Just when I thought it was safe to switch my wardrobe over from winter to summer, we were plunged back into rainy grey days. There was a certain chill in the air yesterday that we hadn’t felt in weeks, but then there’s promise of brighter days ahead so I’m looking forward to that. And while we wait, we’d want to make cheerful meals and eat colourful spirit-lifting foods like this rice medley salad with roasted chickpeas.
The good news is, we’re getting our cooking mojo back, thanks to the small bounty of spring produce arriving at the markets. We managed to scrounge up a hurried but delicious meal this past weekend, which made me proud. We made roasted new potatoes and cauliflower with a sprinkle of cumin and curry powder, and made salsa with some good hothouse tomatoes we found to go with them.
A few noteworthy incidents happened in Nantes that endeared the city to me.
At the Abolition of Slavery Memorial, a stranger from Gent and I cried hugging each other as her husband looked on uncomfortably. I blame my tears on not haven’t slept properly for three days.
Also at the memorial, I learned a new word in my native Akan language, Ahofadi – freedom. All my life (up to that point), I essentially mistook the words for peace and well being for freedom. How could I not have known the word for freedom in my own language and why did I discover it in Nantes of all places?
Nantes was a delight to explore, from its fairy-tale botanical garden and whimsical public spaces, the splendid Jules Verne-inspired Les Machines de l’ile to the charming yet helpful green line trail for discovering the city’s major sites and attractions. It’s quickly climbed to the top of the list of my favourite European cities.
This is what I wanted to post for Easter; a modest but alluring chocolate cake with an intensely rich chocolatey flavour. Apparently, something magical happens to chocolate cake when you add coffee to it, but more on that later.
Despite its humble roots, this coffee chocolate cake feels like a celebration cake to me; the type of cake you whip up for a birthday, anniversary or some other special date on the calendar. Plus, because it’s so very easy to make, it takes away the stress usually associated with trying to make special occasions, well, special.
Before we get into this spring vegetable flatbread pizza (which is delicious, by the way), let’s talk about the weather (because that’s what we do around here).
Let’s talk about spring, and how we’re halfway in and yet it hasn’t really felt spring-like. It’s been mostly rain and gloom. So, so much rain… seriously, If someone started building an ark, it wouldn’t take much convincing for me to get on it. After we survived that bleak and harsh winter (by Pacific Northwest standards), I think we were all hopeful for clear long sunny days ahead.
Similarly, I was excited about spring’s arrival so I could go to the market! Our beloved farm out in Richmond usually reopens its market for the season in spring, and we started a tradition last year.
It’s been a while.
In the time that I’ve been away from this blog, I think I’ve changed a little. So much has happened in that short time, though it feels like I just wrote my last post yesterday. I’ve been a little under the weather. Or perhaps a lot under the weather, I should say. I was sick for the better part of April, a pesky combination of seasonal allergies, the flu and a strange lingering cough I couldn’t shake. Somewhere in there, I went to the UK for Easter and spent a restorative afternoon walking the woodlands of Exbury Gardens in Hampshire.
All this while I’ve had the recipe and photos for this post languishing in my Drafts. Yes, I’ve been sitting on this post for over a month now. I simply couldn’t come up with the words to go with it, but back when we were still on the cusp of spring, I dreamt up this chopped kale, roasted vegetables, rice and beans.