on sundae

vanilla ice cream with balsamic syrupThe old aphorism “opposites attract” probably best describes this pairing. The slightly acidic tang from the balsamic syrup with the softly sweet vanilla is a winning combination. Elegantly simple. Vanilla pairs perfectly with so many things that we made the ice cream our vehicle for taste testing several different flavoured balsamic vinegars. Fig, black cherry, chocolate, pear…just a few of the versatile vinegars from the Unrefined Olive, and all delicious. David Lebovitz’s recipe for vanilla ice cream has been my go-to. I was so excited to get a double batch done while family was visiting (so that we could have our balsamic tasting experience!) that the second batch might not have been completely frozen…I tried to pass it off as soft serve. Continue reading

Feliz día de San Valentin! [Vanilla Bean Pudding]

rose.jpg

Une surprise de mes élèves et collègues!


This week my students have been writing words of love and compliments on hearts to display around the school. It’s amazing: even the boys who scoffed at the assignment came up with some of the most beautiful little quotes — this proves my theory that everyone is a little romantic. Vive l’amour!20130214-203019.jpg
Last year I put some Valentine loving into these sugar cookies and meringues; because what’s February 14th without some dessert? So, if this (sexy) pink quinoa salad leaves your heart wanting something a little sweeter, I’d recommend trying this vanilla bean pudding.
20130214-234211.jpgI’m sending my love across the ocean today, y a toda la gente maravillosa de mi vida aquí — and to you, of course, for reading! You make my heart happy.
endearment.jpg

Continue reading

My First Ice Cream Cake on My Twenty First Birthday

To be honest, when I realized my birthday was three weeks after arriving in Huelva I thought I might not really know anyone and didn’t think I’d do anything special, but it was a really nice night and my roommates and I put together a fun little party. I was a very happy and grateful birthday girl:) We hosted a little birthday dinner shindig and invited the friends we had made so far in Huelva.We told everyone that they were more than welcome to bring a friend or any housemates, so I don’t think I actually knew about half the people who came, but we made a lot of friends and met some new neighbours, which was awesome!
To make things even more memorable, my fabulous roommates surprised me with a cake at the salsa club the next night and after they told our salsa instructors that it was my birthday I was made to dance with all the men at the club– I’m sure I looked more inept than Jennifer Grey at the beginning of Dirty Dancing, but it was so fun I really didn’t mind!
Now, my twin is visiting me in Huelva after a an awesome twin-time/sightseeing weekend in Cordoba — I couldn’t be happier.

I made a modified chocolate ricotta mousse tonight in Huelva to celebrate TShap’s arrival!

Without a working oven, I decided to improvise and make an ice cream cake. Our kitchen set up is really basic, so I didn’t make a crust or anything. It was literally just layers of ice cream, with homemade ganache, crushed Oreos and peanuts in the middle. It was the first ice cream cake I had ever made, and after some initial issues with the free form bottom layer on the plate melting before I could get it in the freezer it worked out super well! I’d even go so far and say it was a hit, but people might have just been nice since it was my birthday…but really, ice cream, chocolate, crumbled cookies and salty nuts? It seems like a winning combo no matter what!

Continue reading