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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

For Donald . . . UKRAINIAN HONEY CAKE



It was always fun to visit Donald and Karen and he always had something interesting to show us. Once, just as we arrived, Donald was heading out with a little pail to gather the eggs.  I peeked into the chicken house:  a row of wooden nests and the white chickens with red combs were standing on wooden boards nailed like rails to an adjacent wall.    Donald was disappointed to find that one of the eggs was cracked.  A hen had laid an egg onto some others. 
Meanwhile, a wild black turkey hen was sitting on her eggs while another turkey hen was outside foraging and a wild turkey gobbler was gabbling about.

Two big black pigs stared at us from one pen in the barn and about seven little pink pigs ran into a corner of another pen.  Donald said they knew we were strangers or they would have all been crowding forward and jumping up for food.  He enjoyed telling us that he got the little pigs for five dollars a pig from a big pig operation because they were not quite up to standard, but they did well for him.

Karen said Donald was often out at 6 am working in his huge garden.  He had just put in some of those new Haskap bushes – a cross between raspberries & blueberries that’s being developed in Saskatoon.  

He had trouble finding carrot seeds but finally came up with some in Russell.  Karen & Donald had a laugh because the storekeeper said, “It’s too late to put those in.”  Donald said the carrots would be just perfect in late fall –  you take them out just before the ground freezes.

Trapping was another of Donald’s profitable hobbies.  Buzzards lent him a hand in 2011.  Beside his traps, he would hang up a skinned coyote, and the buzzards would congregate.  When the coyotes saw them, they headed for the same spot . . .


Last year Donald said buying bees at an auction would cost about $150.00 “but,” he chuckled, “the government will pay half because they’re paying me to trap nuisance beavers”.   Donald just had to send the tails off to collect the bounty, and Butch got to eat the rest of the beavers.

He loved fishing and he converted an old fridge into a smoker.   The girls still remember the delicious  smoked fish he used to give us.

During the last years we always went to Birtle for  a Chinese dinner at Mark’s Café.  Karen ordered for Donald -- “I know what you like,” she said.   
The Sweet & Sour shrimp,  – delicately battered.

******



Donald, I miss your mischief, your warmth,  your generosity. 
 Last August, you loaded us up with tomatoes and honey.   
This year . . .  well, I treasure the memories. 

*******

MEDIVNYK   (Honey Cake) 


            From Krydor, Saskatchewan:  Mrs. Bahniuk’s recipe in TRADITIONAL UKRAINIAN COOKERY  by Savella Stechishin

1 cup buckwheat honey
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
½ cup brown sugar
4 eggs, separated
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sour cream (it’s okay to use sour cream that was frozen and thawed)

·        Bring honey to a boil and then cool it.
·        Butter a bundt pan well.
·        Start oven preheating to 325.
·        Beat butter and sugar.
·         Beat in egg yolks, one at a time.  (Be very careful when you separate the eggs not to get any egg yolk into the whites or you won’t be able to beat them stiff.)
·        Beat in the honey.
·        In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
·        Beat some of the flour mixture into the egg and honey mixture.
·         Beat in some of the sour cream.
·        Finish beating in flour and sour cream, ending with flour.
·        Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter.
·        Transfer batter to bundt pan.
·        Bake for 55 minutes. 
·        Remove from pan and cool on a cake rack.



The cake is very good even without icing. 



A cream cheese icing is excellent with it.