Adieu and Bienvenue

It’s amazing the way the time passes. Just a few short days ago, we bid 2015 farewell. And now we’re into the swing of 2016.

No pointed resolutions for me this year. No list of goals no score against a rubric.  No report card.

I’ve been meditating on these words from William Saroyan’s The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze for these few preliminary days of the year, and so I think that that’s what I’m going to stick with.

“Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

That last sentence, while true, is a little bit fatalistic for this rose-coloured glasses wearer, I’m feeling some resonance in the rest of the sentiment. And so, I toast to embracing opportunities and, rather than just living, to be wholly alive with all our might. I hope we all have a great year!

Maple Ice Cream

(Recipe adapted from my friend Trish, the ice cream expert!)


3/4 Cup maple syrup

1 1/2 Cups milk

1 1/2 Cups table cream

2 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

pecans (optional for sprinkling overtop)


  • Pour the maple syrup into a medium sized saucepan, and set it over medium-high heat. It’s only 3/4 Cup, but it will bubble up a lot, so stick with a medium sized pan. Boil the syrup for 5-10 minutes until it has reduced by around 25%, leaving you with ¬2/3 Cups of reduced syrup.


  • Stir the milk, cream, vanilla, and salt into the saucepan and bring the mixture just up to a boil.
  • While the milk, cream, and syrup are heating, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, and whisk until they are light and fluffy.


  • Temper the eggs by drizzling in about a ladleful of the hot dairy into the eggs, mixing like mad all the while. Because the eggs have been brought up to a closer temperature to the syrupy milk, they’re less likely to scramble when you pour them into the saucepan.
  • Heat future ice cream, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Chill for at least two hours (overnight is even better).


  • Pour the mix into your ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If you are going to use the pecans, add them to the ice cream maker in the last few minutes of churning, or stir them into the ice cream once it’s been poured into the container in which it will be stored. (Living with someone who has a nut allergy, I just sprinkled a few on top of my scoop but left the ice cream untainted so that we could share.)


I feel as though a number of the last recipes posted up here have included maple syrup, but it’s just so good! This ice cream came out so sublimely silky smooth and delicious. This is the flavour I am most likely to order at an ice cream shop, so I’ll be sure to be making more maple ice cream in the future.


The People Who Lived Here Before Were Bananas

Our house is one hundred and two years old this year. We have had it for just under a year, and have been living here only since Christmas. Yay for renovations! Less than 1% of the time this house has been standing has it been ours. I wonder about the people who were here before us often.

Did they love our awesome little house as much as we do now? Have any previous occupants been as scared of the basement as me? What were they thinking when they drywalled over the window in the bathroom?

We find hints about previous people living in our house often. When Mister checked out the attic we found a stack of ladies magazines from the 50’s (recipes from which will one day follow). Someone at our house must have enjoyed a game or two of marbles, because when we pulled off the deck, which was in a mostly decrepit state, we found a gaggle of marbles underneath. Mister jackhammered out and pulled up the cement sidewalks around our house, because they all channelled water towards the house rather than away, and we found some very interesting objects used as rebar, including two chairs, a trailer hitch and electrical stove elements. The people who lived here before us certainly were resourceful, but also must have been at least a little bananas. Drywalling over windows, partially converted knob and tube electric systems, amputations to support beams and patio stones sandwiched between layers of concrete using furniture for support have not made fixing up the house easier, that’s for sure. What were they thinking, who were they, where are they now?

It was a stupendously hot day the day that Mister and a few friends got most of the sidewalk removal done, so I got out our ice cream maker and made them a treat. This is a recipe from the veritable ice cream queen and fellow intrepid culinary adventurer, Trish.

Banana Ice Cream

(recipe from Trish)

3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 bananas
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 Cups coffee cream

  • In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, salt and lemon juice.
  • Peel the bananas and cut them into one inch pieces.
  • Force the banana, a few pieces at a time, through a fine mesh sieve using the side of a metal spoon. This will be a laborious process, but it is very worth it.
  • Scrape the banana puree from the underside of the sieve into the bowl, mixing to combine it with the sugar mixture.
  • Add the cream, stirring to blend.
  • Pour directly into an ice cream maker and freeze until desired texture is reached (~20 minutes).
  • Place in the freezer for about an hour in a resealable container, so that it will harden up a bit for better scooping.
This ice cream, being a Philadelphia styled ice cream, is fantastically easy because there is no custard to make and no chill time before going into the ice cream maker. You take your cream, sugar and fruit, put them together, and have ice cream! Getting the bananas through the sieve was a bit of work though.
The ice cream has a great velvety creamy texture, and the banana flavor really does shine very true. As is noted on Trish’s recipe, this ice cream is definitely a keeper.
Mister says that this is his favorite ice cream I’ve churned out yet. He says it is the best banana ice cream ever, and that it really deserves chocolate sauce.


Vanilla Ice Cream’s Older Sister

This is not just a vanilla ice cream.

The freckling of real vanilla suggests a familial relation between vanilla ice cream and this ice cream, but this one is far more grown up than her little sister. Vanilla ice cream would peak into this older sister’s make up drawer, mystified by the distance a few years separation would put between them.

Where vanilla ice cream is pure and simple, sweet frozen vanilla custard, this ice cream is more complex, with almost a cheesecake quality, a cultured flavor that fills the mouth. The vanilla is still there, this flavor is a fair bit more grown up.

What’s the secret ingredient? Sour cream. The addictively good, creamy sour cultured taste makes this ice cream special. Mostly you get the extra creaminess, a more rounded out flavor, but at the end of each spoonful you can feel that infinitely small sour cream pucker around the edges of your mouth. A hint of lemon lends to the puckering effect and also acts as a foil to the gorgeously fragrant vanilla. I’ll be making this again toute suite.

Sour Cream Ice Cream


4 egg yolks

1 Cup sugar

1 Cup milk

1 Cup coffee cream

½ a vanilla bean

juice of ½ a lemon

16 oz sour cream

  • In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the milk and coffee cream, whisking until the liquid is uniform.
  • Scrape out the contents of the vanilla bean with a knife and whisk the vanilla into the cream mixture.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice and sour cream until combined.
  • Chill the ice cream batter thoroughly and then run it through your ice cream maker.

This ice cream stays reasonably scoopable after having spent time in the freezer, which is always a plus for a home made ice cream. Also, as home made ice cream goes, this recipe is really awesome because it is no cook and comes together in a matter of minutes. It was especially tasty with strawberries macerated in balsamic vinegar.

Mister’s rating: “There is definitely a sour cream tone to the ice cream. It is rich and creamy like a custard. The real vanilla bean is essential, you can taste the difference between it and vanilla extract.”