Peaches & Cream Gelato with toasted almonds

FullSizeRender 3August is the beginning of the bountiful harvest at the market. The stalls are packed with fresh fruits and veggies, in every colour of the rainbow. I’m like a kid in a candy store, wanting to buy everything in sight. Those are the moments I wish I had a large brood of children to feed, giving me an excuse to cook up a storm! Every summer I give myself a challenge. A few years ago, I realised I only ate raspberry jam, not really enjoying any other fruit jams, so I made myself cook up fruits as they came in season. Strawberry vanilla, sugar and spice plum, cinnamon peaches, concord grape jelly, crabapple jelly, apple butter… The pantry was stocked and I very proudly offered my jewels to friends and family. I have to say, I really did like other fruit jams, I just didn’t like the commercial variety! This year’s challenge is fruit ice cream. I am not a huge fan… But then a few weeks ago, I made that awesome strawberry gelato and this week, peaches with toasted almonds. YUM! Super simple, wash, cut, place in blender, then into ice cream machine and presto, superb summer treat! I didn’t even bother removing the skins, so bonus, extra vitamins and beautiful specs of colour. Wait till you see what I’ve though up for this weekend. Hint? It’s yellow and it’s sweet….. Ha! πŸ™‚ So enjoy these precious moments while we’ve got them, gorge yourself with all those beautiful fruits and veggies, it’s the one time of year simplicity is where perfection lies…. Happy end of summer!

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Recipe

4 cups ripe peaches, rinsed and cubed

2/3 cups simple syrup (1/3 cup sugar + 1/3 cup water, bring to a simmer for 5 minutes then cool)

2/3 cups cream

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

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Instructions

Place peaches and syrup in blender. Add cream and nutmeg and stir to blend. Place in the fridge until thoroughly cold. Place in the ice cream maker as per manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is almost completely frozen, add toasted almonds. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. Ice cream keeps for roughly one month, if you can resist the urge to eat it all up before! Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Surgery & Strawberry Jam

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So the proper strawberry season has started. I bought a big bunch of them, had them with breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert! I even had some left over for some jam πŸ™‚ Last weekend was a mad frenzy of getting the house and fridge ready for my knee surgery recovery. Cooking, cleaning, more cooking, more cleaning… And now I need to sit still and rest, not the easiest feat for me. I am slightly depressed I can’t go to the market to walk the aisles and take in the beauty of all that summer bounty.Β  I hope I can make it at least once or twice before my 6 weeks of recuperation are up… I hope I get some more recipes up here before the summer is up!!! For this strawberry jam, I made a large quantity (6 jars), but you can make as much or as little as you like. Just be sure to weigh your hulled strawberries to get the right ratio of sugar to fruit. Usually, jam is a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to fruit, I prefer my jam on the more fruity side, so I go for a 3/4 to 1 ratio of sugar to fruit. I have been making it this way for years and my jam has always kept well, just make sure to properly sterilize your jars and you should be good πŸ™‚ Another particularity of my jams is that I like them on the slightly runny side, again you can do it the classic way and have them firm, it’s all about finding your personal preference! I’ve made enough to treat myself through the year and a few to treat friends and family πŸ™‚

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STRAWBERRY JAM

3 quarts strawberries, rinsed and hulled and weighed

3/4 to exact weight of fruit in sugar

1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped

Juice of 1 lemon

EQUIPMENT

Jam mason jars, 250 ml or 125 ml for offering ( this recipe made 4 250ml + 3 125ml jars)

Jam funnel

Ladle

INSTRUCTIONS

Place strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon juice in saucepan and blend well. Cover and allow strawberries to let out their juice ( 2-3 hours ). Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a tea towel at the bottom, then jam jars inside to sterilize. After 20 minutes, turn heat off and keep covered until jam is set. Place saucepan on medium-heat and bring the strawberries to a boil, lower heat to medium for a soft boil on jam. Place a small plate in freezer for testing jam. occasionally stir jam. After 20 minutes start checking for jam set by putting a spoonful in the frozen plate. Jam is set when you can run your finger through the jam and it stays streaked. Continue until desired texture, making sure not to overcook as jam will harden. Remove jars from hot water bath and let them drip dry on clean kitchen towel. Using a jam funnel, ladle jam into sterilised jars. Screw on the jar lids and let the jam cool. The lids should pop, confirming that your jam is properly sealed. If some jars don’t, you can refrigerate them. Enjoy on weekend croissants, toast or as an ice cream and yogurt topping!

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Strawberries at last! Strawberry panzanella, inspired by eat in my kitchen

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Walking through the market, looking for some supper inspiration after a long day, my eyes fell upon the first of the strawberries. My heart skipped. I think I started missing fresh strawberries from the moment they went out of season last summer! I was feeling too lazy to bake a pie and I can’t say strawberries inspire a proper supper. Then I remembered the last eat in my kitchen post, which was a strawberry-berry panzanella salad. I’d never made panzanella and as usual, love a challenge discovering new recipes. So, without following Meike Peters recipe, I imagined what my salad could look like. I have arugula growing, I could stop by the cheese chop and buy some mozzarella di buffala, grill my sourdough bread cut up into croutons and top it with a balsamic reduction. And by George, it was lovely! A light summer supper for a hot summer evening, bursting with berry flavour πŸ™‚ I am one happy camper!!!

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RECIPE

1 small pint strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 small bunch arugula, roughly chopped in halves

1/2 muzzarella di buffala

Balsamic reduction

4-5 leaves, thinly sliced + more to garnish

2 cups cubed stale bread, lightly oiled, salted and grilled

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

To make the balsamic reduction, place 1 cup balsamic vinegar in small saucepan and simmer on low heat until reduced to a thick syrup. Place lettuce and strawberries in bowl with sliced basil and mix. Top with slices of mozzarella and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top with basil to garnish and serve. Serves one. Enjoy!

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A quick and easy dinner – Salmon, mango & avocado salad

IMG_0706Sometimes there are just too many things to do. Too much work, too many errands, too many projects. That’s when imagination is key, because despite being busy, I still want to eat well. And I still want it to be good. I am always amazed at the last-minute, 15 minutes or less dinners I come up with. When friends or colleagues say that they’re just too busy to cook, I have to scratch my head. Build up a repertoire of easy go-to recipes and from time to time, improvise. You’ll be surprised at what you come up with! The weather isn’t quite what it usually is at this time of year, however I really crave fresh fruits and veggies. Although these are not local, avocado, mango with tomato and basil really work well together and as a side to salmon, well it’s just really delicious!

RECIPE

120 gr. salmon filet,

1/2 avocado, thinly sliced

1/2 mango, peeled and thinly sliced

5-6 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves

Thinly sliced red onion

Basil, cilantro and mint, minced

1 green onion, thinly sliced, for garnishing

1/2 lime

Mexican chili

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt & pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

Heat skillet on medium and add sesame oil to coat. Salt salmon fillet and place skin side up and cook until browned (3-4 minutes). Turn on other and cook a further 2-3 minutes or until salmon is cooked but just pink in center. Remove from heat. In a serving bowl, add avocado, mango, tomatoes and herbs. Season with salt, pepper and mexican chili. Toss to mix and top with salmon. Garnish with green onion slices and a squeeze of lime juice. Serves 1. Bon appΓ©tit!

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Rhubarb compote for some spring inspiration!

IMG_0658I truly wish this weather would clear up. Montreal is such a sunny beautiful city and spring is spectacular. This spring however has been so grey and rainy… I want to feel sun on my skin, have a picnic in the park, cocktails on a terrasse, eat supper on my terrasse. I’m sure you get the picture! And I guess I should be grateful that I’m not affected like some in the area have been with flooding. Still, don’t we all deserve some summer weather after going through a long winter? Plus, I’m concerned how this affects local farming 😦 Here’s to hoping summer hits us with its sunny skies and steamy heat!

RECIPE

1 bunch rhubarb, pink parts of the stalk sliced 1 inch thick

1/4 – 1/2 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

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INSTRUCTIONS

Place rhubarb, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan and cover. Let sit for 1 hour or so until rhubarb is soft. Turn on stove to medium and heat rhubarb mixture until simmering. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir occasionally until mixture resembles a compote. Remove from heat and let cool. Store in airtight container in fridge up t 1 month. Serve on ice cream, yogurt or alone. Enjoy!

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