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In all this last year that I’ve spent living in San Francisco unable to work I’ve been filling up my time with lots of different things.

Studying, volunteering, exploring the city.  My favourite new past time has been making pottery. I love it.  There is something that I find so meditative about sitting at the potter’s wheel trying to make something beautiful out of a lump of clay.  I love the way the clay slips through my fingers and the precariousness that happens every time I pull up on the clay trying to make it taller.  I still hold my breath in that moment.

I recently found out that I’m going to be moving to Vancouver in September to go to school and one of the results of this is that I wasn’t able to sign up for the next round of classes at my pottery studio.  I went by on Wednesday to pick up my last few pieces and to say goodbye to my new pottery friends.

I picked up my new favourite piece.  The same day I got some beautiful sunflowers from the farmers market.  I’m going to miss this city.

This jug matches the glaze of a set of mugs I made (I’ll have to put up a picture of those too soon).  The glaze is a glossy black with highlights of peacock.


I was at the market on Wednesday and picked up a three pack of strawberries.  It’s that delicious time of year when all the fruit is coming in to the market and I can’t resist ANY of it.  (I also got peaches, apricots, nectarines and plums.  See what I mean?)

When I got home I was reading some of my favourite blogs and I found these two recipes over at Food in Jars and Sugar Crafter.

So I set about chopping up strawberries, putting them in jars (at 11:00 at night).  They sat there until tonight in a jar where they soaked in vanilla and sugar and turned delightfully juicy.  Peter even asked me how much water I’d added!  None – those were just some very juicy strawberries.

And then, oh and then.  I got to pick a lemon from my lemon tree!!!  I picked it up last year when we moved here in an effort to be more Californian and it keeps trying to grow fruit and failing.  But at last I’ve been able to harvest my first lemon.

Some zesting later, it was ready to add to the jam.

Lessons learned: I needed more jars, and a bigger pot.  Now I know for next time.  Also, I needed to cook the jam longer.  But – check out the end result!  It set and it tastes delicious.

Now I just have to wait for the scones to come out of the oven and I’ll have a delicious evening snack.




One of the things we like to do ourselves is roast coffee.  Green coffee beans can sometimes be challenging to find, but here in San Francisco, we just drive over the Bay Bridge to Sweet Maria’s and get green beans from them.

{Photo by me}

This last week, we ordered the sample pack.  This got us 8 pound bags of green beans.  Peter and I have different tastes in coffee.  He tends to like the ones from South America more, and I like the North African beans a bit better.  As a result, we like to get a variety.

{Photo by Me}

In this sampler that we picked up, we got some Ethiopian, some Aribica, some Honduran, some Brazillian, some from Panama, some Guatemalan, some Rwandan, and some Sumatra green beans.

Peter and I use an iRoast 2 to roast our beans, but we first started out with a popcorn popper.  It worked well, but we ended up roasting so frequently, that it was just nice to have an actual roaster.

We roast coffee beans about every three or four days and we roast about one cup of green beans at a time.

When you roast coffee beans, the beans expand and “crack”.  They crack twice, actually, steps called “first crack” and “second crack”.  When the beans crack, they release their coating called “chaff”.  The chaff is really annoying because it gets everywhere in the kitchen if you don’t have a way of collecting it.  When we used to use an air popper, we would just point the vent out the window and the chaff would blow away, but then the popcorn popper jumped out the window once.  That was sad.

The iRoast has a lid on it that collects the chaff so that it doesn’t cover our kitchen in stuff.  Much nicer.

I roasted some of the Ethiopian beans on Friday morning (the process takes about ten minutes) to about a medium roast.

{Comparison of Green Beans vs Roasted Beans.  Photo by Me.}

{Photo by Me}

You can see that the roasted coffee bean is a little bigger.

The end result?  Freshly roasted coffee is delicious and Peter and I like to do things our selves.  And we both really, really like coffee.

Want to try roasting coffee?  It’s fun and easy.  And no, it won’t make your popcorn taste like coffee.  I promise.  Check out coffee geek for a good tutorial.  Do it at your own risk, though.  Using things that they weren’t meant for can lead to their destruction.  Good thing popcorn poppers aren’t very expensive!