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Abandon teeth all ye who enter here December 23, 2010

Welcome to the Path to Ice Cream Heaven. But be warned – the destination and, let’s face it, all the quality control rest stops along the way, are not for the faint of heart, or the poor of glycaemic control, or the short of patience, or the easily distracted, or the dairy/nut/egg intolerant, or any other whinypants weaklings who can’t cope with the artery-clogging, teeth-loosening, sugar sweats of true indulgence.



The warm up

Very vanilla custard:

4 egg yolks

4 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 teaspoon of cornflour

350 mls of milk

1 vanilla pod



The night before (if you’re that organised. If not, it’s not the end of the world), split your vanilla pod, scrape all the seeds into the milk and throw in the pod for good measure. Cover and leave in the fridge to infuse overnight.

In a large bowl, whisk your egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until pale and creamy. Set aside.



In a medium saucepan, bring the milk to just under boiling point.

Whisk the milk into the egg mixture. Transfer the custard mixture back to the saucepan.

Over a low-medium heat, stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Take off the heat immediately and strain through a sieve back into the original bowl.



Gently cover the surface with clingfilm (to prevent a skin forming) and set aside to cool.


Hitting your stride

Toffee cream:

600 mls of cream

2/3 of a cup of caster sugar

Whip the cream into soft peaks and set aside.



In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat cook the sugar, stirring continuously, until it is golden brown. Keep on the heat.

Pour in the cream, stirring continuously. This looks gorgeous – like a thick, creamy latte with caramel swirls. Sadly, it is far too hands-on to photograph.

Continue to heat the mixture, bringing to a gentle boil. Any hard toffee bits will dissolve into the cream.

Pour into a bowl and put in the fridge to cool.



The hard, slightly annoying bit where you just want to sit down and have a good cup of tea

Paula Deen’s English Toffee

I was introduced to Paula Deen by SF, the beloved’s sister, when we were in America. For those of you who have never encountered this bronzed Southern Queen of The Stick of Butter, you should seek her out. After all, who knows what your heart-attack threshold is until you really really test it?

180 grams of unsalted butter

1 cup of caster sugar

2 tablespoons of cold water

1/2 a cup of chopped pecans

A good pinch of salt

~150 grams of dark eating chocolate, shaved

(you could halve this amount and still have enough for the ice cream, but that wouldn’t leave you with late night snacks)



Chop your pecans and shave your chocolate. Set aside for later.



Generously butter a baking tray. Set aside.

Put the butter, sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Put a cold glass of water within reach of the stove.

Heat over medium-high heat, stirring continuously, until you’ve got a bubbling boil. Now stir occasionally and continue to boil for 5-7 minutes.

Test the toffee’s readiness by dropping small bits into the glass of water and fishing them out with a spoon. When it’s ready the bits will be slightly crunchy but not brittle.



Take off the heat and stir in the pecans, salt and vanilla extract.

Pour onto the prepared tray. Sprinkle with the shaved chocolate. Allow to cool and set. This won’t be brittle like some eating toffee, but will be slightly soft and perfect for adding to the ice cream. Obviously, if you want to alter the brittleness, just adjust your cooking time to suit.



When set, chop up about half of it into little chunks and splinters. Set aside.


The home stretch

Set up your trusty ice cream machine*.

Pour in the cooled custard and toffee cream.

Churn until thickened but not scoopably firm.



Add the splintered toffee and continue to churn until firm.



Transfer to a 1.5 litre freezer-proof container. Scoop into bowls.






Voila…The promised land of Ice Cream Heaven. It’s luscious. And moreish. And just really very good.

Eat. Then eat some more.

*If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour the custard and cream into a 2-3 litre container and mix well. Freeze, removing occasionally to stir vigorously. When it’s thickened, stir in the toffee splinters.


Short memories December 4, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 12:35 am
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Another conversation from our kitchen – or, a little insight into just how we can irritate each other so very much.

About a month ago…

Me, flicking through excellent ice cream book – I’m going to make more ice cream, what sort would you want?

The beloved, no doubt doing something absorbing and important that I can’t at all remember – Do you have to?

Yes. Is essential. Coffee?


Ginger semi-freddo?


Mint Chocolate?

God, you’re obsessed with bloody mint and chocolate.

Fine. Just look in the book and pick one.

Oooh, brown bread ice cream. That looks good. Can you make that?

Ugh. Boring.

*      *      *      *      *

A few days ago…

Wanting ice cream to go with these glorious puddings, I’m flicking through the same book. Brown bread ice cream suddenly seems perfect and enticing. Like cookies and cream, without the cavities. Crunchily textured. Equally good as a snack in its own right. And not a bad way of using up our lifetime’s supply of breadcrumbs. So I make some while the beloved is out at work.

Me, excitable in manner of labrador thinking it’s done something particularly good – I made the brown bread ice cream! You were right! It’s fantastic!

The beloved, unmoved – What brown bread ice cream? I never asked for that.

You did. You specifically said it looked really good. I thought it would be boring. I was wrong.

No. No, I’ve never heard of it before.

Gaaaaah. Are you even tuning out yourself now?


*      *      *      *      *

Anyway, it is fantastic:

from Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis’s ‘ice cream and iced desserts’

Excellent Brown Bread Ice Cream

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of cornflour

1 1/2 cups of full fat milk

1 1/2 cups of cream

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of fresh/frozen brown bread crumbs

1/4 of a cup of brown sugar

3 tablespoons of butter

First, the breadcrumbs –

Melt the butter in a large frying pan.

Add the bread crumbs and stir to coat evenly.

Sprinkle with the sugar and cook for ~5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn off the heat and leave to sit and crisp up.



In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until pale and thick. Set aside.



In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until almost boiling.

Whisk the milk into the egg mixture and transfer back to the saucepan.

Over a low-medium heat stir continuously for a few minutes until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat immediately and pour back into the bowl.



Stir in the vanilla extract and the cream.

Pour into your ice-cream machine and churn until thick.

Add the now crispy breadcrumbs.



Churn until scoopably thick, then transfer to a 1-1.5l container.

Scoop and eat.



So very good. And now, after accidentally polishing off the remaining half while watching Airplane last night, I need to make more.


Recipe catch up: Part 2 November 12, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 2:16 am
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Loophole number 4: The Weather

Or, a hard-earned thirst needs a big, cold bowl of…

Mango Lime Sorbet

4 large, ripe mangoes

4 limes

100 grams of sugar

1 egg white, lightly beaten until frothy

Squeeze the limes, straining out the pips and pith.

In a small saucepan, bring the lime juice and sugar to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Set aside to cool.

Chop up your mangoes, discarding the skin and seeds.

Whizz the mangoes in a blender or food processor.

Add the sugar syrup and whizz a little more.

Transfer the mixture to your ice-cream machine.

Churn until cold and beginning to thicken.

Pause the churning and add the frothy egg white.

Churn until thickened enough to scoop.

Fine to eat straight away, but can be stored in a 1.5l, airtight container.

Eat on its own, or with chunks of fresh mango, or spoonfuls of passionfruit, or both, and a bit of vanilla ice cream. Whichever way, it’s good.



Beany November 4, 2010

On the night that I was scarfing down chocolate mousse from Chocolate Buddha, the beloved almost got to eat her own dessert unmolested. She knew she’d made a pretty safe bet choosing banana fritter (bananas, ugh) but the ice cream tucked underneath it didn’t escape my attention. I didn’t have high hopes – Japanese ice cream is nowhere near as tooth-achingly sweet or richly creamy as the chocolate, coffee and fruit flavours that usually find their way into our freezer. It’s hard to take a step back from that sugary intensity. But this ice cream, azuki bean, was surprisingly moreish – sure it was not very sweet, but flavoursome, ever so slightly nutty and not a bad match for spoonfuls of stolen sticky date pudding.

So, I looked here and here, and here and here. And then I made this:


Whole-lot-of-faffing-about Azuki Bean Ice Cream

400 grams of dry azuki beans

1 cup of sugar

350 mls of full fat milk

350 mls of cream

100 grams of sugar

6 egg yolks

Start the night before by soaking the beans in a saucepanful of water.

The next day, drain and rinse the beans, then stir in the cup of sugar.

Cover with water to an inch above the beans.

Bring to the boil then simmer until you can squash beans between two fingers. This took me two hours, but it will vary. Stir regularly and add water as needed to keep the beans covered.

Set aside about half a cup of the cooked beans.

Mash the rest with a potato masher. A food processor wouldn’t do a bad job either, but I was trying not to wake the sleeping family.

Push the mash through a fine sieve with a spatula to remove all the bean husks. This leaves you with a smooth-ish bean paste. I used a standard kitchen sieve, but I’d really prefer a finer mesh sieve for jobs like this. If you want, you can add more sugar at this point – just adjust it to your own taste.

Set aside while you make the ice cream base. On reflection, you could also do this while the beans are boiling.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Set aside.

Put the cream and milk into a medium saucepan and bring to just boiling.

Pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continually.

Transfer mixture back to the saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Take off the heat immediately. Pour into a bowl that’s resting in a bowl of iced water.

Allow to cool a little, then stir in the azuki bean paste.

Churn in an ice-cream machine until scoopable. Transfer to a 1.5 litre airtight container and freeze for a few hours.

Well, it’s not chocolate. It’s not going to fill that I’ve-had-a-crappy-day-and-am-mortally-fatigued-and-emotional craving. It’s not got the zing of lemon sorbet to cool you down on a hot day. It probably won’t taste great under a lake of Ice-Magic. It’s decidedly, recognisably Japanese. But I like it. And I think I’ll like it even more with some velvety rice pudding.


The Ghost of Chocolate fixes past November 3, 2010

Trying to get at the keyboard under the mound of random stuff on our desk, I unearthed two recipe books. When I got over the distracted drooling and planning for desserts of the future (coconut mousse! dondurma kaymalki!), I remembered I had dumped them here to post from. Apparently two weeks ago I must have been on some kind of quest to plough through as many 250 gram blocks of Whittaker’s 72% as I could get my hands on. And who can blame me?

Unadulterated Brownies

courtesy of the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, largely unphotographed due to general rushedness and distraction

200 grams of dark eating chocolate, roughly chopped

175 grams of unsalted butter

325 grams of caster sugar

130 grams of plain flour

3 eggs

icing sugar to dust

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees celsius (150 fan forced).

Butter and line a brownie tin (I use a square cake tin, from which I get about 16 brownies, 12 if I’m feeling greedy)

Melt the chocolate and butter gently in a bowl over just simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth.

Remove from the heat.

Add sugar and stir to combine.

Add the flour and stir to combine.

Add the eggs and mix until thick and smooth.

Spread into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 minutes. They should be just dry on top but still soft in the middle. Less is always more for brownies.

Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and eat.

These are a dense, fudgy delight. One is never enough. And you can eat them with…

Very Chocolate Ice Cream

courtesy of Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis’s ice ceam and iced desserts

4 egg yolks

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of cornflour

350 mls of full fat milk

350 mls of thickened cream

250 grams of dark eating chocolate

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a medium bowl.

Whisk until thick and foamy.

Prepare a bowl over a bowl of iced water. Set aside.

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and bring it just to the boil.

Gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring continually until thick enough to coat the back of your wooden spoon.

No wonder I was making ice-cream…how gorgeous was the weather? And how idyllic the view from our stove. I love finding photos like this, a reminder of the moments of domestic contentedness that make up for all the ragged, weary, shouty times.

Take off the heat and pour into the bowl that you’ve set aside.

Break up 210 grams of the chocolate and stir this into the custard until melted.

Set aside while it cools.

Whisk the cream into soft peaks and fold into the chocolate custard mixture.

Churn in an ice-cream machine (begged, borrowed, stolen, owned, just grab one somehow) until scoopable.

Chop the remaining 40 grams of chocolate as roughly or finely as you prefer and throw into the ice cream machine at the last minute. Churn for a few minutes to combine.

Transfer to a 1.5 litre airtight container and freeze for a few hours.

This requires no further description. Just eat it.


Sunshine in a 1 litre tub October 29, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 5:45 am
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The small one has gone right off the idea of day sleeps. Usually I’d be typing this in a heavy-fingered tone of grimness, but not today. Who cares! Who can blame him! The sun is shining mightily down on faux-farmville. Hens are clucking happily and laying up a storm. Plants are growing. The windows are open and a breeze is swirling through the house pleasantly, cooling but not door-slammingly strong. Small and I are smeared with sunscreen and coated in dirt. Our feet are bare, padding over a floor that is a little bit sticky from dropping spoonfuls of this:


Lemon Passion Sorbet

1 cup of sugar

1 1/4 cups of water

4 eureka lemons, well scrubbed

2 egg whites

The pulp of 5-6 passionfruit

Put the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally.

As it starts to boil, peel the lemons thinly over the pan, dropping the rind into the sugar syrup.

Turn the heat down to a simmer while you juice the lemons.

Add the lemon juice to the sugar syrup and leave to simmer for a few more minutes.

Strain into a bowl and allow to cool for at least ten minutes.

In the meantime, whisk the eggwhites until just frothy.

Now, churn the syrup in your ice-cream machine until thick and opaque.

Add the eggwhites and continue to churn for ten to fifteen minutes. The sorbet will magically expand and become white as white can be.

Transfer to a container (at least 1 litre capacity) and swirl the passionfruit pulp through. Freeze.




Squatter’s rights October 3, 2010

Three years ago the beloved’s sister, SF, and her husband, The Doctor, left most-liveable-Melbourne to live and work in far away places. They packed up their house and sent their cat and their excellent kitchen appliances to the foster care of friends and family. Beige Lightening, their cat, was only a temporary foster child for us, jetsetting off to join his parents after a few months of hanging out with his furry cousins (Possum Tail and Whelan The Wrecker). Happily, the fostered kitchen appliances remain. One of these is the ice-cream machine – a Simac Il Gelataio that churns and freezes with a quiet hum that belies its speed and vigour.

If you had to write a priority list of kitchen appliances, an ice-cream machine might fall in the middle somewhere. Far less essential than a kettle, but more important to everyday life than a poffertje pan. Nothing else can do the job as efficiently (the ice-cream churning attachments for freestanding mixers are not nearly in the same league) but, on the other hand, there’s nothing else they can do. You might only use it five times a year but home-made ice-cream is approximately 450% better than the stuff from the shops (with the possible exception of Maggie Beer’s tiny tubs of joy that cost approximately 450% more per litre than Moet). You can make any flavour you fancy, to use seasonal fruits or match flavours to your meals, and you can make any quantity (only got 150 mls of cream? make half). Not yet convinced of your own need? Then beg or borrow one, or sneak into someone’s kitchen and use theirs to make this:

Blackberry Raspberry Ice Cream

Vanilla base:

300 mls of full fat milk

300 mls of cream

1 vanilla pod

6 egg yolks (I used little silkie eggs – the 6 yolks weighed in at 85 grams)

100 grams of caster sugar

Blackberry & Raspberry compote:

250 grams of blackberries

125 grams of raspberries

160 grams of brown sugar

~a tablespoon of water

For the blackberry and raspberry compote:

Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is starting to break down. I used frozen blackberries and fresh raspberries, but you could have both frozen or both fresh, it really doesn’t matter, it will just take a little longer if the fruit is frozen. If it gets too liquidy, just drain a little of the liquid off. When you’re happy with it, set aside to cool while you make the vanilla ice cream base.

For the vanilla ice cream:

Put the milk and cream into a medium size saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways. Scrape the seeds into the saucepan and then add the pod as well.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to just below boiling – it will steam a little and then foam. Turn off, cover and leave to infuse for at least fifteen minutes.

In the meantime, whisk your egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thickened. When it’s ready it will fall like ribbons from the whisk.

Get ready:

Set a sieve over a bowl. Rest this bowl in a larger bowl with some iced water in the bottom. Set aside.

When the milk mixture has infused, remove the vanilla pod and discard it. Then add the milk mixture to the eggs and sugar, whisking continually until well combined.

Return the mixture to the saucepan over a medium-low heat.

Heat, stirring continually, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly. This will take 6-7 minutes. Voila – vanilla custard!

Take off the heat immediately and pour through the sieve into the waiting bowl.

Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Churn it in your ice-cream machine (or whosever it may be) until it’s almost set, then add the berry compote and continue churning until combined and set. Then transfer to a container (at least 1 litre in size) and freeze. Alternatively – if you want it to have a swirl/ripple effect – transfer the vanilla ice cream to a 2 litre container and swirl the berry compote through with a spoon, then freeze until set.

Now, if you can, be patient for at least a few hours. If you try it immediately, the vanilla flavour still overwhelms the berries, but a few hours later the berry flavour intensifies and is just beautiful. The beloved had hers with a dark chocolate sauce and was very happy indeed. I had mine on its own, but was imagining how lovely it might be with these chocolate puddings. Equally, serve with some fresh berries, or reserve a little of the compote to spoon over the top.

SF and The Doctor, we do miss you terribly and we will be so very happy when you come back to Melbourne, but my it will be hard to see the foster children leave home.