooped back to their respective homes.  I still think that is so cute.

                 In Grandpa's day, a river flowed through here, but it now follows a different course.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


A large, orange, egg-shaped moon hanging over Georgia Strait,
A mysterious chocolate brown creature sliding through tall grass and orange poppies,
Long walks along forest trails and ocean cliffs.
Hornby Island. . .

This is the second time I have served duck in this way at Hornby.  It’s a great recipe.

Tyshkovana Kachka  (Braised Duck)

Savella’s recipe altered giving a modern treatment to the duck breast.

Begin cooking early in the day.  The stewing should be finished well ahead of serving time and then just reheat before presenting. 

However, you should sauté the breast just before serving.

1 duck                                                             1 celery stalk 
1 tsp seasoned salt                                        !/2 pound mushrooms
¼ tsp pepper                                                  2 tsp cornstarch
 ¼  tsp salt                                                      ¼ cup cold water
                                                                         ½ cup sour cream
1 onion                                                           seasoned salt for sprinkling
1 med or large carrot                                    dill        

1.       Disjoint duck.  (Reserve deboned breasts separately to sear just before serving.)

2.      Put fat and fat skin bits in Dutch oven and set uncovered over medium heat to render.

3.      Put neck, wing tips, breast bones, and backbones into saucepan.  Add water to cover (at least 2 cups) and ¼ tsp salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for an hour to make duck stock.

4.      Chop onion and set aside on one plate.
5.      Chop celery and carrot and set aside together on another plate.
6.      Slice mushrooms and set aside.  (They go into the pot later than other ingredients.)  

7.      Drain off all fat from rendering in Dutch oven.   
8.      Set aside 2 tbsp rendered duck fat for searing breast.
9.      Return 2 other tbsp of duck fat to the Dutch oven.
10.  Pour remaining duck fat into a jar and save for sautéing in other recipes, such as potatoes.  Duck fat can be heated to high temperatures without burning.

11.  Sear all duck pieces except breast.
12.   Remove duck from pot and drain the fat.

13.  Return 2 tsp fat to Dutch oven and sauté chopped onion for 2 to 3 minutes.
14.  Add celery and carrot.  Sauté another 2 minutes.
15.  Stir in 2 cups duck stock, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, and pepper.
16.  Return duck pieces (except breast) to Dutch oven.
17.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 40 minutes.  Add mushrooms.  Simmer additional 20 minutes.

18.  Chop dill and set aside.
19.  Blend cornstarch with cold water and stir in the sour cream.
20.  Blend some of hot duck sauce into cream mixture.  Then stir all of it back into the pot.
21.  Season to taste.    Set aside until it’s time to prepare the breast.  Then return Dutch oven to reheat at a simmer while cooking the breast.

22.  In 2 tbsp reserved duck fat, sear breasts that have been sprinkled with seasoned salt.
Cook skin side down for 5 minutes.  Flip to other side for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then flip back to skin side for 3 more minutes.  (10 minutes is probably all for breast -- it will be just rare and delicious, but just to check slice into the thickest part before taking off the heat.)

23.  Arrange duck pieces from Dutch oven on platter and drizzle with some sauce.  Additional sauce goes into a sauce boat.
24.  Carve breast into thin slices and arrange at one side of platter.
25.  Garnish with dill.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Colour Me Blue

What is a house-painting project doing on my blog?  Family history, baby.

One of the last things my dad did the year he died was to paint his house . . . at the age of 82.  Unfortunately, his "ladder" was less stable than the scaffold my brother built here . . . even though Bryan is calling this "shades of Mumbai".

Bryan says this "scaffold truly is one of the seven wonders of Nanaimo.  It does work. He has not tumbled to earth yet. Mind you, I avoid painting underneath him."

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


 Caesars to drink before dinner with delicious appetizers:

black-skinned farmers’ sausage, cheese, herring, pickled onions, and . . .   


            ¼ cup soft butter
            3 ounces Cheddar
            ½ cup flour
            ¼ tsp paprika

1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.      Grate cheese.
3.      Blend soft butter with cheese.
4.      Add flour and paprika.
5.      Shape into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
6.      Bake 10 to 15 minutes.

·         Cheese balls may be frozen uncooked.  Pop frozen cheese balls into 350 degree oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes.