When I started crying, I almost thought I would not stop.  Baby Nina was beside me in hospital.  She was four days old.  I was reading the card Mr Mélanger had just handed me for our 1st wedding anniversary.  It was touching, moving and stirred up plenty of emotion.  Next came the gift.  After electing to go down the traditional route of presents for our anniversaries, I wondered what paper item would lie within the wrapping.  Once opened, the tears once more were instant.  But this time with more force.  A black and white framed photograph of me holding our 36-hour old baby girl was my gift.  I was dumbstruck at how Mr Mélanger was able to organise such a precious present.  I was completely unaware of his intention when he took the photograph originally.  What a special piece of paper indeed.

So tonight, we celebrate our belated wedding anniversary.  Actually, on a day of another two anniversaries.  Our baby daughter is now one month old today.  How quickly that time has flown – and how quickly she is growing!  It is also a sad 14 years today since my father passed away.  I cannot believe it has been that long.  The middle names we gave baby Nina are in honour of my father.  We used the same initials, so she will have some connection to the only grandparent that will never meet her.

My father loved strawberries.  Particularly growing them.  I have fond memories of him in his garden tending to rows upon rows of strawberries.  So it is only fitting that I post this homemade strawberry ice cream today, on this anniversary.

{ Strawberry Ice Cream with Lemon Coconut Macaroons } Original recipe by Julia @ Mélanger

Despite the high cream content, this is a refreshing ice cream with the addition of the sweet fruit of the strawberry.  I wanted to pair this with a little zesty biscuit and it was quite some time until I thought of the simple coconut macaroon.  A little grating of lemon rind cuts some of the sweetness and is a nice little tasty treat with the ice cream.

{ Strawberry Ice Cream  }

* Ingredients *
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups full cream milk
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
500g / 1 pint strawberries, hulled

* Directions *
Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar.  In a saucepan, gently heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edges.  Remove from heat.  Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath and set aside.  Slowly whisk the heated cream in a steady stream into the yolk mixture to temper.  Once it has been completely mixed, transfer the mixture back to the saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and mix in the milk.  Pour mixture through sieve, and set into an ice-water bath.  Chill mixture overnight in the fridge.  The following day, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Coarsely chop the strawberries and add to the mixture at the final stages of churning.*  Freeze for a further 1-2 hours to firm up the texture.

*Although delicious, some of the fruit was a little too firm to the bite in this ice cream.  Next time I will make a strawberry coulis and churn in at the end.

Makes 1 1/2 litres/quarts

{ Lemon Coconut Macaroons }

* Ingredients *
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 large egg whites
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

* Directions *
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine sugar, coconut, egg whites, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt. Use your hands to mix well, completely combining ingredients.  Dampen hands with cold water. Form 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into a loose haystack shape, and place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, placing macaroons about 1 inch apart.  Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven to a wire rack, and let macaroons cool slightly on baking sheet. These are best served warm from the oven, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Makes 20