There are times (plenty chez-nous) when one aches for something sweet to complete a meal. Times when the Valentines day candy stash you hid from your kids has run dry. Err...wait a minute...delete...
But given the propensity of heavy, spicy foods that you consume on a daily basis, you just need something cool and refreshing with a tinge of sweetness to refresh your palate. No heavy puddings. No gooey pastries. We'll save those for breakfast instead.
Enter Mouhalabieh - a creamy, delightful milk pudding from the Middle East that is a cinch to prepare. Milk, cornstarch and a little sugar. Boil. Cool. Eat. Lick. No-one is looking.
The following quantity is for 2 servings. Or one and a half greedy servings and a smattering for the spouse who walked in and caught you siphoning off his share.
But that totally didn't happen tonight.
(Middle Eastern Milk Custard)
Mouhalabieh For Two
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp sugar
2 heaped tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp rose water
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine milk, cornstarch and sugar in a saucepan, whisk to remove lumps and bring to boil over medium heat whilst stirring.
2. Add vanilla extract and let the milk come to a full boil. Remove from heat. Mixture should have a thick consistency now.
3. Add the rose water.
4. Strain into two small dessert bowls or moulds. Let cool and refrigerate.
And now to kick up this dessert a notch further, I paired it with a few strawberries that had been doused in balsamic vinegar.
Can I get a HALLELUJAH?
I was really intimidated by the balsamic vinegar because of its "Eau De Gym Locker Room" aroma. And I begrudgingly splashed a few drops on the ripe strawberries thinking "Well, gotta try it at least once!"
Atta girl! I love how the sweet strawberries enveloped the tart vinegar and you get some sort of magical reaction of sweet and tart. It ratcheted up strawberry's sexiness to another planetary level.
What a delightful combination and why did I not try this before I dumbfoundedly pondered as I shoved in a few more strawberries into my mouth.
But while I wax eloquent about Balsamic Strawberries giving Victoria's Secret models a run for their money, I will note that the husband was not entirely pleased with them and thought the vinegar detracted from the strawberries usual wholesome selves.
But I think he was just mad that I ate his share of the pudding.
5 strawberries, hulled and sliced.
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1. Sprinkle sugar on strawberries.
2. Splash balsamic vinegar on the strawberries. Mix and let rest a few minutes. Use as an accompaniment to dessert.