Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chocolate Raspberry and Lemon Meringue Ice Cream

I thought I would continue the ice cream theme from my previous post and talk about a couple of other flavours that I have been indulging in. The first is an old favourite that I make on the merest of excuses - lemon meringue ice cream. The second is chocolate raspberry, but more on that later.

I think I've mentioned here before my strange non-love of lemon meringue pie. I love all the individual components but put them all together and somehow I go all....meh. It's a totally different story with this ice cream version. I love the sharp cool tang of the lemon and the crunchy sweetness of the meringue.

The recipe is from Delia Smith - one of my absolute favourite English cookbook authors. In my view she is unsurpassed when it comes to puddings and desserts (see for exampe here).

Delia suggests using shop bought meringues (which are harder and therefore less likely to dissolve) and actually incorporating them into the ice cream. I prefer to make my own and serve them alongside. Delia also has an excellent recipe for meringues which I use. It all works beautifully because it allows you to use up egg whites left over from the ice cream.

I serve this in a number of ways depending on the occasion and my mood. Sometimes I just serve a scoop on top of a nest meringue like so.

On very informal occasions (like at a barbecue for example) I serve a scoop encrusted with meringue in a cone like so.

When I really want to go all out I make a lemon meringue ice cream eton mess. Basically, I fill a glass with spoonfuls of the lemon ice cream, broken meringue, whipped cream and strawberries. Like so. I swear this is so delicious it should almost be illegal.

I seem to recall mentioning somewhere above a chocolate raspberry ice cream. Well, this is also a seriously delicious treat. I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry. Somehow the sharpish tang of raspberry is the perfect offset to chocolate.

For this recipe I turned to Mr Ice Cream Reliable David Lebovitz and The Perfect Scoop. If I had one minor minor criticism it is that there was a slight gritty texture to this ice cream. I presume from using cocoa for the chocolate flavour. Most other chocolate ice creams I have tried have used melted chocolate. It's a very small thing because the flavour is just fantastic.

So there you have it. Two very different ice cream experiences. Both delicious and both lots of fun. That's what ice cream is all about - at least for me.

Chocolate-Raspberry Ice Cream
(adapted from The Perfect Scoop)

1 1/2 cup thick cream
5 tbspn dutch processed cocoa
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups raspberries

Whisk together the cream, cocoa and sugar. Heat until it come to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the raspberries. Leave to steep for about ten minutes and then puree. Strain to remove the raspberry seeds.

Chill the mixture thoroughly and then freeze in an ice cream maker.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Saffron Rosewater Ice Cream with pistachio and cherries

After months of false starts Summer is well and truly here at long last. You have to fight for a spot at the pool, a steady program of barbecue events is underway and the TV schedule is immersed in cricket and tennis. I love love love this time of year.

As well as all of the above, one of my favourite summer things to do is make ice cream. For me ice cream is like a canvas, open to a mind numbing array of flavour, colour and textural combinations. I love to experiment. The problem is that I also want to indulge in all my old favourites (chocolate sour cream, lemon meringue, choc mint, rocky road, coconut, lemon cheesecake - I could go on for forever). It all adds up to a lot of ice cream. Fortunately for my waistline, I have plenty of friends who are happy to take a share of it off my hands.

While I am always happy to experiment by my own little self, I also keep a vigilant lookout for interesting recipes and ideas from elsewhere. So when I stumbled across this recipe for saffron rosewater ice cream I knew I would be trying it out. I love Middle Eastern flavours, and this ice cream is just the epitome.

I was intrigued with how saffron would settle into an ice cream. I was worried that it would either be overpowering or simply disappear altogether. As it happened, this recipe is wonderfully balanced. The saffron comes through as a subtle undertone to the rosewater flavour. The crunch of the pistachios and the tang of cherries (I used bottled cherries) adds a lovely contrast.

Having said all that I liked this ice cream in small doses only. A spoonful or two is thoroughly enjoyable. Any more than that and it just all becomes too much. So I was thinking a better idea may be to serve just a spoonful or two of this ice cream alongside a scoop of plain cherry or pistachio.

Come to think of it, I have never tried a cherry ice cream. That is definitely one for the drawing board.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Challenge Book #29 and #30 - Spicy Butter and Potato Swirls

When I was a tutor at University I always knew when one of my students was coming in to ask for an extension. There was a certain walk and nervous twitching of the eye that gave them away every time. Well that is me right now. My left eye is going crazy.

I had set a deadline of 23 February for the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This was a year from the date of my original resolution. However, the months I have had to spend out of the kitchen has now well and truly put me behind. I'm only about half way through. Plus I also have a stack of cookbooks given as birthday, christmas and get well presents to add to the mix. So I have decided to give myself to the middle of the year - 30 June.

And so now to get on with it - Book #29 Coming Home by John Burton Race and Book #30 Popular Potato Recipes from Family Circle.

I loved the TV series French Leave. I used to watch it green with envy. I mean spending a year in the French countryside eating fantastic food and playing in village boule tournaments. It would be too wonderful for words. I also enjoyed the follow up series Coming Home. A bit less so when all Mr Burton Race's grubby behaviour came to light. Those children did not deserve that.

Anyway, I snapped up Coming Home in a second hand store quite a few years ago. I had only ever gotten around to trying the shortbread recipe. It was quite nice. But I decided to go for something really different and decided to try the recipe for spicy butter to be served with steak.

The butter is not hard to make, but the list of ingredients is long and involved. It takes longer to gather them all together than actual cooking time.

As for the end result, well it was quite nice. I can't say I was blown away or anything. It was just nice. And I think the whole guilt thing kind of tarnished the experience. There I was with a perfectly nice piece of healthy lean steak and I was liberally smothering it in butter. It kind of went against the grain. I prefer any overindulgent intake of saturated fat to be conveniently hidden away from me in pastry or some other discreet vehicle.

To go with the steaks I decided to make some potato swirls. They sounded great - mashed potato mixed with parmesan and mustard. These were a bit disappointing. Somehow they turned out a bit dry.

Still they sound so promising I will try them again. If at first you don't succeed yada yada yada.

Spicy Butter
(adapted from Coming Home)

250gm unsalted butter
1 sprig thyme
1/2 bay leaf
1 sprig tarragon
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
30ml white wine
1 tspn madras curry paste or powder
30gm parsely, finely chopped
1 tspn capers, chopped
3 small gherkins, chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 large egg yolks
1 pinch cayenne pepper
juice 1/4 lemon
salt and pepper

Beat the butter until it is soft and white. Finely chop the leaves from the thyme sprig and the bay leaf. Blanch the tarrgon leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh in cold water. Cry on kitchen paper and finely chop.

Melt a spoonful of the butter and fry the sallots and garlic for about 5 minutes. Watch that they do not colour. Add the wine and boil until it is completely evaporated. Stir in the curry paste/powder and cook for 2 minutes.. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Remove from the heat and cool.

Add the parsely, capers, gherkins, anchovies and tarragon to the beaten butter. Beat together. Add the egg yolks one at a time, then the cayenne and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and add the shallot mixture. Beat together.

Use 1 tbspn for a 200gm steak. Pan fry steaks. Place on a baking sheet and top with the butter. Put under a grill to glaze. The butter will melt and turn golden.

Potato Swirls
(adapted from Popular Potato Recipes)

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tspn dry mustard
freshly ground pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling water. Drain and mash and leave to cool slightly.

Beat yolks, cream, cheese and mustard together. Beat yolk mixture into the potatoes. Seaon with pepper to taste.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls onto a tray. Bake in a 210C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Triple Choc Cranberry Oatmeal Biscuits

It's a new year. Everywhere I look people are reviewing the year that was. Making resolutions for the year to come. I just can't be bothered with all that. Due to some health issues last year pretty much stank on a personal level. So I am just going to forget it ever happened. 2008, what?? Next year can't help but be better. I figure all I have to do is just get on with it.

And these biscuits turned out to be the perfect start. They are so, so good. Oatmeal, three types of choc chunks and cranberries. Sweet and tangy and YUMMY!!! The trick seems to be in using fresh cranberries. It adds that extra something in both taste and texture.

I found this recipe in amongst Epicurious's 25 days of Christmas cookies. Oh my goodness, I was just drooling over one cookie after another. Talk about spoilt for choice!! I would love to have the time and energy to bake and ice my own cookie decorations. So very Martha Stewartesque. Maybe next year. But probably not.

Hope you have a great 2009!!!

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