Whether it's celebrated in Canada in October, or November in the USA, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to gather with gratitude and grace. An abundant time as Autumn turns the world into tones of russet and amber tones, the harvest moon hangs low in the sky and crops are ripe and rich with pumpkins.
(I'm mindful of the historical implications this holiday represents in the uprooting of indigenous people, so feel especially mindful and grateful to celebrate with special friends in this beautiful country)
This Thanksgiving was extra special as I created a curated feast with a new friend experiencing their first Thanksgiving in Canada! One day earlier this Spring, Simon wandered into my shop and became a lovely part time addition to it...melting in perfectly with my natural eclectic style and quickly become a dear friend.
We share a similar sensibility with style, a love of antiquing and foraging, fixing things up, curating & collecting. As kindred spirits we decided it would be so much fun to arrange a special little misfit feast and table scape photoshoot before he was slated to leave for new adventures. What fun to play house & prop and arrange with more than just my own eyes for a change!
We used my rustic old folding studio painting table, random antique chairs and culled old bottles, silver trays and vintage china from my boutique to create the atmosphere.
Old burlap (complete with paint splatters) candles, pumpkins,foraged oak leaves, burnished silver. I even added in a few succulents, which complimented surprisingly well with their sage and lavender tones and gave it a timely feel.
Simon has a Dutch background and you see it in his style influences, so we created a tableau that was rich and moody, yet still natural eclectic west coast!
Simon and his partner Chris, who has the fabulous modern Zen plant company Kermodi....brought most of the delectable feast! The boys even brought their own roasted turkey (I don't do bird) but there was also vegetarian stuffing, roasted veggies, scalloped potatoes.....and pie!!!
I loved using old vessels like my lidded Spode and old cake stands. The pie was placed atop a great old beat metal octagonal tray Simon gave me which I adore for its rustic simplicity!
I made homemade cranberry sauce with citrus, and a divinely dense maple cardamom pumpkin pie! ( See more about that below)
Between my lovely panelled dining room and tiny kitchen complete with pass thru window, we managed to keep everything warm and get it safely to the makeshift we set up in my living room by the fire.
Their friend Hawna joined us and of course my sis couldn't resist her favorite meal of the year! Simon doesn't eat pumpkin pie, or mashed potatoes...and as I said I don't eat bird, hence the misfit feast ; ) ...but he did admire the pie aesthetically as the rest of us devoured it!
I am allergic to cinnamon which is in every store bought pumpkin pie across North America, but thankfully I love to bake! Especially pastry and pies! If you want to know my tips for perfect extra flaky pastry, go to my Instagram story video Highlights and check out "thankful" for all my tips. In a nutshell, keep ALL ingredients as cold as possible, use as little water as possible to bind it together until it is loose pea sized shapes (not glue) Don't overwork it but once it will hold together gently compact into flattened patties and chill before rolling out. You will note I love using natural and vintage props even when baking! It so adds to the pleasure of the process and a wonderful tactile experience.
I also use salted butter and add a generous teaspoon of sugar to my pastry. I swapped out some of the liquid on a traditional pumpkin pie recipe for organic maple syrup and added food safe Doterra cardamom oil instead of cinnamon. The complexity of flavours was amazing. A pastry leaf atop was the perfect addition.
Most perfect of all though was new friends gathering, sharing laughter, abundance and inspiration. I am so grateful for the new friend I have made in Simon, and while I wish him all the best on his next journey, I also look forward to his return!
For now, I have these beautiful memories and moments captured. They will last much longer than the misfit feast we inhaled! I am truly so grateful to have the abundance of fresh food, a beautiful home to enjoy, an inspired life that always, always keeps me motivated and enchanted, but mostly for those in my life that I love.
PS I always make a little extra filling and cook it up in ramekins or pastry as pumpkin pie makes the best breakfast the morning after ; )