April 29, 2016

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

salted tahini chocolate chip cookies

Whenever I bake a dessert, whether it is a cookie, cake or bread, I immediately want to add nuts to it because I am a nut-fanatic. I think they add a unique flavour and texture, and can bulk up a meal (like this one, which is still one of my favourite pasta dishes).

mix two eggs...

However, I have a colleague who is allergic to nuts so whenever I want to bring something into work, I have to remind myself to bake nut-free goods. It's more difficult than you think. I don't know how parents do it these days, making lunches for their kids to bring to their nut-free schools.

...add chocolate chips

When I stumbled upon this tahini chocolate chip cookie recipe, it was an "Aha!" moment. Instead of using peanut or almond butter, it uses sesame seed butter, which gives it that nutty flavour. It's great timing that I'm going through a tahini phase at the same time as the food blogging world.

ready for the oven

March 28, 2016

Moutabbal

eggplant dip

You know what I learned during my travels in Turkey? The Turks can prepare eggplant really, really well. I find it such a finicky vegetable to cook with, as it can be too mushy or bitter, but without fail, every eggplant dish I ordered was insanely delicious (and I ordered many of them). One of the most memorable eggplant dishes that I ate was a meze - an eggplant dip with an intensely smoky flavour, one that I was hoping to replicate.

eggplants

Unfortunately, I don't have a gas burner so I improvised and threw the eggplants under the broiler in my oven. While this method does not result in a smoky flavour (I'll have to try grilling it on the barbecue in the summer), it does make a wonderful eggplant dip.

Note to self: do not line the baking sheet with parchment paper when broiling things because the paper will BURN. Please see photographic evidence:

charred eggplants

February 28, 2016

Banana Bread

banana bread

I have a weird relationship with bananas. I like to eat them when they're still green, just past the starchy stage, so that they're nice and tart. Once they start ripening and turn sweet, I can't eat them. The aroma of ripening bananas turn my stomach.

ripe bananas

And yet, I love bananas baked in goods, so I allow the bananas to overripe and become super sweet. I then freeze them for future baking projects or add them mashed to a warm bowl of oats.

ingredients for banana bread

I realize that I have a really small opening to eat a banana as is. But think of all the banana breads I can make!

mashed bananas, flour, walnuts & eggs quick bread comes together... quickly

January 31, 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash, Lentil & Farro Salad with Pomegranate & Tahini Dressing


We're deep into root vegetables season and my go-to way to prepare them is to coat them in some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast them in the oven. Toss the caramelized veggies with some quinoa and maple syrup vinaigrette, and you have a meal prepared in less than an hour.


To change it up a bit, I roasted some cubed butternut squash and, rather than quinoa, used farro and lentil to bulk up the meal.


I also used my newly purchased Turkish ingredients of tahini and pomegranate molasses to make a dressing. The pomegranate molasses was an impulse purchase, but I'm so glad I brought some back with me. The tahini is the best I've ever had, with a deep, intense sesame flavour.


December 30, 2015

Turkey


Turkey has always been a must-do on my travel list and while I was a bit apprehensive due to its geographic situation, I decided it was now or never to make it a reality.

suleymaniye mosque

The first stop was Istanbul, where the city is filled with gorgeous, ginormous mosques. Any mosques I visited afterwards could not live up to the grandeur of the ones in Istanbul. I spent one afternoon watching the sunset with the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia in sight while the call to prayer echoed around the city - it was magical.



Next up was Cappadocia, an area known for its unique landscape. Yes, some of the structures do look phallic (hardy har har), but the more fascinating thing about this area is that people carved caves into these structures to create living quarters. Some of these caves have been turned into cave hotels and I can tell you that it's pretty damn cool staying in one.



Hot air ballooning at sunrise is one of the most memorable activities you can do in Cappadocia. While the sun decided not to make an appearance on my balloon ride (I did catch it on other mornings), it was still breathtaking and slightly terrifying on how high we flew. I also did quite a bit of hiking in Cappadocia, which was an absolute highlight.