The Smell of Flowers in my Kitchen

Gone are the dark November days and the bitter cold of winter, summer has arrived. Everywhere I go there is the perfume of wild flowers that line the roads. The purple or pink Lupine are now in full bloom making the roadside ditches vibrant with color. This is the time to pick a bouquet of flowers; everyday if you wish.

gathering lupine

Soon we will celebrate birthdays as my oldest and my youngest are born when the Lupine blooms. And so in my kitchen is a bouquet of flowers and their smiling faces.

Silvia and Hugowildflowers 2On Mother’s Day I received a foodie gift from my husband. It was a little package that included all of the ingredients to make a batch of raw chocolate. Now that school is out and bedtimes are a bit more vague and mornings are a little more relaxed, I decided to try out my kit. making raw chocolateThe kit included goji berries, a little bottle of agave syrup, some cold-pressed coconut oil, and a package that included cold-pressed cocoa butter, lucuma powder, raw cocoa powder, maca powder, and Kalahari salt from South Africa. The Lucuma powder is a new ingredient for me and after doing a little research I found out it contains beta-carotene, iron, zinc, vitamin B3, calcium and protein. The Lucuma powder is also used as a natural sweetener as its flavor is similar to Maple. Maca powder is made from the Maca root and is also considered a super food and contains a complex of vitamin B, Calcium, Magnesium and vitamin C.

tasting raw chocolateWhenever I make something, especially if it involves chocolate, there is a line of eager taste-testers. Sometimes I try to show the “shhh” sign to the first one to realize the opportunity so that it does not become a mass occasion. Usually the effort is futile and so we take out the spoons and give everyone one scrape from the bowl to be fair. But today the line did not form as most of the kids were outside playing and Isabella was able to have the bowl to herself.

lazy summer daysBasically the process was simple. Without opening the jar of coconut oil, melt the oil in a hot water bath. Pour the melted coconut oil into a metal bowl and mix in the agave syrup. Next mix in the package with the cocoa powder and butter. Mix with a whisk over the hot water bath until melted and smooth. Add in the goji berries if desired. Pour into small forms and place into the refrigerator to set until firm. They have a slightly grainy texture that is typical to raw chocolate. Delicious with an afternoon cup of coffee.

raw chocolate with goji berryIn my kitchen and in my heart are memories from my recent trip. I brought back some of my Dad’s dried sour dough starter and have been making his bread. It tastes just like home.

bread collage2USA 2014 collageThis post is part of Celia’s In My Kitchen series for June. Check out her blog for a collection of posts from kitchens around the world.

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66 Comments

  1. Reading the items in your Mother’s Day package I’m wondering what those things would be in English?!

    Love, Grampa

    1. Hi Grampa,
      It says on the package: Kit for making raw chocolate
      Mix the ingredients in a hot water bath, pour into the forms and enjoy!
      Easy, Delicious, Healthy and Fun! 🙂

      Love, Laila

  2. I too love the smell of summer with fresh flowers and freshly mowed lawns. Great pictures – looks like everyone is having a great time. 🙂

    1. It always seems like we wait for summer and then it flies by so quick! So fun to enjoy sleeveless sundresses outside in the sun…when it turns warm, I am always reminded to why summer is my favorite season. 🙂

      1. Me too. I love going out without a heavy coat and boots. So much more comfortable. We try to cram in as much fun as we can in the summer months!

  3. I love this time of year where everything is new and fresh. Wow, so you make your own chocolate, that is wonderful. Lovely pictures!

  4. What a wonderful post and beautiful photo’s. I have never made my own chocolate from raw cacao, it sounds really easy and delicious. I would certainly be in line waiting to taste it!

    1. It was a first for me and I was really pleased with the results. I think I may try it again sometime. Afterall I was reading that raw chocolate is one of the most nutritious ingredients, a true superfood! It did not taste bitter at all. Even my husband liked it even though he usually is not a fan of dark chocolate.

  5. Even though our winter is nothing like the winter of temperate northern hemisphere, it is such a pleasure to be seeing photos and reading of the early summer where you are. I have some 100% solid dark chocolate and you have inspired me! Lovely post, as always.

    1. Thank you Brendon, most of our kids liked the chocolate and everyone had some samples. There are a few left over at the moment in a secret container in the fridge…we’ll see how long they stay secret 😉

  6. The best time of the year with longest days, blooming plants, lovely aroma in the air, singing birds, buzzing insects. Unfortunately, busy life do not let to enjoy all of that with full breath. Only childhood memory recall all this joy.

  7. Oh! Such a lovely post Laila. The photo of your beautiful daughter in her bright kimono licking the spoon is divine! Your garden looks absolutely gorgeous too – ours is very sad and Wintery. The poor possums have nothing to eat. Very impressed with your home-made superfood chocolate, especially that it contains goji berries. Love them!

    1. Thank you Saskia…so glad you stopped by! The greenery outside is at its best with bright and vibrant colors. Hard to believe that next weekend is midsummers here and slowly the days start to shorten little by little. I’ve kept the raw chocolate in the fridge as it tends to melt easily in a little container and we’ve been enjoying a little each day. 🙂

  8. Beautiful post again Laila…I do so love that name:)
    Yes, spring and summer are special especially when we can make the most of them. Today here in Sydney the weather brings colds and sniffles. It is cold and damp with the sun sometimes trying to peek through…so I stand with my back to the sun by the glass of my kitchen door 🙂

    1. Oh, thank you Alexa! You are so sweet! I often think of my blogger friends that live on the other side of the world and have the opposite seasons. Perhaps a bowl of soup would help the cold and sniffles go away. In what month does your spring arrive?

  9. Lovely post and full of beautiful memories… very special to have some of your Dad’s sourdough starter. Have never worked with raw chocolate before and your little taster is so cute. You have beautiful children and I am sure you have had many “shhh” moments. Thanks for the peek into your kitchen. 🙂

    1. Yes, we do have quite a few “shhh” moments. 🙂 I was thinking that we should have a bread baking day sometime soon. I love having a few loaves in the freezer ready to go. Perhaps I’ll roll some raisins and walnuts into a loaf, it makes great breakfast toast and is a certain reminder of home. Thank you for your lovely comment!

  10. I have never even though of making chocolate, what a fantastic idea and looks fun with the kids. I am yet to make my own sourdough starter, but I have been inspired by lots of IMKer’s making bread so I will start this month! thanks for sharing! Liz x

    1. It is fairly easy to make with kids, as the ingredients only need to be melted and mixed and spooned into the forms. 🙂 I just received some sourdough starter tips from my Dad…I’ll share them a bit a later. But as I’ve understood patience is key. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  11. A beautiful post, again.
    I loved the summer flowers that lined the road in the UK – they were always such a delight after the long dreary winter months.
    Those chocolates look delicious, too.

    1. Thank you Mandy! I love the flowers as well. My bouquet was starting to look a bit dreary and so I brought them back to the ditch where they may decompose…and tomorrow I’ll send my girls to pick a new one. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!

  12. I love lupine! I can’t imagine them just growing on the side of the road. What a fun gift from your husband. I love the ingredients and also the little mold cups you used. Another beautiful post from you.

    1. The lupine spread like wild-fire here. Some find it a problem, but I find them beautiful as they bring so much color to the landscape that is quite gray for so much of the year. The little mold cups came with the set…now to find out if I can just buy the ingredients on their own for round two. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by.

    1. Hope you have a chance to find the ingredients to make your own raw chocolate. The lucuma and agave syrup gave the perfect amount of sweetness without being too sweet.

  13. Your sourdough bread looks good.
    We have sourdough here that my husband got from his father’s stock. So far, we have only used it for making pancakes and sourdough biscuits.

  14. That little elf eating the chocolate has such a deep stare. Great photo! If it’s the same lucuma, we had this fruit in South America where it’s very popular to flavour ice creams, juices etc. It is a tropical fruit of Peru and very tasty indeed. Thanks for the Summery tour and the picture of the pretty lupines.

    1. The little elf likes being in pictures and happily will look into the camera. 🙂 This was my first experience with lucuma…can’t wait to try it again soon! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  15. Many times we see things in the kitchens of others that we all share but this time you kitchen is unique. It is filled with the love of your family.

  16. Laila, your children are definitely a bouquet, and a lovely one at that! This post had such a special quality to it… family, food, memories, life… simply wonderful! Oh, and yes, chocolate. 😉

    1. Thank you Kim. Yes you are right, they are a special bouquet of flowers with bright shining eyes. All different with their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Thank you for your lovely comment.

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