Masterchef Australia is back and I love it just as much as ever. On the program, there is something called a mystery box challenge where the contestants are given a limited number of ingredients to work with and are judged on their creativity and the deliciousness of the dish. Right now, I feel like I am in a mystery box kitchen. We are moving from our apartment at the end of this month and I have been working hard to use up all of the ingredients that we have left in our kitchen. I’ve been doing pretty well so far, slowly making my way through all of the grains and cans of beans that I usually stock up on but as it dwindles, I am having to get creative. I realized that I had an abundance of sesame related things: tahini, white and black sesame seeds laying around and that was where these sesame squares came from. I probably would have never thought of them without the pressure of wanting to not let anything go to waste.
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.
Tonight I have a surprise baby shower to go to. It’s a potluck and at first I thought I would make a salad but a few hours later, I changed my mind. I decided I wanted to make some cupcakes. As always, I love making desserts for potlucks because it is the perfect excuse to share something that I don’t really want to (well, I want to, I just shouldn’t) eat a whole batch of. On the hunt for a cupcake recipe, I went straight to one of my favourite blogs: My Name is Yeh. I have been a fan of Molly’s food photography and writing for a long time now but surprisingly, I have never actually made anything for her website. After trawling through her recipes to learn as much as I could about cupcakes, I noticed that there was a lot of consistency in the base recipe, which must mean it’s awesome right? The only other thing to figure out was some exciting flavours to use and today I’m sharing the black sesame chocolate cupcakes, later this week I’ll also share the earl grey vanilla cupcakes that I made to go with them.
It’s been far too long since we have had french toast. There have been a number of occasions when we wanted to make it so badly that we’ve gone to the local pharmacy (the closest store to us that sells any sort of food) to find bread. Alas, we could not bring ourselves to buy the wonderbread-esque stuff that they sell, so it’s been a while. Yesterday, though, was our ten year anniversary so on top of feeling hungry, I was feeling nostalgic. French toast is our special breakfast food. Before I learned how to make scones, pancakes or crepes, french toast was our thing. So, I knew that I had to make some challah in preparation for a very special Sunday morning french toast meal.