The making of this matcha swirl loaf is definitely a project for a Sunday afternoon, preferably a gloomy drizzly one like the one we had last weekend, which proved perfect for staying in and making bread.
For years, I’ve been fixated with this desire to make my own bread at the start of each week, I think it’s a throwback from my childhood when we’d get a loaf or two on the weekend and have it throughout the week for breakfast. When we lived in Freetown, we used to go to this small bakery miles away from us, ran by a Ghanaian woman – I was obsessed with that bread, it was squishy, pillowy soft and chewy and so, so good slathered with salted butter. We still talk about that bread with reverence to this day.
The other day, my sister and I were reminiscing about some of the memorable meals we’ve managed to pull together in bare vacation-rental kitchens, which totally reminded me of this mushroom and olive tomato sauce, I’ve been meaning to share the recipe here.
She whipped this sauce up while we were on vacation late last year. It all started with the markets on Rue Montorgueil, their carts piled high with luscious and enticing fruits and vegetables. We couldn’t resist the chanterelles; golden and delicate and so pretty, they call them girolle there. We got about half a kilo, not quite sure what we were going to do with them. On the way home, we stopped by the Monoprix in Les Halles and picked up olive oil, tomatoes, passata, olives, wine and some spice and herbs – and that is how this sauce was born.
I heard about Coffee Makers long before I went to Lille. I heard they had a vegan banana bread I had to try.
As an inducement to visit the Flemish city in Northern France, my favourite Lilloise who, coincidentally, was the only Lilloise I knew (can you tell that I just want to use the word Lilloise?) sent me a list of all the wonderful things Lille had to offer. Since exploring coffee shops is my thing, there was a section for coffee shops and Coffee Makers was at the top of the list.
One warm Saturday last September, I was lured to Lille so I made a beeline for the coffee shop as soon as I got off train; as luck would have it, it’s within walking distance from the train station.
Coffee Makers roast their own beans. The café has a cozy and convivial atmosphere, it feels very much like your small neighborhood coffee shop; serving a variety of carefully prepared coffee beverages from pour-over to espresso drinks, tea and juices, as well as light breakfast (and lunch) offerings such as muesli, sandwiches, salad, homemade cookies, cakes, sourdough bread and other pastry. The vegan banana bread is truly to die for.
I have just returned from a remarkable 4-day trip to Havana.
This was another trip that almost didn’t happen. I got tickets in a bout of spontaneity and then promptly cancelled them because I felt unprepared – I hadn’t researched the intricacies of travel to Cuba. Needless to say, the second set of tickets I got stuck, and ended up having wonderful time in Havana; I hope to share my adventures with you soon.
One of my favourite images from Havana was this giant cart of bananas being pulled down a street. I couldn’t help but picture all the loaves of banana bread I could make with that much banana! It’s funny because a few weeks ago, I purposefully set aside three bananas to brown just so I could make this spiced dark chocolate banana bread. I buy bananas every week when I go grocery shopping but we gobble them up so fast, they’re never around long enough to go past their prime.
I’m pretty sure I could write an intriguing memoir woven around my encounters with hummus. Like the time we ordered coffee and hummus at a Berlin café because it was the only thing we recognized on the menu, and thought it would come with a mezze platter. Instead we got a giant plate of hummus and falafel each, and nothing else!
Then there was the woman I met on Lummi Island a few years ago, she told me about her beloved hot buttered pasta tossed with a couple of tablespoons of hummus; this dish has become one of my favourite lazy weeknight meals – I keep a jar of this harissa and smoked paprika hummus specifically to make this. For such a simple hummus, it’s packed with so much flavourful goodness, it’s rich, bold and zippy, and enlivens everything it touches.