CurtisLast nite at the gym I caught an episode of Take Home Chef while on the treadmill. I stopped my workout partner, Mike, in mid conversation because out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of something deliscious on screen.  After a few oohs, aaahs, and oh my’s I thought “what a perfect quick and easy valentine treat to make for someone!”

If you’ve never watched Take Home Chef, it’s basically this Aussie chef who radomnly picks up attractive women in grocery stores, goes home with them and cooks them a meal.  A little stalkerish, if you ask me, but I still love watching it. Even if it might only secretly be because of his good looks and Australian accent.

The recipe below calls for making your own granita but if you’re not into that you can always buy some at the store. These days you can pick a carton up at Zehrs.

Strawberries Flambe with Cognac and Strawberry Granita
Serves 4-6

For Strawberry Granita:
1 pound fresh ripe strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Juice of one lemon

For Flambe Strawberries:
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1-1/2 pounds fresh ripe strawberries, washed, stemmed and cut in half
1/3 cup Cognac
4 sprigs fresh spearmint

To make Granita:
Puree the strawberries, sugar, water, lemon juice together in blender until smooth.  Strain strawberry puree into 8 inch cake pan or baking dish.  Freeze until the puree is ice around the edges (about an hour).  Using a large fork, stir the icy parts of the puree into the middle of the pan.  Continue to freeze until mixture is frozen, stirrng the edges into the centre every 20-30 minutes, about one and a half hours.  Using a large fork, scrape the granita into flaky crystals.  Cover and keep frozen.

Flambe Strawberries:
Place a heavy large saute pan over medium heat.  Add brown sugar and let it cook for 2 minutes without stirring or until sugar begins to dissolve.  Stir the sugar until it becomes a caramel-like sauce (approximately 2 minutes).  Add strawberries and toss to coat.  The sugar will harden at this point but will dissolve after the cognac is added and the sauce simmers.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the cognac.  Allow pan to cool for 2 minutes.

Here’s a link from the site for recipes using natural aphrodisiacs that can help add to your evening!

Set the pan over medium heat, being careful not to ignite the contents in the pan.  Simmer gently for 5 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens slightly ensuring the berries still hold their shape and do not become mushy. Spool the warm strawberries into a cocktail glass or serving dish. Place a scoop of the granita on top of the strawberries. Garnish with mint and serve immediately.