Tag Archives: recipes

Q&A with Annette: How does your (community) garden grow?

Sarilia’s community garden is a favourite spot for many residents to socialize, tend to their flowers, veggies and fruits, and learn from one another. We sat down with Sarilia resident, Annette Horvath, to learn what she—and others—grew this year, what flourished, what didn’t, and what she’s learned from her fellow green thumbs.

What did you plant in the community garden this year?
I planted lots of flowers—mostly zinnias—and lots of vegetables too: lots of carrots because they can keep for a long time, peas, potatoes, beans, corn, onions, garlic, the usual.

Garlic and dill in the community garden

Garlic and dill in the community garden

Garlic is always such a nice treat in the garden because it keeps for a long time. It takes a little longer to grow. You plant it the season before (at the end of the season) so it’s always amazing to see what comes out and it’s so much better to have fresh garlic from your garden than buying it from the store. The texture is so creamy and the flavour is so much better.

When you have a vegetable soup from your garden, it’s just amazing how much flavour is in the vegetables—it’s so good. I also planted a whole row of beets. We had a few issues with some chipmunks—they are really fat in our garden because we feed them very well. They stole all my beets! (laughs) Just mine. Other people didn’t have problems with that.

chipmunk in the garden

A well-fed Sarilia chipmunk

Raspberries were a big thing. My raspberries did very well this year because of the rain. It was really nice to have fruit in the garden. Pretty much everything did quite well. Everybody had a good harvest of peas, beans, carrots, onions, beets, and all the things they planted.

One of our neighbours always plants sunflowers and they’re such a nice addition to the garden too. They’re just such a happy flower and they do so well.

sunflowers blooming

Sunflowers in bloom in Sarilia’s community garden

What are some of the benefits of community gardening?
One of the benefits is that a lot of sharing takes place. One of our neighbours had grown an abundant amount of kale. I didn’t know this, but when you pick kale, it grows back. You don’t pick it from the root, so it keeps on giving back, week after week. She had so much more than she could use, and luckily the chipmunks didn’t like the kale, so they stayed away. We tried making so many different things—like salads and kale chips, and I juiced a lot and now I’ve frozen it to use it for smoothies.

We also have some extra room in the garden that nobody has claimed yet, so we grow pumpkins and potatoes, and we share them with our neighbours if there’s extra. And of course zucchini. There’s always more zucchini than we need, but that’s kind of nice.

Have you learned any lessons from your neighbours who you garden alongside?
Always. You’re always learning, because nothing is ever the same. It’s always different from year to year and it’s so interesting to find out what other people are growing that’s working for them.

growing peppersOne of our neighbours plants a lot of garlic, tomatoes, and hot peppers. It’s always interesting to see the different coloured peppers in his garden—from green, orange, yellow, red and even a very dark aubergine colour. I imagine a lot of them are really hot. He’s even grown habaneros (not in our community garden, but at his house). So it’s like a salsa garden where you grow all the ingredients yourself to make an amazing tomato sauce or salsa.

My garden is such a small part of it because it’s such a community effort. I really like wandering through other people’s gardens and enjoying what they’re growing. The sharing of the harvest is always kind of special—when somebody says, “here, I grew this, you gotta try it.” Just seeing what they grow and thinking, “well, I can do that next year.”

Have you planted anything new this year that you’d never tried before?

community garden harvest

Jerusalem artichoke potatoes

We planted Jerusalem artichoke potatoes, which we’ve never had before. It’s like a gourmet potato. They don’t look like a traditional potato plant. They grow into this beautiful, tall flower that looks similar to a sunflower, but they’re small flowers. They grow over six-feet tall. The idea is to harvest the tubers after the frost, so that they’re a little bit easier to digest. It must bring out the sugars in the tuber. We haven’t tried them yet, because we haven’t had very many frosts yet, but we’re going to try them soon. You can roast and cook them like a potato, so we’re looking forward to trying those.

growing zinnias

Zinnias in bloom

I talked one of my neighbours into growing zinnias. She tried out different varieties than I did. They’re very hardy flowers and they’re beautiful. To me, they’re a little bit like a gerber daisy, but they have vibrant colours and come in different varieties. Some are really big, some are like pom-poms, and they flower all summer long—so that’s a really nice flower for the garden. And the bees really are attracted to them.

Do you have any favourite recipes for your garden veggies?
A lot of times, if I’m making a vegetable soup, I make it up as I go. I know some people really like recipes because they get consistency and they make the same thing over and over again, but a lot of the time I just clean up a whole bunch of vegetables, throw them in a pot, and see what comes out! For pumpkin pie I usually find a recipe, and I don’t normally use the same one all the time. I check my old church parish books—I’ve got a lot of of old ones—because those are tried and true.

One of Annette's favourite pumpkin pie recipes

One of Annette’s favourite pumpkin pie recipes

Our favourite holiday recipes

At Sarilia, we love to get together over good food, and the holidays are no exception. We thought we’d share a few of our favourite holiday recipes to provide a bit of culinary inspiration.

Gwen’s favourites

Welsh Cakes, from Company’s Coming
“My family is Welsh and we have always been a big fan of anything that has currants, raisins, mixed peel and cheese. Welsh cakes with layered Camembert is one of our family’s favourite appetizers. I have been making it for over 20 years.”

Welsh cakes

2 cups all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
½ cup hard margarine or butter

½ cup currents
1/4 cup cut mixed peel, finely chopped

1 large egg – fork beaten
1/3 cup milk

Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Cut in margarine until crumbly.

Stir in currents and peel.

Add egg and milk. Stir until dough forms a ball. Roll on lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into 2 or 3 inch rounds. Heat frying pan on medium-low. Cook cakes, in batches, until both sides are browned. Pan should be lower temperature than for cooking pancakes. Serve cold. Makes 24-36 small cakes.

Serving tip: Accompany the Welsh Cakes with a soft cheese, like Brie or Camembert for easy spreading.

Bruschetta, from Company’s Coming
“I was having tea with my Pilates ladies last night and we were talking about Christmas and food. Kathleen said, ‘I just love your bruschetta recipe, so yummy!’ Sometimes, I serve  it as an appetizer, sometimes, I eat it for dinner, and sometimes I have it on toast for breakfast because I ran out of baguette. Seriously, it is so delicious and easy to make!”


You can find the bruschetta recipe here. 

Annette’s favourites

Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Puddings
“My favorite Christmas dessert is Sticky Toffee Pudding from Best of Bridge. I once had dinner at a fancy restaurant and the waiter kept going on about how awesome their chef’s sticky toffee pudding was and how the recipe was handed down to him from his Grandmother who brought the recipe to Canada from England. It was their most popular dessert and often they would have people order it for delivery all over Canada. I ordered it and, yes it was good. Then I went home and made this recipe and it was better. Sorry Grandma.”

Sticky toffee pudding

You can find the Dried Cranberry Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe here.

Cracker Jack Popcorn, from Broma Bakery
“Another Christmas favorite is baked Cracker Jack popcorn. I’ve been making this at Christmas for more than 30 years.”

Cracker Jack Popcorn

Find the Cracker Jack Popcorn recipe here. 

Amber’s favourites

“For me, the holidays bring a lot of entertaining, so I always keep some “appetizer staples” around, which, for me, are cream cheese, crescent rolls, and cheese. You know, all that healthy stuff. Here are two festive apps that always do well at parties.”

Appetizer Wreath Recipe, from Taste of Home

Appetizer wreath
You can find the appetizer wreath recipe here. 

Apple Pecan Baked Brie, from Crazy for Crust

Apple pecan baked brie

You can find the Apple Pecan Baked Brie recipe here. 

Ronn’s favourite

Ronn’s favourite holiday recipe is for mulled wine.

Mulled wine

You can find the mulled wine recipe here. 

We’d love to hear about your favourite Christmas recipes too. Please share them with us in the comments!