Saffron Barley with Black-Eyed Peas

Saffron Barley with Black-Eyed Peas

Saffron Barley with Black-Eyed Peas

I got sick over the weekend, with fever, fatigue and what my dad would call catarrh. I got a little delirious, in a way a fever does; but the doctor suspected it’s an infection from my long bout with seasonal allergies. I took a recommended extra day of rest and stayed in bed on Monday, reading everyone else’s commentary on Beyoncé’s Lemonade while Warsan Shire’s poetry played in the background (because… Lemonade).
Weeks ago, my sister and I discussed making saffron barley stew for Mother’s Day lunch – served perhaps as a side, with baked salmon. The original recipe has peas, chickpeas and cherry tomatoes; mom would love that, we’ve decided.
My sister makes this version of saffron barley with black-eyed peas. It’s a hearty and lush one-pot meal; simple, bright and colourful, which I think is perfect for when you’re sick, especially in springtime.

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Salted Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

Salted Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies

I made these cookies for our trip to New York last year. It’s a much raved-about chocolate chip cookie from Ovenly, the venerable bakery in Brooklyn. I found the recipe on Vogue and it seemed fitting that we’d snack on them on our flight east.
I made a few modifications; I subbed a cup of regular flour with buckwheat (flour), added dried sour cherries and tossed in some hand-chopped (non-dairy) milk chocolate.
It’s one of my best cookie experiments so far. Of course, it helps to start with a good base; the buckwheat flour tacks on a rustic texture, the cookies are softer with a subtly nutty almost toasty flavour.

I should probably mention here that the dough requires overnight refrigeration – this isn’t one of those cookies you make in the spur of the moment. It requires a bit of resting time in the fridge to allow the wet ingredients to fully hydrate the dry ingredients – a technique bakers employ for a richer and flavourful cookie.
I love the cherry and chocolate combination too; you hit these chunky, chocolatey and juicy pockets that take the cookies to an entirely different level of deliciousness.

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Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables

Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables

Pasta with Roasted Spring Vegetables

I used to know a woman from North Africa, who whenever I asked about her weekend, used to say, “Child, I have henna on my hands and halwa at home, I can’t complain”, then would launch into tales of a joyous wedding or celebration she attended.
I found myself this weekend wedged in a cramped aisle at a small Middle Eastern store. I was picking up halva for this walnut and halva cake I want to make. In that moment, with my hands stained with henna (from dyeing my hair), I too conceded that there wasn’t much to complain about on this particular weekend, even if I wasn’t at some celebration.

We lucked out with gorgeous weather over the weekend; this was great because we got to spend an afternoon exploring charming Ladner Village. On our way back into the city, we stopped by the market in Richmond to get our produce for the week. Have I mentioned how much I relish going that market? How can you not love a market full of bountiful seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, a farm with baby goats and sheep, and bunnies and chickens that just wander about?

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Coffee Journal | Honor Cafe, Paris

Honor Cafe, Paris

Honor Cafe, Paris

Honor Cafe, Paris

I missed Paris today. Maybe it’s because Ladurée opened here in Vancouver with people lining up to buy macarons as if they were on the Champs-Élysées. It was a slight longing though, it passed almost immediately but took me by surprise because I don’t usually allow myself the luxury of nostalgia.

It had me dreaming of this cozy gem of a café, nestled in a cobblestoned courtyard on Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th (a few metres from a slightly less crowded Ladurée). Billed as Paris’ first outdoor independent coffee shop, Honor Café is operated by a friendly English-Australian duo who have worked for years in the specialty coffee industry. It’s the perfect little stop for a quick or leisurely coffee and snacks while traversing that part of the city.

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Amaranth and Quinoa with Blood Orange Syrup

Amaranth and Quinoa with Blood Orange Syrup

Amaranth and Quinoa with Blood Orange Syrup

It feels like the sun has been shining brighter these past few days and our sky has taken on the loveliest shade of blue. if it weren’t for the pesky pollen in the air, spring would be my absolute favourite of seasons. A friend sent me a text the other day saying “let’s make more things with blood oranges before peonies start blooming”, I had no idea what she meant; I suspect it was an autocorrect mishap, but it also seemed like some whimsical reminder that blood orange season was coming to an end.

I get blood oranges throughout its season when I find them, so I’m usually on the lookout for creative ways to use them. We started making blood orange syrup last winter; we pour it over our pancakes, yoghurt and ice cream, it’s wonderful. It also adds a splash of bright colour to cocktails and lemonades. The syrup is sweet with subtle bitter, tart citrusy notes. I’ve been pouring it liberally over my morning porridge on these chilly spring mornings, adding a little cheerfulness to my mornings.

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