A few months ago, I made hot cross buns.
I got the recipe from my favorite bookish cooking blog: The Little Library Cafe
But the recipe had a specific ingredient — “mixed spice”. What the heck is mixed spice? I’m sitting there thinking, “Can I mix any spices I want?” Thanks to Google, I discovered that it was a specific spice blend used by the British. I made it, I put it on and in the buns, and it was so interesting. It was like pumpkin spice (allspice) but with an extra spicy kick. It’s got all those gorgeous warm spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves — and a bunch of other, more intense spices — ginger, white pepper. It adds an extra oomph to a cozy little spice mix. Those buns were yummy, and definitely reminded me of the book it was based off of, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I ended up making a whole other batch of this spice, just in case (you know…what if?). Which left me with the question: what to do with the rest of this mixed spice?
The answer came to me today: banana muffins.
One of my other problems aside from making excess amounts of spice I don’t regularly use, is fruit. I’m really bad at finishing my fruit. I try to eat plenty of it and regularly, but I feel like I fail weekly. My apples get sandy, my oranges get wrinkled, and my bananas get brown. FORTUNATELY, there’s cure for brown bananas! Banana bread! Which is delicious and dessert-like and super easy to make. I always make this Smitten Kitchen recipe (Jacked-Up Banana Bread). I like this recipe best because it only requires one bowl, it’s so easy (it takes maybe ten minutes to put together), and is definitely tasty. This time, I thought, “Why not use the mixed spice?”
Result? Yes please.
I’m sorry this post isn’t about something I came up with on my own, but rather an ode to mixed spice. Dear mixed spice, I love you. I love the way you pop, I love the cozy feel you have, like snuggling up in front of a fire that might be slightly dangerous if you think about it too hard. I love that you’re unusual to me, but that you’re normal elsewhere. You’re like an exciting new form of music, but in my mouth. Yum.
ALSO, was making pasta for dinner tonight. I’m thinking, “Oh, I guess I’ll just put some parmesan on it”. And then I remembered “OH NO, I haven’t brought my basil plant back to my classroom yet. It’s still hanging out in my home, AND it needs to be trimmed! Eh voila, presto pesto! I didn’t do anything super complicated, either. I chopped up my basil like crazy (like crazy) so it gets all herby and the juices all come out. Then I added about half a clove of chopped garlic (Imma be real, I eyeballed it based on how much basil I had), then added parmesan and olive oil. And mixed it all up in my pasta. Ugh, so good. I really just wanted to bathe in it. I didn’t, but the desire was there. Oh, it was there. It was there.