Manifesting Martha

I was so delighted to gather with friends on the 1st of May to celebrate a sweet review of my book in Martha Stewart Living Magazine! As one who loves to bake and entertain, it was a perfect reason to gather together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and indulge in a myriad of homemade creations. My original intent of a sweet sugar infused bake-off had a few surprise savory dishes added into the mix, which all contributed to quite a feast.

Being a hot sunny day I decided to make 'Martharitas' for the occasion. Using pink grapefruit as the citrus,they fit with the blush palette of our rose sparkling wine on ice and my rhubarb pavlova. I premixed the margaritas at home and brought the concoction to the shop in a large funky vintage canning jar complete with handle for easy transport. Fresh rosemary from my patio was used as an herbal garnish.

I made a brown sugar Pavlova adapted from a few different recipes to make it my own. It was topped with a vanilla rhubarb compote folded into whipped cream pistachios and a medley of raspberries and strawberries. 


Along with a traditional blueberry custard flan, Susie Poulsen brought me lily of the valley, a traditional flower for May Day. They always reminds me of my time living in Paris when the fragrant little nose gays would line the cobblestone streets.

 Alison Kent, half of the dynamic duo Joue Design, brought grape jelly made from her own grapes to compliment her fresh fig, endive and white cheddar appetizers. Cleverly served on slices of apple, it was an ideal gluten free slice of heaven.

 It’s a good thing ; ) we had a wee bit of veggies and savory snacks to offset all the indulgent desserts!

Kathy Wood brought some wholesome pink lemonade in a vintage jug she'd fetched at my shop years ago, to also keep us refreshed. 

Jeanne Harco of The Jitterbug Shop, from whom I’ve bought many treasures over the years, brought a salad fresh from the bounty of her own garden thanks to the unusually early, warm spring we've had.

It was complete with hand tied basil bocconcini. 

Stylish Kaili in her straw hat (whose bohemian loft is featured in my book The Natural Eclectic) brought healthy bite sized basil cucumber treats.

 Sierra my wonderful assistant brought deviled eggs which we all consumed rapidly.  Tina Dhillon, of Designers Collective, arrived with a bountiful platter of pakoras with piquant sauce, adorned with charming vintage spoons from her mother's collection. 

  While it was a ladylike affair, the clever libations were flowing, thanks in part to the efforts of Lara Irwin (seen with images of her Ebb Tide cottage featured in my book).
Along with her hot cast iron skillet cookies, she brought mini Patrons with fresh lime granita, kept cold in her own ice bowl made especially for the day.
Lara and Alison (seen below), were like two peas in pod, with their infectious energy and boundless ideas around all things foodie and creative. 

 The other half of the dynamic Joue Design is Cindy Yu. Both these women have become the dearest of friends over the very demanding year of making my book. We all have so much going on, yet we find time to listen, support, laugh, celebrate and motivate each other!

Cindy brought a warm baked brie drizzled with lavender honey and sprinkled with raspberries and almonds.

My good friend Debbie brought the dearest of mini coconut cupcakes. In fact, my whole concept for this "Manifesting Martha" party arose out of a spontaneous conversation with Debbie. She had made a coconut cake and I suggested to her she could use coconut milk instead of dairy in her recipe. This got me thinking about all things baking, which led to thoughts of Martha, and...ta 'Manifesting Martha' party.

On the theme of coconut, some one or perhaps some little ones stole the show. Tammy made an amazing coconut cake taken from the novel, The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.  She spent 3 hours on her masterpiece. It truly was a hit at the party. Dense, moist, not too sweet. Only thing was…it was a hit for her little fluffy dogs too! She turned her back for just a moment and they devoured a whole corner of it! We all had a good laugh, and none of us being sissies, we just sliced it apart and dove in anyways.

 Perhaps the cutest contribution came from my sister Janet, who rarely bakes but LOVES cupcakes. She made adorable gluten free chocolate cupcakes that looked like blue daisies.

The belle of the ball was this amazing rolled pavlova, by Frances Jang, a dear client that has become a friend over the years.  At some point in the afternoon, I was running out of space for massive masterpieces such as this but somehow we managed to find room not only in the boutique but also in our appetites.

 By the time my friend Arlene showed up, complete with a 3 tiered cake stand with homemade polenta, I said, “save it for your family!" I simply could not find another inch of space in my wee shop nor imagine another mouthful.

Thankfully some food was easy to take home as goodies, such as Steevi’s peanut butter popcorn balls.

Thankfully, mint makes a perfect digestive! Karen Carmichael (whose beautiful jewelry and ceramic vessels we carry in our boutique) brought vegan peppermint patties. Cool, dense and minty, they were one of my favourites, providing
the perfect finish to this feast.

 I am truly grateful to everyone who joined in the fun. I have admired Martha Stewart, the stunning photography in her magazines, and her culinary treats for years. To have my very own book published in her magazine truly a dream come true. 

To see our book review in the May issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine click here
All photographs copyright Heather Ross 2016

Comments on post  (9)

Melissa says:

Such gorgeous photos and looks like a perfect afternoon celebrating your success…so lovely to meet you today!

Heather Ross says:

A sincere thank you to everyone for your warm hearted comments. Such a delight to share the occasion with such kind and clever women! It was such a delicious day and I feel so grateful. For those who could not attend, I’m sure there will be many more “Marthaesque” moments to celebrate in the future.

Janet Ross says:

The combination of good friends and delicious food made your Martha Stewart party an smashing hit.

Susie says:

Perfect post and pics to commemorate a beautiful afternoon packed full of passion, creativity, deliciousness, and sharing! So grateful I could help celebrate your book and Martha with a room full of such generous spirits….thank you Heather!

Tammy Preast says:

Your party inspired me to bake something I had never made before! It was one of the loveliest parties I have ever attended – the food was out of this world fabulous, but it was the company of such a diverse and interesting group of women that was a true delight! Thanks for including me. :)

Alison Kent says:

Simply a wonderful afternoon, Heather – and such an amazing way to celebrate your ongoing successes! It’s so important to pause and appreciate life, friendships, hard work, and a sunny afternoon. Can’t wait to do it again!

Colleen says:

Sounds and looks fabulous!! A good time was had by all!!!

brooke hatfield says:

What a beautiful spread! It looks like everyone really got into the Martha theme! So sorry I had to miss it!

Olivia Ireland says:

You are true artist who brings love and light to all you touch! STUNNING!!

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