Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Sunday, 28 July 2013
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
This month's We Should Cocoa is hosted by Choclette who has given us the summery challenge of ice cream. Last month's mint round up can be found here. You can read all about We Should Cocoa here and don't forget to check out Choclette and Chele's blogs.
My desk calendar provides me with zen like pearls of wisdom everyday. Sri Swami Satchidananda, Buddha, Ghandi et al urge me to be soft in my practice, that man cannot be polished without pressure and not to follow in people's footsteps but rather to seek what they seek in my own unique way.
Which lead me to think "If I had a pearl of wisdom to bestow on someone, what would it be?"
I could take inspiration from my favourite quote on Pinterest. (N.B - bit sweary).
It could be practical like how to season a wok or how to successfully make a meringue or even how to get candle wax out of a table cloth.
It could be profound. It could be life changing. It could inspire you to do great and wonderful things.
But I think I'm going to go with:-
"Please, for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT look at pictures of ice cream on the internet at 7.34pm on a boiling hot train."
You bring yourself into a world of pain. Your stomach will rumble. You'll look down at your tepid bottle of Diet Coke and think "Useless. Only an ice cream will make me feel better in this weather now". And then you will scowl until you get home when a faux Magnum just will not make things right.
It's pretty obvious how I know this.
Of all the delicious iced beauties that I saw on my ice cream viewing bender, the chocolate taco stuck with me. With no hope of buying one in the UK, I set about recreating it.
I made the waffle tacos using this waffle cone maker and the recipe included. I halved the recipe and ended up with so much batter let over. I haven't perfected small batch cones so I'll work on that one for you.
Here is the recipe for the amaretto and chocolate ice cream I made:
2 egg yolks
50gr caster sugar
1/2 tsp cornflour
1/2tsp vanilla extract
150ml semi skimmed milk
200ml double cream
1 tablespoon of ameretto
50gr chopped dark chocolate
1, Whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract together until fully combined.
2, Bring the milk and 150ml of the double cream to just below simmering point and pour slowly onto the beaten egg etc using a whisk to combine.
3, Pour back into the saucepan and set over a low heat. Stir continuously until the custard has thickened and you get a nice thick covering on the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil as this will give you lumps.
4, Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour in the rest of the double cream and stir through the chopped dark chocolate and ameretto. The residual heat from the custard will melt the chocolate giving you a smooth chocolatey custard base. Let this go completely cold before churning in an ice cream machine as per your machines instructions.
This will fill about three ice cream tacos with three small scoops. Top with melted chocolate and nuts, because an untopped taco is an unloved taco.
Saturday, 20 July 2013
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
It's hard to turn down an invitation of spending a day on a strawberry farm. Especially a Kentish one, but I'm geographically biased on that front.
After meeting the lovely Sam and Jodie from Cirkle PR and the other bloggers, the owner of Kelsey Farms, Paul Kelsey, told us more about the Driscoll Jubilee strawberry. You can see from the photos but they really are like a stock photo perfect strawberry. Heart shaped and so sweet. You definitely won't have to have a sprinkling of sugar on them. I was also impressed that even the bigger strawberries retained the same level of quality as some different varieties can taste watery.
Paul gave us a tour of the farms including the poly tunnels where we got to fill a couple of punnets and the packing plant. I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly everything ran, from the speed of the berry pickers to the preciseness of the staff in the packing areas.
You can stuff your goji berries too. Strawberries are the original superfood. Crammed with antioxidants, more vitamin c rich than oranges, they can help reduce cholesterol and could help fight cancer. They're fat free and help stimulate collagen.
We then had a beautiful lunch at the Duke William pub in Ickham.
When I got home, I was full of strawberries and lunch. I made this quick batch of lassi and laid in the garden. Lassi is a cooling Indian drink, perfect against the cloying milk shakes of summer. Great if you feel like you may have overindulged. The sweetness of the Jubilee strawberries mellow out the cheek puckering sourness of the buttermilk.
1 cup of ice
1 cup of buttermilk
2 cups strawberries
1, Blend the ice, buttermilk and strawberries together until smooth.
2, I didn't have to add sugar to mine as my strawberries were super sweet, but you may have to add a little touch if your buttermilk is particularly punchy.
All views, text, images and the recipe in this post are my own. Thank you again to Sam from Cirkle PR for inviting me and to Paul for his hospitality. I received no payment for producing this post.
Thursday, 11 July 2013
Thank you to Dotcomgiftshop for inviting me to their Christmas in July. It was great to see their Christmas range as well as some of their most popular gift items and homeware.
As always, all views expressed are my own and Dotcomgiftshop didn't pay me or ply me with sweets to write this.
Sunday, 7 July 2013
I was trying to figure out the most horrible thing about festivals.
Rain? You kind of expect it and should prepare for it
Mud? Some will get on you. Get over it.
Hangovers? Bad when you're at home. Worse when you're in a tent.
"Over enthusiastic" people (normally in jester hats)? Proper annoying but not the worst.
Sweaty wellington trench foot? I pack enough socks to kit an army. We're safe.
Cash point/bar/toilet queues? Oh, honey. We're British. We invented the queue.
Sunburn? I've seen some people who would give lobsters a run for their money in the redness stakes.
Sitting through a terrible act and you want a good seat for the next act? Six words I do not ever want to hear in the same breath - "Nick. Cave. And. The. Bad. Seeds." Please. Never again. Ever. *nervous eye twitch*
Flags? View blockers. Asshats.
But there can be only one.
Warm beer. Warm cider. Warm Diet Coke.
I came back and after shaking the dirty clothes out of my bag into a pile in front of the washing machine and having a shower, went straight for the freezer. Ice. Precious ice.
Makes 2 large servings
Zest and juice of half a lemon
1tsp fresh thyme leaves
Thyme flowers for garnish
1, In a small saucepan, over a medium heat, dissolve the sugar into the wafer and add in the lemon zest and juice.
2, Bring up to a gentle simmer and then remove from the heat. Stir through the fresh thyme and pour into a freezer safe container. Leave to cool completely.
3, Put the unfrozen granita into the freezer and leave for an hour. You'll need to break up the ice crystals and then also periodically after that with a fork. It's really up to you as to the consistency of the granita. Some like it almost slushy and some like hard shards of ice. I hover in the middle.
4, Check the granita every half an hour after that'll break up the ice. Mine took just over two hours as my freezer is quite new and has a super fast freeze option. When you've got to to the desired consistency. Serve immediately.
5, If you're making it in advance, after step four above, leave in the freezer. Remove from the freezer five to ten minutes before it's due to be served so you can break it back down.