We’re Having a Heat Wave – I Need Me Some Creamy Coconut Mango Ice Cream

Beat the heat with a creamy, dairy free, Coconut Mango Ice Cream or Popsicles – no need to pull out the ice cream maker!

2 dishes of coconut mango ice cream

It is HOT outside. We’ve had many days in a row now with temperatures over 30° C. We’re having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave – the words to that song keep playing in my head and I’m feeling all sultry and lazy. Who wants to do anything more than loll around in the shade and sip icy drinks?

Yes, the weather sounds lovely and tropical, but we northerners start to melt in extended heat. Most of our homes don’t have air conditioning (but we do have massive, state-of-the-art, heat-blasting furnace systems) and we don’t know how to deal with the soaring temperatures when they last more than a few days at a time – and neither do our gardens.

it's dry in the garden

this year the lawn hasn’t grown much, so we don’t have grass clippings to mulch between the rows, making the garden even more dry

The poor little plants are wilted and drooping by midday, a lot of the vegetable seeds we planted just baked, and didn’t even show their heads above ground.

wilting calendula wilting collard greens

The grass is getting brown and crunchy to walk on (except for the dandelions and clover – they are THRIVING!)

the lawn is brown and crunchy

in some spots, the only green in the lawn comes from those pesky dandelions

And worst of all, the farmers are starting to seriously suffer. Crops look terrible and will have to be plowed under if we don’t get rain soon. To make matters worse, we’ve had some serious thunderstorms, with hail in certain areas. And though we’ve, luckily, had no hail, we also haven’t had any thundershowers either.

seeds didn't sprout

in many spots in the garden, the seeds never even sprouted, and I had to reseed

The only water I can use for our plants is the stuff we’ve collected in rain barrels from the few cloudbursts we had weeks ago. Our well water is too full of sodium and will be worse for plants and soil than no water, so I ration out the saved rain water.

coconut mango ice cream, peonies blooming

however, the peonies and roses are loving this heat – they’re more beautiful than ever

coconut mango ice cream, peony closeup roses blooming

Inside, I try all the hot weather tricks: open windows at night to collect every bit of cool air. Close windows late morning. Keep drapes closed during the day to keep hot sun out. We’ve got fans going in every room, and I move from one fan to another as I do the minimum amount of work I can. In the kitchen I have two large fans blasting at me from different angles, and I try not to use the oven to add more heat to the house.

I make big stock pots full of iced herbal and green teas to chill in the fridge, and we eat a lot of salads and cold things . . . like this delicious, creamy, frosty, throat-cooling coconut mango ice cream. It’s actually more like a sherbet or gelato, rich with intense fruity flavour, but the main thing is, it’s cold and delicious. (I could slather it all over my body, but I won’t waste the taste!)

coconut mango ice cream, scooped from dish

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: The beauty of this ice cream is that you can make it without an ice cream maker. Even though I love my ice cream maker, sometimes I’m not organized to think ahead and freeze the canister for the required 24 hours before I can use it – I want ice cream now! So if you have a food processor or powerful blender, you can make mango ice cream in minutes.

coconut mango ice cream, almost ready

almost ready

coconut mango ice cream, smooth and creamy

now it’s smooth

When mangoes are in season, it’s easy to cut up a bunch (see How to Cut Up a Mango here), freeze the cubes on parchment-lined cookie sheets, then pop them into zip-top bags to have ready in the freezer, or buy bags of frozen cubed mango to have on hand for smoothies and this coconut mango ice cream. (Superstore sells handy 600 gram bags of frozen mango cubes.)

coconut mango ice cream ingredients

You need to use full-fat premium canned coconut milk here – the light version will not do – since you need to use the separated thick creamy part that rises to the top of the can. The Thai Kitchen brand I normally buy is usually already separated, but some other brands need to have the can of coconut milk refrigerated overnight in order for the creamy part to separate from the watery part.

Save the watery part of the coconut milk to use in smoothies, soups or curries. It can be frozen for later use, too.


coconut mango ice cream with spoons

Creamy Coconut Mango Ice Cream

gluten free and dairy free

  • 4 cups (600gms) frozen mango chunks
  • 1 can (140z/398ml) full-fat, premium coconut milk
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey (maple syrup or agave nectar for vegan version)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the frozen mango chunks in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Tip the can of coconut milk upside down, and open the bottom end of the can. The thin liquid should now be on top. Pour it out and save it for another use. Scoop the thick, white coconut cream that is left in the bottom of the can into the food processor. You should have a little less than a cup of coconut cream. Add the lime zest, honey, and lime juice.

Process until smooth, scraping down the sides  a couple times during blending. This could take several minutes. At first it will seem like nothing is blending, then slowly the mass will start to move in the food processor and come together to be smooth and creamy.

You can serve it immediately as Coconut Mango Soft Serve, or freeze it for 2 to 3 hours until it is a firmer texture for scooping. Stir the mixture every hour while it is freezing and it will harden up more evenly. If this ice cream is left to freeze overnight, it gets quite hard – in that case, remove it from the freezer about 30 minutes before serving to allow it to soften enough to scoop.

The mixture can also be frozen in an ice cream maker (follow manufacturer’s directions) for a softer ice cream that won’t freeze as solid if frozen for more than a few hours.

*You can also spoon the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until firm – it makes wonderful popsicles.

Makes 3½ cups.

Guten Appetit!


You might also like:

Watermelon Lime Ice with a Tequila Option

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

Saskatoon Ice Cream

Cherry Ice Cream

 Homemade Ice Cream Cake


Posted in Dairy-free, Fruit, Gardening, Ice Cream & Cold Things | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cooking with Kids: Frozen Chocolate Covered Bananas

Beat the summer heat with frozen chocolate covered bananas on a stick, rolled in crunchy coatings. A great project to make with kids.

cooking with kids: frozen chocolate banana pops

Cooking with Meredith

Be a kid a gain? Oh, yes. The living is easy when your only decisions are Do I like the banana pop with the peanuts or the one with sprinkles? . . .

I like the frozen banana pop with peanuts

 . . . and Should I share with the dog?

Should I share my frozen banana pop with the dog?

I remember the first time I ever tasted one of these frozen banana pops. It was when I was fifteen and my family traveled to Disneyland with my cousins’ family for Christmas. The grown-ups handed us older kids our passes and let us loose each day while they stayed with the younger kids in the kiddie rides section. We had the whole (Disney) world by the tail! My favourite ride was, and still is, the Pirates of the Caribbean – ooooh, that stomach-tingling dip and those hilarious pirate antics. (But I am a wimp. Pirates is the scariest ride I can handle. Roller coasters – nuh-uh!)

Nibbling on a frosty chocolate covered banana on a stick is one of the memories all tangled together from that first heady Disney visit.

Making these frozen treats with kids is fun and easy. You don’t need a deep vat of chocolate to dip the banana into; just slather the melted chocolate on with a knife and roll it in toppings for an easy homemade version. When I close my eyes and gnaw the sweet treat, I’m back in that magical summer place, riding the roller coaster as if I can, squealing with delight.

You’re never too old to enjoy an icy summertime treat.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: You can use milk chocolate in these frozen banana pops, or dark chocolate, chocolate chips, chunks, or chopped chocolate. The amount is approximate. Use any kind of nuts or seeds you like – Meredith and I used unsalted roasted peanuts, but I imagine salted ones or honey roasted ones would be delicious as well. If you can’t wait until the chocolate banana pops are fully frozen, serve them after freezing for about an hour, when the banana is frosty cold and the texture is just starting to change. Pretty good that way, too!

Cut the bananas into quarters for snack sized pops, or halves for the traditional kind.

Have fun with these.

a tray of frozen chocolate banana pops

Frozen Chocolate Banana Pops

  • 2 large unblemished ripe bananas
  • 1 cup dark or milk chocolate chips or chunks (gluten free, if necessary)
  • coating ingredients of choice: chopped toasted* nuts or seeds, toasted coconut, or sprinkles
  • 4 to 8 wooden popsicle sticks

*To toast nuts, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until golden and fragrant. Coconut may take less time than that, depending how fine it is shredded. Let cool.

Peel the bananas and cut them into quarters or halves, depending on the size of pops you want. Push a wooden popsicle stick halfway up into the cut end of each banana piece. Lay the banana pieces onto a parchment lined baking sheet or small tray.

Prepare your coating ingredients by pouring them into a flat bowl or pie dish.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each one. It should only take about 1 to 1½ minutes. The last little bits of unmelted chocolate will melt from the heat of the melted chocolate while stirring.

You can also melt the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Make sure not to let any moisture get into the chocolate or it can seize up (get grainy and harden).

Using a butter knife or a wooden popsicle stick, spread the chocolate over each banana piece, making sure to coat it completely and spread it right up to the popsicle stick at the bottom end.

spreading the chocolate

Roll the chocolate-covered banana in the coating ingredient, using your fingers to sprinkle bits onto any areas that aren’t covered.

sprinkle on the coating in bald spats

Return the pops onto the lined cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for about one hour for chilled pops, and four hours for frozen pops.

Lick any bits of melted chocolate off your hands when you are all finished.

licking fingers, chocolate banana pops

When the pops are frozen, enjoy them right away, or wrap each one in plastic wrap and store in a sealed freezer-safe container for up to a month.

Makes 4 large pops or 8 snack-sized pops.

Guten Appetit!


See what else we’ve been having fun with in our ‘Cooking with Kids’ section!

You might also like:

Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

Cantaloupe Creamsicle Smoothie

Homemade Marshmallows (no-thermometer method)

Cooling Watermelon-Lime Ice

Posted in Chocolate, Cooking with Kids, Fruit, Ice Cream & Cold Things, Snacks | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Spruce Tips and Orange Glaze

A moist and juicy pork tenderloin becomes sublime when stuffed with fresh spruce tips, raisins, and zesty orange, then glazed with the flavourful roasting liquid.

roasted pork tenderloin with spruce tips

I waited and waited for the spruce trees to start forming their soft new growing tips, walking out almost daily to check for those thickening buds. Then, somehow I blinked and missed a day or two, and *k*a*p*o*w!#! — spruce tip explosion! The tips of all the branches were loaded with fat feathery brushes bursting out of their papery husks.

spring's new spruce tips

Isn’t that how life is? We wait and wait for something to happen, and then before we know it, it’s almost over. I’m feeling quite nostalgic and dealing with the bittersweetness of children growing up, so you’ll have to bear with me if I sound a little sappy and sad. Today is my baby’s (big, muscular, sometimes smelly, teenage boy baby, but still . . . forever my baby) last day of classes for high school. Just exams left. This morning I packed my last school lunch. (Yes, I still packed his lunches. It was my labour of love. I am a big suckie.)

I’m sure every parent has lamented at some time in their life Where did the time go? Yesterday I was watching them take their teetering first steps on the kitchen floor, and today I’m watching them take their confident first steps into the wide world of adulthood.

tree ready for spruce tip harvest close up of spruce tips


The short season of fresh spruce tips to add flavour to spring dishes is almost over. You can still use the them, even when they are opened but still tender and lighter green than the rest of the branches, like the photos in this post about baked rhubarb with spruce tips – yes, spruce tips are divine when roasted with rhubarb. They are also amazing when quickly sauteed with juicy mushrooms or asparagus, and absolutely divine with new potatoes and cream. You can even use spruce tips to make flavoured salt or vinegars. Think of them as a unique, exotic herb (which is only as far away as your back yard – or maybe that little patch of forest outside of town).

bowl of spruce tips slipped out of their paper husks

In addition to being full of vitamin C, spruce tips add a unique herbal, citrus-y, rosemary-ish, flavour to foods. If they are new to you, try them and have some fun with them.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: I’ve also used this same stuffing mixture, doubled, to stuff a pork loin roast – wonderful. Cut and tie the roast the same way, bake a little longer.

Make sure not to overcook this lean cut of pork. Cooking temperature for pork has been lowered and it is now considered safe to cook it so it is still slightly pink inside, like beef. When in Europe last year we ate a type of pork tartare which is common in Germany, and absolutely delicious.

  pork tenderloin stuffed with spruce tips and orange

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Spruce Tips, Raisins, and Orange Glaze

  • 1 pork tenderloin, 1 to 1¼ lbs (450-550gms)
  • ¼ cup spruce tips
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • zest of half an orange (preferably organic)
  • juice of 1 orange, divided
  • fine sea salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 5 twelve-inch (30cm) pieces of cotton kitchen twine

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Remove and discard the silverskin from the pork tenderloin. It’s the silvery sheath of tendon attached to the top third of one end of the tenderloin. Slide a thin sharp knife underneath it and slice it off, taking as little meat off as possible.

removing the silverskin from the pork tenderloin discard the silverskin

Make a cut lengthwise down the center of the tenderloin, being careful not to cut all the way through (leave about ¼ inch uncut).

cut down center of tenderloin

Then cut horizontally down the center of each cut side, again being careful not to cut all the way through.

slit down each side of cut tenderloin

cut the tenderloin to make four ridges

Open up the cut tenderloin and lay it flat. You should have four ridges running lengthwise down the length of it. Using a meat hammer or other heavy object, pound the ridges to even out the thickness and produce one large flattish cutlet.

pound tenderloin to flatten it ingredients for spruce tip stuffing

Chop the spruce tips, place them in a bowl. Chop the raisins, and add them to the spruce tips. Add the grated orange zest, honey, one tablespoon of the olive oil, one tablespoon of the orange juice, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Spread this stuffing mixture over the flattened tenderloin to within ½ inch (1cm) of the edges.

spread the spruce tip stuffing on the flattened tenderloin

Roll up the tenderloin starting at the long edge. Tie evenly with the kitchen twine, then trim the ends of the twine.

rolled and tied stuffed pork tenderloin

Place the rolled and tied bundle in a roasting tin or baking pan just slightly shorter than the meat, about 10 inches (26cm) long.

stuffed roast tenderloin ready for the oven

Squeeze the rest of the orange juice over the tenderloin, then pour over the wine. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.

Place the roasting pan, uncovered, into the preheated oven.

Roast for about 35 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the middle reads 150°F. It will continue to cook as it rests. Don’t let it overcook, or it will dry out.

baked roast stuffed tenderloin

Remove the pan from the oven and set the tenderloin on a plate. Tent it with foil and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Pour the pan juices into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until they are syrupy and reduced to about 2 or 3 tablespoons, watching carefully that they don’t go too far and burn.

Slice the meat, arrange the slices on a platter and pour over the reduced pan juices. Decorate with orange wedges, spruce tips, and raisins, if desired.

Serves 4.

 Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Honey Mustard and Three Seed Encrusted Pork Tenderloin

Herb Stuffed Barbecued Pork Chops

Pork Chops with Saskatoon Chutney

Buttery Sauteed Mushrooms with Spruce Tips and Chives

* * *

My little cooking buddy Meredith helped me pick the spruce tips:

picking spruce tips

Posted in Canadian Food Experience Project, Meats, Spruce Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Lobster Salad with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

An elegant summer splurge – lobster salad with smoky charred corn and juicy tomatoes.

lobster salad with lobster

What do you do when you come home from a fancy dinner with two dripping boiled lobsters in a plastic bag?

You thank your lucky stars for the gift and make a lovely, summery, lobster salad.

Because here in landlocked northern Alberta, any kind of fresh seafood is a treat to be celebrated. Since our lobsters need to be flown in from the east coast, they are a delicacy reserved for special occasions. I find it funny to think that lobster used to be a food for the poor in coastal regions, fed to indentured servants and prison inmates (much to their displeasure) and we consider it such a luxury food now. What would they have thought if they’d heard the exorbitant price we pay for a few chunks of that spiny crustacean’s sweet flesh?

dueling lobsters

doing the lobster happy dance

As to why we came home with two boiled lobsters? We attended the Rotary fundraising Lobsterfest and auction in Spruce Grove  a couple weeks ago, and rather than deal with the messy lobsters at the dinner, they serve a tasty buffet, then send every guest home with a cooked lobster in a bag at the end of the evening. No complaints here – we had this delicious lobster salad to enjoy the next day.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: If your lobsters are not already cooked, bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Drop the live lobsters into the boiling water (you can place them into the freezer for an hour first to numb them, if you are bothered by boiling them live). Start timing as soon as the lobsters hit the pot, and boil for seven minutes for the first pound (454gms) plus three minutes for every pound after that.

The 10 -12 minutes recommended in the video link below is too long for small lobsters – I know from experience – and the lovely, and very expensive, lobster meat can get tough and chewy. (We splurged on a feed of  smallish lobsters for our daughter’s graduation and learned our lesson; next time – seven minutes!)

The fleshy, oblong Roma or Italian tomatoes work best for this lobster salad, since they are much less watery than regular tomatoes. If you can’t find Roma tomatoes, use regular tomatoes, but cut them in half crosswise first, and remove most of the seeds and juice.

a lovely plateful of lobster salad

Summer Lobster Salad with Charred Corn and Tomatoes

  • meat from 2 cooked lobsters (about 12 oz/350gms)
  • 2 cups corn kernels (about 3 medium cobs)
  • 4 large roma/Italian plum tomatoes (about 1 lb/450gms)
  • ½ cup (120ml) sliced chives or green onions
  • ½ cup (120ml) good quality mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup (60ml) Greek yogurt
  • grated rind of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

Remove the meat from the lobsters. (See this video on how to remove lobster meat easily.) Cut the lobster meat into bite-sized chunks.

removing the meat from the shells for the lobster salad

Char the corn. If using fresh whole cobs, barbecue them, turning the cobs until there are char marks on each side. If using frozen kernels, defrost the kernels (you can run cold water over them in a strainer until they are defrosted) and drain them well. Dab them dry with a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Then toast them, without oil, in a heavy skillet (like cast iron) set over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until a good portion of the kernels have dark brown spots on them.

pan-charred corn for lobster salad

Let cool and add to the lobster meat in a large bowl.

Core and dice the tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Cut the chives or green onions. Add them to the lobster and corn.

lobster salad ready for dressing

In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

Add to the salad ingredients, and toss gently to coat everything with dressing. Chill if desired, or serve right away, garnished with more chopped chives or green onions. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

Serves 4.

Guten Appetit!

 You might also like:

Shrimp Salad with Lemon Dill Dressing

Fish Tacos – Fresh, Crispy, and Colourful

Asparagus Shrimp and Potato Salad with a Creamy Lemon Tarragon Dressing

Fish ‘n Chip Sticks with Easy Tartar Sauce

Butter Fish – Why Not?

Posted in Fish & Seafood, Salads & Dressings | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sorrel Soup (Sauerampfer Suppe) Makes me Smile

Clean, simple ingredients showcase the sprightliness of a classic sorrel soup.

a bowl of creamy spring sorrel soup

When we were children growing up in British Columbia, we gathered wild sorrel growing in the ditches along our country road. Nibbling the mouth-puckeringly sour leaves was a pleasure akin to chewing rhubarb stalks – and a test of our toughness. “Nah – it’s not sour at all. Watch me eat this whole leaf.” You didn’t want to show your weakness by stuffing less leaves into your mouth than your cohorts, or heaven-forbid, to pucker-up while chewing.

When my children were little they always played a game of bringing me a piece of sorrel leaf to eat, telling me it was spinach or a sweet stevia leaf, then waiting – trying to look nonchalant – while I took a nibble. I’d make a great show of taking a big bite, then puckering up and making horrible sounds when I chewed the sour, lemony leaves. They’d roll on the ground, giggling, gleefully triumphant that they’d fooled mommy again.

So, sorrel makes me smile.

And it also makes me smile because I remember the wonderful creamy-tangy flavour of my Oma Bose’s sorrel soup. I can’t ask her any more how she made it, but I think I’ve come close. She may have made it with bacon, and I have too sometimes. She also may have stirred a bit of sour cream in at the end, but the sorrel adds a lovely kind of tang by itself. This simple creamy version seems right to me.

bowl of sorrel soup

The German word for sorrel is Sauerampfer, but our family called it Sauer-rampel. I’m not sure if that’s some kind of dialectal variation, or just our own weird distortion of the word. Either way, it is an easy herb to grow, and like lovage, will take care of itself and provide you with one of the first green shoots to poke its tips from the ground in the spring. Throw a handful of sliced sorrel leaves into a salad to add bursts of lemony brightness.

sorrel is the first herb to pop out of the ground in the spring

Ever since I’ve had a garden, I’ve always had a patch of sorrel growing in an undisturbed corner. French Sorrel is the best variety for flavourful tender leaves, and if you can buy a started plant or get a piece from a friend, it is quicker than starting it from seed. It’s quite a respectful plant – coming back year after year, not growing wildly out of control. If I keep pinching out the flowering stalks, it rewards me with tart leaves to jazz-up summer salads or to make my Oma’s lovely sorrel soup, all summer long.

* * * * *

Kitchen Frau Notes: Homemade chicken stock is the best in soups, but a good quality purchased one will work here, too.

bowl of sorrel soup with chives

Creamy Sorrel Soup

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions, diced (about 2 cups/500ml)
  • 1 cup (240ml) diced celery
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 lb (450gms) potatoes, peeled and diced (2 generous cups, diced)
  • 4 cups good quality chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sweet rice flour (or all purpose flour)
  • ½ cup (120ml) light cream
  • 4 cups (4 oz/115gms) chopped sorrel leaves
  • a dollop of sour cream to serve (optional)

Heat the butter in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the diced onions, celery, salt, and pepper, and saute until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are sauteing, peel the potatoes and dice them into ½ inch (1cm) cubes.

Add the potatoes, chicken stock, and bay leaf to the onions. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Whisk together the rice flour and cream until there are no lumps (or shake it vigorously in a small jar, if using regular flour).

Whisk the flour slurry into the soup. Bring just to a boil. Trim the stems from the sorrel leaves and discard them. Chop the leaves coarsely and add the sorrel to the soup. Heat just until the first bubbles start appearing. The sorrel leaves will turn from bright green to olive green immediately upon hitting the soup – it’s a fun transformation to watch. Taste and add more salt and pepper if it needs it.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream or a few crumbles of bacon, if desired.

Serves 6.

Guten Appetit!

You might also like:

Baked Potato Soup

Potatoes with Spruce Tips and Cream

Lovage Souffle

Posted in Gardening, German Cooking, Herbs, Potatoes, Soups & Stews | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments