Coconut rice pudding
This classic comfort dish is reinvented with a dash of tropical sweetness.
As winter’s chill persists, we’re caught craving both the toasty indoors and a tropical place to escape to at a moment’s notice. This decadent rice pudding, with its creamy, rich texture and sweet coconut flavour, pays tribute to these warm comforts. Not only is it satisfying enough to serve for dessert and breakfast (sorry, oatmeal!), but one spoonful is also bound to cure those cold weather woes, no matter how blustery the day. Think of it as a refreshing twist on a traditional favourite – one that would make any grandmother proud.
1 To make the pudding, trim and discard the woody tops and bottoms of the lemon grass. Peel off and throw away the first two outer layers, then crush the inner stalks with the side of a chef's knife to release the oils. Place in a medium saucepan.
2 Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean with the back of a paring knife; add the seeds and bean to the saucepan along with the milk, water, rice, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 40 to 50 minutes until the rice is tender and the mixture has thickened to pudding consistency.
3 Meanwhile, to crack the coconut, rap sharply with a hammer around the middle of the coconut. Break further into smaller pieces. (Strain the coconut water for drinking, if desired.)
4 Carefully pry the coconut meat from the shell using a knife. Run a peeler along the edge of the coconut meat to make long ribbons. Bake the ribbons in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet at 400ºF for 5 to 7 minutes, until toasted.
5 Serve the pudding warm or chilled topped with the roasted coconut ribbons.
Serves 6 to 8.
A predominantly white kitchen with rustic elements.
An eclectic design sensibility tempered by an outdoorsy palette shows that, as always, Mother Nature knows best.
If every house has a story, this one features a happy ending the homeowners wrote themselves. But it wasn't without a few plot twists and turns along the way. It was 12 years ago that Laurie and Randy Phillips noticed a quaint cottage home in Delta, B.C., a beachside community near Vancouver, was for sale. "The property was two streets over from us, and we'd often walk by just to admire it," says Laurie. Within 24 hours of spotting the house for sale, they owned it. The plan? To renovate the cottage and imbue it with an eclectic look of mixed styles (from rustic farmhouse to industrial chic to Mid-Century Modern) that would honour the outdoors. And finish it all before they moved in with their son. However, when Randy, an electrician-turned-firefighter, started the demolition, the news was bad - as in, catastrophic. The cottage lacked a proper foundation, and little else could be brought up to code. Suddenly, the couple was left with no choice: They had to build a new house from the ground up. "The situation pushed us to do something we weren't ready to do," says Laurie. "But we realized we could create the kind of historic-looking home we love but couldn't afford in Vancouver."
The couple tackled the job themselves: Randy, who has experience in framing and construction, did nearly all the building himself; Laurie, who works in cosmetics and skincare and has an affinity for design, oversaw the interior. But before Laurie could get to her bulging inspiration files, the couple had to decide on the bones of the house. They settled on a blueprint for a 2,500-square-foot Craftsman-style home with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. And Laurie's vision for the exterior was unwavering - she wanted grey coloured cedar shake shingles with white trim. Her plan also included a stone patio for entertaining and a grassy area with Adirondack chairs for lounging in the backyard, since Vancouver's mild climate means the family can enjoy the outdoors for nine months of the year. Finally, it was time for Laurie to dig into the decor. Inspired by her natural surroundings and the home's exterior, Laurie carried the neutral palette throughout the entire house to create a seamless flow between the indoors and out. "I wanted a look that wouldn't date," she says.
The oval window at the front of the house was a must for Laurie because of its beachy appeal. “It’s something I associate with the ocean,” she says.
A slipcovered armchair anchors a gallery wall of black and white artwork, some by Laurie and some bought online. The monochromatic palette gives the display cohesion, while the various sizes and finishes of the framed artwork keep it from feeling too uniform.
The home office, just off the front entrance, showcases Laurie’s eclectic design sensibility. The cool Mid-century modern-style office chair she found on Craigslist looks even more sleek when paired with a weathered wooden desk.
Honed granite kitchen countertops ground the classic white shaker-style cabinetry in the kitchen. Laurie chose barely-there white linen Roman window blinds for the windows to add a cozy layer to the space without distracting from the view of the beautiful backyard. An antique wooden workbench Laurie found at auction takes centre stage as a kitchen island in the mostly white kitchen. “Because the living space is all open concept, I wanted something leggy and not bulky,” she explains. Plus, it’s a conversation piece. “Everyone talks about it when they first visit.”
In the dining room, Laurie combined iconic black bentwood dining chairs with white moulded plastic ones to achieve a classic, casual and chic mix.
The white plastic chairs in the kitchen compliment the many white and black accents in the home and add brightness to the dining table.
Black accents ground the all-white living room, adding interest and personality. “Because there’s so much white and light, I didn’t want everything to float away,” says Laurie.
Taupe velvet drapes add polish to the expansive living room windows, but they’re rarely pulled closed, allowing the sun to shine in.
Since homeowners Laurie and Randy Phillips designed and built this Craftsman-style house themselves the grey cedar shake shingles, crisp white trim and transom windows are synonymous with its look. The back door leads right into the kitchen, which is super convenient when the couple wants to barbecue meals.
Shapely outdoor lounge chairs create an inviting seating area against a cedar hedge in the backyard. “As soon as the weather gets nice, we’re out here or on the front porch,” says Laurie.
Tumbled stone pavers, which Randy installed himself, lead from the front of the house to the shingled garage in the backyard.
Bring one of these fun outdoor games to your next summer party.
Add some fun to your next summer party with one of these outdoor games.
One of the best things about summer is bringing friends and family together for outdoor fun! For so many Canadians, backyard barbecues are the highlight of the summer season and it’s the perfect time to try out all those delicious summer food and drink recipes. But no get-together is complete without some fun games, so this summer make your party the best on the block with these addictive outdoor games that are perfect for kids and adults alike.
1 Bricks Yard Game
You’re going to have to bring your A-game to win this one! Including 54 solid wood bricks, this yard game will delight the whole family. After the initial set up, the game will measure 27 inches tall but will stack to over three feet high and comes with a handy canvas tote to make it easily portable. Bricks Yard Game, Uncommon Goods, $219.82.
2 Croquet Set
The game of croquet is believed to date back as far as the 1850s and has been a backyard favourite ever since. This stylish croquet set comes in a canvas carrying case and has everything you’ll need to take on your neighbours in a friendly match: mallets, balls, pegs, wickets and of course, instructions on just how to play the game if you’re rusty on the rules. Croquet Set, Crate and Barrel, $149.95.
3 Advanced Silver Badminton Set
Bring badminton back! If you haven’t played since you were a kid, revive the game with the help of this backyard badminton set. Designed to be easy to set up and to last, this set comes with four rackets, a sleeve-style net, ground stakes and shuttlecocks. Once everything is in place, you may find yourself playing well after the sun goes down! Advanced Silver Badminton Set, Wayfair.ca, $85.99.
4 Jonathan Adler Lacquer Card Set
Sit out on the patio, pull out this absolutely gorgeous card set and settle in for an evening of fun with friends and family. Delightfully packaged in a high-gloss lacquered box in Jonathan Adler’s signature bold colours, this card set is as much a family-friendly game as it is a delightful decorative accent for your home. You won’t want to pack it away so keep it out on display! Jonathan Adler Lacquer Card Set, Horchow, $98.
5 Backyard Tic Tac Toe
Give an old time favourite game a super-size makeover and you get this version of backyard tic tac toe. Designed by Jeremy Exley in Minnesota, this fun game is made from birch wood and finished with a protective stain. Stored in a handy tote, this game is ready to go wherever you are so take it out to the backyard, over to a friend’s house or to the cottage for hours of fun. Backyard Tic Tac Toe, Uncommon Goods, $109.84.
6 Bocce Ball Set
Created in Italy and popular across much of Europe, Bocce is a ball sport that developed many variations as it gained favour across Europe and in North America, Australia and South America. Whatever your rules are, this gorgeous bocce ball set will help you keep track. The set comes complete with etched solid resin balls and a smart canvas carrying bag. Also includes a score pad, pencils and instructions. Bocce Ball Set, Crate and Barrel, $149.95.
7 Yard Dice
These oversized dice are sure to be a hit at your next backyard gathering, family picnic or weekend at the cottage. Each of the six dice included in this set are made from solid pine wood and the pips are hot iron branded into all six sides. Not sure what to do with giant dice? Don’t sweat it; this set comes with instructions and rules for four different games that’ll keep the good times rolling! Yard Dice, Uncommon Goods, $50.
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