cherry, sage & st. germaine ice cream

cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream
cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream
cherry, sage and st. germaine ice cream

This flavour combination was a bit arbitrarily constructed, but once it was put together it seemed to actually make rather lovely sense.

A combination of custard and pureed cherries makes up the ice cream base. The woodiness of the sage gives it the nostalgic mustiness of withered plants, still lingering in discarded pots in late fall sun. Sweet and floral elderflower liqueur St. Germaine is like throwing lace doilies haphazardly on top – and curiously enough it all goes together so swimmingly such that it looks a bit more like an art installation in questionable taste than a trash can.

Continue reading “cherry, sage & st. germaine ice cream”

black forest baba

black forest baba
black forest baba
black forest baba

This is a mashup of my two favourite retro desserts: baba au rhum and black forest cake – the result is, in essence, a very, very boozy black forest cake. The baba is flavoured with chocolate, soaked in a syrup of kirsch, rum and Chambord, and then served with plenty of whipped cream and a cherry kirsch compote.

Baba au rhum is classically a rich, yeasted cake soaked in a rum syrup. Recently I’ve been making babas based on the recipe in the Duchess Bake Shop book by Giselle Courteau. She dries out the babas for a couple days until they’re thoroughly desiccated and ready to absorb a startling amount of syrup. It’s a method that ensures the flavours of the syrup penetrate throughout the entire cake!

Continue reading “black forest baba”

roasted cherry, amaretto & rosewater ice cream

an intense – but also maybe subtle? – roasted cherry, amaretto and rosewater ice cream. plus musings on what makes a good flavour combination and when to decide that a flavour has a worthwhile contribution (I seem to lean quite generously to benefit of the doubt). and the debut of these blog post bylines – good idea or not?

roasted cherry, amaretto & rosewater ice cream

This ice cream sounds a bit – um intense much? Competing flavours much? Just trying to get attention much? Surprisingly, I didn’t find it that way at all – though I’ve been known to have vastly diverging opinions on flavour combinations than other people – but I surprised myself on how the amaretto and rosewater combination resulted in something that tasted rich and biting and floral, not just amaretto layered over rosewater in an overpowering mud pile. Though thinking about it the flavours, rephrased as bitter almond and rose, do sound rather lovely even on first thought.

Flavour combinations that come to mind likely emerge from many sources – pairings sound good together because I’ve seen them in combination before, or they seem seasonally appropriate, or sometimes I think about how nicely the colours might pair (like matcha and pistachio, or apricot and turmeric), or sometimes it’s nothing more than irrational wild hope that I’ve landed upon something palatable. This ice cream resulted from a planned cherry amaretto pairing, then, some casting around for something else to add and enjoying the idea of the shock value of rosewater.

Of course, it’s one thing to plan, but another thing to actually do. As I discovered when I was ready to add rosewater to the amaretto ice cream base according to my offhanded idea, I chickened and added a bit of rosewater to just a spoonful of the ice cream base; it actually tasted quite nice. But I wasn’t convinced until I tasted a bit of the amaretto ice cream base on its own, all of a sudden it seemed to taste quite flat.

Cherry, amaretto and rosewater ice cream it was.

Continue reading “roasted cherry, amaretto & rosewater ice cream”

some cookies, for the next time i read a book

oatmeal cookies with dried fruit (for reading)
oatmeal cookies with dried fruit (for reading)
oatmeal cookies with dried fruit (for reading)

Oatmeal cookies, in all their lumpy nooks-and-cragginess make me think of old libraries and crowded bookshelves (I have some screencaps of my favourite book-ish scenes for you below). It’s an odd association, but they seem to be the right cookie for reading dusty hardcovers or thick block-ish softcovers.

As I’ve rambled about before, I hardly read anymore. So while I think these cookies are best with a novel, odds are that I’ll usually settle for a textbook. This summer I’m hoping to do some reading and overall it hasn’t been a bad year.

Continue reading “some cookies, for the next time i read a book”

cherry friands (& er, pokémon go)

My cousin is visiting, and perhaps the one thing you have to do here is go for a walk through the park. The pathways are as crowded as they ever get in the summer, especially in the early evening, with small groups that move steadily along in a twisting circuit around the park. There are teenagers, young adults, middle-aged families. Most of them carry their phone in one hand, some with a wire looped under their arm, presumably attached to an extra backpack-tucked battery. Occasionally someone might step off the path and onto the grass, disturbing the already plenty-ruffled geese to flick at their phone screen.

As you might expect, you hear a lot of “zubat” and “drowsee” and “pidgey!” “pidgey.” “pidgey…”

The Cousin was amazed. “You don’t see this where I live,” she said as we dutifully caught our respective pidgeys. “Never so many people playing at once.”

It’s something to do with such a close bundle of pokéstops in my city’s main easily accessible public public, close but separated from busy streets. Lit up with lure modules all day long, it makes for a massive and centralized congregation of Pokémon hunters.

It’s fun, but a bit overwhelming.

Continue reading “cherry friands (& er, pokémon go)”

almond and rosemary tarts with cherries

cherry almond tartscherry almond tarts

This is the time of year when the summer is drawing to a close and everyone starts separating again.

I’ve realized how scarily easy it is for some friendships to start to fade and erode. Maybe it’s because I usually seem to make friends through brute exposure (if I’ve said “hello” to you 470 times, I probably consider us friends and I certainly hope you do as well), but after not seeing someone for a while, sometimes things change.

One of the most disappointing ways is when I somehow forget that we used to be friends. A while back I saw someone and we talked a bit and it was only after we parted ways that I realized that we use to be Rather Good Friends. We texted each other occasionally, even when I only had my ridiculously cheap prepaid phone and it took me at least a minute to type “hello.” We had talked in classes and done school work together.  But when I saw them and spoke to them, I was thinking of them as an acquaintance. One that I was very fond of, and veering more on the friend-acquaintance end of the spectrum, but I had completely forgotten that we used to get along so well.

Things like this remind me that I need to take initiative to keep in touch and occasionally contact others (I prefer to placidly wait, myself). Some friendships just require more effort than others to maintain.

It was a lot easier when everyone I knew was in the same class, or at the very least, in the same city, but now people have started to spread out. It makes things a bit more complicated…particularly when there are close friends that you might meet on your own, and then there are only sort-of friends who you might only meet in groups. In the end you can’t keep up with everyone, and at least not all the time.And so sometimes I might stay in contact and sometimes I might not. And some friendships will fade. And for some it’s as though you can just pick up where you left off and no time has passed at all.

A friend suggested the flavours: rosemary and almond and some sort of fruit (which I turned into cherry to match what I had). I’ve become quite fond of the combination.

Continue reading “almond and rosemary tarts with cherries”