Category Archives: side

bread, salads, salsas, pickles…

Just a hint of chocolate, eh? (BBB January 2014)

BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Chocolate Prune Rolls; to knead or not to knead; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and BYOB; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) January 2014

Do you love rich dark chocolate? Then this bread is for you!

chocolate prune bread Last month we made bread that was called cake. This month we were to make cake that is called bread. When I first heard about the January BBB recipe, I was really excited. I couldn’t wait.

But then, after several days of Christmas and New Year’s excesses (ahem), I confess I suddenly wasn’t really thrilled about making something so sweet. But our fearless host for this month cast my worries aside with her enthusiasm about the recipe she chose for us to make.

[I]t is wonderful, a very nice bread with just a hint of chocolate

-Jamie, in email to the BBBs

So I got out my ingredients and plunged ahead to make a lovely slightly soft chestnut brown dough.

Hmmmm…. Just a hint of chocolate, Jamie? The bread I made was (I wonder if I miscalculated about the weight of the cocoa….) REALLY chocolatey.

It was good, but really chocolatey – in looks, aroma and flavour. Continue reading


Any apples in that basket?

Not Far From the Tree summary: apples; fried apples; apple sauce; problems with ‘Joy of Cooking’ index and binding; information about Plated Stories and Not Far From the Tree; (click on images for more photos and larger views)

Are you seeing apples everywhere right now? I am: on Jamie and Ilva’s blog, Plated Stories, at the market, hanging from trees, in baskets in our house, their wonderful scent filling the air.


[T]here was [the then young G. E. Moore] seated by the fire with a basket upon his knees. “Moore,” I said, “do you have any apples in that basket?” “No,” he replied, and smiled seraphically, as was his wont. I decided to try a different logical tack. “Moore,” I said, “do you then have some apples in that basket?” “No,” he replied, leaving me in a logical cleft stick from which I had but one way out. “Moore,” I said, “do you then have apples in that basket?” “Yes,” he replied. And from that day forth, we remained the very closest of friends.

– Beyond the Fringe: A Revue, Act Two Portraits from Memory (Bertrand Russell reminisces)

Aside from these stunning red apples (sure, they have some surface blemishes but inside they’re great!), we also have another (larger) basket filled with smallish green (but ripe) apples from a tree about a ten minute bike ride from our house. As it is so often with the overgrown fruit trees we see when picking for Not Far From the Tree, the really beautiful, perfect apples were just out of reach. Still, with the help of ladders and ingenious fruit picking poles, we collected plenty of somewhat less perfect looking apples (but quite crisp and lovely otherwise) that we’ve turned into fabulous juice and equally fabulous fried apples to go with a grilled chop. Continue reading

Baba Ganoushe (is that the right spelling??)

summary: Eggplant and garlic spread; roasting little eggplants whole on the barbecue; ranting about ingredients in rice crackers; more ranting about our garden parsley, or lack thereof; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)


Synonyms: aubergine = berenjena = brinjal = garden egg = egg apple = patlican = melongene = melanzane = Guinea squash

This is a spongy, mild-tasting vegetable that’s meaty yet low in calories. It’s never eaten raw, but it can be baked, grilled, or sauteed. The best eggplants are firm and shiny eggplants with unbroken skin. Male eggplants tend to have fewer seeds, and are therefore less bitter than female eggplants. To sex an eggplant, look at the indentation at bottom. If it’s deep and shaped like a dash, it’s a female. If it’s shallow and round, it’s a male. Smaller eggplants also tend to be less bitter. Freshness is important, so don’t store them for very long.

– The Cook’s Thesaurus: Eggplants

eggplant We usually get regular western-style or Asian eggplants – so often that we don’t have any photos of them – but these little fist-sized Indian eggplants looked so beautiful that we had to try them!

Suddenly, I understand why we call these vegetables “eggplants” instead of “aubergines”. They do look like eggs, don’t they?

We usually thinly slice eggplant, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle on a bit of turmeric and grill it on the barbecue. But I suddenly decided I wanted baba ganoushe. Continue reading

It turns out that cooked cabbage is delicious

summary: recipe for Indian-style cabbage with ginger and coconut; embracing vegetarian food; (click on image to see larger view)

cabbage Like so many others, we are trying to reduce our meat intake. And we often choose to make vegetarian dinners.

But our vegetarian dishes are not watery and bland. Or trying to mimic meat. Or tasteless and grey. They’re vibrant with many different flavours and textures.

The other night, as we were indulging ourselves with the most spectacular feast of rice, dahl, fried eggplant, aloo posta with green beans, and stir-fried cabbage, we couldn’t help but admit that if we decided to become exclusively vegetarian, we would probably be making just about everything Indian-style. Continue reading

Puffed flattened rice

chura summary: recipe for puffed chura; I love pressed rice; homemade snack foods; (click on image(s) to see larger views and more photos)

The other day, we had one of my favourite breakfasts: chura with toasted coconut, peas and nuts. Usually, T uses peanuts, but this time we were extravagant and had cashews. As always, the chura was spectacular.

It was great as an afternoon snack too….

The next day, as we were riding our bikes home from grocery shopping and wishing there was still a little chura leftover as a snack, T suddenly informed me that his friend in India used to serve puffed chura all the time with tea in the afternoon. Here’s how the conversation went:

me: Puffed?? Like popcorn?

he: Yah. Haven’t I ever made that?

me: (longingly) No…

he: Should I make some now?

chura Well. Duh. Yes!!

I wanted to try it. Right away.

Continue reading