Kitchen Discoveries

I’m doing a Marie Kondo on my pantry when I find a brick of dried dates.  It’d been shoved deep into the  recesses of my corner cupboard. As I settle back on my heels, I reconsider decisions made in my kitchen design.

“You have two choices,” my kitchen designer said. “You can install a custom built Lazy Susan which would make everything accessible.  Or you can save money and get more storage space.”

I chose more storage space.

Fifteen years later I’m discovering that this cupboard is a black hole.  It’s deep and dark enough that if I push stuff in,  it disappears and becomes virtually irretrievable.

Unless of course, I channel Marie Kondo and climb right in.

So … this brick of dates. I must have purchased it shortly after the kitchen reno. Thunk. Thunk. It’s as hard as a concrete block.  I wonder if it’s still good.   Dates last forever right?

I drop the brick into a pan of hot water and leave it for an hour.  Miraculously, it softens  and starts to separate.  I take a sniff. It smells OK. A taste. It’s fine.

In it goes into a Data & Walnut loaf.

The baked loaf is surprisingly good. Tender and slightly sweet with the delicate scent of caramel, spice and nuts. Fresh from the oven it reminds me of Sticky Toffee pudding. It stays fresh and moist the next day too. I would make it again.

Now, I wonder what I can do with my other retrievals from the black hole. Four cans of smoked oysters and a bottle of tapenade.

Any suggestions?


250g  Chopped Dates
250g  Boiling hot water
90g    Butter, melted
1        Egg, beaten
1 tsp  Vanilla
225g  Flour
1 tsp  Baking Powder
1 tsp  Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
165g  Sugar
1 tsp  Cinnamon
Zest of half a lemon
Walnuts, as much or as little as you want

Preheat oven to 350F.
Prepare a standard 9×5 loaf pan.
Pour boiling water over chopped dates. Add butter and let sit until cooled.
Mix together all the dry ingredients.
Add beaten egg, lemon zest and vanilla to the cooled date mixture.
Mix the liquids with the dry ingredients until just moistened. Do not over mix.
Pour into greased loaf pan and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes or until done.


Toronto, Canada. May 2020



  1. You know Sandy, I was taught that fish don’t fry in the kitchen, beans don’t burn on the grill.
    Took a whole lotta tryin’, just to get up that hill…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oysters in cans????? What on earth is that? Don’t ever mention such a thing to a French person (you know how snobbish we are with food!! 😂). Oysters are supposed to be eaten fresh on a market stall. With maybe a bit of lemon or buttered bread. And a glass of white!
    Tapenade? Easy. Do one of you sourdough bread recipes and add thin lines of tapende and a few olives in.
    I’m struggling with my levain by the way!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I once had a nightmare about oysters. It tasted of vinegar and hot peppers and felt like needles and pins going all the way down. I haven’t been able to eat it raw since!

      What’s up with your levain? Post your troubles and be prepared for all kinds of useful advice .. lots of sourdough experts out there 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to also have a black hole pantry that swallowed dried fruits, gelatine and condensed milk. The new one is streamlined so there is no hiding
    I like your recipe and wonder if I might use some of my leftover figs instead of dates?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Buy a baguette, slice thinly, toast it and apply tapenade. You now have nibbles for your evening aperitif. Four cans of smoked oysters? I’m thinking oyster beignets. Drain and toss in flour and then a light Japanese-style batter and fry – more nibbles.

    Liked by 2 people

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