Sunday, 11 March 2012

Awesome sauce to be reckoned with.

I was a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen this week. Not only did I make ice cream for the first time and conquer it at that, but I had planned my time so impeccably that I had time to make another butter cream torte, fruit explosions, and apple pie for my portfolio. I have three desserts remaining: sugar show piece, chocolate dessert, and chocolate garnishes. But if this coming week will be anything like the previous one I have nothing to worry about.

On Tuesday I was in the kitchen ready to go and had three pots on the stove boiling with ice cream goodness by noon. I made up my own signature ice cream flavour: black berry caramel with sliced almonds and bubble sugar garnish. The flavour was inspired by a synesthesic conversation I had with a friend about what Notre Dame would taste like if it were a flavour. I made the caramel first, boiling it until it reached golden bliss. It was rich and creamy and just bitter enough to accent the black berries sweet yet velvet flavour. The black berry sauce was a joy to make, I love black berries!!! Boiling them down, beating them into a puree and thickening them just enough was just as enjoyable as singing. With these two pots happily boiling and simmering to flavour on the stove I added one more to the chaos and made the base for ice cream, otherwise known as crème anglaise. I had so many pots on the go that the opportunity to forget that they were hot occurred more than once. I came away that day with several burns, thankfully none of them life threatening or fatal. I was quick to remedied the injuries with cold water and being the tough gal that I am I kept on powering through.

After boiling the crème anglaise and letting it cool to 40 degrees I poured it into the ice cream machine and let it churn for 25 minutes until a velvety, rich, ice cream was achieved. As it came out of the machine I swirled the black berry and caramel sauce in as evenly as I could. I stirred it lightly and finally satisfied with its colour and texture I put it in the freezer. The large spoon I was using to stir the ice cream with had a healthy coating of ice cream and before dumping it into the dish pit I slinked away from the watchful eyes of the chef and licked the spoon clean. It was amazing! Unashamed I indulged messily letting it dribbled down my chin and onto my chef whites. Suddenly, who should come around the corner but the chef! I stopped licking the spoon, my tongue in mid lick, ice cream on the corners of my mouth, and an expression of getting my hand caught in the cookie jar on my face. My cheeks turned red with embarrassment and I thought for sure I would be scolded. Chef laughed and asked if the ice cream was good. I nodded sheepishly, dumped the spoon in the sink and ran back to my station to pretend to sift flour. The next time I want to chow down on my ice cream I’ll do what every brilliant pastry student does and bring to it the freezer to “put it away.”

The ice cream was not just made for my enjoyment but for the Lucy Maud Dinning room so that all of Charlottetown may be blessed by its exotic flavour. However, on Tuesday and Wednesday there were no takers, silly sauce, what crazy person DOESN'T eat ice cream in the middle of winter. It is sacrilege to the highest degree. But don’t be alarmed, the poor souls redeemed their ice cream absent hearts on Thursday night when we sold out! How flattering!

As I mentioned before I had the opportunity to make apple pie and a peach and mandarin orange fruit explosion this week as well. Both were just as delicious and complete as the ice cream. It was a good week in the kitchen indeed.

How do I begin to describe the most foundation building 24 hours of my life? I spent this past Friday and Saturday with 28 fabulous women of God. The women of Charlottetown Community Church, packed our bags, left the husband, kids and laundry at home and bolted away to Rustico for a get away weekend retreat. We all showed up to Belcourt Center, an old convent converted into a retreat center, for a little R&R with God. After registering, finding a room, and unpacking what little we had and having a few minutes to get acquainted with each other we headed into the first worship service of the weekend. I was asked to lead worship for the weekend, and was very honoured to have the responsibility of such a joyous burden. Had they asked me in October I would have jumped out the window, but the Lord has done so much work in me that I felt confident in leading.

We all gathered into the “Big Room” and shared a moment of divinity. As we sang, the Holy Spirit came down and took complete control of the voices in the group. I heard the most delicious trickling harmony wave through the strong hold of women in the room and the impact of them singing back to me was overwhelming. This first holy ground moment was a gate way into the rest of the blessings, richness, and divine appointments and words that would flow that weekend.

Over the next 24 hours we heard from women who showed unbelievable vulnerability and bravery in sharing their stories and life struggles and how God got a hold of them and would not let go to bring them to where they are now. They shared not only the hard life they had but their excitement, fear, and hope for the long journey ahead as God continues to transform their lives. One woman in particular wrote a divine piece of truth of how God plants seeds of purpose in us. Though the elements of life try to break and uproot us through His tentative hands He plants strong people around us to be a windbreaker against the elements so that we may grow to be strong and be a windbreaker for someone else. This is my favourite line from what she wrote:  

“Their leaves unfurl and blossoms sprout in a glorious array of authentic colours and textures. Each bears unique gifts and fruits to give back to the world. The entirety of the crop is a spectacular breath-taking thing to behold.”

I have never felt so full and empty at the same time. Empty of shame, hurt, weights and burdens that weren’t mine to carry, and stripped of lies and tricks of the Enemy, but full of passion, fire, energy, beauty, truth, and force. I have been woven into a community of women that is heart stopping strong. I learned that as humans we are created in the image of God. God is beautiful, divine, mysterious, and layered with love and joy that takes a lifetime of relationship with Him to understand. God doesn’t make ugly things. He’s eye for beauty and what defines beauty is vast. Not only was the physical beauty of the women at the retreat revealed to me but the beauty of their hearts, character, energy and peace was vibrant, iridescent and thick. Allow me to plant this thought in your head for a moment. We are created in Gods image which includes His heart, character and physicality. Ponder the character of a woman for a moment. She is layered, excellent. The love for her husband is leagues different than the love for her children, and also for her girlfriends. As she ages with the Lord she does not become haggard or wrinkled but radiant and carved with life lines of truth and joy. The battles she fights and wins and loses gives her wisdom and strength and deepens her roots. Her affection for the people around her is beyond maternal it is a reflection of Gods own heart. A woman is a reflection of Gods own heart. Wow. Ladies, we are not only our beauty and our compassion, we are power, a force to be reckoned with, strong, and divine!

I am rereading the book “Captivating,” there is a passage in the book that talks about creation and how at the very end of it God created woman. The line that followed was this, “Creation would not be complete without a woman.” Wow. Women, if we were not created there would be a hole in Gods design, a void that only you can fill. Let that truth sink in for a minute. Ponder on how your specific and unique design not only compliments the world but completes it! Praise the Lord!

Sunday couldn’t have been a more perfect day. I accomplished #1 on my Island New Years Resolution: Go on a sleigh ride. I had the pleasure of organizing a sleigh ride for the church. This week we had warm temperatures and a fair share of rain so you can image how terrified I was of the possibility of the snow disappearing. When we pulled up to the farm there was a plethora of snowy pastures and woodlands. I waited impatiently bouncing off the porch waiting for our sleigh to arrive. Finally a large red sleigh pulled by two beautiful and well muscled Clydesdales slowed to a stop in front of us and we all hopped in. I could hardly believe what was happening. As the sleigh pulled ahead I felt like I had tripped into a fairy tale. Jingle bells lightly dusting the winter air in a thin melody, it began to snow, the woods were thick and sleepy, but welcoming of the small chattering party gliding between its trunks and low hanging branches. We weaved through the bushes for quite sometime. The air got sweeter and brighter, and the wind picked slightly, we broke through the bushes and into a meadow to behold the ocean rolling deeply and beguiling beneath us. It was breath taking, quite literally!

I don’t know how long the sleigh ride lasted, I lost all track of time and I didn’t care. But I do remember the faint thud as my heart sank when I saw the barn through the trees and I knew our sleigh ride was close to an end. To top the afternoon off we huddled inside sipping hot chocolate and chattering, soaking up all the community we could handle. I made sure to capture this moment of delight in a group picture. It was an afternoon of sheer bliss!

As I sit here, typing fiercely away trying to meet my blog deadline, I glance outside briefly and realize it is snowing again. Winters last evening waltz before waving good bye and letting spring take the stage.

Blackberry Caramel Ice cream with sliced almonds and sugar garnish.

Butter cream torte

Peach and Mandarin Orange Fruit Explosion

Apple Cream Crumb Pie

Shelagh and myself. We are women hear us roar!

Going on a sleigh ride.

Bernice and myself on the sliegh. Total bliss.

Thank you for the super fun afternoon Charlottetown Community Church! Looking forward to doing another sleigh ride next year!

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome! And I LOVE the photo of you with Shelagh. Supercool.