Summer Days, Summer Treats

Summer is here, officially – the days are getting longer and hotter, my room is a million degrees, and I’m somewhat desperate to find a family-appropriate bathing suit for our annual reunion (so much harder than you think).

I was really hoping to have these next few months off before I head back to school at the end of July, but it seems like that’s not going to happen any time soon. Ideally I would be cooking my way through the Lee Bros Southern Cookbook or happily puttering about with all my plants (omg so many plants I love it), but instead I spend all day in a windowless office, dreaming of the outside world, so close, yet so, so far….okay no. I’m somewhat exaggerating (not about the windows though). I’m getting the summer party started in my off time, starting with these beauties: blueberry gin and vanilla plum pudding ice pops.

Blueberry gin ice pops; good for you because of all those antioxidants

Blueberry gin ice pops; good for you because of all those antioxidants

Simple to make, although a bit labour intensive; for the blueberry gin, I heated blueberries and some sugar until the berries all burst, and then reduced them down. I added some lemon and obviously some gin (not too much though, or else they won’t freeze); I got a bit lazy and didn’t bother to strain the blueberries, and I probably should have, but to be honest I don’t find the blueberry skins that offensive – they give a bit of texture that makes the ice pops more than just frozen juice (although the gin also does that…) !

Vanilla plum pudding ice pops with much brandy

Vanilla plum pudding ice pops with much brandy

For the vanilla plum pudding pops, I followed this recipe from Canadian Living. This was more work than I anticipated, but a really lovely summer treat. They’re a bit sweet for my taste, but for a special occasion, I think they’re just perfect (yes, these are for the fam jam coming up; get ready!). I put way more brandy than was called for, and it was delicious. Complete win.

Suntea, with some floating and some sunken blueberries...there's a science lesson here somewhere...

Suntea, with some floating and some sunken blueberries…there’s a science lesson here somewhere…

Somewhat less time-intensive was this refreshing suntea; basically I put some tea leaves in cheesecloth, added water, put the jug outside, and forgot about it for about 4 hours. It was quite satisfying to watch the water slowly turn a beautiful amber colour; I probably could have let it brew longer, because I like my tea with an intense flavour, almost bitter (except for sweet tea; I loooooove sweet tea). This 4 hour tea had a light flavour, so I added a squeeze of lemon and some honey simple syrup to sweeten, but found that it wasn’t quite enough and so added some pomegranate molasses. If you haven’t tried this before, it’s a bit sweet but also plenty tangy – it added a somewhat strange? flavour to the tea but I think I like it! I’ll let you know. Just to be on the safe side, some additional honey simple syrup probably would have done the trick.

I’ll keep you posted on the bathing suit search – let me know what summer treats you’re whipping up in your kitchen!

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