As it happens, we are heading into a big holiday week known as Golden Week here in Japan. As I have no big plan but do have some work to be done during this period, it doesn't feel like a real holiday time for me. That said, I'm expecting some work-free time ahead of me, so I will hopefully (or not so hopefully) be getting some much needed clearing-up done.
But what I am really looking forward to is to take some time to sit down with my new cookbooks - and get myself in the kitchen to cook from them.
And I have started doing so with a title that I had been most anticipating to get for over the past year: that's Super Natural Every Day (Ten Speed Press, 2011) written by the incredibly talented blogger and author Heidi Swanson who is behind the beautiful and inspiring cooking blog 101 Cookbooks.
I love Heidi's blog like millions of others must do, and immensely enjoyed her last book Super Natural Cooking like millions of others must have done. So I was naturally highly expectant of her new book that was to be released in early April.
sneak peeks and previews in countdown to the release, we got a chance to see some photos and recipes that would be included in the book. And I knew which recipes I'd try first - and one of them was yogurt biscuits.
(The other one, by the way, was Tutti-Frutti Crumble which was featured in the Six Recipe Sampler Heidi had; it can also be found on Amazon. I decided to wait for a little while before I'd make this until I get fresh cherries at their peak.)
While I was sticking my head in the fridge for something to go with the biscuits, I found some strawberries lying around...
And the fact that Heidi suggested using them as an accompaniment to the biscuits in the book was one final push - and of course, she had been quite right. The subtly complex flavor of the roasted strawberries paired beautifully with the simple and bold biscuits.
My only regret here was that I seemed to have overworked the dough a bit - they are meant to be flakier, but still tasted good. Oh well, next time.
Now while a little break with these biscuits with roasted berries came in perfectly on a warm spring day, the sunshine and heat on these past few days actually made me crave for something cool to drink - so I turned pages of the book and made this:
panakam. Made using spices such as ginger and cardamom, it's a bit like ginger ale, especially when it is prepared with sparkling water as Heidi does here. She uses juice of lime, but I used juice of lemon because that was what I had at hand - and for a good measure, a dash of juice of season's last yuzu.
If you happen to like all things ginger and all things fizzy like I do, you'd love this one, too - and you can even find the recipe here.
here on Design*Sponge, while Hannah has done a beautiful post sharing her shot at the biscuits with us.
So far, I've been drooling over everyone's blog entries featuring recipes from Super Natural Every Day, and I'm fully intending to cook intensively from it myself, like I did with her last book a few years back. Very much on the must-make list are baked oatmeal, mostly not potato salad, orzo salad, wild rice casserole, black sesame otsu, macaroon tart, ginger cookies, honey and rose water tapioca.... oh I think I need a nice long cooking holiday week!
On another note, allow me to make a quick mention of the Saveur Best Food Blog Awards 2011, in which this humble blog of mine somehow landed a nomination for the Best Baking and Desserts Blog category. This came as a complete surprise for me, not least because of the question of whether or not my blog is really a baking and dessert blog. Nevertheless, it is a great honor and I have been humbled to find my little blog listed together with some of the finest food blogs out there.
So if you haven't already done so, head over to the Awards pages at saveur.com and poke around; chances are that you'll find some of your favorite food blogs, or else discover exciting blogs that are new to you on the shortlists for various categories.
Saveur for including she who eats among the finalists. To everyone who has nominated and/or voted for my blog, thanks SO much for showing your support. And good luck to the fellow nominees for the Awards - I'm excited to find out the results!
*Voting is open from April 26 – May 12; winners will be announced on May 17. You need to be logged in as a registered member at saveur.com, to access the voting pages and cast your votes. Their system currently allows US/Canada registrations only, and while they are fixing the system, Saveur suggests that non-US/Canada voters should select USA or Canada as their country.
Otherwise have a lovely weekend everyone! -cx