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… and I never want to.

Chopped salads weren’t a feature of my childhood. Run-of-the-mill lettuce n’ tomato combos (tomato ignored by me at the time) and coleslaw were regulars on our table. But chopped… Not that I remember. And I’ve always flicked past them in cookbooks because copious amounts of mayonnaise always seem to be involved and that just makes me feel a little queasy. Teeny tiny pieces of unidentifiable food drowning in an ocean of gooey dressing does not make for an appetising dish.

Also, somehow, in my brain, chopped salad equalled egg mayo salad. Don’t ask me why.

Well, that’s one prejudice well and truly demolished. I don’t know what drew me to this recipe the most – the promise of the salty feta or the contrasting lighter flavour of the cucumber, along with the herbs. But all of a sudden, there I was at the kitchen counter, crumbling cheese, chopping red onion and rifling the fridge for whatever herbs I could find like my life depended on it.

The result was a crunchy, tangy revelation. To the point where I just stood there, scooping one spoonful after another onto a hunk of bread and shovelling it greedily into my mouth. Scoop, shovel, chomp, repeat. Followed by small sighs of contentment.

Joanna Weir’s Cucumber and Feta Salad via the incomparable David Lebovitz.

Copy of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz, the god of all frozen desserts and loved by food bloggers everywhere? Check. All the ingredients assembled and ready? Check. Icecream maker chilling nicely in the freezer, ready to receive said ingredients and churn them into icy deliciousness? Check.

Right, where’s the icecream scoop?

Ah…

I’m not sure why but it’s just about the one piece of kitchen equipment I don’t have. So there aren’t any ‘perfect scoop’-type pictures on this post (not that I could set one up anyway)*, just a snap of a plastic tub containing pink gloop. You’ll just have to trust me when I say it’s frozen strawberry yogurt. And yes, that’s some real sunshine lighting it up. Hurray!

The strawberries are Irish (or should that be ‘were Irish’ now they’re part of the dessert?), which meant I didn’t feel too bad about buying them in September because they hadn’t travelled very far. And I used organic, whole milk yogurt from Glenisk Dairy, also Irish, which has an excellent creamy consistency and flavour. Altogether an Irish affair. Except for the recipe, which was written by an American living in Paris (I’m jealous!).

Anyway, this recipe got the big thumbs up from Mr. B, the official keeper of the sweet tooth in this house and I loved it too. Sweetness from the strawberries offset by a slightly sharp tang from the yogurt. Mmmmm. What’s not to like? And you can pretend it’s marginally healthy too if you make-believe that the sugar isn’t there.

I’ve already made the roasted banana icecream from David’s book (another thumbs up from both of us) and the next one on my hit list, prompted by Clotilde, here, will be the chocolate sorbet. Although I’m also looking forward to trying out some of the more unusual flavours like goat cheese, basil, or parsley. There’s even one made with Guinness. All very intriguing and probably a bit of a challenge for me, as I can’t quite make the pleasure connection between icecream and savoury flavours.

But even if I never get around to being more adventurous with my icecream making, there are enough sweet variations in The Perfect Scoop to keep me going for a while. We’re definitely going to need a bigger freezer.

Frozen Stawberry Yogurt
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes just over 1 pint.

You’ll need:

450g fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
130g sugar
2 teaspoons of vodka or kirsch (optional)
240g plain, whole-milk yogurt
1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch, if using, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

2. Purée the strawberries and their liquid with the yogurt and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until smooth. If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.

3. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your icecream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

*For amazing icecream photography (and recipes, of course), visit Icecream Ireland. (I feel a pilgrimage to Dingle coming on!)

Hello

I'm short of stature (a family trait) but big of appetite (also a family trait). If you're reading this then you're probably big of appetite too. Or a member of my family (hello Mum).
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