Raspberry and Peach Frozen Greek Yogurt

Loaf pan full of bright magenta frozen Greek  yogurt on a red table cloth.

This frozen Greek yogurt was adapted as a sort of healthy alternative to regular ice cream and has become a staple in my freezer ever since I decided on this frozen fruit combination as my favourite. When I say “healthy” I suppose what I actually mean is less sweet, as I find most store bought ice cream and frozen yogurt cloyingly so.  I’ve almost completely lost my sweet tooth over the last couple of years so being able to adjust the added sugar is perfect. I prefer to let the tart flavours of the raspberries, lime juice, and Greek yogurt really shine, but feel free to use vanilla yogurt instead of plain and an extra generous amount of maple syrup (or honey!). This makes a generous amount so keep any leftovers frozen in a container – if it becomes too hard to scoop just let it thaw a little bit, pop it back into the food processor for a quick blitz, and then serve. I like to top mine with fresh or frozen raspberries, grated dark chocolate, and shredded coconut.

raspberry and peach frozen greek yogurt:

2 cups frozen peaches

1 cup frozen raspberries

Juice of half a lime

1/2 cup of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt (or slightly more depending on how fruit concentrated you’d like your frozen yogurt to be)

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until smooth. This usually takes a few minutes and involves a combination of patience and stopping the machine every 30 seconds or so to scrape down the sides.
  2. Pour the frozen yogurt into a loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Freeze for at least an hour; if it’s very firm when you take it out of the freezer defrost for 10 minutes before serving.

I’m having one of those weeks (so far… it’s still only Monday) where EVERYTHING is making me feel agitated. Being in my head right now is nothing but a steady stream of complaining, swearing, complaining, and being a straight up curmudgeon. I thought I was going to start screaming on the crowded bus home tonight when no one would move to the back of the bus, I’m surprised I haven’t broken any teeth from gritting them so tightly. Luckily, I have Stan Getz providing the official score to this crabby swing in my mood. How can you explode when you have this to draw you back in?

Stan Getz – Body and Soul

 

Blood Orange and Rosemary Simple Syrup (and what to do with it!)

Small jar of blood orange and simple syrup.

When blood oranges are in season I find ways to include them in all sorts of recipes. From salads to chicken dishes to desserts, their musky sweet taste is always welcome in my kitchen. However, it wasn’t until I was making a blood orange variation of Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake that I discovered how perfectly they lend themselves to a basic simple syrup. I had also just finished giving the rosemary bushes outside of my work a “haircut” so I had copious amounts of rosemary lurking in my fridge, and wouldn’t rosemary be the perfect compliment to the flavours of blood orange simple syrup? I have to admit, the entire time I was thinking about this recipe I had a gin cocktail in mind and rosemary just seemed like a natural accent to gin’s juniper berry bite. My very simple cocktail is as follows: 1 part gin + 1 Tbsp. simple syrup shaken over ice and then then topped with sparkling or tonic water, garnish with a sprig of rosemary. If you were feeling extravagant you could add champagne instead of the sparkling or tonic water, making an extra bright French 75.

 Blood Orange and Rosemary Cocktail

blood orange and rosemary simple syrup:

3 blood oranges, whole

About 4 cups of water

1 cup of sugar

1 sprig of fresh rosemary

  1. Place the blood oranges in a large pot and pour over the water. Bring to a gentle simmer and continue to cook, uncovered, for 2 hours over very low heat.
  2. Remove the oranges from the water and either discard or puree whole and freeze for future use in a variation on Nigella Lawson’s Clementine Cake.
  3. Add one cup of sugar  and the the sprig of rosemary to the blood orange water and boil for a few minutes to let the sugar dissolve completely. Remove from the heat and allow the rosemary to steep for several hours before removing. This simple syrup will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator, use in cocktails or pour over good vanilla ice cream.

Telegram was the first Bjork album I ever owned, I’m fairly positive my 14 year old self had no idea it was an album of Bjork remixes. iTunes created a “Bjork Remixed” playlist today and I realized that with the exception of two songs it was basically Telegram. I feel like this is cheating, but it did give me the chance to hear this version of I Miss You again.

Bjork – I Miss You

 

Apples Cooked in Butter and Brown Sugar

Bowl of cooked apples with coconut milk, maple leaves, and apple peel.

I think it’s appropriate to have a warming, sweet interlude when watching tonight’s election coverage in Canada; go Liberal majority and out with Harper! I’m eating these in my pajamas listening to the speeches, so thankful that I’m celebrating the end of the Conservative party as we know it. This recipe basically tastes like ultra-rich apple pie filling without the pastry, I’ve specified one apple per person but to be honest I can easily eat two. I like to use apples that are tartly sweet, think Ambrosia or Honeycrisp if they’re available to you. You could easily add in some rum soaked golden sultanas, salted and roasted chopped nuts, shaved dark chocolate, toasted coconut, or sliced pears. The creamy topping is optional, but I think it adds a pleasing element of richness that highlights the slight sourness of the apples. When you chill coconut milk it develops a texture like that of whipped cream, its delicate sweetness is a natural match for these buttery soft apple slices. Otherwise, go ahead and use freshly whipped cream that has been gently laced with vanilla.

apples cooked in butter and brown sugar:

1 apple per person, peeled, quartered, and sliced into thin half moons

1 Tbsp. butter per apple

1/4 cup of brown sugar per apple

Cinnamon

Pinch of salt if using unsalted butter

Chilled coconut milk or whipped cream

Cook the apples in the butter over medium heat, stirring in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt if using. After a few minutes reduce the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 15-20 more minutes for very soft apples with a thick caramel sauce. Serve at room temperature with a healthy dollop of chilled coconut milk or whipped cream.

Tonight’s music is CBC election coverage!

Fresh Fig and Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

A tray full of pink fig and blueberry frozen yogurt covered with dried blueberries.It wasn’t until a few years ago that I fell in love with fresh figs, even then the path to get there was full of resistance. In truth, I can’t stand dried figs. Maybe this all stems from childhood, during the wild heyday of Fig Newtons. For some reason my mom refused to buy them and I would leverage trades with my lunch mates for the contraband Fig Newtons. The reason that I wanted one of these cookies up until that point was that I was sure it was filled with chocolate, not horribly seedy dried fig paste. You can imagine my surprise the first time I actually tasted a fresh fig, they have such a soft and delicate flavour, like bursting sweet bulbs full of sangria coloured fruit. I buy them up as I find them in mid-summer, quartering and freezing any excess figs before they become too soft. When frozen, they’re absolutely wonderful in salad dressing, smoothies, and homemade frozen yogurt, their pulpy pink interiors providing a creamy, thickening effect in your recipe. The dried blueberries are wonderfully chewy once frozen and then slightly defrosted but are not crucial to the overall success of the recipe.

case of green fresh figs

fresh fig and blueberry frozen yogurt:

1 cup frozen fresh figs, quartered

1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

2 Tbsp. honey + more for drizzling

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup dried blueberries

Combine all of the ingredients except for the dried blueberries in a food processor and blitz until a cohesive creamy texture. This might take a few minutes and include several rounds of scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula. Fold in the dried blueberries and transfer to a loaf baking tin in the freezer. Freeze for at least another 1/2 hour before topping with a small or generous amount of drizzled honey.

Pikauba with Fresh Figs on a plate

Bright bowl of fruit salad with figs, plums, and nectarines

Plate of fresh Brillat-Savarin with fresh figs.

 

It feels like fall here tonight, if only fleetingly (despite a fondness for summer fruit I am most at home nestled into a pile of pillows and books on a rainy autumn Sunday afternoon). Fall means the sadness of Broadcast and the warm coat of melancholia it inspires, if only in the most nostalgic sense of the word.

Broadcast – Corporeal

 

 

 

Fireworks Party Cheese Plate

 

Plate of cheeses with fresh figs and cherries

Here’s a cheese plate I made for a fireworks party on Saturday night. We watched China compete in the Festival of Light on a rooftop garden and had barbecue sausages and beers to celebrate. Because I worked this Saturday I was late getting home so I assembled half of it the night before in order to save time. Luckily, it seems that everyone always has room for cheese so my board was eaten with relish long after dinner had actually been finished. This crowd pleasing cheese plate features (clockwise from top) triple cream Belle Creme, Five Counties cheddar, le Cendrillon, Allegretto, l’Edel de Cleron, fresh Brillat-Savarin, Pikauba, and a sharp smoked cheddar in the centre. I love when fresh figs are in season and experience actual joy when carrying a tray of these intensely pink filled green jewels home from the grocery store. It’s amazing how much fresh and dried fruit draws all of the elements together, it will always add life and lush appeal when added to an otherwise monochromatic cheese plate.

Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is a tetchy subject to bring up when discussing food with friends, opinions are stubborn and often extreme in nature. People either love rice pudding or they hate it, it needs to be made using ___ type of rice, cream versus milk, add-ins versus an unadorned pudding… the list is long and paved with good but rigid intentions. Personally, I could eat rice pudding every single night and be happy, hot or cold. On a more superficial note, anytime I get to use my tiny red Italian gelato spoons is going to be a good eating experience (I have a great fondness for tiny eating utensils.) Eat rice pudding on the very side of warm after it’s been made, or cold for breakfast with a spoonful of raspberry jam and toasted slivered almonds for a special treat. My mom used to make this at night for herself when she was in need of basic comfort food; I have many memories of reading Calvin and Hobbes books with her when I was little while she ate rice pudding out of  a small white bowl. The recipe below isn’t the one my mom used, but it’s equally as rich and creamy as the one from my childhood. Arborio rice makes the best rice pudding (although if you like a chewier texture and nuttier flavour try toasted white basmati rice) and I cook the rice in water first before adding the milk or cream. I most often use milk in this recipe, but you can substitute cream or a mixture of the two, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc. Sometimes I like my rice pudding to be made as is, perfect in its simplicity, and sometimes I like to add in things like: golden sultanas that have been soaked in hot water for 1/2 an hour, blueberries and maple syrup, honey and a small spoonful of nut or seed butter, marmalade and finely grated dark chocolate, any of your favourite jams, preserves, fruit butters, jellies, dried fruit, and anything else you think sounds appealing. If reheating, combine the cold rice pudding with a generous splash of milk (or substitute) and heat over low heat, stirring often, until the rice has absorbed the milk and is warm throughout.

rice pudding:

1 cup of arborio rice

2 cups of milk, or your desired substitute (cream, soy/almond/rice milk, etc.)

1/3 cup of brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla (optional)

1/8 tsp. salt

1 egg yolk (optional)

1. Cook the arborio rice in water via stovetop or rice cooker according to package directions, I use a water to rice ratio of 2:1 when making this recipe.

2. Stir the milk and cooked rice together in an uncovered sauce pot over medium heat. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt before continuing to gently cook until almost all of the milk has been absorbed, which can be accomplished by 20-30 minutes of occasional stirring over gentle heat.

3. At this point either eat the rice pudding as is, at whatever temperature you’d like and with whatever accompaniments you think look particularly delicious. If you want an even richer rice pudding, temper the egg yolk with a small amount of warm milk from the pot before adding back to the rice pudding.

Rice pudding 2

Ian and I are going on our honeymoon next week, we’ll be in Maui for over a week and I cannot wait. We’ve never had the opportunity to travel anywhere just the two of us, let alone anywhere lovely and tropical. I’ve been listening to happy bubbly music in anticipation of our trip, music that sounds like light fizzy bursts of pop and energy. Blackbird Blackbird’s album Summer Heart is a perfect fit to my current mood of excited anticipation and daydreams about sunny beaches.

Blackbird Blackbird – Hawaii