We’re setting off on an adventure tomorrow morning, a road trip to Portland! I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a few weeks now since it’s replacing what should have been our New York trip. I’m a little bummed to be missing Easter in New York this year, but I’m hoping the culture and vibrancy of Portland would make up for it.
Last week I started thinking about snacks for the trip – it’s a six-hour drive (or more depending on traffic!). Even though we’ve planned a few detours along the way for breakfast and lunch, everyone knows snacks are essential when road-tripping. I made hummus last night; we might bring that with some rustic tortilla chips.
I want to take a few slices of this cocoa and vanilla twisted loaf, slather them in salty butter and a couple more in peanut or almond butter, wrap them tightly in parchment paper and twine, and bring them along for the ride.
One thing I didn’t know about Montreal before going there last summer, was that it’s a city full of churches. Many grand old churches dot the landscape, from Vieux-Montréal to Mont-Royal.
“This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window.” – Mark Twain said this of the city in 1881 and it still remains true.
I loved seeing these churches pop up everywhere since I love visiting churches when I travel. It’s where I take refuge, and whether I’m in Lyon or New York, there’s always a comforting familiarity to them. Also, churches are often a great insight into the architecture, art, culture and history of that city.
There are some pretty spectacular churches in Montreal, some with magnificent buildings and lavish interiors; others are quaint and charming and some have deep ties to the origins of the city.
I spent the weekend mostly holed up in my tiny kitchen waiting out a tenacious rainstorm.
We baked and ate thick slices of blood orange and hibiscus cake with our morning coffee. For lunch on Saturday, we made this pressure cooker chickpeas using our trusty Instant Pot. We got a little break in the storm and made a mad dash for our favourite Italian store to pick up some much needed pantry staples. I usually stock up on their porcini stuffed tortellini, I love tortellini and this is one of the few that is free of dairy and eggs.
I especially love tortellini in soups, it’s filling and tasty, and generally easy to rustle up. Since we’d been graced with soup-making weather and had tortellini, it just made sense to make soup… again.
It’s almost as if spring snuck up on us when we weren’t looking. The cherry and plum trees in my neighbourhood suddenly burst out in glorious pink blossoms. I don’t think we got a proper farewell to winter, but then again, it was an unusual season.
Spring’s arrival means allergy season for me; last week I took two days off… two glorious days ensconced in my home and free of any encounters with tree pollen. Days leading to that I had a series of unfortunate sneezing fits and itchy eyes and throat mishaps, so I broke down and got myself some serious drowse-inducing allergy medication.
I spent those quiet two days between sleep and dazed consciousness, and even managed to make some awesome dried fruit and nut granola with black sesame seed.
Whenever we get together, my sister and I and our friend K end up half-jokingly planning this café we’re going to open in a future life. We haven’t decided on a name or location yet; but we’ve often fantasized about the small Greek Island K grew up on. We would maybe name it Rosina’s for our grandmother; and on Sundays cook her smoky jollof rice over a wood burning fire. K’s saucy Ghormeh Sabzi would be on the menu too, it has fresh chopped spinach and dried herbs, it’s his mom’s recipe.
We’ve been collecting recipes for our imaginary café; every time one of us makes something we really love, we put in our recipe bank. The first time we tried these savoury cornbread muffins with harissa butter, we agreed that the butter belonged on the list.