We had our first taste of the popular Raincoast crisps when we were visiting friends a while ago. It was I think the fig and olive flavour combination. From then on, I began hunting for the brand at every supermarket and store. So imagine my joy when I spotted their stand at the IFBC in Seattle that I attended in September! A pack of their cranberry and hazelnut crisps found it’s way into my goodie bag and I discovered that they were stocked at all local Whole Foods stores in the bay area.
If the title sounds foreign to you, then chances are that you have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying typical Dutch treats that make their appearance during the holiday season. Tomorrow, December 5, is Sinterklaas - the day on which children across the Netherlands wait in anticipation for the gifts that Sinterklaas or Saint Nicolas brought them.
Much like the Santa Claus tradition in most English speaking countries, Sinterklaas is something that’s exciting if you have children in the family. Traditionally, he arrives sometime in November. The event is marked with much fanfare – Sinterklaas and his helper Zwarte Piet (literally, black Peter, this character has become the centre of a controversy related to race and skin color very recently in the Netherlands – quite surprising considering the origins of the character are unrelated to race and has survived for centuries) arriving by steamboat in Amsterdam.
Cornbread is one of those things that works perfectly as a side dish to a hearty meal. Go to any place that serves southern style cuisine in the US and you’re guaranteed to be served a generous hunk of cornbread along with your gumbo, barbecued ribs, etc.
There are many schools of thought on the right way of making cornbread – white cornmeal vs yellow cornmeal, should it be slightly sweet or not have any sugar in it at all and the list goes on. I personally prefer the slightly sweet tasting version. So when I got around to making my own cornbread for the very first time, I went for a recipe that used just the right amount of sugar but also added my own spin with some roasted cumin and coriander to add a spicy note.
A while ago, I bought a jar of Kretschamer wheat germ with the intention of amping up the flavour and nutrition level of my usual bowl of morning cereal. Since then, every time I open the cupboard and see the jar lying there, I’m reminded of it’s existence and the need to put it to good use. So I started searching for recipes that used wheat germ. I was looking for ways of using up some overripe bananas as well and that’s how this banana bread made using a recipe on their website came into being.
If you’re curious about wheat germ, read all about it here.
I dedicated the whole day yesterday to making kouign-amann (pronounced ‘queen-a-mahn’). This delectable pastry is a French specialty, more specifically, from Brittany. I knew it had to be a tough cookie to crack because of it’s many delicate, flaky layers. I came across a detailed step by step version of how to make kouign-amann in the 04/14 edition of the ‘Bon Appétit’ magazine. They had it down as a project and a project it is, given the amount of time you have to put in. It’s been at the back of my mind ever since and a recent article in the New Yorker about pastries made me want to dive into this project head long.