Nectarine Basil Iced Tea

Sunday in Montreal was oppressively hot, so humid the air felt wet. My mom and I spent the afternoon going to thrift shops on the West Island. There are 3 Nova Stores in our area. Nova is an organization that provides nursing home care services in Montreal. To raise money they have thrift stores around the city. Run by volunteers, often retired nurses, they sell everything from furniture to fabric remnants. I could spend hours in those stores. And there’s no need to feel shopping guilt because all for a great cause.

My goal today was to find props for photos, and I did; antique bowls, 25 cent glasses, and a tiney tiny silver spoon. I also picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables for $1, just because I love that book. But the best find of the day was a teak chair for $35, very similar to this one. It needs to be reupholstered, but still an amazing deal. I can’t wait to start searching for fabric for it!

The drive from store to store is a very pretty stretch of road along the water. We had the windows rolled down enjoying what the summer has to offer. By the time we got home we were quite parched. Thankfully I had this Nectarine and Basil Iced Tea waiting for us. I was a little hesitant to add the basil, but it actually gives the tea a really nice almost spicy flavour. It was surprisingly refreshing. I kept the iced tea alcohol free, but feel free to booze it up.

Nectarine and Basil Iced Tea

  • 4 bags black tea
  • 4 nectarines, sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 5-10 basil leaves
  1. Steep the tea in 8 cups boiled water for 5 minutes, then discard the tea bags.
  2. While the tea is steeping, bring the nectarine slices and sugar to boil with 1 cup of water. Reserve 1/4 of the nectarine slices. Simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and add the basil leaves to the pot for 5 minutes to flavour the syrup. Discard the leaves and pour the nectarine mixture into the tea.
  3. Chill, then serve with ice and remaining nectarine slices.
Enjoy!

 

 

Kaffeeklatsch

Last Sunday Janice and I participated in an culinary event I will not soon forget; Kaffeeklatsch at Laloux.

Kaffeeklastch is an event created by Michelle Marek, pastry chef at Laloux. For a small fixed fee we got the choice of a pastry and a petit four, with coffee from Cafe Myriade. In the past all of the pastries at Kaffeeklatsch were made by Marek, but this time Stéphanie Labelle of Pâtisserie Rhubarbe also provide some incredible treats for us to try.

I don’t usually do restaurant reviews; I’m too busy eating to take pictures. These pastries were so pretty I had to take some pictures of them. The light at Laloux is incredible. The bistro has huge windows along the sides and front that stream light through in such a pretty way.

Because of nut allergies, our choices were limited, but we were still very pleased. Janice chose the Religieuse à la Rhubarbe (above) while I had the Tarte à la Rhubarbe (below). Religieuse are similar to cream puffs, but stacked. In this case they were filled with a rhubarb cream and came with a rhubarb compote. The cream was the perfect sweet/tart combination, and the compote added an extra kick of rhubarb. Labelle’s pastry is also incredible; it’s not like a typical choux pastry. I’d love to know how she makes it. My mom and discussed a few options, some experimenting will be done.

The Tarte was also wonderful. It had a frangipane like filling, which complimented the rhubarb  very nicely. Again there was a great sweet tart balance. I’m going to try to replicate this myself too, although I doubt I can come close to this.

The pastries were followed by petit fours. Janice order rum balls, while I had the chocolate raspberry linzer cookie. Since these were petit we didn’t share them, but I can tell you the linzer was very good; it had a hint of cinnamon. Janice really enjoyed the rum ball.

We were there with a few other Montreal foodies, including Mayssam, Katerine, and Andrea. After watching them order everything (I mean everything) on the menu, we decided a little more pastry wouldn’t hurt. So we split the Sachertorte. Sachertorte is an Austrian chocolate torte. The slice I had was dense and moist, and Marek did an incredible job.

If that wasn’t enough, we took more pastries to go. We both chose the strudel and religieuse. Unfortunately, the strudel is full of walnuts so I didn’t get to try it, but my parents loved it.

All in all it was a wonderful Sunday afternoon. I’m already dreaming of the next Kaffeeklatsch!

A Night At Pullman

Friendships are a strange thing. I’ve always had the assumption that if people are friends with me, they should get along with each other too. I guess it’s a reverse of the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” theory. I’ve been proven wrong many times, but I keep holding on to this idea.

This weekend I went to Pullman Wine Bar with some friends. Some of them had met before, others hadn’t, but they are all my friends so I assumed things would go well. In the end, I’d have to say that the group didn’t quite click. One person did most of the talking, and the conversation never really flowed. I guess these things happen.

We did enjoy some nice wines and delicious foods though. My friend Steph and I shared a bottle of white. Steph and I are not exactly wine connoisseurs, so I asked JB to pick a wine for us. We wanted something not too fruity, not to dry, something just right. He picked out a Amphibolite Nature, a Muscadet 2009  from France, that was very nice. We made our way through the bottle quite quickly.

Between the 6 of us we ordered at least half of the menu. My favourite items were the scallop and chorizo sticks with quince and apple, and the pork meatball ragout with mashed potato and beets. The cheddar and bacon gougeres were also very nice, I’ll have to try and make those at home one day. I took pictures of the food, but a point and shoot in a dark bar does not good pictures take.

For dessert I had the apple and honey semifredo. I was expecting a semifredo with both of those flavours, but it was actually a honey semifredo placed on a spoonful of apple sauce. Separately they were just ok, together they were better, but still not spectacular. JB had the red wine figs with almond graham and mascarpone and love it. It was so good he refused to share.

All in all I’d say it was a good night. I got a chance to see friends I rarely see and eat some good food. That’s the beauty of a good restaurant, even if there is nothing to say, you can always just enjoy the food.