Strawberry-Infused Gin Tonic: I’m Just Her for Dessert – Caroline Khoo

I'm Just Here For Dessert

Images and recipes from I’m Just Here For Dessert by Caroline Khoo (Murdoch Books RRP $39.99)

 

 

Strawberry-Infused Gin Tonic

makes: 1 drink

INGREDIENTS

  • 40 ml (1  fl oz) gin
  • 50 ml (11/2 fl oz) gin
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) tonic water
  • 5 strawberries, hulled

 

Method

  1. Halve 3 of the strawberries and let them steep in the gin for a couple of hours.
  2. Remove and discard the strawberries. Either transfer the infused gin to an airtight bottle to drink later, or pour into a glass. Add some ice and tonic water, then halve the remaining strawberries and add them to the glass for a pretty garnish.
  3. Enjoy!

strawberry gin

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French Toast With Balsamic Strawberries: All Day Cafe – Stuart McKenzie

All Day Cafe_CVR

‘Images and recipes from All Day Café by Stuart McKenzie (Murdoch Books). Photography by Armelle Habib. RRP $39.99.’

I’d recommend you start this recipe the day before, so your crumble and strawberries are ready to go, and all that needs to be done in the morning is to cook the French toast. At the café we often serve this with ice cream, even for breakfast, so look for the best vanilla ice cream you can find or have a go at making some yourself (page 122). Alternatively, serve with vanilla yoghurt or mascarpone.p30

 

French toast with balsamic strawberries and macadamia crumble
Serves 4

 

french toast w balsamic strawberries
Macadamia crumble
35 g (1 1/4 oz/1/4 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
50 g (1 3/4 oz) chilled unsalted butter, chopped
40 g (1 1/2 oz/1/2 cup) shredded coconut
40 g (1 1/2 oz/1/4 cup) crushed macadamia nuts

 

Balsamic strawberries
55 g (2 oz/1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
300 g (10 1/2 oz) strawberries, hulled

 

French toast
4 free-range eggs
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) milk
80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz/1/3 cup) thin (pouring) cream
30 g (1 oz) unsalted butter
1 brioche loaf, about 400 g (14 oz), cut into 8 slices about 2 cm
(3/4 inch) thick

TO MAKE THE MACADAMIA CRUMBLE, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Put the flour and sugar in
a bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter and
use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour mixture. Stir in the coconut and macadamias.

Spread on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until the crumble is golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The crumble can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

TO MAKE THE BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES, put the sugar, balsamic vinegar and 2 tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the strawberries and increase the heat to high. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside to cool, then refrigerate until needed.

TO MAKE THE FRENCH TOAST, whisk together the eggs, milk and cream in a wide bowl. Melt half the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Dip four slices of bread, one at a time, in the egg mixture until soaked, then drain off the excess.

Fry the bread for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep warm while you cook the remainder of the slices. Serve topped with the strawberries and crumble.

 

Vanilla ice cream
Makes about 1.25 litres (44 fl oz/5 cups)
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) thickened (whipping) cream
500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) milk
200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
1 vanilla bean
12 egg yolks
Everyone has their favourite flavour when it comes to ice cream, but it’s just plain old vanilla for me – especially when you can taste that real vanilla bean flavour. Home-made ice cream doesn’t require many ingredients and it’s actually quite fun to make. Serve the ice cream on its own, with cakes and pies, or with poached seasonal fruit.p.122
Pour the cream and milk into a medium heavy-based saucepan. Add half the sugar.

Slit the vanilla bean down its length with a small sharp knife. Use the knife to scrape out as many
of the tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the vanilla bean into three pieces and drop it into the pan.

Heat the cream and milk over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils. Take the pan off the heat and set aside so the vanilla can infuse.

Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until pale, thickened and the volume has increased. Add the cream mixture and beat until well combined.

Return the mixture to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Be careful that it doesn’t boil. As soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, the custard should be thick enough; take the saucepan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle. Remove and discard the pieces of vanilla bean.

Allow the custard to cool completely before churning in an ice-cream machine following the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze for 4 hours, or until firm (see Cook’s tips). About 20 minutes before serving, transfer
the ice cream to the fridge to soften slightly.

Cooks Tips
If freezing overnight, wrap the ice cream container in a double layer of plastic wrap. This will prevent ice crystals from forming.

 

 

 

 

Freshly Picked Strawberry Baskets – Sweet Celebrations – Elise Strachan

sweetcelebrations_cvr_

Images and recipes from Sweet! Celebrations by Elise Strachan (Murdoch Books) $39.99

FRESHLY PICKED STRAWBERRY BASKETS

MAKES 6 BASKETS

YOU’LL NEED:

140 g milk compound chocolate

900 g small strawberries

30 g white compound chocolate

6 cardboard berry baskets

 

  1. Melt the milk chocolate to dipping consistency.
  2. Using the leaves as a handle, gently dip each strawberry in the milk chocolate to halfway up the berry. Place the berries onto baking parchment to set.
  3. Melt the white chocolate and use a toothpick to place small seed-size dots neatly over the strawberries.
  4. Fill the berry baskets with the chocolate-dipped strawberries.

 

freshly-picked-strawberry-baskets

Post Script: This Is The Life – Alex Shearer

This is the life: “Not the one you had yesterday. Or the one that might not be here tomorrow. Just this one. Here and now.”

This is the Life

This is the Life

Alex Shearer

Harper Collins

BlueDoor

ISBN: 9780007529711

 

Description:

Even when you have received a death sentence, you still have to live…

 

“Life just seems like a big party sometimes, at which we all gradually get edged to the door, and then we are out in the cold. But the party continues without us…”

This is the story of Louis, who never quite fitted in, and of his younger brother who always tagged along.

Two brothers on one final journey together, wading through the stuff that is thicker than water.

Tender-hearted, at times achingly funny, This is the Life is a moving testimony to both the resilience of the human spirit and to the price of strawberries.

 

 

My View:

This is the life: “Not the one you had yesterday. Or the one that might not be here tomorrow. Just this one. Here and now.”

 

Never a more relevant word was spoken – this is the life we have, right now, not tomorrow, or yesterday or…someday. Life is right now and we should be doing our best to live our life fully and be the best we can be. Don’t wait for a life sentence to wake up and see what is happening around you, participate…now.

 

This is a very quirky book written with great insight (some ideas I didn’t really appreciate until after I had finished the book and had time to let the observations settle and permeate my brain) others I silently nodded my head in a agreement as I read, or read out loud to my partner so he too could appreciate the nuances of this narrative. This book resonated with me, I discovered people I knew in this narrative, people who had the same quirks, the same opinions, the same diagnosis – life and for death surround us – but some chose to start dying prematurely, before the sentence has been revealed (and I want to shake them and say “wake up, don’t just exist… you are worth it, eat strawberries if you want to”).

 

Quirky. At times hilarious. Always poignant. Reflective. Inspiring.