Saturday, February 19, 2011

A really yummy cake recipe

Jay bakes too: here is his award winning applesauce cake.

I dont know if nice people choose to stay in B&Bs or if there are just more nice people in the world than we realise. Regardless, we have lots of really nice people who come to stay here at Vert le Mont . A case in point are Edward and Agata who came to ski and cross country again this year and were rewarded with some great snow conditions.

Since opening B&B I have found that I really enjoy baking something to serve with afternoon tea. Agata is always very complimentary about my baking and very much enjoyed this cake. It was the first time that I had madeit but it's a definate keeper - foolproof and delicious. For Agata and everyone else here is the recipe taken from The Breakfast Book by Marian Cunningham.

Apricot Prune Coffee Cake
  1. Heat oven to 350C; butter and flour a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan.
  2. Mix together 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and set aside.
  3. Finely chop and mix together 1 cup dried apricots and 1 cup pitted dried prunes. You can use any dried fruit but if they seem dry or tough pre-soak them for 10 minutes by pouring over boiling water then drain and pat dry.
  4. Beat together 2/3 cup sugar, 3 eggs, 1 cup milk, 1/2 cup melted butter.
  5. Stir together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt.
  6. To make cake batter stir flour mixture into sugar mixture then stir in dried fruit.
  7. Spread a scant third of the batter over bottom of pan. Top with half of sugar mix. Spread another third of the batter over the sugar. Cover with remaining sugar mix and then finish with remainder of cake batter.
  8. Bake for 50 to 50 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted into center.
  9. Remove from oven, let cool for 5 minutes in pan. Carefullly turn out onto a rack to cool completely before serving (easier said than done).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How to ski Sutton using public transport

I have had a couple of enquiries recently about getting to and around Sutton via public transport so thought it worthwhile to pass on the following:
  1. Veolia transport runs between Montreal's Station Centrale bus station and Sutton's Esso gas station on rue Principale. There are two buses every day plus a third on Friday and Sunday. Returning it is two buses every day plus an extra one on Sunday. Check the Veolia Montreal Sutton timetable for up to date listings.
  2. Once in Sutton just walk into the village and turn left on rue Maple where it is fairly easy to hitch a lift up to the ski hill.
  3. At weekends and school break weeks, Mont Sutton provides a free shuttle to the ski hill from the bottom of rue Maple opposite Au Coeur des Saisons boutique. The shuttle goes up at 8.00am and 8.55am and returns hourly from 1.30pm to 4.30pm. It stops by request at lodgings along the way including right here in front of Vert Le Mont B&B.
  4. There is no way of coming to Sutton via public transport across the U.S. border unless you take the train to Montreal and then catch the bus down as I have just described.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sutton winter weather

My snowmometer!
So far 2011 has been exceptional snowy here in Sutton. Mont Sutton reports 488 cm snowfall to date and it keeps on coming.

We have this great microclimate in Sutton to thank for the snow but the downside is that weather forecasts tend to be very inaccurate for Sutton. There can be no snow a mile away but  here in the village it is pelting down. It can be drizzly in the village but up on the mountain it is snowing for all it is worth. And I must admit to being very dissapointed this morning when two sets of guests cancelled for today because it is apparently raining in Montreal!

I look at 3 different forecasts and over the years have found that in general Accuweather gives the best and most detailed predictions. The U.S. NOAA National Weather Service is pretty good too especially their radar visual to see what is coming up. Sadly the Environment Canada web site is the worst, especially for anything more than 24 hours out.

The very best way of finding out what the weather is like is to e-mail or give me a call at the B&B - all I have to do is look out the window and I am always honest because it is in my interest to have my guests come to Sutton and have a great time. Contact details are on my Vert Le Mont Bed and Breakfast website.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snowshoeing in and around Sutton

Recent guest Steve took this picture of  Huguette on their way to the Round Top
 We have had more and more guests here at the B&B this year who have come to snowshoe. Not surprizing because there is an excellent choice of venues nearby and we just keep getting fresh snow so conditions are ideal. Try and make it midweek if you can when you have the trails almost to yourself.

  • Sutton En Haut. Open Wednesday to Sunday. About 15 kms of fairly level trails arranged in 3 interlinking circuits in a old growth maple forest. Equipment rental. 3 minutes from the B&B. Day pass is $6.
  • Parc Sutton (PENS). Nearly 60kms of trails mostly on the flanks of the Sutton massif ie hilly! Great views from Round Top on a clear day. If you have at least 3 hours try the Moose Back. 5 minutes from the B&B. Day pass is $5.
  • Au Diable Vert. Lovely trails in open forest with great views at the start. A great spot on a sunny day. Dont forget to buy some organice beef to take home with you! 15 minutes from the B&B. Day pass $5 or $10 with equipment rental ($15 at weekends).
Here at the B&B, the $90pp Sutton snowshoe package includes two nights bed and breakfast plus two snowshoe day passes per person as well as hot chocolate and home made cake in the afternoon - I am sure you will deserve it!.

Further afield there is also Reserve naturelle des Montagnes-Vertes and Parc National du Mont-Orford about 30 and 45 minutes drive respectively but via some lovely scenery.

Best ski ticket deals at Mont Sutton 2010-2011

Sometimes it feels like you need a PhD to work out the best deals for skiing at SUTTON. To make life easier for my Vert Le Mont B&B guests I usually tell them "Tell me when you want to ski and I will get you the best price". For everyone else here are my top tips for getting the best deals for skiing at SUTTON bearing in mind that this season a regular one day adult ticket is C$60
  • If you can stay a night or two midweek then the Forfait Neige is an unbeatable value ski package. For $79pp plus taxes you get a ski ticket for a half day starting at noon plus the whole next day along with a night's lodging and  breakfast. n.b. this package is only available Monday to Thursday night (the mountain sets the rules not me) and you have to start with the half day.
  • On Thursdays, women ski for just $25 until 24 February plus you can get a free 10 minutes chair massage!
  • If you are a FADOQ member you can ski Mont Sutton for just $20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • Not much time? Half day tickets are pretty expensive but you can ski from 3pm every day of the week for just $15 or just ski half of the mountain using chairs 2W and 3 for $26.
  • If you are a beginner the Inniski program gets you equipment rental, a one hour private lesson and a lift pass for only $60. Schedule your lesson as early in the day as possible to get the best use from your lift pass.
  • Deals at the weekend are few and far between. Usually Costco has a special on Sutton lift tickets but I havent found it this year. Make sure, at the very least, to get a free Carte Blanche which gives you 10% discount your first visit, 20% the second and so on. Most Sutton lodgings should have them or else try the Sutton Tourist Information Office
Skiing is fantastic this year with more snow than we have seen in ten years! It gets pretty busy at weekends so either come midweek if you can or else plan on arriving early.
OK I admit it - this isnt me but it is EXACTLY how it looked on Thursday.