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Things We Love: Babies and Copper Pearl   -Feb 27, 2019

Things We Love: Babies and Copper Pearl -Feb 27, 2019 0

Babies, grandbabies, and Copper Pearl for February!
  • Catherine Reid
Things We Love: Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, on a Plant Table -Feb 20, 2019

Things We Love: Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan, on a Plant Table -Feb 20, 2019 0

Wet wax and Emperor's Silk, what's not to love?

 

  • Catherine Reid
Things We Love: Homemade Pasta Please!   - Feb 13, 2019

Things We Love: Homemade Pasta Please! - Feb 13, 2019 0

 

Continuing our February theme of things we love, pasta in all shapes, forms and fillings, has to be one of our favorites. If you have never tried making it from scratch, it’s pretty easy. And a fabulous family thing to do.

The best way to make pasta is with a machine. The Atlas 150 calls itself The Original, is made in Italy, and comes with a 10-year warranty. The machine has a clamp to hold it down while you crank the dough through, and you quickly understand the need for the clamp as you start to make fresh pasta.

The basic dough is very dry. If it sticks to your fingers, it is not yet great dough. It will stick to the metal of the rollers on the machine and gum everything up. It is much easier to get the dough right than it is to clean out the machine. The basic dough only has two ingredients; eggs and flour. One secret to great pasta dough is room temperature eggs. Too cold (as in straight from the fridge) and the dough will not be manageable. Once the dough is right, you are ready to make pasta.

Round up the kids now as they will really like this part; cranking out the sheets as you transform dough into lovely lengths of spaghetti or fettuccine. Starting with a lump of dough, roughly 1/6 of your batch, start feeding it through the rollers at the most open setting (0). Dust the sheet with a bit of flour, fold it and feed it through again. You keep working the sheet like this until it has taken on a long rectangular shape.

Now you cut it in half and start to feed it through the rollers as you close them, one increment at a time. You need to reach a pasta sheet thickness of 5 on the setting knob for fettuccine and 7 for spaghetti. The sheets are fed through the upper cutter for fettuccine or spaghetti, an attachment that comes off for storage or to use other pasta attachments such as the one for making ravioli. The flat pasta sheet on its own is the basis for ravioli.

The booklet in the Atlas box has great hints on how to correct your pasta dough if it is too soft or too hard, and how to know if it is either of these in the first place. Once you have cut the pasta, it is hung to dry on a rack, out of the dog’s reach. The back of a chair covered in a flour dusted finely woven tea towel works too but put the dog out back first. Fresh pasta cooks much more quickly than does dried, and has so much more flavor.

Cleaning the machine is done once the bits of flour and dough have dried. They flake off with a brush. Never wash it in water; it will rust. The rollers and cutters are made from metals that do not leach into food. A bit of food grade oil at the ends of the rollers is really all the maintenance you need. Do make sure you store it in a dry place.

It’s February and Family Day is soon. Celebrate by creating warm memories and homemade pasta with your family. It will become a tradition.

Did you know? Orzo is often mistaken for rice but it is pasta. Rice-shaped, it is often found in Italian soups.

Cathy and staff

  • Catherine Reid
Things We Love: Ballarini and Breakfast -Feb 6, 2019

Things We Love: Ballarini and Breakfast -Feb 6, 2019 0

What's better than breakfast? Read on...
  • Catherine Reid
Hygge or How to Survive Winter, Danish-Style -Jan 30, 2019

Hygge or How to Survive Winter, Danish-Style -Jan 30, 2019 0

This winter seems to have hung around for a long, cold time. I think it can take a toll on even the most enthusiastic winter lover when there is little or no snow and a lot of ice. Cabin fever sets in when there is little to do outside to keep you physically and mentally active. It’s time to take a look around to see how other countries with cold climates make the most of their winters.

 Our inspiration for this came from Margrete, the newest Ab Fab team member, who suggested a window themed around the Danish word ‘hygge’ pronounce ‘hew-ga’, which, in its simplest translation, means ‘fun and well-being’, particularly with regards to winter. It is definitely a more layered concept and we began exploring this idea of embracing winter through the products available in our store. Hygge begins with the gathering of family and friends.

 Hygge embodies coziness, a willingness to be happy with simple pleasures such as a hot drink or a warm throw. Our window theme grew from the idea that we can create this happiness for ourselves. We could sit in front of a fire (real or not) and read a book. Or invite another couple over for a chocolate fondue one evening, with a board game for entertainment. We could pop some corn, pile blankets and pillows on the floor and have a family movie night. We could host a potluck with the nearest neighbours, just because they are within walking distance. Joining a book or cooking club, or any club, is another opportunity to make some social connections.

 When we researched how other wintery counties create social connections, we discovered each has a unique word for this feeling. The German word is ‘gemütlichkeit’, which means conveying a feeling of warmth and friendliness. In Norway, the word is ‘koselig’ and while there is no direct translation, it implies warmth, intimacy and contentment with simple things such as candles, firelight, warm blankets and good company. For the Dutch, the word is ‘gezelligheid’ and it also has no direct English translation. It means a feeling of good times spent with family or friends, or can mean cozy and quaint.

 Stripping away the complexities in our lives leaves the simple things to give us pleasure and happiness. For many of us, the simple times include food. As we put our window display together, food was central. We created a smorgasbord of things you could use at a potluck, from soup tureen to casserole dish to raclette. Lots of red things such as oven mitts and cocottes, buffalo plaid runners because this pattern just seems so Canadian, and white added in as it is simple and is best for showing food. Our electric fireplace adds a bit of cheery glow as well.

 This winter we suggest you embrace the concept of Hygge and help warm up your own life and that of others around you. Find the positive, keep it simple and enjoy the season. For inspiration, come window shopping!  

 Did you know? Denmark gets just 7 hours of sunlight per day in the winter (Canada gets 9) yet it ranks first in the World Happiness Report.[i]

 Cathy and staff

[i] https://www.chatelaine.com/living/hygge-danish-concept-could-make-winter-more-bearable/

  • Catherine Reid
Indaba- A Gathering of People                           - Jan 23, 2019

Indaba- A Gathering of People - Jan 23, 2019 0

When you need a shot of warmth and colour during January, come on in. We are snuggling ready.
  • Catherine Reid