It’s birthday time! Every year since I started this blog, I’ve posted the sweet treat that I make for my partner’s birthday (apparently I also use the exact same candle in the photos every year). He’s not into traditional birthday cake, so I always try to make something different, especially delicious and a little over the top. It needs to be special. Normally, I make something that has a nostalgic feel to it. Two years ago it was a bienenstich cake that harkened back to his days working at a German bakery and last year I made chocolate babka, which was something that we both loved growing up. This year, I decided to go with ice cream. Without a doubt, it is his favourite sweet food. Of course, since I was making it from scratch, everything was possible in terms of the flavours and add-ins. I decided to play around with chocolate and hazelnut and ended up with this triple hazelnut ice cream.
Some of my greatest food loves are ones that my boyfriend does not share (artichokes, very dark chocolate, and tea or coffee flavoured desserts), especially in the ice cream department. So, when he goes for Stracciatella (which I don’t deny is delicious), I go for coffee or tea flavours. I am sure I have mentioned it before, but the ice cream at Bella Gelateria in Vancouver is by far the best I’ve tasted. They have so many great flavours, it was always hard to choose, I never had the luxury of trying them all. I have, however, tried the Earl Grey gelato and it is out of this world. So, really, there is only one thing to do: time to turn to my trusty ice cream maker.
I grew up watching my dad eat handfuls of pistachios at a time, but I never associated them with cooking. I think the first time I actually made something with the beautiful green nuts was this granola. But since then, I never thought of actually cooking with them until we went to Italy this past July. In Sicily, pistachios are in everything: savoury pasta dishes, sweet cookies, and best of all, gelato. I have no shame in saying that it was a requirement to get gelato every night after dinner. There were so many flavours to try and there is really nothing that compares to eating good quality gelato, in a handmade cone, walking the streets of Europe.
Last weekend I went camping for the first time ever. We went to Waterton Lakes National Park, which is about three hours south of Calgary. There were a lot of things that stand out to me when I think of the trip. On the negative side, it was extremely windy (we were convinced our tent would be blown away with us in it our second night) and cold and slightly rainy. On the positive side, the natural surroundings were beautiful. I still can’t get over how incredible the rockies are. It was wildflower season so there was tons of colourful flowers in bloom. And, most importantly, after three years of living out west, we finally saw some bears! An adult with three cubs to be exact. They walked right in front of our car. It was amazing. We also saw a bison up close and a moose. Does it get any better than that?