Today the city of Toronto issued its first Heat Alert. The temperature only reached about 25 degrees Celsius but with the sunshine and humidity we hit the mid-thirties on the Humidex. If you’re not Canadian that was probably way too much information about the weather. We do tend to perseverate over the forecast. It dominates our national conversations in a way unparalleled by other cultures.
The glorious weather was made even more exciting since it arrived on a holiday (Victoria Day) so I was actually able to get out and enjoy it. I was so happy to have the chance to spend the afternoon in the sunshine rather than starring at it wistfully from my office window (yes, I am grateful that I have a window).
The warm weather had me craving something refreshing, so I pulled on a tank top (for the first time in 2010!) and went out to see what I could find. I wandered into Kensington market, a great area of the city full of small fruit and vegetable shops and family-run health food stores. Our seasonal farmers markets won’t open for a few more weeks so local produce is still pretty hard to find. When I have the option I always buy local fruit and vegetables. However, because my diet is so dependent on fresh ingredients sometimes I don’t have a choice.
One of the ways I grapple with this dilemma is to happily take home the ‘very ripe’ fruit marked down for quick sale. Where I shop they often have huge bags of bananas that have started to develop black spots on sale for a dollar. I know that those bananas, peeled and frozen are the ideal base for any great smoothie so I happily save them from the waste-bin. I was able to find a number of similar deals in the market today.
Since this produce is already quite ripe I like to make quick work of preparing it for the freezer. Everything gets washed, peeled and chopped so it can easily be added to smoothies, ice creams and sauces in the future.
Over the last few days, with the return of warm weather, I’ve started to crave smoothies again. Over the winter months I find smoothies a lot less satisfying but now I am easily encouraged to throw some frozen fruit together in the blender and sip away the afternoon. I turned to Matthew Kenney’s everyday raw for some delicious inspiration to use some of my recently procured produce.
All of Matthew’s smoothies include fresh almond milk. I don’t usually add non-dairy milks to my fruit smoothies but I was willing to give it a try and I was quite amazed by how much a little almond milk can boost the creamy texture and satiating power of these blended beverages. I tried a number of Matthew’s flavour combinations, with a few little twists of my own.