I am supposed to be writing to you right now about good things, and good things only. And why not, seeing as it is my birthday today. I was supposed to make my cake yesterday actually; supposed to relish my first baking project for the year… But I make too many suppositions, it seems.
I haven’t been myself lately. Anyone who has read my previous post would have an idea of what I’m talking about. The past week has been tremendous, but not at all in a good way. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that there is always a reason behind everything that happens in the course of our lives, and that we’re bound to find out what they are and how to deal with them in time.
I am often cheered by and geared up for Sundays, as it is the only time I have the opportunity to practice my hobbies. But not even the prospect of shooting with my new camera could get me up and about. I didn’t feel any excitement or enthusiasm at all, not even a hint of regret at the time I didn’t spend well enough. I was too busy dwelling on how tiring the week was to care! If you knew me well enough, you would know I hate idleness. Usually I end up berating myself over slacking off, but yesterday was an exception spent in the comfort of my pyjamas with a marathon of Downton Abbey on my TV screen. I didn’t even want to leave my room. The ordeal I am encountering right now has made me weary not just down to my bones; it has in fact managed to sink its teeth into a chunk of my soul. This has been the most difficult bout of physical and emotional fatigue I have ever endured.
This morning when I woke up, I honestly forgot it was my birthday. If not for the well wishes on my phone, I wouldn’t have realised it was the 21st until I glanced upon my planner hours later. Between the greetings though, the day was like any other. I guess it makes sense to say that it’s high time I dispel the notion that birthdays are supposed to feel different and bright and shining, yet I don’t want to give up on the idea that you can take one regular old day and turn it into something truly meaningful. Truth is, life doesn’t get you down, your disposition and perspective does. In my heart of hearts, I refuse to be one of those people who stay stuck in a rut because of their own stubbornness, when I can change the way my day goes by simply looking at it from another angle. And yet, all this is easier said than done once you’re there.
I guess you can say right now I’m in the mending process. I’m beginning to get used to the pressure and the stress, though I can’t let my guard down yet because with what is happening in my life right now, everyday is a surprise waiting to happen. I’m waiting for the moment when I begin to feel like myself again, and by the looks of it, it will take a little more time than I want. While I continue my recuperation, I’m leaving you with a recipe that is quick and easy but oh so comforting. It gives such a nice feeling of coolness and calm, at the same time it brings back childhood memories. I’m declaring it as the best Cookies and Cream Ice Cream I’ve ever eaten; the creamiest and milkiest. It’s reminiscent of dunking Oreo in milk, only a million times better.
Cookies and Cream Ice Cream
from Sweet Creams and Sugar Cones by Hoogerhyde, Walker, and Gough (page 84) | Makes about 1 1/4 quarts
Before beginning the recipe, remember to chill your ice cream maker’s bowl as per manufacturer’s instructions.
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup 1% or 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups chopped chocolate cookies, in pieces 1/4-inch or larger
1. In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just to break them up, then whisk in half of the sugar (1/4 cup). Set aside.
2. In a heavy nonreactive saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining sugar. Put the pan over medium-high heat.
3. When the mixture approaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
4. Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and while whisking the egg yolks constantly, add the cream into the bowl with the egg yolks.
5. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the cream in the saucepan as you slowly pour the egg-and-cream mixture from the bowl into the pan.
6. Cook the mixture carefully over the medium heat, stirring constantly for about 1 to 2 minutes, until it is thickened. It should coat the back of a spatula and hold a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula.
7. Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice-water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool.
8. Remove the container from the ice-water bath, cover, and refrigerate the ice cream base for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
9. Once cold, freeze the base in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, freeze the container you will be using to store the ice cream into the freezer to cool.
10. At the last minute or so of churning, add the chopped cookies into the ice cream maker. Or fold in the chopped cookies by hand after the ice cream comes out of the machine. The ice cream will be the consistency of soft-served and can be eaten as it is, but for a firmer ice cream, transfer the ice cream to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
If you think about it, the real “new year” for every person begins on their birthday.