Archive for February, 2010

Orange crème caramels

A quick post this, partly because the recipe is already on-line, and just a reason to post the photo of our desert last night. I also have to finish packing for a 2 week work trip to Washington DC to learn some new software.

The S.O. and I have a somewhat Valentine tradition of making part of the meal heart shaped, last year it was heart shaped pizzas. This year it was these:

Hope you all had a great time!

White chocolate, cardamom amd chilli ice cream

After a failed pumpkin ice cream, that was far too savoury for our liking, I was strongly prompted by my significant other to make one from a book that I’d bought back in the summer and this one caught my eye. I’m always keen to use up whatever’s in the fridge, and it just so happened that I had a few bars of nibbled white chocolate and some Thai chillies that had missed their planned recipe windows.

I had an odd hangover after staying up late drinking after an early birthday day out, a hangover that seemed to ache from my bones, it was most odd. I figured that taking a Sunday to make a batch of ice cream among other things would be a lovely way to sit the day out. It certainly was, stirring and watching the chillies was like watching people spinning round on a carnival waltzer.

This recipe has no eggs, so it’s a little out of the ordinary as far as my understanding of ice cream goes, although it’ll be good for a friend who has an allergy/intolerance to eggs. Now, I always thought there were two types of ice cream, meringue based and custard based, I clearly need to do some more reading around this subject. I also wondered how it’s going to get thick and freeze. Even after adding the chocolate it had a far lower viscosity than other ices I’ve made. My curiosity was well founded, my little Kenwood ice cream maker tried it its hardest but the ice cream only got thick-ish and couldn’t quite achieve more than a slush – the still-freezing method was needed:

After putting the mix into the freezer for 60-90 minutes, remove and whisk it with a fork to make a uniform slush. Return to the freezer and repeat every 60-90 minutes. After around three of these beatings return to the freezer for an hour or so, after which it should be ready to serve.

The resulting light, un-cloying ice cream tasted of white chocolate with some chilli heat coming through. Maybe I should have ground the cardamom seeds rather than just cracking the pods open, as I couldn’t really taste them. Or it could be that Morfudd makes the ice cream over two days, which would undoubtedly improve the flavour. I’m not that patient, and rarely have that much space in the fridge.

I haven’t really thought of what I’m going to serve it with, maybe it would add a kick to an apple crumble or poached pear?

The recipe is taken from Lola’s Ice Creams & Sundaes by Morfudd Richards, which I bought after reading a favourable review in the Waitrose WFI mag, but before I’d come across the excellent David Lebovitz. At some point I’ll get his and let the two of them duke it out. Morfudd started making ice cream in an Islington restaurant, but sold up and now runs a business bringing home made ice cream to all kinds of events in her custom painted 1970s ice cream van.

Makes approx 1.1kg

1 bird’s-eye chilli
200 g white chocolate
6 green cardamom pods
500 ml whole milk
100 ml whipping cream – I used double cream
50 g caster sugar

Chop the chocolate and set aside. Finely dice the chilli, crush the cardamom pods (or grind the seeds if you want a stronger taste) in a pestle and mortar. Heat the milk, cream, sugar, chilli and cardamom seeds and pods to just below boiling point. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until everything is incorporated. Allow to cool.

Strain the mix and discard the cardamom and chilli. Churn in an ice-cream machine until firm or follow the still-freezing method. Put in a sealed container and cover the top of the ice cream with greaseproof paper.

Chickpea & Paneer Salad

A very active day so far today, stripping skirting boards and door frames. Rudimentary carpentry in the back garden, with rabbits poking their curious noses far too close to the drill at points for my liking. Suddenly it’s 2.30 and I’ve not had lunch. There’s a chicken in the fridge needing a good roasting, but today I can’t bring myself to do it for lunch. Too much effort involved for just one, and after last nights black pork curry I’m not in the mood for more meat, however I think this salad will hit the spot.

I spotted in the Waitrose magazine, and never having had a whole paneer dish on my own it seemed like a good time to try it. Paneer was available in our local Waitrose for a couple of quid, a similar price to feta or haloumi.

Chick pea and paneer salad

  • Serves 4
  • Prep 10 minutes
  • Cook 30 minutes

400g tin Chickpeas, drained

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Dried chilli flakes

1 tsp Paprika

4 tbsp Olive oil

235g Baby spinach leaves

4 pre-cooked beetroot, cut into wedges

227g Paneer, cut into cubes

2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil

1 Lime

2 tbsp Coriander leaves

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Toss the chick peas in the garlic, spices and 3 tbsp olive oil; roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Arrange the spinach leaves and beetroot on serving plates. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil.

Fry the paneer until warmed through and starting to turn golden. Divide this between the four plates, together with the roasted chick peas, while warm.

Drizzle each serving with the extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lime; season and garnish with the coriander. Serve immediately.

Edit: After eating, well, each to their own but the paneer was a touch dry for me, I much prefer haloumi. However there was a recipe on the back of the paneer packet that I’ll try and let you all know the results later.