The Story of a Little Recipe Book

In 2018 I flew to Calgary to visit my grandchildren for Thanksgiving weekend. My daughter was busy with customers and their horses in the barn, leaving me to enjoy the children. They wanted to bake, so we did. They made my recipe for biscuit mix and then used it to make Impossible Pumpkin Pie. The youngest, who seems always to be hungry asked if she could make her snack.

“What would your Mom say if you asked her?” I asked. “She lets me have it anytime,” she replied.

That’s when I recorded the first recipe for this book. She shook a covering of Kashi cereal on a microwave plate. Then she poured cream into a cup measure and filled it to the top with chocolate chips. Into the microwave it went. While it heated, she dug into the freezer for some favourite frozen berries and sprinkled them generously over the Kashi. Lastly, she poured the melted chocolate mixture over the plate and its contents. Each of the three of the children took up a spoon and enjoyed the snack.

The following June, I returned to be a guest at the year end celebration of their 4H club. In a telephone conversation their mother had explained that her children had announced to the club business meeting that they would look after the desserts for the meal. Grandma would be there to consult. And with my supervision they did prepare all those desserts on the cover of this book, enough, and plenty left over, for 100 guests!

Float House Family Favourites

Which brings me to the following December. Other than long sox for riding, books all around and maybe movie passes I was stuck for what to give them for Christmas. I approached my book designer and my printer and I asked if it would be possible to create and print copies of a small volume of the recipes they had used and the picture illustrations I had taken. We had only 3 weeks, until Christmas but they told me it was possible as most of the business rush had been completed. So, on the day before I left to join my family for Christmas on Maui I left the print shop with 4 ‘proof’ copies of the first edition of Float House Family Favourites.

This first edition had their faces on the cover, enjoying the snack, and pictures of the children doing the baking inside. You will note that this second edition does not identify the makers but their creations, and some of mine are shown throughout the book.

Rose Hip Jelly

In the late autumn and into winter wild roses produce a seed pod valuable for their Vitamin C content and ready to be made into a flavorful jelly or jam. In my book, from Fjord to Floathouse, I referred to them:

The outer reaches of the craggy mound I thought of as my personal space were covered with wild roses whose blooms and delicate fragrance in May kept me returning. Before long the same plants yielded tasty nibbles in the form of gigantic rose hips. Mom encouraged me to pick these for her to use to make jelly.

Here is a recipe I’ve used successfully. By the nature of the fruit, amounts and preparation times are approximate. Rose hips have very little pectin; therefore using pectin is strongly advised.

5 – 8 cups rose fresh hips
3 – 4 cups water
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 pkg. pectin crystals
4 cups sugar

Rose hips simmering in a large stainless steel pot.

  1. Rinse the rose hips thoroughly and cut off the stems and scraggly ends. (I use sharp garden clippers.)
  2. Place rose hips in a large stainless steel pot, add water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until rose hips are soft and can be mashed. (up to an hour)
  3. Using a potato masher or electric hand blender crush the pips until entirely broken down.
  4. Softened mixture in 4 layers of cheesecloth.Prepare 4 layers of cheesecloth in a colander held with clothespins over a saucepan, or use a jelly bag. Transfer softened mixture and allow to strain into pan. (several hours or overnight)
  5. When the fruit ‘mess’ is entirely drained measure liquid. If there is less than 3 cups of juice you can add hot water and allow it to drain through the fruit again.
  6. Discard fruit pulp. Place measured juice into large stainless pan. Add lemon juice and stir in powdered pectin.
  7. Bring to a boil and when pectin is fully dissolved, add sugar. Stir in thoroughly.
  8. Allow to maintain a rolling boil (one that cannot be reduced by stirring) timed for one full minute. Then remove from heat.
  9. Pour into sterilized jars leaving ¼ inch at the top. Seal with sterilized lids and label.

6 jars of jelly ready for the pantry.