I don't really remember when I first heard the term "cook's treat" but I remember the dish. It was a roast chicken...or duck...maybe turkey--it was a bird, I know that much. The TV cook took it out of the oven, placed it on the counter, smiled and surrepticiously cut off a piece and ate it.
"Cook's treat," he said unapologetically.
In my juvenile brain, it translated to "if you cook it, you can take what you want before you actually serve it to your family or guests."
I liked that idea...and greedily put it to regular practise...until My Dear Little Cardamummy caught me. Yeah...she put an end to that. Well, sort of. I still snuck little bits, but made sure they were little and no one would actually notice they were gone.
Now when I have my cook's treat it can be anything from hiding some of the crackling from a roast ham to using up the leftover bits of pastry to make a special little pie.
After assembling the strawberry cream cake I had bits left over: a few spoons of strawberry sauce, a whackload of strawberry cream, a few leftover sliced berries, and of course the sawed off cake tops.
So I did what any self-respecting cook would do.
I made my own single-serving kindasorta trifle-like pudding...I say kindasorta simply because my home is devoid of sherry...(must remember to pick some up from the LCBO)....trifle isn't really trifle if it doesn't have that teeny little buzz. What a simple and delicious little treat: cake, strawberry cream, a touch of heavy cream, berries and of course that sweet, fruity sauce.
The strawberry sauce is easy enough to put together and really doesn't follow a strict recipe because it's dependent upon the sweetness of the berries, how smooth you want the sauce and how thick you want it. It's loosely based on the strawberry jam I made last summer.
(yields about one cup)
900g strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped (or mashed, if you want)
3 Tbsp runny honey (or more or less, depending upon their sweetness)
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Over medium heat, bring the berries and one tablespoon of honey to a boil, while stirring constantly. Skim off the foam. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if you wish. Stir in the vinegar. Reduce until you have the desired thickness. Store unused sauce in the fridge.