Summer in Toronto.
Oh, my friends. My friends, it is beautiful. It is beautiful here right now.
I’ve been back in Canada for a month, and I still find myself chirruping giddily to myself as I step outside into the sun in a light floaty dress and sandals, not wearing thermals, not wearing thermals even one little bit, walking quick-tempo through the streets not because I’m in any real rush (unless I’m worried I’ll be late to meet Gabby or Lisa) but because I can walk quickly, I can because I’m not wearing thermals or winter boots or my dumpling jacket one little bit not even one little bit.
The entire city feels zinging; people everywhere are light, happy. The park by my house is filled with figures reading, picnicking, playing Frisbee, cuddling, selling secondhand clothes. The stonefruit sings and the raspberries make me close my eyes in bliss.
Lisa and I jumped at the chance to reserve tickets for Toronto’s free Sail-In Cinema. Last week we sat at the water’s edge to watch The Princess Bride on a screen floating out in the water, having brought so much food for our dinner picnic that we couldn’t help but giggle madly at our spread before high-fiving.
Also, we weren’t wearing thermals even one little bit.
I arrived early at Sugar Beach (seriously; the Sail-In Cinema was at a place called Sugar Beach. Could it be any more perfect for me?) to save Lisa and I some picnic space, and then whiled away the time with a crossword and podcasts (current obsession: Welcome to Nightvale. If it were possible to marry a podcast, I’d marry that podcast).
At sunset, the movie started, and the crowd became the perfect blend of laughing, shouting out quotes, and listening spellbound. (“A few more steps and we’ll be safe in the Fire Swamp!” / “We’ll never survive!” / “Nonsense. You’re only saying that because no one ever has.”)
Well, kind of. I’m still not brave enough to bake with yeast, but hey, on my first attempt at Irish Soda Bread I made up a recipe based on a squillion sources and it turned out rather wonderful, so that’s something, right?
I made vegan Irish Soda Bread with half oat flour and, of course, magnificent caraway, and it baked up beautifully. Soft with an almost-doughy yet definitely-cooked crumb and a toothsome bite, savoury yet gentled by the nuttiness of oat flour and caraway seeds, I fell hard for these individual vegan Irish Soda Breads and can’t wait to make them again.
After that, maybe, I’ll venture into yeasted breads. Perhaps.
Mini Vegan Oat Flour Irish Soda Breads
Recipe vaguely based on an hour of Internet reading.
- 1 1/2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 cup oat flour (I ground mine from whole rolled oats in the food processor)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tablespoon caraway seeds
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 1/4 cups almond milk, soured with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (i.e. vegan buttermilk)
- Preheat oven to 425F and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together everything except the almond milk and vinegar.
- Pour the almond milk mixture (if this appears separated, just stir it briefly before pouring) into the dry ingredients, mixing gently with the large spoon until combined.
- Drop or scoop the dough onto prepared baking trays (the dough with be very soft, light, and sticky), making eight “rolls”. As you can see, mine were very knobbly and rustic-looking. Perhaps I could’ve patted them into a more refined look with floured hands but, honestly, I’d always rather save such time and energy for more kitchen dancing instead.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown (I had a slight mishap with my oven timer, which is why mine aren’t as golden as they could’ve been. I intend to golden-fy these suckers next time, though.)
- Eat warm or at room temperature, preferably in the company of one of your favourite people in the world while sitting at an outdoor theatre screening a movie that, while not as good as the book, is pretty darn wonderful.
Submitted to Healthy Vegan Fridays.