I’ve been on a cacao hit this week. It started with the choc tops we ate over the weekend while seeing Mad Max at the cinema. Whoa, that movie was intense, I needed a nap afterwards. Instead we went for a burger. Choosing which choc top to eat was also intense. Usually it’s a clear boysenberry order, but for some reason I’ve been jonesing for coffee and mint chocolate flavours. Well, they didn’t have coffee and ahhhh, I don’t know, I’m usually always disappointed with mint…somehow it never lives up to my expectations and childhood nostalgia. So boysenberry it was.
And since then, my love for cacao has been pretty strong. As a way of indulging this desire I’ve been enjoying a square of Pana chocolate some afternoons and adding raw cacao powder to my breakfast, like yesterday. Chocolate porridge is a pretty neat way to both hit a craving and nourish yourself.
It’s been a while since I’ve made porridge with cacao and tahini, but this morning it felt right. With toasted almonds and sunflower seeds, lots of milk and extra sea salt. Next up, coffee and chocolate porridge, perhaps…
Sometimes the best way to show your affection is through freshly baked doughnuts, warm from the oven and rolled in too much browned butter and cinnamon sugar, brought to bed on a tray to surprise your love. I also recommend you brew a pot of fresh coffee and promise to stay in bed as long as you like.
Lately I’ve been savouring the uninterrupted morning hours. The quiet, the stillness…my ability to sleep as long as I like. In 16 weeks that will change, so for now we’re sleeping and lingering and savouring it all. I’m trying to not get too ahead of myself with excitement and instead be present. Our growing pile of baby clothes makes this a difficult task, the cuteness being entirely too much to handle. But there are wonderful things here and now, too, like these doughnuts. And lazy mornings with this guy.
I’m usually not a fan of steamed broccoli. Roasted, yes. Stirfried, sure. Baked in a pasta dish, absolutely. But steamed? Boring. That was, until I got my first taste of the 2015 broccoli crop from our weekly Transition Farm vegetable box. And sure enough, I’m steaming broccoli and eating it for breakfast. I think it’s because it’s farm fresh. Vegetables grown in a thoughtful way taste so much better. And even though I overcooked it this morning, dulling the true colour, it was wonderful and simple and everything broccoli should be.
I served my broccoli with eggs, cheddar cheese, parsley and sourdough toast for Wednesday Breakfast Club this week.
Happy Wednesday, folks.
I told you I was in love with this time of year, didn’t I?
Yes, I’m positively bursting with thanks for this season. It’s the dance between the cool and the warmth. The cold air encourages you to layer and rug up, to stop denying the chill and get snug so you can uninhibitedly embrace the beauty that surrounds you. The streets are quiet and the leaves are radiant, it’s windy and wet or it’s windy and sunny, sometimes the air is still… either way it’s alive and invigorating and you feel it. Indoors there are rugs and blankets, maybe a fire, and warm drinks like cocoa and warm food like ginger cake.
My mother’s mother loves ginger cake, and so do I.
I’ve spoken of my nana’s affection for ginger before, with this black sticky gingerbread recipe by Heidi Swanson. For Mother’s Day this year we made another, and it is, quite frankly, the best cake I’ve ever had. But first, some chutney.
I find a lot of comfort in how the seasons change.
There’s comfort in the familiarity of figs and quince, the warmth of my favourite knits against my goose-pimply morning skin, and the show of those rich colours, the yellows, browns and oranges, decorating every other tree. My body tells me to eat soup and curry, to stay snug. I listen dutifully.
And though I adore the comfort and familiar traits of this time of year, I equally love the excitement and anticipation that comes with the change of season. Will the crop of figs from my parents’ tree be particularly fruitful this year? What will be our recurring soup recipe this winter? Where are my my thick socks hiding and are they as cozy as I remember? (they always are) And then there’s the thought that by the time the next sunshine season arrives, our baby will be here… to feel the warmth on their morning skin. That thought, friends, is entirely too comforting and exciting.
The answer to whether my parents’ fig tree came through with the goods this season is a spirited, “yes”. Mum has been gifting a couple of figs every now and then, though less than you might expect based on her track record of generosity. Curious… I think my dad is particularly fond of figs, you see. Mum too. I can’t blame them, as their fruit is particularly good, with a texture that doesn’t melt into suspicious softness and a flavour that says “I’m a fig but I’m not yelling about it”. And though good when enjoyed fresh and untouched, I’m partial to a quick pan fry, to encourage them into jaminess.
Atop a bowl of creamy porridge and crunchy toasted seeds, they’re rather spectacular. I knew this is what I wanted to make for Wednesday Breakfast Club this week. Having practiced my porridge with figs game earlier this week, (see the picture below), I was keen to recreate it this morning. And so it went…
Ok, so here’s the thing. This is my first pregnancy. Everything is new and everything about bubs, whose womb name is “Parsley” (just a reminder, in case things get confusing/weird when you catch me talking affectionately about herbs), is new, and every inch of it is happily consuming my world. I have a lot of thoughts, you see (many, many of them), and so these month-to-month updates are turning out to be long. Like, really long. To that I say, forgive me/you’re welcome, depending on your degree on interest in reading about other people’s pregnancies. Alright, let’s get started…
Well folks, my “all-day hangover nausea” has officially gone! I’m only been experiencing waves of nausea every now and then. Sometimes it’s correlated with low blood sugar or poor protein intake, but often it’s random (random to me). I’m already forgetting what the first trimester felt like, which is crazy, hey? My body is tricking me, encouraging me to procreate… often. I see what’s going on here. Mamma didn’t raise no fool (#10thingsihateaboutyoureference).
So, that Baby Expo we went to? The one I was a little terrified of? It was RAD! We ended up leaving with a cot, organic mattress, pram and Baby Ergo carrier. It was really unexpected and really wonderful.
Mum joined Ben and I on the day. We had free tickets and heard from friends you can get really good bargains, so we thought why not? My expectations were low, the whole “expo” thing gave me the heebie jeebies, but I saw it as an excuse to eat at my friends’ new café, and maybe get some freebies. So early one Sunday morning we drove to the city, and after toast and coffee at Crompton, we entered expo land. 6 hours later we emerged, buzzed on baby goods and wheeling a cot out to the car. How did that happen?
One of my favourite blogs is Chocolate and Zucchini. Do you know the site I’m talking about? It’s written by Parisian food-writer Clotidle Dusoulier, and was one of the first food blogs on the scene. My mum introduced me to Clotidle’s books and recipes, which are wonderful (I recommend you check them out if you’re not already a fan). A couple of years ago I bought her French Market Cookbook for a friend and Clotilde’s crêpe recipe is my go-to, allowing me to make the most divine parcels.
Yes, I adore Clotidle. In fact I wanted to have “Clotidle “on our baby name list, but Ben is not fully on board and I do hesitate…I’m cautious about the Australian accent dealing with “Clotilde”, and the invenitable nickname (as is the Australian way) of “Clot”. See here if you’re not sure how to pronounce Clotilde yourself…it’s pretty right? But alas, I don’t think it’ll be on our list.
Regardless, I appreciate Clotilde for more than her name, the fact that she lives in Paris and taught me how to make excellent crêpes… I am thankful for the introduction to the beauty of the marriage between chocolate and zucchini. It’s simply perfect. And because zucchini continues to offend my pregnant sensibilities (in a terribly obnoxious manner), this pairing allowed me to eat the bounty of zucchini that came week after week from Transition Farm at the end of summer. Now the only way I accept zucchini (other than when cooked into oblivion and covered in cheese) is when its baked into brownies and covered in cacao. And sugar, a lot of sugar.