A couple of weeks ago we went to our local Asian specialty grocery store. I needed some dried mushrooms for a hot and sour soup (that ended up being one of the most disgusting things I have ever made… I was so disappointed, I don’t know what went wrong!). It was late in the day on a Sunday and I was feeling like a treat. I wandered over to the bubble tea counter and the black sesame and almond milky iced bubble tea really caught my eye. Then the dozens of giant syrup bottles behind the counter caught my eye too and I decided that I would pass on the bubble tea. I am sure I sound like a snob, but nothing beats bubble tea that actually uses fresh fruit and homemade flavourings. Either way, the flavour combination of black sesame and almond stuck in my mind and I knew that I would make my own at home when I had the chance.
A few days ago I was scouring Lady and Pups’ website for recipes that use black sesame. For some reason a recipe of homemade wontons swimming in this peanut sauce came up, and I knew that I had to make it immediately (the black sesame creation will be coming soon!). Not only did the peanut sauce look amazing, but I’ve had a bag of peanuts sitting on my shelf for months now. We’re moving soon and I am trying to get through all of the dry ingredients that I have stockpiled over the months (same reason that I was looking for a black sesame recipe!). Out of all of the nuts that we go through on a consistent basis, peanuts is not one of them and I couldn’t think of any better way to use them up.
This past weekend, I was at a potluck and had one of the most delicious eggplant dishes that I had ever tried. I immediately had to ask where the recipe was from and lucky for me, it was sitting in Jerusalem, one of my favourite cookbooks. I couldn’t believe that I had overlooked the recipe, but when I found it in my book later that night, I wasn’t too surprised. It was one of the few recipes in his book without an accompanying picture. I am so drawn in by Ottolenghi’s gorgeous photographs that I can’t help but skim over those that are unlucky enough not to have a stunning, colourful, full page photograph right next to it. Either way, I knew I wanted to make the recipe as soon as possible but to make it a full meal, I decided to make eggplant and mango salad rolls for a little twist on a classic.
One of the weirdest things that happened when I started this blog was my struggle when I had to measure ingredients. I never, ever measured anything (other than for baking purposes) before I started this blog and it really threw me off. My process for making sauces and dressings was to throw things into a bowl, taste and adjust as I went. Basically, it was very difficult for me to guess what a shake of this or a squirt of that measured in terms of teaspoons and cups. One of the disasters that stands out in my mind was when I tried to make these charred brussel sprouts for the blog last year. I had been making versions of these brussel sprouts all winter and they were one of our favourite dishes. I felt like I had the process down perfectly: lightly steam, drain, char in the same pan and dress with a delicious sauce. But, when I tried to measure out what I normally just throw into my pan as my sauce, everything was off. It was disgusting. The biggest problem was that I used way too much of everything and the brussel sprouts were drowning in their glaze. I never attempted the blog-version (i.e. measuring) of these again, until now. We finally bought our first batch of brussel sprouts this year and I forgot how much I love them. I can’t believe we have gone so many months without these. Either way, they are back and this time, I measured with much more skill. Now you can make them too!