Simple Strawberry Ice Cream

The long, hot days of summer are slowly winding down. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy everyone’s favourite summer treat – Strawberry Ice Cream!

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Enjoy strawberry season in southwestern Ontario while it lasts! 

There’s no better way to savour the local strawberry harvest, and making your own at home is easier than you might think. There’s no need for special equipment…and the results are well worth the effort.

ingredients
Just a few simple ingredients…

Strawberry Ice Cream

Equipment:

  • Medium sauce pan
  • Food processor
  • Freezer-safe bowl (metal loaf tins also work)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
add-strawberries
No need to chop the strawberries too small….

Method:

  • Finely chop strawberries in a food processor & reserve.
  • Combine cream & milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook until mixture almost boils, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  • Beat egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract in a small bowl until yellow and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add 4 tbsp. hot cream/milk mixture and stir until combined.
  • Gradually add egg yolk mixture to warm cream mixture, stir continuously to prevent eggs from curdling. Cook over low heat until the mixture slightly thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 3-4 minutes. Cool completely.
  • When cooled add reserved strawberries, stir until mixed.
  • Pour into ice cream freezer-safe bowl and freeze for around 2 hours.
  • Transfer ice cream into an airtight container and keep until you are ready to enjoy!
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Strawberry Ice Cream is the perfect sweet ending to any summer meal. 

There’s always room for dessert at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa….what’s your favourite way to end a meal?

 

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Warm Chorizo Sausage and Medjool Dates with Heirloom Baby Spinach Salad

Spring has finally arrived in southwestern Ontario, and our thoughts are already turning to summer dining.

We are blessed to be located in one of Canada’s most bountiful regions, where an abundance of locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, and legumes are readily available throughout the growing season.

It’s one of the reasons why Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa are famous for offering an inspired selection of fresh-from-the-farm salads.

This Warm Chorizo Sausage and Medjool Dates with Heirloom Baby Spinach salad is always a guest favourite.

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This Chorizo Sausage salad is a delicious combination of exotic flavours. 

Combining the spicy piquancy of Chorizo Sausage with the unexpected sweetness of Medjol dates and sun-dried apricots makes for an exotic combination that is hard to resist….

Try it for lunch, or a light dinner, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Chorizo Sausage Salad
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 Chorizo sausages cut into ½ pieces
8 Medjol dates, cut in half
3 oz. Heirloom baby spinach, red & green
4 tbsp. Sun-dried apricots cut in half
2 whole roasted red pepper, cut into spears
¼ sliced red onion
8 slices English cucumbers
8 baby tomatoes cut in half
Mix micro sprouts for garnish
Sherry-basil vinaigrette (recipe to follow) drizzled

Directions:
In a skillet sauté chorizo sausage, golden brown, finish in oven; add Medjol dates, roasted red peppers. Set aside; toss spinach with dressing, season with salt and pepper. Arrange spinach in centre of plate, garnish with sliced cucumber, baby tomatoes, Chorizo sausage mixture, red onions, purple radish sprouts.

 Basil-sherry Vinaigrette:
(Makes ½ cup)
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
3 tbsp. sweet sherry
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp. shallot minced
¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
¼ tsp. ground pepper or to taste

Directions:
Whisk together oil, sherry, lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. Cover and refrigerate. Whisk or shake before serving.

What is your favourite summer salad?

The patios at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa are open for alfresco dining all summer long! 

10 tips for a stress-free dinner party

Hosting a dinner party is a great way to build relationships and create a circle of friends that will last a life time.

And since December is such a busy month for social occasions, we thought it would be the perfect time to ask Elm Hurst Inn & Spa’s executive chef, Michael Davies, for some tips to help you make your evening a night to remember – minus the stress!

Plan ahead
Create a menu, write a grocery list, and make sure you are well organized. Prepare a familiar recipe, perhaps with a new twist. If a dish can be made a day ahead, save yourself some last minute stress. If you’re hosting as a couple, divide the duties beforehand, to avoid any last minute arguments.

Use your best
Why wait to use your best china, cutlery and linens? Seize the moment and enjoy the occasion!

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Now is the time to use your table linens and good china!

Decorate your table
Fresh flowers or candles make an instant impression. But make sure people can see over them.

Start on empty
Always start the night with an empty dishwasher and bin. It will make clean-up so much easier!

Get yourself ready first
This way you simply have to slip off your apron to greet your guests.

Break the ice with some cocktails
When guests arrive, offer them something special to drink. This will set the tone and get  conversation flowing. It’s also a great opportunity to discuss who will be the designated drivers.

Skip the appetizer
Instead of serving a formal appetizer, offer stationed or butlered hors d’oeuvres. This gives you and your guests more time to mingle.

cheese_platter
Offer a delicious cheese platter instead of a formal appetizer.

Have a seating plan
To keep things interesting, guests should be seated boy/girl/boy/girl, and couples should not be seated next to one another.

Stick to two courses
A soup or salad followed by a main course is plenty, takes less time in the kitchen (both to prepare and clean up) and will give you more time to sit down and enjoy the meal.

Keep dessert simple
Choose a dessert that can be prepared ahead of time, or that only requires some last minute assembly. Try a delicious scoop of ice cream served with some fresh fruit, or an assortment of pastries from your favourite local bakery.

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A simple scoop of ice cream with a few fresh berries makes a wonderful dessert.

Remember – it’s about fun, not perfection. And if you simply don’t have time to do it all yourself, book a table at the Elm Hurst or Idlewyld for some delicious holiday dining.

From all of us at the Elm Hurst Inn & Spa and Idlewyld Inn & Spa – Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2017! 

Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

When Chef Michael Davies first shared his Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe a few years ago it received rave reviews!

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Chef Davis’ Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies are always a delicious treat! 

We’ve recently had several requests for a repeat…so here it is again – just in time for Halloween….

Harvest Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 35 large cookies

Ingredients:
– 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
– 1 cup white sugar
– 1 cup golden yellow sugar
– 2 large eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 cup fresh pumpkin puree (canned will do in a pinch!)
– 3 cups all-purpose flour
– 2 tsp. baking soda
– ½ tsp salt
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– ½ tsp ground ginger
– ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
– ¼ tsp ground cloves
– 2 cups milk chocolate chips

mixing
Scare up a batch of these treats for Halloween! 

 

Directions:
– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray or line them with parchment paper.

– Using a mixer, beat butter until smooth. Beat in white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy.

– Beat in eggs one at a time; add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree gently mix.

– Mix together all dry ingredients and add to the wet mixture slowly until all mixed. Add chocolate chips.

– Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cookies are browned around the edges.

– Remove cookie sheets from the oven, allow to cool and rest for 2 minutes. Remove from tray with spatula, cool on baking wire racks.

– Cover with your favourite icing [optional]. We used buttercream and grated pumpkin.

These make a delicious after school snack paired with a glass of milk. Or enjoy with a cup of coffee, your favourite tea, or even hot apple cider.

Chef Michael Davies has been the Executive Chef at Elm Hurst Inn & Spa in Ingersoll, Ontario since 1996. His stepson, Chef Trevor Stephens is the Chef de Cuisine at Idlewyld Inn & Spa in London, Ontario.