So after only a month and a half of living in my new apartment, I finally went out and acquired some furniture!!! I say acquired because my mom helped me pick out everything and my parents paid for all of it... Except the most important purchase of the day, which I paid for with all my own money (mostly because it's ridiculous), which was a t-rex skull.
I've always been slightly obsessed with dinosaurs (and all things to do with nature - note the giant yellow block of National Geographics) and as soon as I saw him, I loved him. I had to get him. As you can see, he's a big sucker. But I think he actually goes well with the rest of my decor (once it arrives) because I'm going with a dark wood and dark metal look. Even my mom warmed up to him and said he looked pretty good in the apartment. And I named him Charles. I mean, why not? If I'm going to buy a ridiculously large and obnoxious dinosaur skull, I might as well go all out and name him. I'm thinking of dressing him up for holidays and birthdays, too. Maybe a little party hat on my birthday (or his birthday, which would be June 15th I guess) and a Santa hat for Christmas. Maybe a bowtie for New Years... I think I have a new tradition starting....
I can't believe I'm an adult and I can do these kinds of things and no one can stop me.
In addition to my frivolous reptilian acquisition, I got some wonderful new furniture! Two bookcases (one in the picture with Charles), a dining table, a bench, four chairs, a side table, a coffee table, and a media console! All dark wood with dark metal, thought they're all from different stores or makers. Everything but the bookcases will be delivered in a few weeks, though. My mom was wonderfully kind enough to buy me a few of the smaller essentials that I needed like a bathroom mirror and a salt and pepper mill and drapes - all things that I wouldn't have the time or inclination to go out and get. Plus, it's tough to carry all that crap on the bus.
We also got a bunch of new herbs for my balcony! I had a little mint and rosemary plant, plus a few succulents. But NOW! I have two giant pots with 6 different types of lavender, some oregano, a little tomato plant, lemon grass, lemon balm, citronella, thyme, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, and cilantro! I absolutely cannot wait to make sorbet with the lemon verbena and drinks with the lemon balm and citronella, and desserts with the lemon thyme! And they all smell absolutely amazing. My whole balcony smells incredible.
Then, to make the weekend even better, my dad came over and we put together and stained two adirondack chairs for my balcony! It was so fun to hang out on the balcony in the sunshine and putting together these chairs piece by piece. Staining was a bit stressful because we were inside and worrying about staining everything else, but it turned out okay. They're not totally finished because the first coat has to dry for 24 hours and then there's still the second and third coat to do, but they look amazing already! Everything is coming together so nicely and my place it really starting to feel like home - MY home.
I really can't wait to have all my furniture delivered and set up so I can have some friends over and actually be proud of my apartment. Next on the to-do list is to get some art from an incredible west coast photographer, but that's gonna cost a fair bit so I'll wait a couple months. But still! I can have friends over and we can sit on my balcony surrounded by my lovely little potted garden and have drinks and cook dinner! I've never been able to do this because my last apartment was so tiny and didn't even have a dining table at all, so I'm stupidly excited to actually be able to have people over for dinner!
Stay tuned for updates!
Strawberry Rhubarb Streusel Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream
Recipe from Frozen Desserts
150 g fresh strawberries
10 g granulated sugar
534 g whole milk
100 g heavy cream
215 g granulated sugar
87 g egg yolks
125 g fresh strawberry purée
Recipe from Bouchon Bakery
50 g almond meal
50 g all-purpose flour
50 g granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
50 g unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/4 inch dice
375 g fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2 inch dice
75 g granulated sugar
1 g vanilla paste
1 lemon, zested and juiced
For the ice cream, wash and take the green part off the strawberries. Cut into 1/2 inch dice and toss with the 10 g of granulated sugar. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then blend using an immersion or regular blender. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
Set up an ice bath beforehand. Combine the whole milk and heavy cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Combine the granulated sugar and egg yolks and whisk until slightly paler in colour. Once the milk mixture has come to just a boil, whisk in a third of it into the yolk mixture, then another third. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, until the custard has thickened and reads 82 C. Remove from heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl set over the ice bath.
Let the custard cool to room temperature. Once cool, immersion blend the strawberry puree into the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate overnight.
For the streusel, combine the almond meal, flour, sugar, and vanilla powder in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Add the butter and use your fingertips to break up the butter and work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture starts to clump together in small pea-sized clumps. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Spread the streusel onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring the streusel every 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
For the rhubarb compote, combine the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla paste, lemon zest and juice, and stir to combine. Cook over low heat until the rhubarb has completely broken down and the mixture has thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent the bottom from scorching.
Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl to cool completely, then transfer to an airtight container with plastic wrap on the surface and refrigerate. Store up to 2 days.
Churn the strawberry ice cream base according to the manufacturers instructions. Pre-chill your container (I usually use a loaf tin) in the freezer while the ice cream is churning.
Once ready, spoon about 1/3 of the ice cream into your container. Add a few spoonfuls of rhubarb compote and swirl it in. Generously sprinkle with streusel. Add another 1/3 of the ice cream and repeat the process with the remaining compote and streusel.
Freeze until firm, about 3 to 4 hours.