Basil, Basil 2

July 20, 2016

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Salad days. Youth, summer, innocence. We can stand to get a little Shakespearean sometimes, can we not? Lettuce is going to seed in our garden, herbs are fragrant in the air from small hands brushing through them on the way to a game of make-believe. I have a small abundance of basil, and so I make this dressing. A while ago I posted a recipe for Awesomesauce, a tahini-soy-nutritional yeast dressing that blew the lid off our winter salads. Consider this number two in the sauce trifecta (yes, there are plans for a third). It’s from the Rebar Cookbook, which I’ve talked about many times, but it’s just that good. This makes a nice marinade, dressing for panzanella, tomato-bocconcini salad, or a regular dinner salad with anything/everything in it. Basil is that friendly.

 

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Basil Vinaigrette

Adapted, barely, from the Rebar Cookbook

 

Ingredients

 

2 medium garlic cloves

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 oz (45 g) fresh basil leaves

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

1 cup olive oil

 

Method

Combine all ingredients before oil in a food processor and blend until smooth. You could also use a blender, but it may not puree everything as well. With the processor on, slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the dressing is thickened. Check if it needs more salt or pepper. This will keep in a jar or bottle for about five days in the fridge.

 

What are your favourite recipes with basil?

XO

Ria

 

 

 

 

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Fantastic Four: An Anniversary 8

July 13, 2016

Baffled and bewildered, Ria and I recently figured out we have been blogging here together for FOUR YEARS. That’s right. Longer than the average age of a pet hamster. Four whole years of diligently writing and cooking and photographing and sharing in this space, for you and for each other. It’s certainly been a journey. Wishing for a real, live, in-person catch up, but thwarted by geography, time and finances, we’ve had to opt for the next best thing – a blog catch up.

2012…

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E and me bw

 

Join us to review the last few years and peek into what we hope for the future. Plus, check out each of our top four posts and tell us which posts you liked best. We love hearing from you, as always.

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Lavender Honeycake 7

July 6, 2016

 

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Oh, lavender. French gardens, milled soap, summer days, fresh-smelling wardrobes. Cake.

No? Not a fan of soapy-tasting cake, as a friend of mine describes lavender in baked goods? Okay. Maybe just look at the photos and skip this next part.

Ahem. For those of us who like our baked goods to sometimes be reminiscent of soap (in only the best way!), this is our recipe. The one to make during that part of June when gardens sing with early summer colour, bees bumble clumsily with burdens of pollen, lavender just about to purple open and once again fix itself into your memory: those weeks in June—the lavender weeks. (And, yes, I verbed purple there. Lavender fills me with that much passion.)

This is a summer evening cake. One that comes together simply and easily, the making of it matching up perfectly with a warm breeze in the kitchen, a pretty tea towel crumpled on the counter for wiping your hands as you work. Maybe a cup of tea already half gone, the rest of the pot waiting for the cake to emerge. It’s a friendship cake. A sharing with neighbours cake. A slice as dusk falls because two wasn’t enough cake.

 

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A tale of two chocolates. 5

June 29, 2016

I don’t know about you but this week has me feeling despondent. Is it “the age of foolishness…the winter of despair”? At every turn there seems to be a massacre, a miscarriage of justice, an environmental disaster, political miscreancy, the death of a musical icon, mass fear and hysteria. As the Brits would say – it’s doing my head in. On Instagram this week I vowed to vote for sunshine in the presence of so much rain, pain and gloom, but I’ve found it difficult. What is a girl to do? The only thing she can. Turn to chocolate.

 

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of chocolate bark. I’m a huge fan of anything chocolate and ridiculously easy to make. The time from head (idea) to reality and back to head (through mouth) again is crucial. If it takes too long I lose interest and appetite. In the wake of all this depressing global news the therapy needs to be swift and I’ve created two versions of chocolate bark that are truly quick to make and delicious to devour. The biggest dilemma you have to overcome is : which one to make first?

 

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Bark one is made using dark chocolate and flavoured with cardamom, fennel, cinnamon, chunks of crystallized ginger and freckled with cacao nibs. Dark, rich, spicy, crunchy. The spices are warming, the ginger sweet and jube-y, the cacao nibs give that delectable hint of espresso. As therapy this chocolate lets your cry, allows your bitterness, wraps you in a soft blanket and kisses the troubles away. It’s music by The Cure, it’s literature, it’s a cabin in the woods.

 

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Bark two is made using white chocolate and flavoured with vanilla, passion-fruit powder, pieces of tropical fruit and topped with curls of roasted coconut. Sweet, creamy, exotic, luscious. The chewy fruits and coconut remind me of warm holidays and holiday cocktails, the sour passion-fruit powder and vanilla spice add complexity. As therapy this chocolate orders you to brush your hair, grabs you by the hand and takes you out dancing till morning. It’s your favourite 80’s movie, it’s the craic, it’s a drunken skinny dip in an ocean full phosphorescence.

 

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Anatomy of a Birthday Cake V 4

June 22, 2016

Here we are again (and again, and again, if you so desire). Another party, another cake, another story of how flour, eggs and butter become birthday magic. Only this time, Little e is old enough to help. It’s her brother’s cake, after all, and she takes it as seriously as she does all the rest of his things (that is: they are all hers first, not matter what).

 

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I will admit I was a little nervous offering to let her help. At four-and-a-half, she’s often more hindrance than help in the kitchen, more fingers in the mixing bowl than volunteer dishwasher. And that’s fine. That’s expected. But with a time crunch (cake must be iced and assembled while birthday boy naps and before guests arrive), I wasn’t sure how well it would go. Would there be candy everywhere? Arguments about sticky fingers in the icing bowl? Morsels of cake going missing?

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