About The Bitter Almond

Sam and Emmy
Emmy and I walking in downtown Portland

Hello, I’m Samantha, and this site is a collection of odds and ends, such as recipes made with natural and (mostly) healthy ingredients, and other interesting food-related tidbits.  I enjoy discovering new (to me) recipes and techniques, foods from other cultures, the history of food, and really just love cooking, sharing, and eating delicious foods.  I look forward to developing new recipes based on some old favourites, updated to replace some of the ingredients with healthier alternatives.


Helen Jolly
My Grandmother at her Tea Shop

My interest in cooking began at home with my mother, who inherited her mother’s admirable baking skills.  My maternal grandmother ran a tea shop during the second world war in England, and worked as a confectioner at a bake shop after the war.  I love this old picture of her; I can imagine her creating her sponge cakes, scones and other goodies in her shops.  She used to take my mother out for tea and scones to the evocatively named “Tudor Cafe”; what a treat it would be share some freshly baked scones and a cup of tea with her at the Tudor Cafe :).

Following my mother’s example, I enjoy cooking our meals with natural, minimally processed, organic ingredients whenever possible.  While no one in our family has a gluten allergy, we have noticed that we feel better when we eat whole,  unprocessed foods.  It seems that so many people are developing food sensitivities, so cutting down a bit on the usual suspects, such as gluten, dairy and refined sugar, seems like a good preventative measure.  We don’t count calories or worry too much about fat, but try to mainly eat foods that are purported to be nutritious. I do, however, have several weaknesses…such as chocolate croissants and Montreal bagels (pretty much anything doughy, like crumpets, scones, Yorkshire pudding…).

I was lucky enough to live near a Montreal-style bagel bakery at one time (Siegel’s in Vancouver), and there’s nothing like biting into a toasty, chewy bagel that’s still warm from a wood-fired oven (it’s probably a good thing that I don’t live there anymore).


Emmy cleaning up some whipped cream from the whisk.

Emmy, our black lab, is my constant kitchen companion. She loves to help out, especially with the clean-up.