27 October 2013

Delicious Homemade No-Churn Ice Creams ~ No Ice Cream Maker Needed!


Firstly, permit me to blow my own trumpet if you will.

Cision, “the leading global provider of PR services including media monitoring, media list building, press release distribution, and media analysis”, have ranked Sudden Lunch! to be … wait for it:

No. 11 in Food Blogs UK Top 10 !!!

I’m so flattered and, in a strange way, being No. 11 makes it extra special!  

Now on to the very serious business of this post ...

Lovely No-Churn Ice Cream!


Yesterday I had a sudden ice cream sesh - at the end of October! I'm mad, me! 

It was inspired by a bag of cheap satsumas which I didn’t know what to do with. Then my real man brought home a few raspberries and I didn’t really know what to do with them either. So I decided to make a couple of ice creams which turned out to be three.

Ice cream is a great way to use up leftover bits and pieces and I have a way of making it that is very quick, easy, uber adaptable and doesn't need a machine or any mashing as it freezes. I have used this method as a professional chef for years and years (and years) and have written an eBook “Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine” which gives the genius no-churn recipe, why it works tweaks and tricks when incorporating different ingredients and how to adjust the texture accordingly, over 100 lovely ice cream recipes plus recipes for ancillaries such as syrups, sauces, biccies, cones etc. and some serving suggestions. 

ultimate-no-churn-ice-creams
Great Preview Here!



The eBook version of Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine is a helluva lot cheaper than an ice cream machine or even buying ice cream from the shops. Read more about this exciting ice cream book here. 

I’m not a meany, however, here is the basic recipe direct from “Luscious Ice Creams …”, prepare to be unimpressed, at first!  

Directly from the book ...

Genius Ice Cream Recipe 


500ml double cream - not the extra thick kind

200g condensed milk


~   Whisk the cream till it is very thick and looks like the picture (below) and then stop.  If you go too far it will become butter!
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze.

If that's all you do you get an ice cream that is not exactly soft scoop but which does have a good texture once it’s been out of the freezer a few minutes. It has a pretty blah taste. I can sense your excitement from here but there’s even more, I urge you to read on. ”

how to whip cream


As I say there are all sorts of ways to make this ice cream really lush, some even include alcohol!

Firstly I prepared the fruits:

Caramelised Satsumas


I wanted to separate the flesh from all pith and membrane and at first this was tricky and time consuming so I said a rude word and gave up. It was at this point that the solution appeared.  Cut the fruit in half through its equator, squeeze the juice into a bowl and then scrape all the un-squozen bits of fruit still attached to the shell into another bowl.

For six satsumas I gently melted a tablespoon of caster sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and cooked till a lovely red-gold caramel colour. As soon as this happened I stirred in the satsuma juice. (When adding liquid to caramel there is a lot of boiling and bubbling and the caramel hardens into lumps in the liquid. Don’t panic, just stir over a low heat till the caramel melts back into the juice.) When all was smooth I added the little bits of flesh I had set aside and cooked everything together for a minute or two before setting aside to cool completely.

Raspberry Coulis


This is just posh for raspberry sauce. 

~   Put  the berries in a small non-reactive pan with a spoonful of sugar.
~   Put over a low heat and stirring occasionally till they have burst and mushed down.
~   Strain through a nylon sieve into a bowl pushing on the seeds to get out as much juice as possible, then set aside to cool. 

When everything was cold I mixed up a batch of my basic ice cream and divided it into two.  Into one half I folded a teaspoon of the fabulous Vanilla Bean Paste I wrote about a few days ago. I put the mixture into a plastic container and then drizzled over the raspberry coulis and swirled it slightly. Scooping when serving marbles it through more so no need to go to too much bother!

I was just about to fold the caramelised satsumas and juices into the other half when I had an idea so set aside a few tablespoons. 

To the mix I had set aside I folded in a spoonful of Bacon Jam! I shall be writing more about this wonderful stuff soon but for now let me just say that it is excellent in ice cream  although it does need a little work in the texture. I have some ideas.

I froze my ice creams and then we had some fun tasting them.

Caramelised Satsuma Ice Cream 


no churn satsuma ice cream


When I served this I had another idea based on one I had about 15 years ago.  At that time I served a Seafood Mixed Grill and grilled halved lemons, cut side down to serve with it; pretty, impressive and delicious.  So today I decided to do something similar with the remaining Satsuma I had saved to make the picture look pretty – I cut it in half and cooked it cut side down in a little butter and sugar till it was as you see in the picture. We drizzled the hot juice over the ice cream.  I’m so glad I can cook!


Raspberry Ripple


no-churn raspberry ripple ice cream

Bacon Jam Ice Cream!


My real man was too scared to try this - lucky for me.



easy homemade bacon jam ice cream






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25 October 2013

Lovely, Lovely Vanilla including a Wonderful Thing!


how-to-use-vanilla

Years ago my sister Maggie and I, with our then-husbands, owned a beachside hotel in Cornwall which had a sweetie shop. In this shop we sold 20 flavours of ice cream which was pretty gobsmacking in the 1980s. 

Although they were all popular, we generally found that ladies favoured Maple Walnut whilst gentlemen preferred the manly taste of Rum and Raisin. Children wanted Mint-Choc-Chip and teenagers, if you could get them to say anything, mumbled 'umm – Strawberry'. Senior citizens usually wanted 'plain', by which they meant vanilla, and told us their preference in tones of irritated amazement as if it was obvious that ice cream should be 'plain vanilla'. What was the world coming to?

The thing is; vanilla isn't plain at all, is it? A vanilla pod is the seed pod from a vanilla orchid, mainly vanilla planifolia from Central America, Mexico and Madagascar but occasionally other strains from Tahiti and Hawaii. It is, therefore, very exotic and sexy and is also delicious. 

It is exciting, therefore, that Taylor and Colledge “One of the most trusted names in vanilla for over a century.” sell a range of wonderful vanilla products and it is even more exciting that they have sent me some to try. Lucky, lucky me!

Their range, which is available from Waitrose, Ocado and Amazon comprises

Vanilla Beans aka Pods


Lovely, flexible pods the way they should be; dark, slightly oily looking, fragrant and a good length (apparently 6” is perfect! – I’m saying nothing). 

vanilla-beans

There are two important things you need to know about using vanilla beans/pods ...


1. The beans contain thousands of tiny black seeds which can easily be scraped from the pod by slitting it lengthwise carefully with a sharp knife and scraping the seeds into whatever you are making thus making it tastier and prettier.

how-t-make-vanilla-sugar
Why not pin this so you can
easily find this post later?



2. If you use beans to flavour custard or cream or similar, whether or not you have scraped out the seeds, Do Not Throw It Away - rinse, and set aside somewhere airy till completely dry then store in a container of sugar to make vanilla sugar if you are that sort of a person or in a bottle of rum or brandy if you are that sort of person. 

If you make vanilla sugar then you can use it to make Vanilla Toast which is like Cinnamon Toast only even better! Speaking of vanilla sugar ...






Vanilla Dusting Sugar


This is, of course, the perfect sprinkly finish for cream cakes, pancakes, French Toast and so on. Taylor and Colledge’s dusting sugar has a slight golden hue because of the vanilla crushed into it.

dusted-with-vanilla-sugar

It is also good mixed into soft butter and used to make Vanilla Toast (like Cinnamon Toast only even better!).

Vanilla Extract


Now this is very important, so concentrate - no pun intended!. Vanilla essence is almost always not vanilla extract; it is a chemically produced replica. I say “almost always” because occasionally it is a very intense concentrated extract. Anyway don’t risk it – use extract. I like to add a drip or two to my coffee, which I take black, whether or not I've already added a nip of Brandy!

vanilla-extract-in-coffee

Vanilla Paste


This is a useful product if you want vanilla seed specks in your dish, it is a kind of thick and syrupy extract. I am quite prone to making ice cream (and have even written a book on the matter here ~ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine) and to get the lovely heady flavour I usually steep a vanilla pod in cream before proceeding with the recipe. Vanilla paste does the job faster, better and adds the little black specks of seeds which prove the dish is authentic!
vanilla-seeds-in-paste

… and a Really Wonderful Thing!!!

Vanilla Grinder


What a brilliant idea. I am still playing with this but already know that it is fab on soft fruits, the froth on cappuccino or hot chocolate, ice cream, trifles, mousse, the list is a long one.

vanilla-grinder

Vanilla does not come cheap in fact it is the second most expensive spice in the world (saffron being the first) but a little goes a long way and it so enhances a dish that I think you will consider it money well spent if you add some to your store cupboard – it sure can help a leftover out!

Warning!

aphrodisiac-qualities-of-vanilla






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21 October 2013

10+ Tips to Help You Reduce Food Waste and Save Money

Well Food Waste has hit the fan again, hasn't it!

Tesco has revealed it generated almost 30,000 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013 in a report by the BBC and in accordance with their Every Little Helps Slogan they have issued an infographic about not wasting food at home which gives some useful info …


Tesco's food waste infographic


… but not enough by a long thingy! I am not putting them down, really I’m not, but there is so very much more to be said!

The infographic is quite difficult to read even if you go to the link so I am going to help you with it!


how to avoid wasting food and money
Please pin to help stop
this stupid waste!
“The Average UK family wastes £700 on food each year.

Well not us!  I doubt we waste 700p on food each year. I have always been inspired when cooking by a little bit of this and a little bit of that and rarely waste a scrap.  

It is because of this tendency that I wrote my recently published book and as, apparently, October is National Self Promotion Month don’t blame me for mentioning Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers several times in this post!
 
Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers could potentially save you £700 and not only that – my ideas are not just to save money they are also creative and delicious.  The book tackles food waste and the waste of good eating opportunities!

“Onions - Don’t keep Onions in the fridge.  Store them in a brown paper bag in a cool and dark place.”
how not to waste onions




I have more to add to this including don’t store them with potatoes as they make each other go off! 


See here for The Best Way to Cook Onions, IMHO, and Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers for more info on storage plus ideas of what to do with leftovers, obviously!



how not to waste bread



“Bread - 1/3 of the baguettes we buy go to waste.  Turn them into breadcrumbs and store them in the freezer.”


Correct!  At least 19 more ideas for leftover bread in my book!  Here’s a recipe for Fried Bread Curry (which believe me is delicious) I posted a while back just to give a taster. 





how not to waste peppers



“Peppers - Leave the seeds and stalks connected and keep a half used pepper in the fridge.  Alternatively chop it up and freeze.”


I agree with that!  Of course there are also sorts of dishes that benefit from a little bit of leftover pepper; tomato soups and salads, pizza, sandwiches etc.








how to avoid wasting salads


“Bagged Salad.  On average we waste half of what we buy.  Once opened store in an airtight container with a piece of tissue to make it last longer.” 


That’s true too but I’d be a bit more specific about the tissue paper – I use kitchen roll, very lightly dampen it and lay it over the leaves.  Having said that I usually keep lettuce in a loose plastic bag or, even better, buy the living leaves – they grow back.  



how not to waste milk



“Milk - Make a smoothie with your frozen fruit to use up milk.  Or make a cheese sauce for leftover veg and freeze.”


Also how about add to mashed potato or let it go off and make cheese?





“Apples - We waste nearly 20% of the apples we buy.  Store in the fridge in original packaging or lightly tied bag.”
how to store and use apples

Well I would open the bag, get some air to them and store the in a cool dark cupboard or similar, making sure they are all in good condition (“one bad apple spoils the whole barrel”) and not touching.  

I don’t think I’ve ever wasted an apple in my life  – there’s so many ways to use them up including the Cornish Apple Cribbly and Devonshire Apple Dappy recipes mentioned here  together with info on making apple sauce and 15 ways to use apple sauce.  There are 18 more ideas for leftover apples in Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.

“Cucumber - Make your cucumber last by placing the stalk end in a mall container of water and standing in the fridge door.”

how to stop cucumber going off


I don’t know if this works or not so have no comment. 

If you have no immediate plans for your cucumber and don’t want it to go off then try the recipe here for Lightly Pickled Cucumber. 

ideas for leftover minced beef


“Mince Beef - Freeze your leftover lasagne or shepherd’s pie.”

Again, true enough.  If, however, you haven’t make a lasagne or Shepherd’s pie there are many other things you can do with minced beef, leftover or not – pastas, pies, sarnies, pizza, chilli etc. and so on.



how to use up grapes

“Grapes - Around 20% of the grapes we buy are not eaten.  Freeze leftover grapes and use them as ice cubes.

There are ten more good ideas for using up grapes in Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers!
don't waste bananas


“Bananas - 1 in 10 bananas we buy goes to waste. Try adding to a vegetable curry or whizz and freeze for low calorie ice cream.”


Just for starters here’s a link for some more info on making  Famous One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream plus some other info, and there are 15 or more ideas in, you guessed it, Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.



Browse around Sudden Lunch! for more ideas and, as I have hinted above, there is a great deal more information on avoiding food waste in here. 



useful leftovers handbook
Great Preview here!





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14 October 2013

How to Cope with a Glut of Apples

Bramleys are the best cooking apples

I have a slight glut of apples which is particularly edifying when one considers that I don’t have an apple tree! I do however have a generous friend. The apples she’s given me are Bramleys; lovely cooking apples with the useful advantage of being self-puréeing, so an obvious thing to do with too many is make …

preparing apples to make apple sauce

Apple Sauce


This is so easy I don’t think it can actually be called a recipe.

~  Peel and slice Bramley apples.
~  Taste a bit and then sweeten with as much sugar as you see fit. If you’ve no idea then add just a little and adjust with more sugar when the apples are cooked!
~  Put into a large pan with a tablespoon of water. This helps them get started but that’s all you need; too much and the sauce will be runny.
~  Put over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring every few minutes till you have apple sauce! Taste and stir more sugar as necessary. 

If you have made loads freeze some, it freezes really well and ice cubes are a good idea so that you can thaw just what you need, or add a cube or two to soups and sauces.  Or here are some more ideas for leftover or too much apple sauce ...


15 Ideas for “leftover” Apple Sauce 


1.   Freeze as ice lollies!
3.   Stir into pork gravy or add to pork braises or stews.
4.   Fold into mashed potato to serve with ham, pork or  bacon.
5.   Add to pumpkin or other squash soups – delicious!
6.   Spread into bacon, ham or pork sarnies.
7.   Spread on the toast before the cheese when making  Cheese on Toast.
8.   Mix into mayonnaise – this makes a great dressing for  coleslaw.
9.   Add to braised red cabbage.
10. Make little apple tarts or turnovers with leftover pastry scraps.
11.  Use instead of jam to fill a Vicky Sponge, scones and  similar.
13.  Apple Crumble Sundae – layer up apple sauce and  leftover crumble (or Apple Crumble) with ice cream.
14.  Stir into yogurt or porridge for breakfast.
15.  Dollop into rice pudding
16.  “They do say” that fat in baked goods can be replaced  by apple sauce but I’ve not tried it myself. There is  plenty of info on the web though so have yourself a  look!


15 ways to use apple sauce
Pin for Future Reference!

Non-Bramley Type Apples


There are, of course, a lot of these around now as well so I’d just like to mention a lovely recipe I posted earlier.

Apple dappy recipe

Devonshire Apple Dappy


When I posted this I had the most visits to my blog ever and was very confused. Read here for the Apple Dappy recipe and here for a surprising (to me at least) explanation of its popularity

And this which I don’t think I've mentioned here before and which my sister and I concocted years and years ago when we were baby chefs …

Cornish Apple Cribbly

This is a superb way of using up leftover bread and apples at the same time. 

~  Peel and dice an apple and toss with sugar to coat.
~  Have ready about the same quantity of similarly diced stale or leftover bread (and in this case white bread is probably best).
~  Melt a knob of butter and cook the sugary apple in it till it is softening and browning and oozing lovely caramelly juices.
~  Use a slotted to spoon to remove the apple from the pan and set aside.
~  Add the diced bread to the pan and cook till the juices have been absorbed and the bread is turning crisp and golden.
~  Return the apple, toss all together and serve immediately with ice cream or cream, preferably of the clotted persuasion.

Several of these ideas are included in my book, Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.  If these are just some of the suggestions I can think of for Bramley apples don't you wonder what ideas I have for the other 450 potential leftovers?


best leftovers cookbook ever!
Great preview here.

A couple of Reviews of Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers ...


“Helps you create tasty loveliness from almost every possible leftover foodstuff you could think of (and possibly some that you couldn't....)”
 
“Cookery books are really very boring, but this one definitely isn't!”  

Always bear in mind, however …

apple pie quote by Caarl Sagan



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6 October 2013

Essential Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Fridge

small crowded fridge


We recently moved into our lovely but small barn which at the moment only has a not so lovely and rather small fridge and I have to be pretty clever getting everything to fit in.  

I used to work in a restaurant with a similar problem and in this case there was literally only one way to get it all to fit so we called it Rubik's Fridge.

Here are some good ideas if you are in a similar situation.



How to Organise your Fridge


In no particular order ...

~   Cover everything.  Not only is this good practice to stop cross-pongination it also means you can put something else on top; stacking, as it's known in the trade.
~   Don't use round containers - they are not ergonomical!
~   They do say, and I believe them, that a packed fridge is more economical as it takes less energy than cooling a lot of air.  Having said that ...
~   ... make sure there is enough room for some air circulation!
~   Decant everything possible into smaller containers.  I use sandwich bags for most things as the air and be squashed out and they squish into convenient shapes as needed. 
~   Never store anything in an open can as this is very naughty.
~   Don't bother storing bread in the fridge, it takes up loads of room and is pointless, it will stale much quicker than out of the fridge.
~   Don't keep tomatoes, bananas or avocados in the fridge either, or potatoes or onions although you probably know that.
~   Gather like foods together, for instance I always keep a cheese box in the fridge for my collection.
~   Operate a first in first out policy by putting newer stuff at the back.
~   To save space do not keep your cat in the fridge unless he wants you to.  This is a picture of my friend Anouk's cat Oster.  They live in the Caribbean and after long walk the cat meows to be let into the fridge to cool off.
cat cooling off in the fridge in the tropics
Another "useful" fridge tip I have read about is ...

"To avoid buying things you already have, take a photo of your fridge before
you go grocery shopping."


Ha ha! When I was young we used to write a shopping list but "tell that to the kids today ..."!

In other news ~ Jamie Oliver was right!


I am not alone in having remarked on Jamie Oliver's inclusion of a side of salmon in his "Save with Jamie" book.  Many people including me had suggested that this was not particularly frugal.  Well I kind of take it back.  A few days ago we bought an enormous whole salmon, 3.5 kg, for £16.  A large initial outlay I know but whilst not actually frugal it turned out to be quite a bargain so - sorry Jamie!


large fresh whole salmon

I had to cut the head off to get it all on the chopping board but don't worry I used it!  After removing the two sides of fish from the bones I put the skeleton and head in a large pot with a little water and treated exactly the same as I did a chicken carcass in the last post. I got 12 x 6 oz (175g - ish) portions from the sides and estimate 5 meals from the leftovers.  There are lots of ideas for leftover salmon throughout this blog so just search "salmon" in the search box. (I expect you knew that!) 

Speaking of Jamie Oliver ...


I'd just like to show off a bit with this lovely review of my book, Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.
best leftovers cookbook ever!

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