Making my way back to the Aberfoyle Mill restaurant where I once worked during the summer season back 45 years ago. The delightful interior of the Aberfoyle Mill is a reminder of its history.
The Mill was built in1859 by a Scottish immigrant named George McLean, being a friend of George Sleeman famed brewery master. The village of Aberfoyle was named after a small town below the Trossachs mountains, north of Glasgow, by another Scottsman named George MacFarlane. The Mill Originally functioned as a grist mill, powered by the pond situated at the back of the building. In 1867, the Mill won a gold medal, for its oatmeal at the World's Fair in Paris. The Mill functioned well into the mid 1900's.
After sitting idle through the years in1960 the Mill was purchased by the Owens family and after about six years of craftsmen restoration, it was converted into one of the most recommended unique and charming destination eateries in Ontario.
Entering the main dining area the decor is made up of a large collection of authentic Canadiana antiques and still holds an impressive collection.
The mill dining room is still in great shape and still holds a charming ambience. The walls are just crammed with the gear workings and the period milling hardware.
Since 1966 Guelph and area residents have appreciated the great food offered in the classic atmosphere of this old mill.
I sat with my back to the old mill gear works admiring the huge hand hued beams. A look outside at what was once the alfresco patio beside the mill pond. It supplied the fresh rainbow trout for dinner that the chef made famous. I heard that the old snapping turtle is still sighted periodically and he was a big one decades ago.
The daily lunch feature menu is simple but offers top shelf cuisine. We shared the escargots and the ploughman pate lunch plate. Then came these perfect duck confit street tacos topped by a most tasty seasoned coleslaw. Another delectable choice was the plump gulf shrimp and spinach salad. The libations were also well presented making it a most excellent dining experience.
We ended our lunch with a chef dessert featuring a most scrumptious carrot cake. Lunch without cake is just a meeting my dad always said.
Here is the old mill carrot cake recipe that chef T. Weber taught me back then.
I had tried dozens of carrot cake recipes over the years, and they were all good but this is still my favourite.
2 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups sugar
1 tsp each baking powder & baking soda
1 tsp each salt & cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs beaten
3 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter (softened)
1 tsp real vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar
Instructions to make your Cake:
Preheat oven to 325ºF
Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
Add carrots, eggs and oil
Beat on high with electric beaters, for 2 minutes.
Pour into greased 9x13 baking dish or cake pan
Bake at 325ºF for 50-60 minutes (check for doneness at 50 mins)
Let the cake cool before icing.
To make your icing:
Beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric beaters until well-blended for two minutes.
Gradually add icing sugar 1/2 cup at a time, and beat until smooth and creamy.
Slather frosting on top of cooled cake.
Slice and enjoy.