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.
I’ve been on a bit of a baking spree lately. I actually really enjoy baking but I have very little self-control and try to limit the availability of sweet treats hanging around the house. The other day I was looking for a super healthy cookie recipe and I found this recipe, which was great as a snack, but it did not resemble a cookie in the slightest. It was more of an oat bar. While I appreciated that there were tons of whole, hearty ingredients in them, they didn’t taste like a dessert at all and would never satisfy my mid-afternoon sweet tooth (in retrospect, I think that the “cookie” referred more to the shape of the bar than anything else). Although, on a side note, I did find it hilarious that my boyfriend was enjoying crumbling them into his breakfast cereal until I told him there were beans in them, at which point he was less keen on the “bean cookies”. Needless to say, I was still on the lookout for a healthy-ish cookie. I eventually came across a version of these vegan chocolate almond cookies on My Darling Lemon Thyme. Of course, the chocolate and almond combination immediately caught my eye: they are a match made in heaven. On top of that, I liked how the only non-vegan ingredient in the original recipe was an egg, which is pretty easy to replace. Even though I’m not vegan, I like to have a few vegan desserts in my arsenal to share with friends that are or bring to potlucks.
There are a bunch of foods that are perfect blank canvases, that you can make over and over again using the same base recipe and technique and it never gets old. I am sure that applies to a lot of dishes, but when I think of that blank canvas, I think of ice cream and bread. It’s not like I have an endless supply of homemade ice cream and bread on hand, but when I am in a creative rut and I think of random flavor combinations (particularly ones that lend themselves to sweet dishes), I can usually turn them into an ice cream or bread creation. So, when I couldn’t get apricots and almonds out of my head for the past couple of weeks, I decided it was time to take the plunge and make something already. Here it is: Apricot Almond Bread.
I lived with a shitty blender for a very long time. To be fair, I always knew there were better ones out there but I hadn’t realized how much better, better could be. The blender had been dying a slow death for some time now. First, a little plastic piece on all of the cups broke off, so I had to stab a piece of the blender with a fork for it to actually blend. Then, the plastic piece that makes the blade spin slowly chipped away until it would spin no more. I have to admit, when it died, I wasn’t a happy camper. I wasn’t looking forward to shelling out cash for a new one, and it had served me well for many years. I have successfully made many smoothies with it, but I have to admit, now that I got a new and improved blender, I wish it had died sooner.