If you live in the Vancouver area, you can’t help but notice the gorgeous summer weather we have been experiencing this week. The rainy spring weather had had the past month has lifted, and the sun is shining. I actually got a sunburn on mother’s day, as we were enjoying our brunch on the backyard patio. I blame my mother, as she is a red head with light freckled skin, which I unfortunately inherited. You wouldn’t guess I was also European, as my skin doesn’t quite soak up the sun in the same way my Nonna and brother can turn a deep olive brown in the summer.
Speaking of Europe, I am very excited to have booked my trip. I have been planning this trip for as long as I can remember. I even had a conversation saved in my Facebook messages planning this trip with a friend in 2008. I think four years later, I should probably make it happen. I complained for a while that I was the only one in our family who had not been to Europe, or more precisely, Italy. The reason being is that my father’s family is from Italy, and it was where he was born. As you know from previous posts, my father is no longer with us, but I still desperately wanted to make the trip to Europe and visit out heritage, along with stops to the gorgeous hospital, that looks like a cathedral, that my father was born in, the town he was raised in, the tiny, I mean TINY, town my Nonna grew up in, with likely <100 people living there I’m sure, and of course the other historical monuments in Italy. My brother was lucky enough to go twice, although he was 18 months old the first time. He went again when he was 15, for 6 weeks, my Nonna took him with her. I’m doing a tour for 16 days around Europe, and then my Nonna is actually going to fly and meet me in Rome and then show me the ‘true’ Italy, the small tiny towns and areas off the beaten path from the tourist attractions. My Nonna has lived in Canada now for longer than she has lived in Italy, and lives only minutes from our house, but still visits Italy every year. She actually told me she wasn’t going back this year, but after I informed her of my travel plans, she decided she would fly and meet me so she can show me where our family is from. It’s been a trip I’ve wanted to take for a long time, and this year after Graduation I planned to go, as a Grad present from my mom, and now I am just counting down the days. My Nonna keeps informing me how crazy I am to want to go in July, as it is so hot. She usually likes to go in August/September.
Speaking of heat, when the temperature rises the best way to cool down is usually with a cool treat. I saw this unique ice cream recipe online, from a new-to-me food blog, Girl Cooks World, which I’ve been perusing daily.
It is my new favourite, instead of vanilla. It is so subtly sweet, and the taste is just heavenly. I added a half cup of cream instead of the 1/2 cup of milk, cause I had one cup of milk left, and I think it made it even better. It is so good, it is like whipped ice cream. A definite favourite for cooling down in the hot weather. It keeps well in the freezer, and still comes out like soft serve once frozen. It’s really delicious and light tasting. Adam ate most of it, as I try and stay away from dairy with my allergy, but I didn’t want to try and substitute Almond milk this time, so I went with the original version.
It tastes even better with frozen raspberries.
Honey Ice Cream, From Girl Cooks World, Adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1 cup milk
* 4 large egg yolks, slightly beaten
* 1/3 cup honey
Combine the sugar, heavy cream and milk in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
When the mixture is smooth and the sugar is dissolved, temper the eggs yolks by whisking in about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the eggs. Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat and place the entire saucepan into a shallow ice bath, and mix in the honey. Stir frequently until the custard has cooled. Pour the custard mixture into a container, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Are you planning on going anywhere this summer?
What do you do to cool down in the heat?
The past four days my diet has consisted of turkey, potatoes (mashed, roasted, no skin), cranberry sauce (thank goodness), rice cakes and crackers, and peach fruit cups. I mentioned in the last post that I had to go have an allergy test, to de-bunk some of my stomach issues I have been having as of late. Well, turns out I’m allergic to pretty much everything. The allergy test was done on my forearms, and I reacted to basically every allergen they introduced. I already knew I had really bad hay-fever, as my allergies were unbearable as a teen during the spring and summer. My grass allergy is out of control, which affects things like wheat that is in the grass family. I knew I was allergic to dairy, so no milk, or eggs, or only egg whites and fully cooked, not runny. So, I’m on a food elimination diet. Only eating those foods I mentioned, and then starting this week slowly introducing other foods to rule out which ones I am allergic to. Hopefully at the end of it I will know exactly what I can and cannot eat so that I don’t continue having stomach issues.
Having a dairy allergy, the last thing I would be eating is ice cream. And, unfortunately I am not. Adam bought me an Ice Cream Maker Attachment for my KitchenAid last Christmas, which I have only used once. Adam calls it the $100 ice cream, since it cost about that much to make it one time. So, I thought I had better get my money’s worth out of it. Last time I did make ice cream that used coconut milk and almond milk with only a small amount of cream and egg. So I did eat that, it was not as hard as ice cream but still just as delicious. This time, I thought I would make a true ice cream, considering I can’t eat it anyways. Lucky Adam.
I was trying to contemplate which flavour to make this time, and settled on Coffee. Why? Maybe because all that has been on my mind lately is Coffee Tables. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have heard me lamenting about it. Since I moved in with Adam over a year and a half ago (wow! can’t believe It’s been that long) we have purchased some new furniture, and accessories. We have painted our bathroom, from ugly orange to pale grey, put moulding around the giant mirror, painted our kitchen white, and recently painted our bedroom a rich romantic charcoal grey. There have been a lot of changes, and many still to come. One thing I really want, now, is a coffee table. Adam never bought one when he moved in, and we just never bothered. He had three small ottomans, black leather that are hollow for storage. They line up in a row, and that is pretty much our table. While they are good for resting your feet, they suck at being a table. We put a couple trays on top, but it’s not quite the same as a coffee table. I usually put my water glass on the ground next to my chair, which Adam then accidentally kicks over without fail.
We have been trolling craiglist, but quite honeslty it’s too annoying. Almost every item on there is from Ikea, and we already have enough apartment-Ikea items. I LOVE this table from Urban Barn, however I do not love the $500 price tag. We have visited thrift stores, and other furniture stores but have yet to find something quite like it that catches our eye. Adam has said he would probably be able to make a table that looks like the one we like, so for now I have hope that one day we will actually have a coffee table. I also have my eye on a DIY headboard… I hope Ice Cream is a a fair enough trade for handy-man duties ;)
While I do not drink coffee, I do love coffee-flavoured things. I am just not a coffee drinker. I have never really tried a full cup, but know I do not like it. I’ll drink tea, but it’s not a daily thing for me. I stick to my ice water. Coffee Ice Cream is delicious, especially this recipe. I also added some chocolate stracciatella, which is like Italian chocolate chips. You add melted hot chocolate to the ice cream, and it breaks apart into strata-like chocolate shavings. You can drizzle it on top, and break the hardened chocolate lines into chunks, or pour warm melted chocolate into your mixer which will also break it up into shavings.
This is a rich intense coffee flavour. Definitely good for both coffee and non-coffee lovers alike.
Do you like coffee? Or just coffee flavoured stuff, like me.
Stracciatella Coffee Ice Cream
Recipe from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups whole coffee beans (decaf or regular)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground coffee (press grinds through a fine mesh sieve)
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips or other chocolate (optional)
1 Heat the milk, sugar, whole coffee beans and 1/2 cup of the cream in a medium saucepan until it is quite warm and steamy, but not boiling. Once the mixture is warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
2 Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set on ice over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.
3 Reheat the milk and coffee mixture, on medium heat, until again hot and steamy (not boiling). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly pour the heated milk and coffee mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm milk, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
4 Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof, flat-bottomed spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.
5 Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Press on the coffee beans in the strainer to extract as much of the coffee flavor as possible. Then discard the beans. Mix in the vanilla and finely ground coffee, and stir until cool.
6 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then transfer to your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Storing in cute mason jar optional.
This would be delicious for an apres-dinner dessert for Valentine’s Day. Even better in an Affogato.
This weekend I am headed up to the interior of British Columbia, to Sicamous for a baseball tournament!! I am so excited to escape the rain here in Vancouver. We’ve only had a few days of lovely summer weather.
This week I also finished my last day of volunteering at the elementary school I was at. For a treat, I baked some cupcakes for my class ( grade 3/4 split ) and brought them along with me. Needless to say, they were very very happy kids.
These are deliciously creamy cupcakes! The vanilla cake, and then vanilla chantilly-like faux frosting is almost too sweet! But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing;) They would be great for a special birthday, or even a wedding shower, or wedding! They can be tinted any colour, and I just dotted them with some pearl dragées.
Hope everyone is having a great start to Summer!~!~!!!
For the cupcake you can use any regular vanilla cupcake recipe you like, or cheat with a box mix. If you use a pre-made mix, I usually like to add another 1/2 cup AP flour, a touch more baking powder, and a tablespoon or two of real vanilla to kick it up a notch~
Faux Chantilly Cream Frosting
- 1 cup butter, slightly softened but still firm
- 1/4 cup cream (full fat, or half fat)
- 4-5 cups confectioners sugar
- 2-3 tablespoons all natural vanilla
To begin, using a stand mixer whip butter until creamy. It should feel slightly hard still, not completely softened. Slowly add the cream, and continue to mix. Add, one cup at a time, the confectioners sugar. Next, add vanilla and continue to beat. Add the rest of the confectioners sugar until you reach the desired consistency. You may need to add more or less depending on how thin or thick you like it.
Using a piping bag, carefully pipe frosting onto the cupcake. You may also use a spoon or knife to top the cupcakes.
Store in a cool room, or fridge until ready to use. Avoid direct sunlight and hot temperatures.
*You may also want to whip the cream beforehand, and then by hand, fold it into the buttercream once finished mixing the butter and confectioners sugar.
Enjoy! I’m off to get a tan!!
For the class, I topped it with a little fondant apple =)