Super Easy Strawberry Sorbet (with or without an ice cream machine)

strawberry sorbet (6)strawberry sorbet (2)

Like a bear coming out of hibernation or a literary coming out of exile, I’ve finally re-emerged. I’m sure my arrival isn’t as anticipated or dramatic as an exiled literary, but, I’ve returned nonetheless. 

So I’ve been M.I.A. for a number of reasons…mainly a very little tiny reason. I have a little bun in the oven which has been occupying most of my energy. But I’ve been itching to blog for what feels like ages. There’s something therapeutic about the discovery of cooking and the satisfaction of putting pen to paper with what I’ve learned.    

Spring is upon us so what better time to reappearing in the blogosphere than this season; a time of rebirth and new beginnings, and what better recipe than this vibrant and delicious strawberry sorbet!

So while my pregnancy left me craving certain foods, my husband has had a serious case of couvade syndrome (in which my husband, so thoughtfully, empathises with my pregnany to the extend that he has had some symptoms as well!). In the past few days, my husband has had a hankering for sorbet.

Now, being the good wife that I am, naturally I would have made him homemade sorbet if his heart so desired something sweet and cold and fruity. But, given my general tired state, I attempted to seek sorbet at a nearby establishment late one night. Now the usually suspects that are open late night, such as your fast food joints, don’t carry any time of sorbet, so we decided to hit up Dairy Queen. I suppose asking an employee at DQ if they carry sorbet is like asking McDonald’s if they carry filet mignon. Sorbet has no dairy of course, as it is a frozen dessert made with just fresh fruit which is lightly sweetened.

After my failed sorbet-seeking attempted, I resigned to making a simple homemade sorbet the following day.

Sorbet is wonderful on its own after dessert and are also often served between courses as a palate-refresher. 

super easy strawberry sorbet - process (2)

The ingredients are few and the method even simpler! All you need is water, some sugar, a lemon, and fresh fruit! I used instant-dissolving granulated sugar as it takes nearly no time to dissolve in the water but I’ve also used regular granulated sugar on many occasions, so don’t feel the need to buy this sugar if you don’t already have it. 

super easy strawberry sorbet - process (3)

Continue reading

Slow-Cooker Veal Marengo

easy dinner dishes (2)

easy dinner dishes (3)

slow cooker veal (10)

The slow cooker, the Crock-pot™, the easy peasy dinner solution! Call it what you will, this one-pot kitchen tool is the answer to your dinner-time dilemmas! If you’re pressed for time or up to your eyeballs with work and trying to juggle parenthood with work and the minutae of daily life, you’ll want to read on! 

Most stews and saucy meat dishes can be adapted to use in a slow cooker which will allow you to cook the dish at a low temperature over a couple of hours. Imagine that: food can be set to slow-cook before leaving for the day or while you work at home, and will be ready on return or whenever your family is ready for dinner. The great thing about slow cookers is that you don’t have to slave over a hot stove and you never have to stir the dish as it cooks. Finally, even if you’re using a cheaper cut of meat which has lots of connective tissue, it will break down and become completely tender. 

I’m going off on a slow cooker tangent here so let me reel it in and focus on this delicious dish! So without boring you with the full history of this dish, according to food lore, this dish was created by Napolean’s chef who was forced to forage for food and improvise with ingredients such as meat, crayfish, eggs, oranges, tomatoes, and garlic to create a dish to feed the troops following Napolean’s defeat of the Austrians at the Battle of Marengo. Napoleon later associated this dish with his army’s good luck and insisted on being served this dish following each battle. 

I’m sure the Emporer is turning over in his grave as I write this, but I can safely say that we’ve successfully bastardized his original recipe to omit the crayfish and cooked egg and added pearl tomatoes, onions and even red kidney beans! However, I have stuck to tradition by keeping the orange peel. Over the years, this recipe has been modified to no end with the addition of ingredients such a kalamata olives, mushrooms and more. When I first tried this recipe, I followed Julia Child’s recipe almost to a tee and then, in true form, I made all sorts of little changes to make the recipe my own, with all due respect to Julia. 

This recipe is beyond easy, with non-threatening ingredients and very little prep time. You can even do the prep the night before and place it in the fridge. The next morning, before heading off to work or to drop the kids off at school, simply place everything in the pot and turn it on. The end result of this will find you face to pot with a delicious flavourful dish that is studded with tender pieces of veal, mushrooms, pearl onions in a delicious flavourful broth. You can serve it topped over rice or broad egg noodles (my preference) or it can be eaten just as a stew. 

slow cooker recipe

Continue reading

Coconut & Date Cream Pie

coconut and date cream pie

date cream pie

DSC_0981

DSC_0976

I have a long history of being completely obsessed with home made pies. When I was just a wee little girl, someone had gifted my mum a set of 4 pie plates. They were ceramic with deep scalloped edges. Etched right on the inside of the plate were recipes for various pies including peach pie, rhubarb strawberry pie, apple pie and blueberry pie.  We made many a pie in those lovely little plates dotted with hand painted fruits.  Today, we crank out all sorts of pies at Frost on a regular basis and I have the same wide-eyed fascination of pies today as I did way back then. Flaky pastry crusts, cookie crumb crusts, sweet fruit fillings, savoury fillings, cream topped, meringue topped — the variety of pies I’ve made are as diverse as the pie plates I bake them up in, so it should come as no surprise that I’m always on the hunt for new pie recipes and forever playing with ingredients and flavour pairings to create delicious and interesting pies.

Whenever I’m playing around with new recipes, my mind always turns to flavours that pair well together. Certain flavours are simply meant to be together: P.B. and jelly, milk and cookies, spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, cheese and crackers, cupcakes and sprinkles…the list goes on. Of all the usual suspects, one of my favourite flavour pairings which, in my humble opinion, is under-utilized is coconut and date. Dates have so many applications, both savoury and sweet, and coconut has a wonderful warmth about it. It’s sweet and comforting and works perfectly with the nutty, robust date. To that end, I figured there was no better application for this flavour pairing than a delicious and decadent cream pie!

The base of this pie is a graham cracker crumb combined with pecans and coconut which become toasty and fragrant when baked. The pie is then filled with a layer of caramelized dates and then a sour cream layer. Finally, it is topped with a light and airy whipped cream and garnished with more toasted coconut, pecans, and dates! The dates and coconut in this are the perfect marriage of flavours which completely come alive in your mouth. If you’re reticent about the sour cream layer, let me assuage your concerns and put your hesitations at bay by telling you that the sour cream layer completely makes this pie. It is tangy and creamy and balances the sweetness of the pie beautifully.

I tried making this pie a few times varying the amount of dates and I reckon I got it just right. The dates make up a thin layer at the bottom of the pie but the pie itself is not very high so the other layers of sour cream and whipped cream don’t compete with the dates and allow their flavour to come out in every bite. If my childhood has taught me anything about pies, it’s that you should never turn down the opportunity to make or taste a freshly made pie — it’s happiness in a plate and, well, who would turn their nose up at that? ;)

Continue reading