Trifle Recipe

June 10th, 2009, 4:09 pm PDT by Greg

The trifle that I regularly make is always a big hit. This is particularly joyous because it’s not very hard to make. The recipe is from the (annoyingly, out-of-print) New Canadian Basics cookbook, with a few mods by me. If you find a copy of Basics, buy it and live by it.

We served it at our open house and I posted a vague recipe then. Daniela wanted me to be more explicit, so…


This makes a big party-sized bowl.

  • 2 pound cakes (or similar cakes from grocery store) cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 C fruit coulis (recipe below)
  • 6 C fruit pieces (berries, peaches, mango,… whatever is available. Use canned/frozen if you must.)
  • 6 C custard sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 C whipping cream
  1. Make the other recipes below. They need to cool, so leave some time. (I usually do them the day before.) Eat a few handfuls of the cake pieces while you’re getting stuff together.
  2. For the first layers, use about a third of each: cake pieces, fruit coulis, fruit pieces, custard.
  3. For the next layers, repeat step 1 twice more, using the rest of each ingredient. Cover and refrigerate for 4–8 hours.
  4. Whip cream and spread on top. Garnish with some berries.

Fruit Coulis

This makes more than the trifle needs, but there’s nothing wrong with having some berry sauce in the fridge. Reasonable substitution: decent berry jam thinned with a little fruit juice or sherry.

  • 1 kg bag of frozen fruit (mixed fruit or mixed berries)
  • water
  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • 1/4 C sherry (optional)
  1. Put 1/4 C of water and 1 tbsp of cornstarch in a jar/tupperware. Shake to combine. (Goal: no cornstarch lumps.)
  2. Combine 1/4 C water, 1/4 C sugar, and the berries in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. When the berries have started to cook, add half of the cornstarch mixture and stir. Make sure the mixture boils to cook the cornstarch.
  4. Look and taste. Add more cornstarch mixture if it needs to be thicker; sugar to taste; cook longer if there are too many berry chunks.
  5. Turn off heat and stir in sherry.

Custard Sauce

Makes about 6 cups. You could probably substitute 6 cups of custard made with a custard powder, but I have never tried.

  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 6 tbsp (=3/8 C) cornstarch
  • 4 1/2 C milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  1. In a big microwavable bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and milk. Whisk to combine.
  2. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Whisk to combine and break up any lumps. Repeat until it thickens. (It will boil a bit: covering the bowl saves cleanup.)
  3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs. Whisk in a little of the hot mixture. (You’re preventing egg lumps here: add hot mixture to eggs slowly while whisking, until you have added about as much mixture as you had eggs originally.)
  4. Microwave for a few more minutes. Stop and whisk every minute or so. Continue until the whole thing has cooked (thickened and maybe boiled a bit).
  5. Add the vanilla.

Alaska – Kat’s perspective

June 2nd, 2009, 11:43 am PDT by Kat

By the sounds of Greg’s post, the cruise was a downer. Contrary to Scrougy-McScrougerson’s account, we had a fun (and relaxing) time.

During the week we saw a wolf (dark brown and kind of mangy. Just realized that this wolf was probably shedding it’s winter coat – hence it’s mangy look), a bear, a martin (Greg’s mom saw it at the dock at Juneau), black-legged kittiwakes and other gulls, pupping and diving harbour seals, and a pod of orca.

Holland America has what they call “dam dollars”. They’re pretty much play money that you earn by participating in ship activities. Other cruise lines have similar things like Royal Caribbean’s “Ship-Shape dollars”. Anyways, all week I dragged Greg to team trivia ($1 each for participation), name that tune ($3 each), Wii bowling ($1 each + $3/spare and $5/strike), and the most profitable, polar bear swim ($10 each! + a nice certificate!). In the end we’ve ended up with 59 dam dollars! We got a hat for Greg’s dad and two mugs for us and gave the rest of our dollars to a boy that was at all of the activities. While I did have to “drag” Greg to these events, he did have fun while we were there, honest!

After playing team trivia almost every day (and doing fairly mediocre at it the whole week) we finally won on the last day, and we weren’t even there to see the victory. We teamed up with a couple from Burnaby and another couple from Vancouver Island, and ended up in a quadruple tie at the end of what was possibly the toughest game during the week. We initially thought it was a 3-way tie not involving our team, so Greg and I left for our 5:30 dinner seating. However, after we left, our team found out that due to a miscalculation, it was actually a 4-way tie. The rest of the team won during the tie-breaker and our entire team won Holland America picture frames, which were the nicest trivia prize of the week. The two guys actually came and found us in the dining room and presented us with our frames! Yippee!! 😀

The views of the Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park were really stunning. If you’re ever in Skagway, I recommend the Skagway Brewing Company beer tasting which comes with a free hat! 🙂

Alaska Summary

June 1st, 2009, 11:43 pm PDT by Greg

We’re back from the Alaska cruise. We didn’t blog daily like China since it was a lot more sedate. Here’s the rundown:

I put pictures of the cruise up if you want to see it. There’s some good stuff in there. Again, many of the pictures are geotagged, so you can click the Google Earth/Maps link on the left of the gallery.

I wasn’t expecting wild excitement on an Alaska cruise with Holland America (which has an older demographic). But, I was looking forward to the downtime and being bored, so that was just fine with me.

That kind of worked out, but I spent a lot of time being dragged around by Kat to events on the boat. Kat decided to collect ship bucks that could later be redeemed for swag. That meant participating in (for example) several Name-That-Tune games which consisted entirely of music for the Holland America demographic which we didn’t know.

The shore days were a little depressing. The three cities we went to seemed to only exist for the purpose of providing cruise ships somewhere to dock and their passengers to buy crappy souvenirs. (That’s probably not entirely true, but from what a cruise ship passenger sees, that’s what it looks like.) Ketchikan was my favourite: it felt the least artificial.

That’s not much of a summary of a week of travel, but short of describing every day in excruciating detail, I’m going to stop. Kat probably has more highlights that she can blog about all by herself.