Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I’d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasn’t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.

It’s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite ‘comfort meals’ again; maybe it’s the cool evenings or the insight that we’re about be plunged into cold dark nights, but there’s something about this time that has me craving big hearty salads and soups.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I love lentils… sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint – it’s pretty evident from the amount of lentil recipes I have on this blog.

I love this time of year for salads like this wonderful quinoa and lentils with vegetables, it’s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.

I’m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when there’s still light out to bring dinner down to the beach or eat out on the balcony.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad
Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

This is a well-rounded salad that can be adapted to include your favourite vegetables and legumes; use peas instead, or carrots or roast your fennel first for caramelized sweetness – I did this a few weeks ago.

I usually precook the lentils and quinoa and store them in the fridge, and reheat them when I’m ready to make the salad.

I use whatever vegetables I have on hand; with this salad it’s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

I make plenty so there’re leftovers for the rest of the week because I love this salad more after a day or two, it gets even more wonderful when the ingredients have had a chance to get to know each other better.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

There’s something wistful about the start of September.

It’s filled with subtle changes; the days get shorter and there’s a moodiness in the air, the leaves start turning and there’s an early morning chill signaling summer’s inevitable end.

I’ve always loved this time of year; it feels contemplative as we shift focus from hazy summer days to the drearier days ahead.

There’s also a lightness to this time of year, bursts of perfect sunshiny days reminding us that summer isn’t quite over.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

This is the time we ease back into the kitchen; roasting vegetables, baking and cooking decadent porridges again.

We fired up the oven this evening, slow roasting okra with hatch peppers and heirloom tomatoes.

I save cornmeal muffins for this time of the year; they’re summery and breezy, easy to whip up on cooler evenings when turning on the oven doesn’t feel stifling.

Aromatic flavours wafts through my tiny kitchen as it bakes and makes my heart happy.

Cornmeal Muffins Cornmeal Muffins
Cornmeal Muffins

These muffins are sweet, with hints of nutmeg and cardamom for warmth and topped with a sprinkle of pearl sugar to boost the cornmeal’s nutty crunchiness.

They’re just right for evenings around here, these delicate muffins, served warm with a pot of tea and a good book.

It’s perfect for lingering as darkness falls… as the sounds of the seagulls filter away and the 9 O’Clock Gun goes off in the distance.

There’s a touch of lightness and warmth to these muffins that is a little like this time of year.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

A Day on the Sunshine Coast

Cafe Sign
Café sign and abandoned car in the woods

We hopped on the ferry and skipped over to the Sunshine Coast a few weekends ago.

I love these mini summer pilgrimages to the Sunshine Coast; it’s a quick forty-minute ride away but feels like worlds away from the hectic city life.

Life here relaxed and charming, perfect for a day’s jaunt to gather one’s self.

We spent the day driving the Sunshine Coast Highway, exploring scenic seaside communities in the Lower Sunshine Coast.

Roberts Creek Mandala

Rocky Beach Rooibos Latte

Gibsons Marina

Robert’s Creek Mandala/Rocky beach at Sechelt/Rooibos latte from 1902 Tea House/Gibsons Landing Marina

We had breakfast in the loveliest teashop in Gibsons, found a quiet beach in Robert’s Creek while checking out this year’s fascinating mandala, then collected seashells and driftwood in Davis Bay.

In Sechelt, we had a small picnic and explored galleries.
We stopped at Ruby Lake; we always stop at Ruby Lake to dip our toes in the water.

Skookumchuck Trail Sechelt
Brown Lake Mossy Forest
Skookumchuck Narrows trail/Boat on the water/Brown Lake/Mossy forest

We veered off the road at Egmont and took the winding road to the Skookumchuck Narrows trail.

We hiked through the enchanting moss and fern covered forest and caught the rapids – the tide was low but still pretty cool.

And then we drove back with just enough time for dinner and to catch our ferry.

Roberts Creek

Sechelt Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park

Rocks at Robert’s Creek/Sechelt/Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park/Egmont

Continue reading {A Day on the Sunshine Coast} for more pictures…!

Spiced Rice and Beans

Spiced Rice and Beans

I’ve probably made about a million variations of rice and beans, it’s an easy meal to throw together at a moment’s notice, especially if you have some plain rice and beans cooked already.

I thought about this spiced rice and beans on a long exhausting ride home on one of those activity-filled unending summer days, we had nothing home except for leftover rice and a jar of black beans that was to go into a salad.

I’m particularly drawn to this kind of food whenever I’m little stressed or fatigued, perhaps it’s the turmeric, or maybe it’s because it’s filling and sates my hunger.

Spiced Rice and Beans Spiced Rice and Beans
Spiced Rice and Beans

I swear I think up the most scrumptious meals when I’m tired and hungry, on that journey I craved a simple and tasty dish that would also be satisfying and nourishing.

A modest of rice and beans enlivened with a melange of flavours and unique spices – rustic mustard seeds, fragrant coriander, warm and nutty cumin and earthy turmeric.

I tossed in a few vegetables and finished off with zesty lemon and cilantro.

Spiced Rice and Beans

Spiced Rice and Beans

It’s a great lunch or quick weeknight meals, or an awesome contribution to a potluck picnic, like the one I’m going to this long weekend, it makes a wonderful side-dish at summer barbeques.

There are a few ways to prepare it; when I have time to spare, I brown the rice with the sautéed spices and vegetables and cook it in vegetable broth, it takes more time but it’s so flavourful!

This is my ultimate comfort food!

Spiced Rice and Beans

Spiced Rice and Beans

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

I’ve probably told the ‘marmite story’ a million times, of how my sister was anaemic when we were kids and marmite was one of the foods her doctor had recommended… It’s the story of how the dark spread came into my life.

I don’t recall liking marmite that much as a child; my mom would spread it thinly on toast and we’d eat it like it was medicine.

Years later when I tried marmite again, it tasted salty and savoury and bitter, and a little like nostalgia.
It grew on me halfway through the jar; I liked the salty savouriness, the yeasty, deep umami flavours reminiscent of reduced vegetable stock (vegetable demi-glace).

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

We’re steadily eating our way through the few jars of marmite we got last year, it’s mostly my mom, she likes a dab in her morning Milo or hot chocolate.

I was over the moon when I discovered marmite snacks, we can’t get them here unfortunately so that just means I have to be creative.

I’ve been making marmite-y nuts for a while now, these nuts are so tasty even marmite haters love them, marmite adds an extra depth of saltiness and savouriness to the roasted nuts.

And these oven baked marmite cashews spectacular, by far my favourite marmite nuts; the cashews turn out creamy and buttery, and salty and that addictive umami taste – It’s so hard to stop eating them!

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

Oven Baked Marmite Cashews by Elsa Brobbey

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