Things have warmed up considerably around these parts. It certainly feels like summer now, we could get as high up as 30 degrees (celsius) this weekend, they tell us.
I slept with the windows open for the first time last night and made my first batch of summer pesto with basil from our little plant tucked away on the balcony, it grows so fast we’re probably going to have our own basil farm in no time!
The neighbourhood Farmers’ Market is back for the season, and I’m predictably looking forward to the sweet juicy fruits of summer. I’ve been dreaming of tomatoes…tomatoes that taste like the way my mom talks about tomatoes from her childhood, back when they grew tomatoes in Northern Ghana. Even though it’s available year round, there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh luscious, locally-grown tomatoes of summer.
We had a leisure day yesterday, waking up lazily as if it was a weekend. We settled on donuts for breakfast, there’s this new(ish) donut shop close to my work place we’ve been meaning to try again.
I got a box of donuts from there on my way from work a couple of months ago in a bout of spontaneity.
I’ve talked about not really being ‘donut people’ before, but the unique and aromatic flavours were a pleasant and luscious surprise.
They conveniently offer baked, vegan and gluten-free varieties too!
Last weekend was our long weekend. We got the Monday off to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday or maybe it’s the monarch we’re celebrating, I’m not quite sure, but it’s definitely the unofficial start to summer in these parts.
We took advantage of the gorgeous weather to prepare our little balcony for all the outdoor summer fun we’ll be having. We spent all our free time at home on our balcony last summer and we’re hooked!
So this past weekend we scrubbed the balcony clean of winter’s dirt and grime and painted it a bright summery shade.
At the plant center we got dahlias, yellow and orange marigolds, lilies, begonias and colourful leafed painted nettles. The balcony looks beautifully welcoming now, I can’t wait to spend blissful sun-filled moments there.
A coffee shop is one of the first things I look for when I get to a new city or town. This is good for two reasons. It lets you take a breather and orient yourself, and you start off your trip with something familiar – coffee. Sometimes you even get great recommendations from the locals; coffee shops are great for that.
On my first trip to Amsterdam, we sat in the charming garden of the Oude Kerk (Old Church) and had our coffee with appeltaart. For this second trip last fall, we got a last minute recommendation for Screaming Beans Coffee Bar but really, having seen it on this list of ’25 Coffee Shops Around The World You Have To See Before You Die’ cemented our decision to try it.
There are certain items in our little cramped pantry that we never seem to run out of because we’re continuously using and restocking them, lentils for instance.
We keep a few varieties on hand; plump and glossy beluga lentils for winter soups; it’s also excellent with roasted okra. We love the peppery earthy flavour of Puy/French green lentils so much we put them in everything.
Pardina lentils (Spanish Brown) are a recent addition to the pantry; it’s sturdy with a rich nutty flavour and the prettiest shade of brown.