WHAT a finish for a perfect day!

summary: my sister’s lemon cake with blueberry mint sauce and fresh raspberries; (click on image(s) to see larger views)

lemon cake Look what my sister made for us!!

On Sunday night we celebrated Canada’s, my sister’s and my birthdays all at once. It was B’s turn to choose the menu and she made a stellar choice: grilled chicken with Asian peanut sauce (nope, no photos… we were busy dining). And she said she’d like to provide the wine – a lovely Tavel rosé and the dessert. On the phone, she murmured something about pie and then, as you can see, brought something far more spectacular than pie.

In the afternoon, T and I stuck little Canadian flags onto our bikes and rode to Kensington Market and ChinaTown (designated tourist spots so guaranteed to be open on a holiday) to get two small chickens. As we rode, we were amazed to see that everything was open! LCBO and supermarkets included. What gives? Since when do people postpone the July 1 holiday??

Sure, I get that people should still get to take the Monday off is July 1 falls on a Sunday, even if they normally work on a Sunday. But the actual festivities are supposed to take place on the actual day. Aren’t they?!

Even so, the roads were pretty empty and riding was a pleasure in spite of the blazing sun. Until we got to Italytown on College. It was still pleasurable but what mayhem! The Eurocup soccer final between Italy and Spain was just about to start. The sidewalks, cafes and bars were jammed with people wearing Italian flags as capes OR red and yellow T-shirts in support of Spain. And then there were the people in the street… on our bikes, we were passing the cars. Honking cars that were festooned with Italian flags. One car had music blaring from the open windows and a girl standing up with her head and arms sticking out of the sun roof waving two Italian flags and screaming “Wwwhhhhhoooooooooooooooooo!!” Everyone was smiling, whether clad in red and gold, or draped in green, white and red.

Laughing, at last we managed to get home to prepare our feast: T butterflied the chickens and then slathered them with a dry rub. Then he made peanut sauce. And decided that one sauce wasn’t enough. So he made a South-Indian coconut sauce (we were particularly thrilled with this sauce; T said it took him right back to Kerala) and mint chutney (without the green mango and coriander leaf). Then he cooked okra til it was chewy and dry (no slime for us, thank you very much!) And finally, he boiled and simmered Basmati rice, adding fried peas and ginger once it was done, to make pilau.

While T was barbecuing the chickens, B and I stir-fried Swiss chard with onions, ginger and apricots (basically following our recipe for Beet Tops).

When all was ready, T popped the cork on the lovely chilled rosé and at last we sat in the now mercifully shaded garden to dine like royalty.

It. Was. Fabulous.

lemon cake And then it got even more fabulous. B insisted on going into the kitchen alone to get the dessert plates ready. Wow! Wow! Wow!! Her lemon cake with blueberry mint sauce and fresh raspberries, garnished with sprigs of mint tasted even better than it looked – if that’s possible. It was fabulous.

As we savoured the cake, the moon rose and we heard distant fireworks going off in honour of our birthdays.

It doesn’t get much better than that.
:whoohoo: :-) :-D

The only thing I know about the blueberry sauce (aside from the fact that it tasted great) is that it was made with fresh mint and blueberries. Remind me to ask my sister exactly what she did.


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3 responses to “WHAT a finish for a perfect day!

  1. barbara

    1 cup blueberries
    1/6 cup sugar
    juice of half a lemon
    pinch of salt
    1 sprig of mint, 5 or 6 big leaves

    For the mint, use the sturdiest stem you can find in your bunch of mint. Don’t remove the leaves from the stem.

    Mash the blueberries and sugar together in the pot to break the berries up a bit. Then add the lemon juice and mint and bring to a boil then boil for a couple of minutes. Fish out the mint, and cool.

    At first, I was worried that the mint had disintegrated, but then I found the stem with the leaves still attached.

    Thank you, Barbara! Just two questions: 1.) re: 1/6 cup of sugar – who measures in 6ths of cups??? :stomp: (Let’s see now… 1 c = 16 Tbsp; 1/3 c = 16 tsp; Aha! That would be 2 scant Tbsp sugar…. :-)) 2.) Did you say you put lemon zest in the cake as well? -Elizabeth

  2. barbara

    Hehe. I was using a recipe that asked for 2 c blueberries and 1/3 c sugar. The way I did it was to use a 1/3 cup and say “that looks like about half”.

    For the cake, I used the zest of two lemons, and 1/4 c lemon juice, 3/4 c water. Another time I would try a higher fraction of lemon juice (maybe no water at all?) since I found the cake a bit too sweet.

    Last night we had the rest of the cake just plain with fresh raspberries. It was lovely.

    I thought it was probably something like that. And I guess indicating 1/6 c is better than saying “some, but not a whole lot” as I would have. As for how much lemon juice to put in the cake, you might have to be careful. I seem to remember that when we substituted pineapple juice for water in the pineapple cake, there was major bubbling in the batter. I guess it’s the acid reacting with the baking powder. Maybe the vinegar should be omitted entirely if lemon juice or pineapple is there. -Elizabeth

  3. barbara

    Good point about having too much acid in the cake. The batter did bubble quite a bit even with the quarter cup.

    I guess having a more tart sauce would be good.


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