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Welcome to the Blog

Welcome to the Simply Rose blog! I am so glad that you have found your way here. This is where you will find my latest work and musings, anything from weddings to what my son has been doing lately.  There is lots to look at, so grab a cup of something warm and yummy and maybe a blueberry scone to go with it and stay a while. And don't be shy ~ leave a note ~ I'd love to hear from you!  

Fresh Bread

A few weekends ago I went to visit Meg Hobson’s bakery on her property just out of town. She wanted to show me where the magic that is her wood-fired bread happens and when I arrived, the large converted garage was already humming with busyness. Not only was Meg baking for the Bulkey Valley Farmer’s Market the next day, she was also preparing meal service for the Relay for Life. This was not a normal night. Meg was four hours behind schedule and was enlisting the services of others (her kids namely) to help with the time crunch. After I put my camera down, I too put a few skewers together for the kebabs.

There is something about the art of baking bread…I just can’t put my finger on it. I’ve read about how bread is such a cultural staple of the West, how growing and processing grain is a labour of love. I think there is something hopelessly romantic about the process of bread from grain to table, perhaps it makes me think of the way things used to be back in the days of my great grandparents in Russia. I haven’t been to the prairies to witness it, but a field as far as the eye can see of golden grain swaying in the sunset by some unseen hand just makes my skin tingle. In a good way.

I can’t bake bread for anything and I have a deep respect for those who can and do it well. The few times I’ve tried, I just ended up with a big mess and hard lump of wheat I can barely call edible. So I leave this kind of thing up to the experts.

Just a few for now ~ I may be needing these images for a cool project that is just an idea right now. If you are in Smithers and don’t know about it yet, Rustica Wood-Fired bakes every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. And Meg sells out quickly so come early if you don’t want to be disappointed. For those that live elsewhere, I would encourage you to find someone in your area that does wood-fired artisan bread. The quality and texture of it is unlike anything else.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”
James Beard

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Artisan Bread

This weekend has been all about artisan foods.

I’ve been fortunate enough to catch portions of creativeLIVE’s 3 day weekend online seminar with premiere food photographer, Penny De Los Santos. I always thought it would be so wonderful to shoot food ~ all those textures, colours and layers. I love nothing more than watching the Top Chef challenges, but I learned from Penny that taking a pretty image of a plate of spaghetti is a lot harder than you may think. There are so many elements to think about that are inclusive of food photography like culture, place, people and time. And of course all the technical elements of lighting, placement of items, plate and prop selection, and the relationship of the foreground to the background. Not only is Penny a well-established food photographer, but also a photojournalist that shoots for National Geographic so her understanding of all of these elements combined is unsurpassed.

I love well-made dishes with good, healthful, locally-produced ingredients. And I also truly love artisan foods. By artisan foods, I mean food that is made in a very traditional way using the best ingredients possible for the freshest taste. And nothing gets more traditional than fire-baked bread.

I have gone to the Bulkley Valley Farmer’s Market twice now since it opened last weekend and I am so excited about the producers that are there currently, including Rustica Bread. One look at their loaves and I want to melt into grain heaven. There is something completely indescribable about a home-baked loaf of bread. Perhaps it’s the weight of it from all the hearty whole grains or the delightful crust and soft inside ~ whatever it is, a beautiful loaf of bread will get me every time. I bought one loaf (I had to limit myself!) and I photographed it today, trying to channel my inner Penny. I’m not sure I quite made it there, but I think you’ll at least get a good sense of how beautiful a handmade loaf of bread can be.

I also found this fantastic article from Northword Magazine about micro-bakeries in the Bulkley Valley. It’ s such a beautiful thing when community and food come together.

Be prepared for more locally produced food blog postings this summer, the things coming out of this valley are truly gastronomically inspiring. Including my own garden!

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Random Apples for a Social Betty

I found these apples. In Vancouver. In an alley parking lot about a month ago.

I didn’t steal them, the tree was half hanging over into the lot so I thought these little gems might make a tasty desert.

They did.

Happy baking! (Especially to my American neighbors for Thanksgiving next week…..)

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