I acknowledge that this is the second loaf cake that I have posted here in less than a month. The last one, a pear and dark chocolate gem, is perfect as a special occasion treat. While it might look understated, it is a knockout filled with chunks of dark chocolate nestled in a brown butter cake batter. This blackberry apple cake, on the other hand, is for snacking. It’s amazing how two cakes that look so similar can be made up of such different ingredients. While I certainly love making indulgent desserts every once in a while, it’s way more essential for me to have somewhat healthy, homemade snacks that I can eat throughout the day. Every day between meals, I may eat some pickles, nuts, or squares of dark chocolate (sometimes all within the same snacking session). But, the best weeks are when I have prepared something like this blackberry apple snacking cake. It’s a perfect sweet treat that feels extra special and indulgent but that I know is actually made up of pretty great ingredients.
As soon as I saw a recipe for homemade hummus posted on I Will Not Eat Oyster’s blog, I knew I had to give it a try. Hummus is one of my all time favourite dips (it’s main rival is guacamole). I knew if I was going to spend the extra time soaking the chickpeas, it was going to be the centrepiece to a very special dish. I wasn’t going to just snack on it with vegetables or sneak a thin layer into a sandwich (which I also did with leftovers), I was determined to make this hummus the star of the show. And it is. A thick layer of creamy, lemony hummus is the base for this entire dish but it’s the combination with everything else on the plate that makes it the ultimate hummus. If you are ever going to make hummus into a meal, this is how you do it. I have been making my way through the leftovers of this for a whole week and am not complaining.
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped making bagels for the farmer’s market. Selling bagels was something that I always wanted to try but I got to a place where I couldn’t grow the business anymore (I definitely reached my capacity in terms of the number of bagels that I was able to make at home, by hand) and the amount of effort that went into making them, was just too much. I loved being at the market and talking to customers and other vendors, but I started hating making the bagels. As soon as that feeling set in, I knew it was time to move on. I want to get back to the place when kneading and shaping dough is therapeutic, not stressful. I have to say, overall I am very happy with my decision. On top of freeing up tons of my time, I’ve been able to reclaim my freezer. One of the toughest things about making the bagels was the fact that I had to keep my freezer as empty as possible all of the time. I would ration a bag or two of frozen fruit so that I could keep making my smoothie bowls but that’s about it. I’ve been working to re-stock it with meals so that I can have some dinners ready to go after a busy day. So far I have made these dumplings, these veggie burgers and my favourite vegan bolognese. I can’t tell you how nice it is to have some back up every once in a while.
I’ve recently discovered wild rice blends. If you’re not a huge fan of brown rice on it’s own and want to steer away from white rice, you should definitely check it out. The main reason that I love it is that the texture is amazing. Because there are different shapes, sizes and types of rice they all cook slightly differently. So, you end up with a medley of colors and textures. I think that’s a big part of why having a bowl of rice with some vegetables and sauce can feel like a meal now. As is often the case, however, the sauce is arguably the most important part of this bowl. Rice is always an amazing blank canvas. There are so many directions you can go in terms of flavours and cuisines. But, I know my audience and whenever I am trying something new I know that the way to win over my boyfriend’s heart is to give things a Japanese twist. It is definitely up there among his favourite cuisines and he loves the saltiness of miso. So, when I made this rice, filled with seeds and greens I knew a miso maple wild rice bowl would be the way to go.