A Couple Of Nuts [Dried Cherry and Pistachio Granola]

20131230-112417.jpg20131230-112456.jpgI was born with a best friend (corn alert!). I think that’s the best part about having a twin. On Boxing Day, my twin brother (said best friend) headed off to work as the dance captain on a cruise ship. We’ll miss him of course, but hopefully this just gives me an excuse to go on a vacation.20131230-113552.jpgJust before he left, we were lucky enough to squeeze in a little twin (and poodle) photo shoot with the wonderfully talented Cindy Bekkedam. It was so much fun, and perfect timing before T jetted off on his adventure. We had a ball hamming it up for the camera…we’re just a couple of nuts. Continue reading…

Shorter Days [Apple Spice Granola]

shorterdays1shorterdays1Winter is tiptoeing its way in. Frosty mornings have arrived, along with the first dustings of snow, though it has yet to linger. shorterdays2I’ve nicknamed this month No-fun No-vember due to the mess of schoolwork I can never seem to actually catch up with. With the days getting darker earlier though it is slightly more conducive to getting cozy with my textbooks. And I can’t whine, even when I try to cut back on the fun and ramp up the studying, I always seem to find time for some fun — there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Weekend moments

Weekend moments

What does the fox say? (Zzzz after Halloween festivities.)

What does the fox say? (Zzzz after Halloween festivities.)

Happy Diwali!

Happy Diwali!

I always have a little notebook with me in which I like to write down things that flit through my mind, and this summer I jotted down a whole bunch of different combos of ingredients for “seasonal” granolas. In my head I imagined bright, sunny flavours for summer, and spiced warmth in the colder months. Most of these little inspirations that get written down never see the light of day, but I managed to make one of my “fall” granolas the other day. Pepitas, apple, spices, and maple syrup might help make these cold mornings warmer.shorterdays6shorterdays7 Granola for Fall…

Sunday’s Salad [Spiced chickpeas & fresh veg]

jerusalemsalad2Let’s win friends with salad. jerusalemsalad1Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s newest cookbook Jerusalem is one of the most recent additions to our bookshelf, but it has quickly become a regular sight on the kitchen counter. The book is beautiful and bright, with recipes that are accessible and intriguing. The recipes we’ve tried so far have almost all become family favourites and this chickpea salad is one we will definitely be making again. We quadrupled the recipe right off the bat, which was totally the right call as it turned out – there were no leftovers after dinner. Continue for the recipe…

Oktoberfest ist wunderbar! [Baked Onion Soup with Beau’s Beer and Cheese]

beausoktoberfestbeau'sThe sun shone down on the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds all day Saturday for a glorious time at Beau’s Oktoberfest. It was the brewery’s fifth year hosting the Bavarian festivities, and my first year attending (along with 12,000 others!) — who wants to join us next year?oktoberfestoktoberfestnight

Recovering with soup...

Recovering with soup…

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Summer’s Last Hurrah [Moosewood’s Gazpacho]

20130830-150724.jpg20130830-150746.jpg20130830-150800.jpg20130830-150846.jpgLabour Day Weekend: Summer’s Last Hurrah. Enjoy the sun. Take those fresh tomatoes from your garden or the market and turn them into a cool Spanish soup. And, if you’re in Ottawa, go catch these two great exhibits before they close.

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A Spanish Snack [Tostada con aceite y tomate]

A bright breakfast back in Huelva.

A bright breakfast back in Huelva.

I’m so not done with Spanish food. I hope you’re all OK with that — I don’t want to be ‘that’ girl who goes abroad for a wee bit and then bores everyone to tears with all the wonderful things about her “second home“. But I didn’t even get halfway through my little bucketlist, so I hope you’ll indulge me (plus it will be tasty, I promise).
Snacktime in Andalucia

Snacktime in Andalucia

It was certainly a bit of an adjustment to go from gallivanting around Europe to be living back at home and working full time. Some things, though — my dog’s wagging tail, a guaranteed hot shower (no broken bombona, hurrah!), family board games, sunny evenings at the tennis courts — made falling back into the routine a happy transition.
Huelva

Huelva

So I might not be able to buy cheap plane tickets to fly across Europe on a whim for the forseeable future, but it’s the little things that life is made up of, right? I file this Spanish breakfast (or snack) into that folder of simple pleasures: tostada con tomate y aceite; toast with tomatoes and olive oil. Usually served with your café con leche, maybe some ham, and preferably a chair in the sun.
Tostada con aceite y tomate

Melancholic Mung Bean Monday [mung bean salad with roasted hazelnuts]

20130527-205206.jpg20130527-204908.jpgOur water heater has been broken for much too long (and our landlady has been terrible), so that doesn’t help anyone’s mood in our apartment. But the melancholy Monday came because change kind of freaks me out (and I sometimes think in alliterations). The first time I realized this was when I was graduating from high school (which was my super cozy comfort zone at the time)– I was excited about graduating and the “next chapter” of our lives, but I woke up a few days after prom and just felt a little mopey and unsure about life. Since then, like many young twenty something’s I’m sure (I hope), there’s been a ton of little bouts of uncertainty. Sometimes this spirals into a mini-existential crisis party for one. “What am I doing?” “Did I pick the wrong university program?” “Why are boys silly?” “Where am I going?” “Why can’t I just get all the skin off these hazelnuts?!”– you know, life’s typical big questions at my age.20130527-205150.jpgI leave Huelva in a week. We had a great weekend, but I woke up this morning feeling slightly hungover from all the fun (not the alcohol, mum). It was that same melancholy feeling I had after high school. I’ll soon be leaving this little city in which I was once so homesick (and now love, of course). But more importantly, I’ll be leaving the people I have seen almost every day for nine months –so you know, kind of like high school, right?20130527-205143.jpgLuckily, I’m usually pretty easy to cheer up. A few dances around my room, a quick run in the Spanish sun, packing with some TED talks in the background and I was ready to have some friends over for dinner. Unfortunately, along with that broken water heater, we have no gas for the stove, so cooking has to become slightly more creative. Thank goodness mung beans sprout on their own!20130527-204920.jpg

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Saturday, Sunday, Spinach, Salsa [Espinacas con garbanzos]

A little tapas on the balcony and a protest down the street.

A little tapas on the balcony and a protest down the street.

Last night marked our salsa debut in Huelva (with another performance next Saturday!) as 11 of us girls shimmied and pranced around the dancefloor in tiny fluorescent costumes (not flattering on anyone, but funny, at least). It was the end of what ended up being my main “extracurricular” in Spain this year — it’s been so fun dancing with some of my best giri (North American) friends and meeting Spaniards with some of the best dance moves around.
Beer and bedazzling our teeny salsa dresses. A party, really.

Beer and bedazzling our teeny salsa dresses. A party, really.

And so my second to last weekend in Spain (!! que pena) involved much fiesta-ing, booty shaking, this song (forever stuck in my head), waking up with rhinestones around my bed, and knocking another dish off my Spanish cooking bucket list.  Que buena vida.espnicasygarbanzos! Continue reading

Tortilla de Patatas

20130501-165552.jpg20130501-165602.jpgTortilla is ubiquitous in Spain and was at the top of my bucket list but it took me until last week to finally make it all on my own. (I think it was the flipping part that scared me away.) The bilingual coordinator at the school I work at showed me how to make tortilla my first weekend here in her beautiful country kitchen. Since then I’ve had it for breakfast, in sandwiches, in the woods for a picnic, as a fancy tapita, and recently we went out to try the best tortilla in Huelva. It’s versatile, and totally adaptable to your taste so whether you keep it traditional or spice things up a bit it is sure to please (and give you a taste of Spain!).20130501-170535.jpgAnd if you choose to smother it in mayonnaise, that seems to be very Spanish, too.

Tortilla de Patatas