In my world breakfast doesn’t begin until coffee is present and accounted for. More often than not it’s thick, black espresso, lovingly nicknamed “jet fuel” made on the stove top in an old fashioned percolator. If I’m not at home, it’s a coffee shop Americano, but either way I want it to be strong, dark and bold. I don’t add cream or sugar to my coffee, but I do enjoy coffee in sweets like my Coffee and Cream Cake or warm coffee over vanilla bean ice cream for a classic affogato. Bittersweet is a flavor profile I really love. Coffee and cinnamon both fall into this category and I find them quite remarkable together, so these Cinnamon Espresso Oats were a somewhat obvious breakfast hybrid for me. They are simple to prepare – this is barely a recipe – but they make up for it in the complexity of their nuanced flavor. I’ve dressed them up here with some creamy slices of banana and crunchy green pumpkin seeds because I find oats to be at their best when they are part of a textural landscape with a variety of things going on. All alone they can be a bit, well, stodgy, but add a crunchy crisp something or a soft fruit and they get infinitely more exciting.
Some foods are classics for a reason, because everytime you reach for them you get just what you’re needing and expecting from the experience. Blueberry pancakes on a slow weekend morning are pretty much my definition of the perfect indulgent breakfast. Through the week it’s spinach and frozen fruit wazzed up into smoothies that get the day started but sometimes on a Saturday or Sunday I like to slow things down, get a bit more nostalgic and bring some smiles to the table with these old school treats. And if it happens to be blueberry season, like it is right now, then all the better! Unless I have to pick them myself, you know how I feel about picking fruit! (more…)
I’ll be honest, with the exception of one recipe I haven’t had great success with banana bread over the years. It’s always stodgy and damp, not enough lift, and often not banana-y enough in flavor. Recently, there were 3 brown bananas on the counter and I debated tossing them into the freezer to keep browning for a banana bread or smoothie in the future but then I thought, screw it! And I made this recipe up as I went along. The result? The best damn banana bread I’ve ever made! Fast! No mixer! Easy to do with minimal ingredients! Honestly, it’s a winner.
Quick and Easy Banana Bread
3 very ripe bananas
1/3 C vegetable oil
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp hazelnut extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing just until combined with each addition. Scrape the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan then cool completely, out of the pan, on a wire rack.
Summer is by far my favorite season to cook in. Everything is fresh and vibrant and in turn it makes us feel fresh and vibrant too. We just moved house to a beautiful riverside condo and it’s making it easy to get up in the morning and hit the day running. Our views are blue and green and there’s lots to explore and discover. In the early mornings I’ve been watching herons cruising above the river and wading at its edges in the reeds. They are magnificently prehistoric and look almost out of place in these northern climes as if they should be living a lush, tropical lifestyle like an ancient pterodactyl. Don’t we all want a lush tropical lifestyle? Well, the sun is shining and this Tropical Green Smoothie will help get your tastebuds a bit closer to the equator. Happy sipping!
Tropical Green Smoothie
1/4 C frozen pineapple
1/4 C frozen mango
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk (I use Silk Coconut)
Blend well in blender until smooth. Serves 2
*tip – leftover smoothie freezes well in an ice cube tray for next time. Just add a few cubes to the blender, top with cold liquid of your choosing and blend.
Let’s do lunch. No, better yet, let’s do brunch.
Whoever came up with brunch and made it ‘a thing’, was a genius.
It’s the perfect meal because it perfectly balances the much needed slow-start on a weekend morning with the rigors of being social. It forces you up and out of bed, but too early, and it’s a fairly finite commitment – your afternoon almost always asks other things of you – and if it doesn’t pour yourself another mimosa and get back to chatting. Going out for brunch is the epitome of weekend luxury, but it’s nearly as easy to do it at home – whether it’s just you, brunch for two, a family affair, or you have friends come by, it’s a low key way to entertain and since no one expects much of you before noon on the weekends, you can stay in your slippers and ease your way into the day. (more…)