He hadn’t been gone more than an hour when the ideas started coming to me. Maybe I would make a wild rice salad, or a green smoothie with rocket and the leftover frozen cherries. When I’m sad, I make food.
Some people eat when they’re emotional, others burrow away like squirrels in the winter. I cook. That’s not to say that I don’t indulge ias well, but mostly, it’s about the act of creation.
From the moment he left, I started planning what I was going to be baking. The baby looked up at me and smiled as if she knew what was coming. Soon enough, she was secured in her little seat on the counter sucking on an Italian blood orange as I whipped up blood orange ice cream. I had to use up the rest of the coconut milk, after all. The idea that I was making something that would keep until his return pleased me. We could celebrate with a couple of scoops, a little cup each to toast being back together.
The ice cream cups are grey, with a brown stripe running around the top. Beautiful Danish design. Everything in this house that has any kind of aesthetic comes from my grandmother. I love watching her inspect my belongings when she comes to visit. She smiles in recognition of the things she has given me over the years, the cutlery, the tablecloths, the mugs that we use for ice cream or chocolate pudding.
He texted me from the airport: it all seems so unreal.
It does. The baby said goodbye to him like she does every morning, unaware that this time it would be for much longer. There is no way to explain it to her yet. And in this feeling of dislocated reality, I got down to cooking.
I found myself wanting to make his favourite things.
After the ice cream was in the freezer, cookies seemed like the easiest thing: quick and simple, before the baby lost her patience.
Ba, she said happily holding the blender plunger in one hand and her snack in the other, ba mba, mbaba.
Yes, I replied, cookies. Sweetness combined with a little rosemary, to suit my bittersweet mood.
Glad we agree, I said, giving her a kiss that she didn’t really want. The orange was way more interesting at that moment. Thankfully.
Here we go! his text read, I’m switching off now. Will let you know when I arrive.
I put the cookies in the oven. The baby was now wanting a change of scene. Last night, when I told her we were going “au bain,” she looked me in the eye and said, “au bain.”
Au bain? I asked her now.
My sentiments exactly.
Rosemary Almond Cookies
(makes about 28 small cookies)
Preheat the oven to 204 Centigrade (400 Fahrenheit)
- Grind 1 cup almonds and 1 cup hazelnuts
(the end result should be 1 cup of each)
- Mix in:
2 t vanilla powder
¼ t salt
¼ c melted coconut oil
¼ c coconut nectar*
1 (organic, free-range) egg**
Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add everything but the egg. Taste the batter to make sure it’s not too sweet, not to savoury. Only then should the egg be added to minimize the risk of food poisoning.
Using an ice cream scoop, form little balls on a Silpat sheet or non-stick tray. Use a fork to carefully flatten into cookies.
Bake for 9 minutes. After removing from the oven, place on a rack and allow to cool fully.
* If there is no coconut nectar available in your area, you can substitute with 1/2c date syrup (no sugar added) and 1 T honey.
** if you don't eat eggs, mix 1T ground flax seeds with 1T water. Allow to sit and turn into a gel and use this mixture instead. However, it's important to wait until it has gelled.
P.S. To turn them into slightly savoury chocolate chip cookies, simply add a chopped up tablet of 100% unsweetened chocolate