Thursday, 30 May 2013

In My Kitchen: Lemon Semifreddo

The chef at my work made the most amazing light and lemony frozen mousse the other week. After being totally bowled over by how delicious it was, I knew I had to try my hand at making this simple dessert. Essentially the love child between gelato and a cloud; it would be the perfect little finish at a dinner party or an awesome chilly treat on a hot summer day. If you're a fan of lemon meringue pies and ice cream a semifreddo will be right up your alley. Read on for my take on the recipe:
  • 2 cups of heavy whipping cream (chilled)
  • a couple handfuls of mixed berries
  • 1 1/4 cups plus a few tablespoons of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • finely grated zest of two lemons
Line a 11x7x2 inch or similarly sized freezer safe dish with plastic wrap making sure to leave plenty of over hang-ie bits. Using an electric mixer beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Put aside in the fridge for later. 

Whisk together 1 1/4 cups of sugar, salt, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a large metal bowl until combined. Set the bowl over an appropriately sized sauce pan of simmering water and whisk constantly until the custard is thick and fluffy, roughly 8-10 minutes. Taking the bowl off the simmering water, use an electric mixer to beat the mixture until cool and doubled in volume (roughly 6 minutes). Gently fold in the chilled whip cream. Pour into dish and smooth out the top. Fold up plastic wrap overhang to cover. Chuck the whole thing in the freezer and leave it in there until firm, about 10 hours or overnight should do it.

To make a simple mixed berry sauce for your semifreddo put the berries in a sauce pan over medium heat with a few tablespoons of sugar and mix occasionally until softened and syrup-ie. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the fridge to cool off.

And there you have it! Very easy and very yummy. If you wanted to add another dimension of flavour to the recipe you could line the bottom of the dish with sliced almonds or frozen raspberries or even gummy bears before you poured the semifreddo in. I however think that this recipe is just about perfect in it's simplicity and wouldn't want to change a thing.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Happy Birthday Miss Muffin Princess Kitty-Pants

Happy Birthday sweet Muffin cat, today you would have been thirteen years old. 

I still remember perfectly the day that I brought you home from the Humane Society over five years ago. I had just moved to Toronto a month before and desperately wanted a little fuzzy buddy in my life to take care of. I asked to see the absolute biggest cat that they had and was immediately brought to your cage. In preparation for your arrival I had picked out a few potential new names for you like Hazel, Valentine, and Judith. But back at home when I opened your carrier and saw you all smushed in your sleepy, chubby glory I knew you couldn't have been called anything else but Muffin. 

I never regretted adopting you even though I was young and could barely look after myself. We were like Batman and Robin and together we could take on bad boyfriends, bed bugs, crappy apartments, and anything else that beginning your adult life in a big city can throw at you. I'm grateful for all of the unconditional love, sweetness, and joy you brought to my life. I'm also so thankful that with all the health problems you had you lived as long as you did. I hope you know that I loved you more then I can express and that I will never again meet another animal as special as you were.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Blossom, smile some, sun shine down my way...

Earlier this week Brett, my sister Zara, and I all trekked to High Park to see the fleeting and ever so gorgeous blooms on the cherry blossom trees. We ate cyclone popsicles and said hello to the peacocks, sheep, and capybara at the zoo too. It was also the last day of Zara's visit with us (she was in town for a couple of days fresh from her European adventures). We were sad to see her off to the airport that afternoon but surrounded by delicate pink flowers is certainly not a bad way to say goodbye.

 (^We're wearing matching earrings!^)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Picture an Hour

A visual diary of a sunny Sunday in New York City in the form of a picture (or a few) an hour:

Woke up in our friend Jeffrey's cozy, Lower East Side apartment and got ready to meet the day.

Stepped out into a gorgeous Spring morning in search of brunch and ended up at Spitzer's Corner. Brett and I both had avocado omelets with green tomato sauce.

Cabbed to the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge and took our time walking the length of it.

Once in Dumbo we made our way to Brooklyn Bridge Park and Jane's Carousel. The park was a riot of people and dogs and babies enjoying the first real sunny, warm weathered weekend of the year. The carousel was every bit as lovely as I thought it would be. The perfect combination of old and new; the more than ninety year old merry-go-round looked completely at home underneath it's ultra modern glass pavilion.

Hopped on the East River Ferry and headed up to Williamsburg.

Pushed our way through a very crowded Williamsburg Flea. Snapped up a couple of treasures and wished my suitcase was bigger so I could've grabbed even more loot.

Met up with our friends Carli and Davey! After a pit stop at Davey's apartment, we wandered through Williamsburg and then jumped on the L train back to Manhattan.

Back at Jeffrey's place I went through my flea market spoils including a lovely 1950's doll sporting the cutest summer dress and ballin' white slingbacks. We packed up our things and said goodbye to Jeffrey and his lovely apartment.

Dragging our suitcase through the East Village we met up with Carli and Davey again at the Mermaid Inn for happy hour. 

We had buck-a-shuck oysters, Tom Collins', mini fish tacos and shrimp corn dogs. They gave us free mini chocolate mousses for dessert and fortune teller fish toys with the bill. Everything was delicious and insanely affordable.

After ditching our suitcase at Carli's apartment we headed to the Russian & Turkish Baths. Open since 1892 (!) and the last bathhouse of it's kind it's lovingly referred to as the "Schvitz" by regulars. Being seasoned patrons Carli and Davey took us through a circuit tour of all the rooms. First came the outrageously hot Russian sauna heated by baked rock, when we could take no more we had a dip in the ice cold pool and then ran to the Turkish room heated by radiators, a quick stop in the aromatherapy steam room and then we repeated it all again. We also tried and failed to convince Brett to get the "Platza" treatment wherein a burly man beats the hell out of you with soapy oak leaves in full view of everyone else in the sauna. Apparently not the most pleasant of experiences it's said to be borderline life changing if you live through it. Definitely not your average spa, it was one of the most quintessentially New York activities I've ever experienced. I can't wait for our next NYC trip so I can go back!

We emerged two hours later a few pounds lighter and feeling absolutely ah-mazing. An intense desire for salty food and beer overtook us. 

Which brought us to Veselka, the 24 hour Ukrainian diner down the street. We immediately ordered a bowl of pickles which were quickly devoured. That was followed by the yummiest cabbage roll and pierogies I've ever had. The blintzes with strawberry rhubarb compote we ate for dessert nearly sent me into a delicious, cheesy coma.

We spilled out into the night and wandered back to Carli's apartment past fruit stuffed bodegas and busy restaurants bleary eyed, exhausted, full, and very happy.