Canada Day updates from the Engen universe

Ellen Curtis
Ellen Curtis

Hey everyone! It’s been a while, mainly because I’ve been working a lot, but I wanted to get this thing back up to date.

Things have been hectic lately. Matt and I finished The Tourniquet Reprisal and are working on getting the final edits out, and I’ve started writing the next Infinites novel. If you’ve ever been to one of our panels, you’ll know that Matt and I talk about our writing process a lot and how we manage co-writing a series. After our first novel together, Infinity, we decided to alternate who would have the main creative control over the novel, similar to how a TV series has a show runner. TTR was Matt’s chance to take the lead, and ever since we brainstormed for the Infinity, I’ve been excited to get to work on Exodus of Angels. I’ve got a good feeling about where it’s going. Exodus is also exciting for me because it’s going to be the end of the first arc in the novels.

Aside from writing, I’ve been doing a lot of day-job stuff and had to start physiotherapy for a back injury. It’s taken up a lot of my time, and the little time I get in between has been divided between family and my friends, dealing with mine and Matt’s apartment, gardening and cooking. A lot of cooking.

I started an edible garden, mainly because summer at my house growing up meant a lot of gardening and I wanted to really make the apartment more home-y, while also giving myself some room to play with my cooking.

I started with my lemon cupcakes. Pretty basic right? Well, I was somewhat in the mood to eat more flowers after having dry lavender soda, so I started looking up edible flowers and was pleasantly surprised to find out that pansies are edible. And not only are they edible, but they’re delicious.

While my sugaring didn’t turn out quite as nice as I had hoped (I couldn’t get my hands on extra-fine granulated, so I had to go with regular granulated), I was pretty pleased with my first shot as this. And the lemon was divine. I only wished my tasters weren’t so fussy, or the icing would have been lavender and not vanilla.

I was on a roll then, making pulled chicken in my slow cooker, whipping out my pancake muffins, making loads of spinach salads and getting loads of fresh corn.

Then our lovely housemates treated us to a nerve-wracking plumbing incident and I got nervous. And when I get nervous I cook. After watching just a titch much of Gordon Ramsay, I decided I’d make a farmer’s pie. And again, I was itching to use my garden so I got some fresh chives on the go.

I’ll clarify now, this is Matt’s favourite food. His roommate in college used to make it for him, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. I used a pound of lean ground pork, mixed with a third cup of pasta sauce and half a fresh tomato (though I would use more if I had it on hand). The next layer was tinned peas and carrots, mixed with fresh corn that I cut off the cob raw. On top I had my mashed potato recipe, made with a small amount of garlic butter, and then topped with those oh-so-good chives. I served this the next day for dinner, I had a quarter of the pie, and served a quarter to Matt. I fully intended it to last to the next day (yum leftovers!), but Matt devoured the last half. He seriously puts food away.

Today of course, I’ve had a little more fun with food. I love Canada day, just for the simple fact that it’s one of two warm paid holidays and I get to spend it with the people I love. I get the day off, so I get to spend that time cooking up all the cute things I’ve been waiting to cook for forever. Today I even used a real live BBQ for the first time ever unsupervised. I didn’t blow anything up, but I did make mean burgers and corn. So good 🙂

Of course, I couldn’t stop with dinner, so I went ahead and made some dessert to go with. I’d seen a few pictures of Fourth of July strawberries dipped in white chocolate and blue sprinkles and figured I’d give it a shot. I kinda felt like pulling out all the stops.

And what are strawberries without virgin strawberry daiquiri and piña colada?

Happy Canada Day!

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