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Happy-Gourmand

Fling yourself into spring

I don’t want to jinx the positive trend we seem to be experiencing, but it seems like we may have gotten through the worst of it.

Spring is just around the corner and if any of that “luck of the Irish” rubs off on Sunday (St. Patrick’s Day) then maybe we’ll see green. We could all be dancing with the fairies by the Equinox.

Spring is a tumultuous season. We can either feel giddy from a mild sunny day or depressed on a grey day with chilling winds and low clouds.

To make sure you can stay on the upswing, I have a few suggestions along the line of a “spring fling” — a seasonal celebration of sorts.

In the spirit of the season being a time for lovers frolicking in the grass, let’s start with aphrodisiacs. I was inspired after seeing a featured aphrodisiac menu at a creative Italian restaurant; they had diners giggling about the “libido enhancement value” of oysters and how the heat from a sauce with garlic or mustard could translate to the bedroom experience.

I rather doubt anyone needed much encouragement to indulge in chocolate or whipped cream; you can use your imagination.

I don’t want to leave out anyone who isn’t in a romantic mood. How about more straight-forward energy boosters?

It’s a bit early for ice cream cones outside, but soon they will have the affogato at GioBean Café and the combination of espresso and ice cream is just the thing for spring. Or perhaps you want to sink your teeth into the featured pastry at Sandrine’s?

She changes up the filling to correspond with the season.

For those committed to a goal, a healthy indulgence could be the way to celebrate. Enjoying the view on those more-likely sunny days is a nice inspiration: a hike up a mountain, or even to a rooftop will do the trick.

You could walk along the lakeshore in many places in the Okanagan; Kelowna’s City Park is beautiful, as is the Peachland stroll and Penticton lakeside. If you want a meal to channel spring, look ahead to garden season with a salad for dinner.

I did say spring was tumultuous. It’s hectic, full of change. Maybe the best thing is just to aim for a low-stress existence as the world swirls around us, waking up for another summer.

If that’s how you feel, I have a simple celebration for you: Chocolate Wacky Cake. This stuff is dairy free and can be made gluten free with any cup-for-cup GF flour. It’s so easy the kids can make it for you over spring break.

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). In a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan, mix the following ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • Make 3 wells and pour each of the following in one:
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • Mix together the following and pour over the pan ingredients:
  • 1 egg plus water to make 1 cup

Mix the entire preparation till smooth and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. (Internal temperature 195F/90C.)

Ice with chocolate frosting, or dust with icing sugar, or your choice of topping. It’s also good straight out of the pan.



More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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