22 April 2015

Savoury, Interesting & Peculiar Ice Creams

With the weather being so fabulous one’s thoughts, of course, turn to ice cream and having recently made Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream (which incidentally was really good) I was in the mood so decided to make something I have been wondering about since I discovered wonderful black garlic ... 

Black Garlic Ice Cream!


black-garlic-no-churn-ice-cream
I based this, of course, on my “genius” ice cream recipe (see Genius Recipes tab above) which is so very flexible but other than that I made it up as I went along. I only made a modicum in case it was yuk but it was lovely!

250ml double cream
100g condensed milk
4 of the softest black garlic cloves you can muster
30ml rum

~   Purée the black garlic with 50ml of the cream.
~   Stir in the rest of the cream and the rum and whisk till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze.

As you will know if you have read Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine the addition of alcohol or a syrup or other sugary addition is very important as makes for good ice cream consistency (although you must use the correct amount, too much will stop it freezing) and it seemed to me that as black garlic has such a wonderful molasses-ish taste rum would be the correct addition.

Well I have to say "yippee", a lovely flavour and just zoom in to have a look at the texture too!

As I’d just made a small portion I thought I’d have another experiment too ...

Roasted Sweet Potato, Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Ice Cream


sweet-potato-ice-cream

I love sweet potatoes and was pleased to read in Gym Berry (which, to declare the possibility of nepotism, is a blog written by my niece Holly who I am so very proud of; she has lost loads of weight and become strong and fit and gorgeous all thanks to her very own self!) that they are very healthy too, so using my trusty recipe ...

250g sweet potato
drizzle of light oil
45g soft light brown sugar
45g butter
250ml double cream
30ml cinnamon syrup
100g condensed milk



~   Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/170ºC fan/gas 5 
~   Peel and thickly slice the sweet potato, toss with a very little oil just to stop it sticking and put in one layer in a spacious ovenproof dish, so that the pieces aren't crowded.
~   Roast till tender which takes about 20 minutes.
~   Stir in the soft brown sugar and the butter and return to the oven for 5 minutes to melt and merge together.
~   Allow to cool a little and then purée in the food processor or mash like crazy till smooth.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk together the cream and syrup till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze.



This was good too – next time I might add some nuts, I think, probably pecans. As you can see in this case I added a syrup to enhance not only the flavour but the texture of the ice cream. The flavoured syrups that are sold to augment coffee work well although they are very cheap and easy to make and I give lots of guidance and syrup recipes in my aforementioned ice cream book, Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine.

Other Unusual Ice Cream Flavours


The title of this post is the same as one of the chapters in my book and it’s no coincidence. I love playing with food and a while back made Bacon Jam Ice Cream which worked very well, a great breakfast dish! In the eponymous chapter in my book are recipes for ...

no-churn-blue-cheese-ice-cream


Strawberry Balsamic Ripple
Cracked Black Pepper Ice Cream
Werther's Original Crunch - and beyond!
Popping Candy
Smoky Bacon & Maple Syrup
Salty Liquorice
Goats Cheese & Hazelnut Ice Creams
Butternut Squash & Maple Syrup
Roasted Beetroot & Chocolate
Blue Cheese Ice Cream with several variations


You know, at one time Salted Caramel was considered both interesting and peculiar but is so utterly gorgeous it is now considered Just Perfect. I do, of course, give a recipe for Salted Caramel Ice Cream in Luscious Ice Creams  together with detailed instructions on making caramel AND the recipe for the tuile! 
homemade-salted-caramel-ice-cream

Should I be more “Out There”?

I first published my ice cream ebook a few years ago now and at that time another ice cream book was also being published. It was called “Tits and Ice Cream” with a synopsis as follows ...
The book that can't get any better is here and it combines two of God's finest inventions, tits and ice-cream! Firstly, everyone loves tits - women, men, young and old, whether voluptuous or perky, everyone appreciates the wonders of the female form. Then, there is ice-cream - a creamy sweet substance which is impossible not to love. Put these two brilliant things together and hey presto! An exponentially fabulous book. Titty Two-Scoops has combined pictures of tits with recipes for delicious ice cream desserts. Eye-candy has never been so much fun.
Oddly enough this book is “currently unavailable”.

In a few days’ time another interestingly titled book, “Big Gay Ice Cream” is to be published, at quite a hefty price; £15.76 for the kindle version (mine is £1.99!). The title of this book is not in itself to draw attention as it is written by the owners of the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in New York who, to be fair are gay, I think!

Unusually for me I couldn't think of anything appropriate yet suggestive to call my book, any ideas?






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19 April 2015

Garlic ~ in 5 Delicious Forms

A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.
Old New York Proverb

Today is another one of those strange “national days” – this time the nation is the USA and the food item is garlic so, even though I am  Brit, I thought I’d write appropriately.

As one would expect I often cook with garlic, although not for my real man of course! This wonderful stuff, however, not only adds an important nuance to so many dishes, it is also a fantastic flavour (or, in fact several different fantastic flavours) in its own right which deserve to be showcased in our cooking.

Bonus!

Garlic is considered to be a strong vampire repellent so, depending where you live, this could be useful.


garlic-cloves

The 5 forms of garlic I shall be writing about today and referred to in the title of this post are – fresh, roasted, smoked, wild and black. They are all wonderful but in different ways so here are some ideas, tips and links to help you make the most of them. 

Firstly, in most cases, all these garlics are interchangeable; they all work well in ...

~   Mayonnaise – homemade or bought in.
~   Salad dressings –see my useful, flexible, “genius" vinaigrette recipe here and replace the fresh garlic with other forms of garlic depending what you are serving it with. These vinaigrettes also make good marinades and dipping sauces.
~   Mashed potato – with the possible exception of black garlic which is bit too sweet, I think.
~   Add to hummus and similar bean dips – basic hummus recipe and suggestions here.
~   Risotto – see here for Black Garlic Risotto recipe.
~   Pesto
~   Garlic butters and, thereafter, various forms of garlic bread, all gorgeous!
~   Rich, creamy and very easy Alfredo Sauce to use on pasta and other things too.
~   Soup – lots of recipes in my Genius Recipe Soup book plus all the info you need to create your own recipes.
~   Garlic oils (IMPORTANT – either use immediately or freeze as they can cause botulism otherwise) – and hence croutons, drizzles on soup, dipping oils etc.

So I'm starting with wild garlic as the season is upon us and it’s time to get gathering!


wild-garlic-flowers

Wild Garlic


Here’s a strange and irritating thing – for 14 years my sister and I ran a restaurant in Cornwall and for 14 springs we drove past, frequently, a large and rampant patch of wild garlic, remarked on the fragrance and never, ever thought of picking and using the stuff!

I have written a lot about this already – the most useful wild garlic post, I think, is this one with instructions and lots of ideas here. 

buying-fresh-garlic

Fresh Garlic


There are, of course a myriad (and then some) things to do with fresh garlic, here are a few very simple ideas ...

~   If you have a lot of garlic freeze some separated into cloves or, even better, purée peeled garlic with twice its volume of oil and then freeze. The wonder of this is that once frozen it is still soft enough to scrape off a little when needed. Do not store garlic in oil in the fridge for any longer that a few days or you might get botulism, best to freeze it asap.
~   Put peeled garlic cloves into a bottle of Vodka (you will probably have to drink a little Vodka fist to make room) and keep it in the freezer. Use the resulting Garlic Vodka in sauces, Bloody Marys or peculiar Martinis.
~   Slice peeled garlic cloves very, very thinly and uniformly, separate the slices and fry in a couple of centimetres of hot oil (160ºC/325°F) to light golden. This should take about 5 minutes, adjust the heat if they are going too fast. Drain well, cool well and then store for up to a week (and probably  lot longer!) in an airtight container. These are a traditional garnish in Thailand but are good sprinkled on all sorts of dishes.



how-to-roast-garlic

Roasted Garlic


Roasting garlic makes it soft, buttery, sweet, mellow and also makes the house smell gorgeous. In fact it’s one of those smells, like baking bread or good coffee that tends to beguile people. Read here for how to roast garlic and make a nice smell together with lots of ideas for using the lovely stuff.
  
how-to-use-smoked-garlic

Smoked Garlic


I have actually smoked garlic myself and it’s not difficult if you are into smoking but it is easier still to buy it from your nearest interesting food shop.

Use smoked garlic wherever you would use un-smoked garlic but it is particularly good with potatoes, cheddar and strong beefy dishes.


how-to-use-black-garlic

Black Garlic


This is the best food “discovery” I have made in ... years and years! It is wonderful stuff and I never expected a whole new ingredient at my age!

It is somewhat difficult to get hold of, for a while Tesco stocked it but usually I have it delivered from Amazon. Recently I learned that Sainsbury’s stock it but I don’t know if it is every store. I urge you, however, to get yourself some even if it’s not an easy thing to do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I have written a lot about this too, see ...

~  Black Garlic
~  How to Use Black Garlic
~  
"The latest 'it' ingredient in chefs'kitchens"


Enjoy!









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7 April 2015

Got Leftover Hot Cross Buns Lurking about the Place?

I hope you had a great Easter!

Here are a few ideas to make the most of any stale Hot Cross Buns you might have.

Hot Cross Bun French Toast 


For a custardy middle cut the buns a little on the thick side and soak for 10 minutes or so before cooking. For a bready interior briefly dip the slices of bun in the mixture and fry immediately.
1 egg
½ tbsp sugar
50ml milk or cream or a mixture
a drop of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 hot cross buns – cut crosswise into 3 slices each

~   Whisk together all the ingredients except the buns.
~   Soak the bun slices in the mixture.
~   Fry in butter till crisp and golden on both sides.

I normally have maple syrup on French toast, as is only natural, but in this case I wasn’t too sure so I asked myself “What would Jesus do?” Turns out he’d go for honey and I think he’s right – it worked perfectly.

delicious French toast from Hot Cross Buns

A Rather Splendid Brown Betty can be made with hot cross buns ...


60g butter plus a little for greasing the pan
200g hot cross bun crumbs
1kg cooking apples
120g soft light brown sugar


~   Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/180ºC fan/gas 6
~   Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the crumbs and stir together over medium heat till they are a little crisp. Decant the crumbs from the pan so that they don’t go on cooking and set aside whilst you prepare the apples.
~   Peel and thinly slice the apples and toss with the sugar.
~   Lightly butter an ovenproof dish.
~   Divide the crumbs into three portions.
~   Put a third of the crumbs into the dish and press lightly to the bottom and sides.
~   Add half the apples and sprinkle with a second third of the crumbs.
~   Add the rest of the apples, level the top as much as you can and then sprinkle with the remaining crumbs.
~   Cover with foil and bake for about 20 minutes.
~   Remover the foil and continue to cook till the apple are cooked through and the top golden.

Serve hot or cool with custard, cream, ice cream or clotted cream.

Hot Cross Bun Brown Betty

Croutons


Sweet croutons are a much neglected realm, but not by me. I often use a little bit of buttery fried leftover cake to top creamy desserts and ice cream. Hot cross bun croutons are particularly good with fruit. Similar to this ...

Hot Cross Buns make excellent Apple Cribbly 


Hot Cross Bun Pudding


150g ish of stale hot cross buns
75g of dried fruit - 
possibly alcohol infused ***
200ml milk
100ml double cream
2 eggs
80g sugar plus a little for sprinkling
½ tsp vanilla essence

~   Slice the hot cross bit off the top of the buns and set aside. Tear the rest of the buns into chunks.
~   Put the bun chunks into a lightly greased ovenproof dish.
~   Add the dried fruit and toss together.
~   Whisk together all the other ingredients (except the sprinkling sugar) and pour over pushing the buns under the surface to soak it.
~   Lay the bun tops, cross upwards, attractively on top of the pudding and press lightly to submerge.
~   Set aside for 30 minutes or more – even overnight will do.
~   Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C/160˚C Fan/gas 4.
~   Sprinkle the pudding with the extra sugar and bake for about 40 minutes till risen, golden and slightly wobbly when nudged.

Serve hot, warm or cold but warm is best with clotted cream! Or make a more manly Bread Pudding like this one here, replacing the bread with hot cross buns.

I saved the best for last ...

Crunchy Hot Cross Bun Ice Cream – 3 or so portions


1 stale hot cross bun, grated to crumbs
70g soft light brown sugar
250ml double cream
1½ tbsp brandy or rum or other spirit
(I used the alcohol from my soaked fruit ***)
100g condensed milk

~   Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Mix together the bun crumbs and sugar and spread out onto a baking tray.
~   When the oven is hot bake the crumbs watching carefully and stirring occasionally till crisp and a little darker – about 10 minutes.
~   Cool completely.
~   Whisk together the cream and spirit till thick then fold in the condensed milk and then the crumbs (keeping back a few for later sprinkling).
~   Freeze.

As this is such a genius recipe there is no need for stirring or faffing about – the end result will be rich and smooth.

no churn brown bread ice cream

Although, of course, ice cream keeps very well in the freezer this is one I would recommend eating sooner rather than later because after a time the little crispy bits soften and you lose the fabulous texture. It will still taste good, of course.


This is a variation on my Brown Bread Ice Cream which is, in itself, a variation of the classic. It is based on my “genius” no churn ice cream recipe about which I have written an entire no churn ice cream cookbook which is an utter bargain right now ~ see sidebar.


Luscious Ice Cream contains ...

Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine

~ 100+ Great No Churn Ice Cream Recipes
~ 25+ Recipes for Sauces and Syrups
~ Recipes for Mix-Ins, Toppings and Sides
~ Many Ancillary Recipes such as How to make Perfect Caramel, a Failproof Meringue Recipe and lots more
~ Great Serving & Presentation Suggestions
~American Conversions for both measurements and ingredients
~ All the Information needed to Make your Own Creations

~ Photos, anecdotes and jokes! 
  



*** Alcohol Macerated Fruit


As I have mentioned this twice I thought I’d better go into detail. This is something I always keep to hand. It is simply a matter of putting some dried fruit into a clean jar, pouring in enough spirit (I use rum or brandy) to cover completely, putting on the lid and storing in a dark place. The fruit is wonderful in all sorts of deserts and so is the alcohol. Just remember to always make sure the fruit is completely and utterly under the surface of the booze – top up fruit and spirit as you go through life.


Incidentally ...


If you make a Simnel cake (I did and am delighted with it – the layer of marzipan in the middle is soft and sticky and caramelised and chewy around the edge, I might not be able to wait till next Easter to do it again!) and have leftover marzipan then go here for some good ideas


homemade simnel cake for Easter

Wasn’t the weather perfect yesterday! We went for a walk along the cliffs and I took a vast and unnecessary number of photos.

north Cornwall coast






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4 April 2015

Simnel Cake Recipe ~ how many balls on yours?


Daffodils

Happy Easter Everyone!
  
I know it’s a bit late but here is my recipe for Simnel Cake – I only made it yesterday afternoon. Some people put 12 balls on their cake to represent the 12 apostles but I think traditionally there are only 11, Judas not deserving to be there. 

Simnel Cake


This recipe is for an 18cm (7 inch) cake tin but I haven’t got one so used a larger pan which resulted in a thinner cake and a need for more marzipan; not a bad situation.

175g soft butter
175g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
175g self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
1 tsp ground mixed spice
275g mixed dried fruit
90g glacé cherries - quartered
finely grated zest of 1 orange
500g marzipan
2 tbsp apricot jam – I’m going to use honey

~   Grease the cake tine and line with greaseproof paper.
~   Preheat the oven to 150ºC/300°F/130ºC fan/gas 2 for.
~  
Roll out a third of the marzipan, and using the base of the cake tin as a template cut out a circle.
~   Stir together dry ingredients.
~   Cream together the butter and sugar, then mix in the eggs together with a spoonful of the flour (this helps prevent the mix from curdling).
~   Stir in the rest of the flour and all the fruit and zest.
~   Spoon half of this mixture into the prepared cake tin, level the surface and lay the round of marzipan onto it.
~   Add the rest of the cake mix and smooth the surface.
~   Bake for about 2¼ hours till firm to the touch and golden brown.
~   If it starts browning too quickly lay a circle of greaseproof paper on top.
~   Cool for 15 minutes or so before removing from the tin and then cool completely on a rack.
~   Brush the top of the cold cake with the jam or honey (jam is more normal but I always use honey for this sort of thing – the flavour goes well with fruit cake, it isn’t lumpy and I always have plenty in stock).
~   Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cut another cake sized circle.
~   Press this gently onto the cake and make a pretty pattern round the edge with your fingers.
~   Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 or 12 balls and arrange them around the edge of the cake. Press gently into place.
~   Preheat the grill and then pop the cake under for a few minutes watching constantly to just caramelise lightly.



Simnel cake recipe



We ate a slice each as soon as the cake was out from under the grill and the warm sticky caramelised marzipan was a delight!

In Other News ...

Not only is it Easter weekend but today is also International Carrot Day which is, according to carrotday.com ...


carrot quote




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