apple and parsnip cake

Apple and Parsnip Cake | conifères & feuillus

They’re pink, gorgeous, and probably the ultimate sign of spring. Whether they are cherry, crabapple or magnolia blossoms; streets, parks and gardens throughout the city transform, almost overnight, with these beauties. When all this is going on here in Montréal, it also means that we are still weeks away from the start of berry season and a seasonal snacking cake can look very much like an autumn cake (minus the spring blossom styling!). Lucky for us, we still have plenty of apples and parsnips from our last harvest.
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the plague of 1896 & mango pickles

Gujarati mango pickles | conifères & feuillus

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

A bubonic plague pandemic came to India in 1896 via rats on cargo ships from China. Over the next thirty years, India would lose 12.5 million people to this disease. Initially, it was confined to port cities but eventually, it spread to rural regions of the country as well. [1]

By the time the pandemic reached my ancestral village in Gujarat, my paternal grandfather was but a newborn. This meant that he had minimal resistance and the least possibility of survival if infected. But parents will do whatever possible to ensure the safety of  their children and so, as difficult as it may have been, arrangements were made by my great-grandparents to have him taken away to live temporarily with relatives living further away until the threat would pass. But things didn’t turn out quite as planned and what was meant to be temporary became permanent. Soon after he was taken away, his entire family fell victim to this deadly disease.

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hunger & hope: banana bread with nuts & dates

banana bread with nuts & dates | conifères & feuillus

You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope. -Suzanne Collins

banana bread
Growing up, my parents never wasted any food. Although, we always had just enough to eat, we certainly didn’t have enough to waste. But I learned the real reason behind their no-waste policy at age 9 during our first visit to India.


After much preparation, our suitcases are packed with gifts until they are ready to burst. Returning to our homeland from Canada, it’s unthinkable to arrive empty-handed.  We leave on a cold Saturday afternoon in December. Our seven week long trip would span over the Christmas holidays to ensure the least amount of disruption to our lives here. We arrive in Bombay, as it is called at this time or Mumbai, as the locals call it, in the dark of the night. Compared to Montréal International Airport (otherwise known as Mirabel), Santa Cruz airport is literally a few small buildings strung together. Exiting the airplane, onto the tarmac, the first things that hit you are the odour and the humidity. Eventually, you learn to accept the odour, but the humidity is unrelenting, even in the middle of the night. My parents had warned me about how different India is compared to Canada, but still, I find myself unprepared. Within minutes of exiting the plane, India no longer feels like home to me anymore. Six years abroad can do that when you are so young. Continue reading “hunger & hope: banana bread with nuts & dates”

spiced carrot and apple cake

Spiced Carrot and Apple Cake | conifères & feuillus

In the midst of a Canadian winter, the beauty of dead hydrangeas is a reminder of what was and what’s to come.

Past mid-February, here in the Northern hemisphere, we are just one month away from spring equinox. Even though the amount by which sunrise and sunset change each day is now perceivable  and though the days are becoming noticeably longer, here in Montréal, our streets are lined with huge banks of snow. Playing outside with my youngest this weekend, I couldn’t help notice that there are still a few dried flower heads on my hydrangea tree lurking above the two feet of snow on our front yard -a reminder that far below the lifeless sheet of snow and ice, comfortably and patiently, life awaits.
Spiced Carrot and Apple Cake | conifères & feuillus
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lemon ricotta waffles with wild blueberry-orange sauce

lemon ricotta waffles and wild blueberry sauce | conifères & feuillus

In the dead of winter, when even my much cared for indoor herbs appear to have lost all hope, nature brings us sunshine in the form of citrus fruit from the world over. As we prepare to hail in a new year, the season of citrus harvest begins. What better way to mark this occasion than with my family’s favourite waffle recipe: lemon ricotta waffles. Plus, I still have some frozen wild blueberries in my freezer. How about some blueberry-orange sauce to drizzle over the waffles?  The fruits of a year gone by paired with the fruits of a newly arrived one… what a perfect way to ring in the new year! Happy New Year friends!

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cranberry sauce

Easy 3 ingredient cranberry sauce recipe | conifères & feuillus

My husband is a mix of German and Acadian descent. From the Acadian side comes a recipe for a traditional roast turkey dinner that we make twice a year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. When I first met my husband, he would follow the recipe he’d been given to a T and was very reluctant on changing anything about it. Although it makes a very delicious meal, there were certain things that I wanted him to change. For example, it mentions using canned cranberry sauce. This was the first thing to go!

Easy 3 ingredient cranberry sauce recipe | conifères & feuillus
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