A Baker from Belarus

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Billberry Mousse Cake 

Katerina Perera grew up in a quiet little town in Belarus, a country in Eastern Europe tucked between Russia and Ukraine. She was the only child of parents who worked hard and chose to live simply in order to give their daughter a better opportunity at life than they had experienced.

From a young age, Katerina showed an inclination towards art and even finished art school at age 15, but lacked the confidence in her abilities to pursue a career in this field. It wasn't until years later, after marriage and babies and a move to Nigeria, that she discovered her love of photography and found her way back into the world of art she had left all those years before.

Vegetable Curry

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Vegetable Curry 

Some days nothing will do except a hot, spicy bowl of curry over rice. When I looked in the refrigerator this afternoon, I had plenty of vegetables but no meat, so I decided to make this a vegetable curry.  It turned out so good!  My husband and I sat on the porch in the waning sunlight and wolfed down two bowls faster than I care to admit.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf 

Friends are an incredibly important part of my life. They always have been, but especially now that I am away from my home environment, I realize the valuable role they play in my day to day. Although I'm hundreds of miles away, it's nice to know they're as close as a text or a phone call.

One group of friends who have become like sisters to me are The Crazy Food Girls. As our name may suggest, we're all slightly crazy about food. Instagram brought us together last year but a solid friendship established through daily chats of baring our hearts and souls has kept us together. We've bonded in a way that goes beyond the 'what are you making for dinner' or 'what's your best curry recipe', although there is plenty of that. We've gone deeper, into issues of the heart that we feel safe to explore after many months of building up trust that spans continents. That's right, continents. Because we're seven cooks from three continents and four countries who have learned that friendship crosses both global and cultural borders.

Coastal Diaries - Right Whale Sighting

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunset picnic 

October 23, 2016. I spent the day working on a story about Little Pink Houses of Hope, a retreat for Breast Cancer Survivors which took place here in Surfside Beach this past week.  After hours in front of the computer, I decided to reward myself with a sunset picnic on the beach this evening.  I didn't realize the spectacular experience I would have.

Roasted Cherry Tomato Quiche

Friday, October 21, 2016

Roasted Cherry Tomato Quiche 

Last night when the road-weary travelers drove in (aka my kids), we made tacos at 10 PM, polished off slices of chocolate cake, then walked to the beach where a glorious harvest half-moon dipped into the ocean like a cookie. We watched it rise and gradually lose its pumpkin hue before we trudged home through the sand for bed.

Today, we breakfasted on this lovely Roasted Cherry Tomato Quiche by Violet Cakes .  The extra effort it takes to roast the cherry tomatoes is so worth it.  They taste like candy when they come out of the oven. In fact, some of them didn't make it into the recipe because there were too many tasters in the kitchen!  And the custard?  Divine!

Coastal Diaries - Palmetto Bugs and True Grit

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Piney Grove Baptist Church 

October 20, 2016.  Bugs. Large ones. I’ve never been a fan of creepy crawlies, but these Palmetto Bugs (a gussied up word for roaches) cause my heart to skip a beat. Thankfully, there’s none inside the house, but if you step out on the porch at night, there’s a good chance you’ll see one. Or two. But, as my husband reminds me, this is the south and I need to shore up my grit and carry on. 

Speaking of grit, these folks along the Waccamaw and Pee Dee Rivers need a lot of it. Yesterday we passed through Low Country and noticed people standing around helplessly as they looked across ‘ponds’ to where their houses stood in the swelling flood waters. With the rivers slowly falling from their initial 17.4 feet above flood stage, many homes are still pooling in water. Several women were trying to propel a row boat with their hands in an attempt to reach their home. I asked if they would give me an interview, but they shook their heads in frustration, saying, “Honey, we are way too stressed to think about an interview.” 

Coastal Diaries - Parts 1 - 3

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Morning coffee amidst the debris washed ashore by Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina. 

October 12, 2016. Sometimes life throws a surprise when the heart screams for change. This happened to me recently. Last week, to be exact. In the space of 24 hours, my life went from normal to adventurous. Hurricane Matthew came trouncing up the East Coast, damaging homes, flooding towns and ripping up trees, and my husband was deployed to South Carolina to help assess damages in the storm's wake. Faced with the prospect of being separated from my husband for potentially the rest of the year, I decided to go with him.

On Monday morning, we packed up our lives, leaving our home and everything familiar in Winston-Salem for a temporary assignment in a new state. Getting here was challenging, to say the least. After traffic jams and road closures in Lumberton, a town in North Carolina mostly under water, followed by gas shortages and power outages in the heart of South Carolina, we finally motored into Myrtle Beach with empty stomachs and a packed-to-the-gills car.  (Yes, I forgot to pack food. But I DID bring the Kitchen Aid.)

The Gin Baker

Friday, October 14, 2016

Negroni cupcakes seem a perfect introduction to the seductive nuances of Autumn. 

Liam Beauchamp hails from Edenbridge in Kent, a tiny town filled with medieval buildings clustered along narrow streets and boasting four waterwheel mills which were used to grind flour prior to the World Wars. It seems only right, then, that this young man has developed a passion for baking.  After all, he's had his hands in flour since a young age when he would spend weekends with his Nan, learning to bake her signature dishes. While Liam worked in a variety of kitchens during his college years, he recently developed a niche for baking with gin. The response from family and friends was astounding, which led to the launch of his food blog, The Gin Baker in 2016. 

Shrimp Curry

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Shrimp Curry served around the picnic table on our ocean-front porch. 

It all started back in June with a group message suggesting, "We need a vacation together at the coast." Before long, texts were flying back and forth between the seven of us, most who have been friends for over 30 years. We juggled calendars, compared dates, wrangled schedules and finally nailed down our dream with a deposit to secure a little cottage on North Carolina's beautiful Topsail Island.