After far too long, we got together with friends Pat and Diane and their two kidlets for dinner at their place. It was probably the most relaxing social event that I've been to since... I can't even remember when!

Big Brother Jake and Miss Stella were amazing with Baby E. I hardly had to lift a finger, and he couldn't care less about me. It was perfection! The dynamic duo fawned over Baby E like two mother hens and, by the end of the night, my toddler was ready to move in!

To contribute to Pat's skillful grilling of chicken, sausages, and salmon, we brought a salad and a dessert. For the salad I started with a mixture of quinoa and millet and added crumbled bacon, local corn, edamame, almonds, basil, and feta. I dressed it all with a honey like vinaigrette.

millet bacon salad

For dessert, we had a loosely constructed parfait of lemon cream, the no churn ice cream that I had made earlier, lemon-scented shortbread, and basil.

lemon cream parfait on lemon shortbread

It was great to be able to catch up with friends over a relaxed summer meal. Thanks so much for having us over, Pat and Diane!

Quinoa Millet Bacon Salad with Local Corn, Edamame, and Feta
Serves a crowd

For the salad
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup millet, cooked
10 strips streaky bacon, cubed, cooked, and crumbled
1 cup shucked edamame beans, cooked
1 cup corn kernels, cooked
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Small handful of basil, shredded

For the dressing
2/3 cups lime juice
2/3 cups olive oil
Big squeeze of honey
Pinch kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper

Toss all the salad ingredients together into a large bowl.

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and dress the salad liberally. Taste for seasoning and add more dressing if needed. Once it's been refrigerated, you may find the flavours becoming muted. Allow to sit on the counter for a few minutes before serving. Add more dressing if needed.

Lemon Cream Parfaits with Basil

1 batch of No Churn Ice Cream

Lemon-Scented Shortbread
1/2 cup butter, very soft
Pinch of salt
Zest of two small lemons, grated finely
4 and 1/2 oz of all purpose flour
1 and 1/3 oz of brown rice flour
1 and 1/4 oz sugar
1 tbs sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and butter an 8x8 inch glass dish.

Sift together the all-purpose flour and brown rice flour.

In a small bowl, mix the butter with salt well. Mix in the lemon zest. Stir in the sugar until combined.

Add the sifted flours to the butter mixture and stir until the dough comes together.

Press into the prepared dish and bake for 25-30 minutes. The shortbread should remain light in colour.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then sprinkle the remaining sugar on top. Tilt and rotate the pan to coat the top of the shortbread evenly.

With a sharp knife, slice the shortbread into squares. Leave in the pan until completely cool. Once cooled, the cookies are ready to be used.

Tartine's Lemon Cream
This recipe is from the Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.

5 oz lemon juice
3 whole large eggs
1 large egg yolk
6 oz sugar
Pinch of salt
8 oz unsalted butter, cool

Combine the eggs, egg yolk, salt, lemon juice, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

Set the mixture over a pot of simmer water and whisk continuously. You don't want to end up with scrambled eggs!

Once the egg mixture had become very thick and opaque, remove from the stove and set on the counter to cool for a few minutes. Whisk it occasionally to help it along.

Cube the cool, unsalted butter into tablespoons.

Pour the egg mixture into a blender. With the machine running, drop the in the cubes of butter, ensuring that each piece of butter is blended in before adding the next.

Once all the butter has been added, pour the cream into a glass or plastic container and chill for several hours before using.

To assemble the parfaits

Choose a dish of your choice and begin layering the different components.

Start with the shortbread, followed by the ice cream, the lemon cream, and a small nest of shredded basil. Continue in this manner for as many layers as you wish.

Enjoy with your evening tea or coffee. Or maybe even a glass or two of prosecco?