Thursday, February 11, 2016

I Heart Hot Cocoa

We can of course enjoy appealing heart shapes all year round and not just on Valentine's Day. I plopped some frozen, whipped-cream hearts into hot cocoa, but eventually the remaining scraps of frozen cream will make our coffee a plebeian version of affogato.

Sweet violets abound in our garden at present

Spread whipped cream in a shallow, lidded plastic container to a height of 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) and freeze for about two hours. Fold some paper in half and on its fold, draw one half of a heart. Cut out and open. Voilà! You have your template. If you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you are already ahead of the game.

Prepare your hot cocoa. Briefly place the bottom of the container under running hot water and ease the frozen cream onto a cutting board. Place the template and cut only what is needed for the moment with a knife. Return the surplus if any to the freezer (any shapeless scraps are as tasty as the shaped ones). Place onto a cup/bowl of hot cocoa.

As it melts, the floating heart resembles in texture a simple semifreddo.

In the garden, everything is soaked through and through because of abundant rain. Heather along with . . .

. . . daffodils are providing flowers.  Roses are in the process of being pruned.

A thicket of calla lilies, pruned rose, heather, and daffodils

Garden gloves are essential. They protect hands from cold, thorns, dirt, cuts, and abrasions. My pruning pair are long, suede/leather, comfortable, and resistant enough to allow grasping of nettles and brambles plus their chocolate-brown and chartreuse colouring is beyond fashionable. The pair for weeding affords flexibility and easily can be cleaned daily by keeping them on as I wash my hands!

The pruning pair gets brushed as needed

Garlic/shallot/onion sets are waiting patiently for the rain to cease long enough so they can be planted into their beds which were happily prepared months ago.

Corno di Toro Rosso (horn of the bull) sweet red pepper seedlings are being pampered by keeping them in their warm incubator overnight and then placing them on a garden table in a mini-serre (greenhouse) during the day.

Flourishing in the lengthening daylight

Moroccan mint (Mentha spicata) is deeply textured and has a superb spearmint flavour and when summer arrives, will be tossed into tabbouleh, and not to mention, steeped in cream to make refreshing, pale-coloured, mint-chocolate-chip ice cream.

When the gloomy deluge dampens my spirit, I crush a leaf and inhale deeply

À la prochaine!

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