I haven’t really been cooking (or keeping up with the blog) the way I want to, and this is partly because spring hasn’t been kind to me. I’ve been dealing with bouts of seasonal allergies all season long, actually. I started having breathing issues back in April and developed allergy induced asthma (my doctor tells me this is a real thing) which thankfully lasted for just a few days, but then I spent the month of May trying not to scratch my eyes out. So yeah, I haven’t made anything special in a while.
Luckily we almost always have a jar of hummus tucked away somewhere in the fridge begging to be used up, and I appreciate that so much during these stretches when I’m not cooking.
Hummus is versatile and we’ve tried it in a lot of things, but this rice, hummus, peas and lettuce combo has become an easy favourite.
In what feels like a lifetime ago – some two decades past – I grudgingly found myself in Copenhagen. This was my first time in the city and I was mostly holed up at the basement apartment below the Ghana Embassy in Hellerup, a nearby suburb. I spent all my time listening to a mixed tape of ‘90s R&B songs a boy had made me and reading depressing poems from a tattered copy of Love Is a Dog from Hell I’d gotten at a car boot sale for 50p.
It wasn’t that I hated Copenhagen, I’d barely taken the time to discover the city, but being full of angst at that time, I was determined not to like it there; I loved reveling in misery back then.
I remember going for a walk one time and feeling a little lighter, and imagining what it’ll feel like to come back in a calm, much happier time. I have this thing about recreating better memories of places where I was once unhappy, and Copenhagen had been on the list for a while now.
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.