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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.


Like a rain dance, sort of October 1, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc — titchandboofer @ 5:28 am
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This was going to be a great big whine about how I’m bored with winter – about how I’m sick of mud and rain and freezing winds and how the thought of making another batch of soup just makes me want to lie down on the couch with a blanket over my head. This is all still true, but today arrived and it is glorious! The sun is streaming down, the ground has dried out, it’s warm and bright enough to sit in a sunbeam in a t-shirt with my eyes scrunched up against the glare. My eggplant seedlings are making an appearance, when I’d all but given up on them, the holes created by the beloved’s ‘weeding’ are now filled with nasturtium seeds and I suddenly remembered there are carrots to be picked, baby-sized but so sweet and tender. I could be modest, but frankly I think I ushered in the sunshine by making this ice-cream:

Sun-Dance Ice-Cream with Lucky* Passionfruit

*aren’t all passionfruit pot-luck? Hard and wrinkly and light as a feather, then you slice them open and you might just find spoonfuls of sweet sweet pulp and crunchy seeds

Inspired by a Gourmet Traveller recipe by Tony Tan

100 grams of moist, shredded coconut

300 mls of pure cream

300 mls of full fat milk

100 grams of palm sugar, finely chopped

7 egg yolks

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 fan-forced).

Spread the coconut on a baking tray and toast, stirring occasionally until just turning golden around the edges – about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a medium saucepan.

Add the cream, milk and palm sugar. Return to the stove and bring to a simmer over low heat. Simmer for a minute, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for at least 10 minutes.

In a medium heatproof bowl whisk the egg yolks to combine.

Add the coconut and cream mixture, whisking continuously until well combined.

Prepare a sieve over a bowl, over another bowl that has iced water in it. Set aside.

Return entire mixture to the saucepan.

Stir constantly over a low-medium heat until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly. This will take about 6-7 minutes.

Immediately pour through the sieve into the prepared bowl. Press the strained solids to extract every last drop of liquid. Then you can throw out the solids, or feed them to your chooks.

Leave to cool to room temperature, then churn in an ice-cream machine. It took about half an hour in ours. If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, put the mixture in a container in the freezer and freeze until set, stirring frequently.

Scoop out and serve.

Thank you to the clever LMF who suggested this idea: as you now know yourself, this ice-cream is lush – creamy and intensely coconutty. We ate it with fresh passionfruit spooned over the top and it tasted just like summer.


Missing my inner schadenfreude September 19, 2010

Night two of Junior MasterChef and I’m still waiting for the addictive rush to kick in – you know, the thrill of abandoning the pretense of only watching the televisual equivalent of proper literature and letting yourself slide into the saccharine embrace of trashy reality TV. There are some good things about JMC: the kids seem genuinely excited about cooking, the age bracket is smart – not too young to be absurd, young enough to still be cute and remarkable -, the parents don’t get any screen time (other than cheering from the sidelines) so you don’t end up pitying any of the kids for having hideously pushy stage parents, George and Gary and Matt are still mildly entertaining, and some of the food looks super tasty – anyone making poached egg and truffle on smashed potato or orange and almond syrup cakes is welcome at my house anytime. But somehow it’s not enough. It’s not truly terrible, although the addition of the fourth judge is curious. Did they feel three judges weren’t enough, or was it to have a female screen presence, or did they include her because the panel would be judging children? And if it’s for the last reason, what does that say about the production? Even if it is unintentional, there’s a spooky kind of underlying message that children are safer around women. Ironically, of the four judges, the woman in question, Anna Gare, seems the least comfortable around the kids and comes across as kind of patronising alongside Gary’s joviality, George’s encouragement and Matt’s jibing at the pair of them. Regardless, I think my main complaint with JMC says more about my relationship with reality TV than it does about the show itself – it’s just too nice. Oh it’s not that I want the judges to be mean to the wannabe JMCs, and all the crying the senior MasterChef contestants did got right on my goat, but I do miss the snarky comments and biting criticism by the judges, the bitching and the backstabbing from the contestants. I miss seeing the disillusioned lawyers, musicians and IT consultants overwork their pastry, set fire to the oven, split sauces, undercook fish, commit the heinous crime of leaving a bone in fish and declare their ineptitude with mashing a potato. There’s not nearly so much fun to be had in watching small, happy people succeeding under a shower of praise.

Anyway, to assuage any feelings of inadequacy that may have popped up whilst witnessing a toddler temper white chocolate, I made some ice-cream:

Feathered Lady Salted Caramel Ice-Cream*

*so called as six hens each contributed an egg to the making of this tasty delight – thank you ladies

150 grams of caster sugar

50 mls of water

6 egg yolks

50 grams of butter, chopped

1 teaspoon of salt

350 mls of pure cream (not thickened)

150 mls of full fat milk

Prepare a sieve over a medium bowl, resting in a large bowl with iced water.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 50 grams of the sugar. Set aside.

Combine the milk and cream in a jug or small saucepan. Heat very gently to room temperature. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 100 grams of the sugar with the 50 mls of water in a medium saucepan. Over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves then continue to cook, swirling regularly, until caramel in colour. This will take about ten minutes. Don’t walk away from it – once the colour changes it will darken very quickly. I took it from the heat as soon as it was golden, as the heat from the pan will keep it going.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and salt, stirring until well combined.

Then add the cream and milk mixture, stirring until well combined. Voila! Caramel!

Pour the caramel mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly until completely incorporated.

Pour it all back into a clean, medium saucepan and return to the stove over a medium-low heat. Stir continuously until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, or until a thermometer reaches 85 degrees. This will take 7-10 minutes. I kept the heat a little lower and took a little longer to reduce any chance of scrambling the eggs.

Pour through the sieve into the prepared double-bowl set-up. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Churn in an ice-cream machine and then freeze until firm (2-3 hours). If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, you can just freeze the mixture, taking it out and stirring regularly.

Makes about 700 mls or so.

This is like the ice-cream version of eating a Werther’s Original. Sweet, salty, caramelly and without sticking annoyingly to your teeth. We had it with peanut butter chocolate fondant puddings. Need I say more?


Sneaking around can be so sweet August 1, 2010

Filed under: Ice creams etc,Moreish puddings — titchandboofer @ 12:55 am
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There is a lot to recommend a long weekend away. Surprising as it may be to some, even a long weekend away with my partner’s parents is no exception. Unlike my family of compulsive ‘doers’, my partner’s parents (we shall call them Coach and The Nanna) are well practised in the art of taking it easy. Not once has anyone been heard to say ‘come on, let’s get outside and stop wasting a perfectly good day!’ – why is it that some people feel it’s impossible to spend time wastefully so long as you’re exposed to the elements? So as well as having two extra people to entertain the small person, many hours can be devoted to lolling on the couch, reading the weekend papers, drinking tea, watching trashy movies and football, drinking tea, criticising the poor editing of the weekend papers, drinking tea and cooking. By cooking I don’t just mean planning and putting together the obligatory breakfast, lunch and dinner, I mean indulgent, artful, pleasurable cooking. And that is how, yesterday, we came to make three desserts.

Sweet Saturday Part 1: Maple & Lavender Semi-Freddo

Following the steps up to the front door of this house is a vast bed of lavender. In warmer weather the perfume fills the air and sometimes The Nanna pulls the line-dry bedsheets over the flowers on her way into the house, so falling asleep on a summer night you could almost believe you were lying on the front lawn in a sunbeam.

Standing on the front steps in the sharp chill of yesterday morning, wrapped up warm in a dressing gown, picking lavender flowers to use in this recipe almost made up for the cheat’s eggs.

60 grams of lavender flowers

100 mls of water

115 grams of granulated white sugar

3 egg whites

350 mls of cream

100 grams of maple syrup, plus extra for drizzling

Line a loaf tin with several layers of gladwrap, leaving the edges to hang over the side so that you can lift the set semi-freddo out easily later.

Heat your oven to 160 degrees celsius. Spread the lavender flowers on a baking tray and bake for about five minutes, drying it out slightly and increasing their aroma.

In a small saucepan, gently  heat the sugar, water and flowers, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil and let it boil for two minutes without stirring. Add the maple syrup and cook for another five minutes. Remove from the heat and strain over a bowl to remove the lavender. Press down on the flowers to get the most syrup out. When you’ve squeezed out all the syrup keep two or three of the flowers, the rest can be thrown out or composted.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Continue beating, pouring the syrup into the bowl in a thin stream. Beat until the mixture is thick, fluffy and cold.

In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it holds its shape. Add the cream into the egg-white and syrup mixture, folding until it is well combined. Pour into the prepared loaf tin, cover and freeze for at least five hours until set firm.

Put your reserved flowers into a small jar and cover with the extra maple syrup. This will infuse while the semi-freddo sets, giving you a beautifully scented syrup to drizzle over the finished product.

To serve, lift out of the tin onto a serving plate, leave to soften for a few minutes then slice with a warm knife. Drizzle with your infused syrup and sprinkle with fresh lavender if you wish.

Simply beautiful. Not too sweet, not too floral, not too creamy, just light and delightful and moreish. Thank you Tanner Brothers, from whose book – ice cream – this recipe comes. When I am next in Plymouth, UK, I will be beating a hasty path to the door of Tanners.