Category British

A Proper British Breakfast

How lovely to wake up on a beautiful farm, with a gaggle of gal pals, and be served a “proper British breakfast” by our hostess with the mostess. Fried eggs, fried tomatoes, sausages, hash browns, fried mushrooms, whole grain bread, Wiltshire bacon rashers (Loblaw’s), and British baked beans (British Grocer Wholesale). Cracking good! Thank you, Christine!


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Holiday Traditions: Crawford’s Village Bakery

UPDATE: Crawford’s Village Bakery is closing November 30, 2014. 

My first memory of Crawford’s Village Bakery is of the sweet fragrance of their still warm pies as we stocked them in the Cheeseboard Café’s cooler when I waitressed there back in the 80s. Alison made frequent trips to Crawford’s to keep up with the demand for their delicious, freshly baked fruit pies, like Strawberry Rhubarb and Cherry. I fondly recall the elderly lady who routinely struggled to get to the Cheeseboard just for a prized piece of Blueberry Pie.


My favourite memories of Crawford’s are the trips my Mom, sisters, and I used to make there every holiday. At Thanksgiving we’d pick up our order of Pumpkin and Dutch Apple Pie (my favourite!).


At Christmas we ordered Butter Pecan Pie and our Easter order often included Quiche.


Mom and I loved to browse the shelves for gourmet goodies to embellish our feast,


stuff in Christmas stockings, or hand out as charming hostess gifts.


(Top photo) Suc’ Aromatisé flavoured sugars from France – can’t wait to try the Violet. (Middle photo) Martin Pouret French mustard, Safinter Smoked Spanish Paprika, and Terre Exotique Flower Salad from France. (Bottom photo) Guelph, Ontario’s Kitchen Connaisseur.

Our cookie trays included Aunt Maud’s Christmas Fruitcake. Lucy Maud Montgomery was related to the Crawfords. Elaine and Kelly Crawford published Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book from Lucy’s original recipes, which were passed down through the family. You can buy it at Crawford’s.


Mom always placed a festively-shaped, handcrafted Chocolate Sucker on each grandchild’s plate.


We often picked up little treats for ourselves to enjoy later like German Chocolate Brownies. In those days, we’d linger over a homemade lunch that Crawford’s used to serve in the adjoining room.


(Photo) German Chocolate Squares, Butter Tart Squares, and Date Squares.

I still adore going to Crawford’s for pies and gourmet goodies, cherishing the traditions that Mom and I started. Crawford’s was founded in 1967 by Bob and Elaine Crawford who still run it today, with the help of their daughter, Kelly, and friendly staff.


(Top photo) Some of the happy bakery staff: Angela, Katie, and Jennifer. (Middle photo) Andrea, the talented jam and jelly maker. (Bottom photo) Corry, one of the lovely chocolate ladies.

Throughout all of these years, the quality of Crawford’s products has remained consistently excellent. We have never been disappointed.

The classic fruit pies (Blueberry, Cherry, Dutch Apple, Strawberry Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Cream Cheese, and Butter Pecan) are usually regularly available throughout the year. Summer seasonal pies (available on certain weekends) include such delights as Luscious Lime, Lemon Chiffon, Double Lemon, Lemon Sour Cream, and Blueberry Lemon Crumble.


Luscious Lime Pie

Apple is available all year until summer’s celebration of Peach. Raisin Pie is available by special order. Butterscotch Pie is baked about six times a year, usually around a holiday or long weekend. Pumpkin and Crimsonberry are available weekly except during the summer.


Crimsonberry Pie

Lemon Meringue is available on weekends only from fall to spring. Mince and Mincekin pies (pumpkin with a bottom layer of mince) are the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crawford’s usually features lighter pies at Easter to celebrate spring. Stay tuned to Crawford’s Facebook page for pie schedule announcements. All pies are lovingly made from scratch with a perfect crust and delectable fillings. Crawford’s pies remain the gold standard for pies in our region and are worth every calorie!

The shelves are brimming with artisanal treats and fine imported products like olives, oils, vinegars, pastas, and sauces.


Local products include The Garlic Box, Credit Valley Gold Honey, and Temple’s Sugar Bush Maple Syrup.


And of course, Crawford’s homemade Jams, Jellies, and Sauces. Oh, I think I’ll make my Dad’s day and pick him up a jar of Crawford’s Chili Sauce and a Meat Pie.


I bought my son an old-fashioned Chocolate Cake from Crawford’s for his birthday this year and it was really good. Crawford’s handmade and dipped Chocolate Truffles are far too tempting to resist!


Leave enough time to hunt for a vintage treasure to buy amongst the antiques that have replaced the little café. Check out the Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum in the same space.


Businesses like this, run by families like the Crawfords, are an absolute pleasure to write about. Thank you to the Crawford family for years of continued excellent service.

Call ahead to reserve your favourite pie or to place a chocolate order.

Open 7 days a week:
Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Open Thanksgiving Day, Easter Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
Crawford’s Village Bakery & Distinctive Foods
2809 Bovaird Drive West
Brampton, ON (Norval)
Telephone: 905-451-0347

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Day Tripping: The Glen Oven Café in Glen Williams

I have a favourite little spot I like to wander off to come summertime. I didn’t even know it existed until my friends brought me there one happy afternoon. Glen Williams is a peaceful little hamlet hidden amongst the trees of the meandering Credit River Valley, in the outskirts of Georgetown. The tree-lined street is dotted with just a handful of heritage buildings and homes. It is so quiet you can hear the crickets chirping.


Walk onto the porch of the Glen Oven Café and the regulars give you a nod as if to agree “yep, there is something so serene about this place”. Feel welcome in a modest but charming interior filled with vintage fine china tea cups, little British flags, a few tables, a couple of arm chairs, and a little wood stove.


Order at the counter. Choose from quiche, salad, soup, or sandwiches – all lovingly made from scratch (even the bread) with quality, wholesome ingredients. Everything I have tried has been delicious. My favourite is the Roasted Veggie sandwich: sweet potato, parsnip, red peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and red onion all roasted until tender and slightly caramelized then piled on billowing homemade bread spread with creamy chèvre.


Buy a loaf of bread to take home. This is the home of the Hearty Seed Bread, my son’s favourite flax seed bread; I have to hide it or he will polish off the whole loaf in one day. My friend loves the Whole Wheat Muesli Bread, a breakfast bread with raisins, cranberries, walnuts, and sunflower seeds. Don’t even try to resist the baking displayed in the counter – it is definitely worth giving into. I love the Lemon Squares the most: rich, buttery shortbread crust covered with a luscious layer of tart lemon filling.

Order tea: a pot and a delightful vintage tea cup will arrive at your table with the rest of your order.


Eat inside or better yet, relax in the shade of the big trees on the outdoor porch. Leaves dancing in the gentle breeze on a warm, sunny day – it just feels so summery, so carefree.


Allow enough time to poke in the antique book shop (Reeve & Clarke Antiquarian), marvel at the glassblowing (Glen Williams Glass), and shop for one-of-a-kind art by Canadian artists (Williams Mill Visual Art Centre), or get lost in booth after booth of vintage treasures at the Beaumont Mill Antiques & Collectibles Market. A stroll beside the tranquil Credit River is always good for the soul (Glen Williams Park).

The Glen Oven Café
520 Main Street
Glen Williams, ON L7G 3S8
Telephone: 905-873-0940


The Glen Oven Café has a second location in historic downtown Georgetown, The Glen Oven Tea Room. It offers lunch and afternoon tea. Catering available.

The Glen Oven Tea Room
98 Main St S,
Georgetown, ON L7G 3E4
Telephone: 289-891-8833

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How to Serve a Cup of Kindness

For the past three years, Streetsville United Church Sunday School has served a cup of kindness to our treasured seniors at our annual Seniors’ Tea. With the help of the children and their wonderfully supportive parents and teachers, we pull together a free lunch of tea sandwiches, dainty desserts, hot tea, and lemonade.  Here is how we do it:

Make cups of kindness cards (download paper teacup pattern here) using pretty patterned paper (cardstock purchased at Walmart), an x-acto knife, and glue. Fill each cup with a couple of paper hearts decorated by the children and one tea bag. Make one cup for each place setting.

Cups_of_Kindness Gather up the children. Have fun creating beautiful tissue paper flowers (instructions here – no need to snip the ends to make a petal shape). Don’t they look like they belong in Monet’s garden?


Put out a plea to the congregation for donations of unwanted, pretty, fine china teacups. If you like, glue the bottom of the cup to the saucer using a hot glue gun.

Tea_Cups Place a cheap but cheerful dollar store flower blossom in each cup (Dollarama is a good source). Offer them to the seniors as take-away gifts; take out the flower and use the cup as a jewelry holder or candy dish.


Set tables in cream-coloured tablecloths, plates, napkins, and tea cups (tablecloth, plates, and  napkins found at Party City). Place one cup of kindness card at each place setting. Evenly space flower-filled china teacups down the centre of the tables. Add bursts of colour with tissue paper flowers. Leave enough space for serving platters and tea pots. Don’t forget teaspoons, milk, and sugar.

Place_Setting Ask the Sunday School parents to contribute homemade tea sandwiches, cookies, and squares. Scroll to the bottom for instructions on making and cutting tea sandwiches. Cookies and squares should be delivered already cut in small sizes; make enough for each person to have a total of three or four pieces. Arrange assortments of sandwiches and an assortment of desserts on large platters to pass around during the tea. Make sure your platters are light enough for children to carry and line them with paper doilies (Party City is a good source for both). Ask someone to bring raw veggies (cut in small pieces) and someone else to bring tea, milk, sugar, and lemonade for the kids. Tea_Sandwiches Round up some parents to help cut the sandwiches and arrange the platters just before the tea begins (you may need them to bring cutting boards and knives). Ask the kids and parents to help serve at the tea and help clean up after too.

Make an announcement several weeks in advance, inviting the seniors of your congregation to join you for tea; ask them to sign-up in advance so you can get a good idea of the numbers. On the day of the event, greet them with smiles. Pour them a cup of kindness. Sit and enjoy the luncheon together. Your friendships will blossom and I bet that it will turn out to be just as heartwarming an experience for you as it is for the seniors.


Simple Tea Sandwich Instructions

The Streetsville UCW taught me how to keep the sandwich making simple and fuss-free while keeping the sandwiches as fresh as possible (they have lots of experience serving luncheons to large groups at funerals). Be sure to scroll to the bottom for important How to Make the Sandwiches and How to Cut the Sandwiches instructions, as well as useful Sandwich Calculations.

Keep the fillings traditional and not too adventurous so that both old and young will enjoy. We make egg salad, ham salad, tuna salad, cream cheese and cucumber. Lettuce will wilt and get mushy and other toppings will make the sandwiches gloppy and soggy, so don’t add them. I’ve included my Mom’s super easy recipe for Ham Salad Sandwiches.

Ham Salad Sandwiches

I loved opening up my school lunch bag to find one of my Mom’s ham salad sandwiches. This recipe makes enough filling for one loaf of sandwiches.


2 tins (156 g each) Maple Leaf Flakes of Ham

1/3 cup (scant) real mayonnaise

1/3 cup (scant) sweet green relish

1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 loaf of thinly sliced sandwich bread


  1. Open, drain, and discard liquid from cans of ham. Add ham to a medium bowl; mash with a fork to break into flakes.
  2. Add mayonnaise and relish; mix thoroughly.

How to Make the Sandwiches:

  1. Save the plastic bread bag and tie. Do not cut the crusts off the bread; leave the crusts on. Remove and discard outer ends of loaf.
  2. Spread butter lightly and evenly over one side of each remaining slice (spread to edge of the crust). Spread sandwich filling evenly over half of the slices. Top with 2nd half of buttered slices. Press down lightly.
  3. Do not cut the crusts off the bread. Do not cut the sandwiches. Assemble the whole sandwiches back into a loaf and place the whole loaf back in the plastic bread bag and seal it tightly closed. Refrigerate for at least one hour, until ready to serve. Can be made the night before.

How to Cut the Sandwiches Just Before Serving:

  1. Just before serving, cut each whole sandwich into 4 triangle-shaped sandwiches. We leave the crusts on to avoid wastage.
  2. Arrange an assortment of sandwiches on platters with pointed ends visible.
  3. As each platter is filled, cover it completely with lightly dampened, clean J-Cloths and then seal with a covering of plastic wrap to prevent the sandwiches from drying out.
  4. Once all of your platters are ready, remove the J-Cloths and plastic wrap and serve immediately.

Sandwich Calculations:

We allow 6 small tea sandwiches per person (which equates to 1½ full-sized sandwiches cut into 6 tea sandwich triangles, using 3 whole slices of bread). We always have some leftover but like to have extra in case any seniors, who haven’t signed up in advance, decide to come at the last-minute; people are more than happy to take home any leftovers. The average loaf has 16 slices of bread (crusts excluded) which will make 8 sandwiches.

# of guests (seniors, children, and adult helpers) × 1.5 tea sandwiches = total # sandwiches

total # sandwiches ÷ 8 sandwiches per loaf = total # loaves required

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New Year’s Dinner: Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Drizzle and Thyme Roasted Potatoes

‘Tis the morning after Christmas and all through the house,
Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.
The wrappings were strewn all about with great flair,
Now Dad snores loudly in his favourite chair.

The dog is nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of squirrels dance in his head.
And my son in his PJs, cuddled in my lap,
Has just settled his brain for a long winter’s nap.

When in my mind, there arises such a clatter,
I spring from the couch to try to fix the matter…
After turkey and tinsel, we are all tuckered out,
But now there’s New Year’s dinner to fret about!

Keep calm and carry on, Olive has got you covered:

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Drizzle and Thyme Roasted Potatoes

I served this menu one year for my cherished bro and his dear family when we gathered around his cottage dinner table a couple of days before Christmas. The meal was easy, flavourful, and festive. My son thrilled to be surrounded by his cousins; my brother cracking all of us up with his incredible sense of humour; me, happy to be at his side…the evening forever sings in my heart. Consider splurging a little and serving this festive feast to your loved ones to celebrate the New Year. Wishing you a healthy and happy 2014.

A festively-coloured trio of vegetables made this menu extra special. Laura Calder’s Thyme Cream Tomatoes (from her Buckwheat Crêpes with Thyme Cream Tomatoes recipe) are simple yet sublime. I learned from Ricardo how to sauté frozen peas (straight from the freezer) in a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil, and then season with salt (sorry, can’t find his recipe anywhere on his site but that’s all there is to it). And of course, I served my brother’s favourite Sweet-Sour Purple Cabbage with Apples (which I made ahead and froze).

We started out with a recipe for the beef tenderloin but felt it needed tweaking, so Jane winged it from there; it turned out beautifully but of course, we didn’t write it down. Since then, I’ve tested a few recipes, selected what I liked from them, and combined them into this recipe.


Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Drizzle and Thyme Roasted Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

This meltingly tender yet flavourful beef tenderloin drizzled with a red wine and beef stock reduction is wonderful served with some crumbled blue cheese on the side and Thyme Roasted Mini Potatoes.

Get the potatoes in the oven first and then prepare the beef; remove the potatoes from the oven when done and let them rest at room temperature. When the beef has finished cooking, return the potatoes to a 250°F oven to warm up while the beef has a good long rest.

Thyme Roasted Potatoes


3 lbs. mini Yukon Gold potatoes
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
3 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, divided


  1. Place both oven racks in middle of oven, leaving enough room between to fit a tray of potatoes. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut potatoes in half; divide evenly between two parchment-lined, rimmed baking trays.  Divide oil, salt, and thyme evenly between both trays; toss on potatoes, turning with your hands to coat evenly. Arrange potatoes cut side down and evenly spaced out on trays.
  3. Place one tray on each oven rack; bake until tender and cut side is golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes, rotating trays between both racks after 15 minutes.

Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Drizzle

Butcher Bob at Burton Meats (Dundas St. location) sold me a superb beef tenderloin. He recommended that I sear the tenderloin first, and then cook it at a lower temperature of 375°F (contrary to many recipes that instruct the beef to be cooked at 450°F). He was right; it was so tender that I actually could cut it with a fork. Be sure to buy the No Salt Added beef broth (even low sodium will be too salty).


1 whole beef tenderloin 3-lbs
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon white sugar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 ⅓ cup good red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
⅔ cup Campbell’s No Salt Added Beef Stock or homemade beef stock
1 tablespoon butter

Crumbled mild, creamy blue cheese and/or horseradish


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Season beef lightly with coarse salt and generously with freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat; when oil is hot, sear beef on all sides until evenly browned, about 1½ minutes to 2 minutes per side. Place meat on a rack in a roasting pan that can also be used on stove top.
  3. In a small bowl, combine Rub ingredients; spread evenly over meat. Insert an oven-proof thermometer in middle of tenderloin; roast until thermometer reads 130°F, about 25 minutes (it will continue to cook as it rests) – the end result will be medium-rare, slightly on the rare side.
  4. When beef is cooked as desired, carefully remove roasting rack and beef to a rimmed baking sheet while protecting your hands and any surfaces that come in contact with the hot rack (you want the meat to rest on the rack and not a flat surface); tent loosely with foil to keep warm; let rest for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, drain fat and any clumps from roasting pan. Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat. Add wine to pan; deglaze pan with wine, scraping any brown bits on bottom of pan with a wooden spoon to incorporate into sauce. Simmer rapidly over medium heat, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn until reduced, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste to pan; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add beef stock; simmer rapidly, stirring frequently until reduced by half and thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat; whisk in butter, stirring until fully incorporated.
  6. Slice beef thickly and serve immediately with sauce and accompaniments.
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