Not good bye forever, just for now.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. I’ve had some problems lately in my life, some things private but mainly I’ve just been so busy with applying to universities, looking for work experience and learning how to drive that I’m absolutely tired at the end of the day with no energy left for thinking up brilliant recipes and taking (quite often at least) brilliant photos of said desserts/pastries/baked stuff.

My blog is important to me. My readers are important to me, every one of you, but when faced with choosing between keeping relationships healthy, keeping my body and my mind healthy as well as having an education & a career later on or having a great, successful blog then I’ll always choose the first things.

This is not good bye forever; I’ll be back. Better than ever with new energy, new ideas and more knowledge. Keep checking in every now and then…

Bake, eat cakes, play, pet cats, be happy and smile!

Easy but special anyway – Coconut macaroons with lime, currants and arrack

You know those things that are so easy that often they are made by kids? Rice crispy cakes or chokladbollar are good examples. We can all marvel at how pretty advanced mousse cakes or chocolate desserts look and listen fascinated to words like bavarois and joconde but sometimes you just want something simple and fuss free. A bonus is that often the things that are fuss free and simple are also very classic, like apple pie or banana bread. Things you love and grew up with, and because of this no one usually says no when you offer one/a slice/a piece.

Coconut macaroons are one of those things that’s so easy to make that I imagine many kids make them. Especially if you use Swedish recipes they’re very straightforward (stir, divide on baking paper, bake, done). I added lime zest and juice for extra tang, arrack for added depth of flavour and currants for an interesting change in texture and concentrated pockets of more sweetness. Normally macaroons are almost a bit too sweet and coconut-y, it’s not really much to break off the flavours, but the lime adds some fruity flavours and some acidity that nicely breaks off the rich coconut flavours. The result is a very balanced macaroon that’s very thought through in terms of flavours and textures. I also decided to use muscovado sugar instead of white sugar because it’d add yet more interest and it’d go nicely with the arrack and the lime, adding more depth and slight caramel notes.

Coconut macaroons with lime, arrack and currants

Two eggs
200 g/7.1 oz desiccated coconut
90 g/31.8 oz muscovado sugar
30 ml/1.1 fluid oz arrack
8 tbsp currants
Zest and juice of one lime
50 grammes/1.8 oz flour

Put the oven on 175 degrees C/347 degrees F (150 degrees C/302 degrees F if you’re using a convection oven.). Stir everything together and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes. Shape into little balls using two spoons and your hands, put on greaseproof paper and bake until golden brown.

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Fresh and comforting – Orange ice cream with almonds and chocolate sauce

Sometimes you want something that’s fresh and something that’s rich at the same time. Some people might suggest that you grab a bowl of fruit sorbet and alter eating spoonfuls of that with chewing on a Mars bar in between, but that’s just not me, and I think everyone agree that you can do better than that. Citrus and other fruit is great to provide the base for a dessert when you have days like that and if you incorporate some chocolate and nuts in there it gets very satisfying all of a sudden, whilst staying fresh because the main bulk is citrus flavoured.

I thought an orange ice cream with chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and chocolate chips would make a great dessert when you’re in that mood. Chocolate sauce instead of only chocolate chips because you get more of an even chocolate flavour instead of great burst of flavour all at once and because chocolate sauce is very mild and creamy, thus increasing the feelings of richness further and making the ice cream more balanced in terms of textures. Almonds to provide some buttery and toasted nuts to compliment the chocolate and contrast with the fresh orange, as well as providing some welcome crunch and lastly chocolate chips to compliment the chocolate sauce. I put vanilla in the orange ice cream to provide a bit of depth to it and to compliment the chocolate further.

I think we did a good job with this ice cream. I hope you’ll like it too.

Orange ice cream with toasted almonds, chocolate sauce and dark chocolate chips

500 g/17.7 oz cream
415 g/14.7 milk
500 g/17.7 oz orange juice
6 egg yolks
100 g/3.5 oz glucose syrup
135 g/4.8 oz sugar
135 g/4.8 oz toasted almonds
40 g/1.4 oz dark chocolate chips

Chocolate sauce

68 g/2.4 oz sugar
75 g/2.7 oz milk
30 g/1.1 oz cocoa powder

For the ice cream put the milk, the cream and the vanilla in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put aside while you whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C/183 degrees F or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.

Put the orange juice in a sauce pan and bring it to the boil. Let it boil until it’s reduced by half. Let it cool in the fridge over night. For the chocolate sauce put all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk it together. Bring to the boil and cook it on medium heat while whisking for about 5 minutes until it’s thick and glossy. Put in the fridge to cool down overnight.

Churn the ice cream custard in the ice cream machine the day after. Pour in the custard first quickly followed by the reduced orange juice. As it’s churning, chop up the toasted almonds and put the chocolate sauce in a piping bag. When the ice cream is done churning, quickly fold in the nuts and the chocolate chips. Put some ice cream in a tub, pipe chocolate sauce over and repeat with layers of ice cream and chocolate sauce until you’ve run out of both ice cream and chocolate sauce. Alternatively you could just spoon chocolate sauce in a tub of ice cream and swirl it with a spoon, but it would be hard if the chocolate sauce is cold so make sure it’s at least room temperature. Try to do this as quickly as possibly and then transfer to a freezer until it’s hard enough to eat.

orange ice cream

A break – Blueberry crumble

I’ve gotten into the habit of eating quite a bit of ice cream in the last year. That coupled with the fact that I got an ice cream machine meant that me and Keith agreed to challenge ourselves by promising not to buy any ice cream in 12 months starting from my birthday, apart from vanilla ice cream and only when you eat it with something else (such as brownies or pie) or when you’re out and want an ice cream cone if you have the bad taste to want something mass produced and full of chemicals, which as we all know everyone have every now and then. Because we eat quite a lot of ice cream here this means that most weeks we have to make a new batch of ice cream and thus there have been a lot of that sort on my blog lately.

I wont apologize. Ice cream is great and especially interesting ice cream flavours. The world deserves to know how to make ice cream as nice as mine, and if you don’t enjoy eating ice cream then you simply have bad taste and need to be brought to your senses. However, this is a baking blog that’s supposed to cover a wide range of desserts, bakes and biscuits so I thought I’d blog about something different this week.

I love pie, crumbles in fact. My love for crumble started when I was six years old, outside my preschool. We had an open day or something of the sort and there were sweet treats served to the visitors, the children and the parents. When you’re small there’s always things you think you dislike to eat, even though you can’t remember what it tasted like or if you haven’t even tried it yet. Pie was one of those things, I think I thought that it didn’t look that special at all, but as I sat there outside the red wooden house next to the playground and tucked away at my serving of apple crumble each new bite convinced me more and more that this was the food of gods. How can anything ever be as comforting as crumble? Soft, slightly mushy fruit, a slightly nutty, oat-y crumb that provides richness from the butter, sweetness from the sugar and a welcome change in texture and ice cream or custard that makes it all go down your throat like a soft stroke of velvet.

Ultimately comforting on a windy autumn day if made with apples and cassia/cinnamon and served with warm custard or summery and fruity if made with seasonal berries during summer served with vanilla ice cream to provide a fresh contrast from the still warm crumble. What’s not to like? Pie and crumbles are so versatile that I’ve yet to discover my favourite version because there’s so experimentation to do still but so far blueberry oat crumble is my favourite, served with ice cream.

Sorry for the bad photo, I just wanted to eat it as quickly as possibly, while it was still warm.

Blueberry crumble, two servings

30 g/1.1 oz butter at room temperature
60 g/2.1 oz muscovado sugar
25 g/0.9 oz self raising flour
30 g/1.1 oz thick cut oats
Vanilla from a vanilla pod, to taste
300 g/10.6 oz fresh blueberries
12 g/0.4 oz/3 teaspoons cornflour

Put the oven on 225 degrees C/437 degrees F (200 degrees C/392 degrees F if using a convection oven).Put the butter, 36 g of the sugar, the flour, the oats and the vanilla in a mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers. It will look as thought it’s too crumbly but keep going with it for a while and it will go together, you should be able to squeeze it into a ball but it should also be able to crumble together easily. Grease up a 5 inch cake tin or a pie dish of the same size. Put the blueberries, the remaining sugar and the cornflour in a mixing bowl and mix together lightly. Pour the berries in the tin and put the crumbles on top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and serve immediately with ice cream.

blueberry crumble

Cheating – Coffee ice cream with Bailey’s chocolate swirl and chocolate chip biscuits

A few years ago I made a cake for my step dad’s birthday. It was a vanilla sponge cake with a ganache filling covered with whipped cream and then finished with a layer of marzipan. During eating my family started talking about a new pizza kit that they thought was really clever; you just roll out the ready made dough, spread the ready made sauce on the dough and then top with whatever you want. I mentioned that I thought that you might as well buy a frozen pizza instead, because it’s not cooking to make a pizza with a pizza kit and that largely it’s just cheating. My sister’s boyfriend asked me if I had made the marzipan on the cake and I said no and then he used that as an argument against me, saying that I shouldn’t point fingers at someone cheating when I’m doing the same thing and then everyone agreed with him apart from Keith. Of course it’s a vast difference between making a cake all with home made components apart from the marzipan on top and making a pizza where you put in five minutes of work (and besides, with his logic it would be cheating even if I made the marzipan myself because I didn’t grow and pick the almonds myself… I could never win that conversation) but ever since that incident I’ve been very hard on myself and I’m very picky when it comes to what I put in my desserts. Making a cheesecake? I have to make the biscuits for the crust! Making a crumble? I can’t possibly use shop bought custard, that would be awful! Shop bought ice cream cones? No way! I always go the extra mile and always, always make everything, every little thing from scratch. I pride myself with it, but sometimes it’s tiring.

The other day we decided to make ice cream, again. After thinking we decided on a coffee ice cream with a Bailey’s chocolate swirl and crushed biscuits mixed in. And now the cheating started. We don’t have an espresso maker so I couldn’t use proper coffee and had to use instant coffee instead. I did make the biscuits to go in the ice cream a couple of days before churning it, using a recipe for bourbon biscuits but they were awfully dry and boring, the way bourbon biscuits always are. I thought it’d be OK with a boring biscuit like bourbon biscuits because it’s just a small component and shouldn’t overpower the coffee, the chocolate and the Bailey’s but they were just so plain that I decided to use some Maryland big and chunky biscuits instead.

I’m not perfect, but I always try and sometimes I fail. However, you can’t possibly call this as a mistake with all the compliments I got for it. Keith likes it a lot, and he loathes coffee. Keith’s friend Chris seemed a little bit upset over the fact that you can’t buy anything like this in the shop (not with Ben&Jerry’s Dublin Mudslide gone at least). You couldn’t ask for more.

Coffee ice cream with Bailey’s chocolate sauce and chocolate biscuits chunks

300 g/10.6 oz whipping cream
300 g/10.6 oz milk
3 big egg yolks
80 g/2.8 oz sugar
40 g/1.4 oz glucose syrup
2-3 teaspoons very good quality instant coffee (to taste)
Pinch of salt

Chocolate Bailey’s swirl

90 g/3.2 oz sugar
50 g/1.8 oz milk
40 ml/1.4 fluid oz Bailey’s
40 g/1.4 oz cocoa powder

6 Maryland big and chunky white choc brownie biscuits (Or approximately 150 g chocolate chip biscuits), split in chunks

For the ice cream put the milk, the cream, the salt and the coffee in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put aside while you whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C/183 degrees F or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.

For the chocolate sauce put all the ingredients in a saucepan and whisk it together. Bring to the boil and cook it on medium heat while whisking for about 5 minutes until it’s thick and glossy. Put in the fridge to cool down.

Churn the ice cream custard in the ice cream machine the day after. Break up the biscuits as the ice cream is churning. Once done fold in the biscuits and the chocolate sauce quickly and efficiently and transfer the ice cream to a tub and put in the freezer until it’s hard enough to serve.

Coffee ice cream

Just a great ice cream – Blueberry ice cream with macadamia nuts and white chocolate

A while ago, whilst still craving fruity ice creams, I decided to make blueberry ice cream. One of the biggest perks with having an ice cream machine is all the rare flavours that you now can make and eat; I’d never tried good quality blueberry ice cream before. I spent some time thinking up some suitable mix ins to go in the ice cream and came up with toasted macadamia nuts and white chocolate chunks. White chocolate is just a nice, creamy contrast to the fresh and slightly floral blueberries and the macadamia nuts would provide further contrast with their buttery and toasted flavour profile.

When we make ice cream we usually offer everyone else in the house some, I suggested we do the same with this ice cream but Keith got a hurt look in his face and asked if we really had to share. I took that as a sign that this ice cream went down really well, because he’s usually a very generous person.

I’ve learnt that there’s no need to let the cream and the milk mixture cool down a great deal before whisking it together with the egg mixture. I was impatient the other day and didn’t do this. As long as you whisk efficiently (with an electric whisk for example) then the time it takes to weigh out sugar, crack some eggs, divide them and whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar is enough time for the milk and the cream to cool as much as it needs.

Blueberry ice cream with macadamia nuts and white chocolate

300 g/10.6 oz whipping cream
260 g/9.2 oz milk
3 big egg yolks
135 g/4.8 oz sugar
75 g/2.7 oz glucose syrup
100 g/3.5 oz white chocolate cut in chunks
75 g/2.7 oz macadamia nuts
500 g/17.7 oz blueberries

Day one

Put the blueberries and 25 g/0.9 oz of the sugar in a mixing bowl and stir slightly. Cover and put in the fridge overnight. For the ice cream put the milk and the cream in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put the sauce pan to one side as you whisk the egg yolks together with the rest of the sugar sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.

Day two

Put the blueberries in a saucepan and start reducing it while mashing up the berries with a spoon as you stir. You want it reduced to about half the weight you started out with, preferably more (the less moisture in the ice cream the creamier it gets). When it’s very thick and syrupy then you can put the saucepan in a cold water bath to cool down. Whilst it’s cooling down you can toast the macadamia nuts, do this in the oven if possible since it toasts the nuts more evenly. Once toasted chop them in suitably sized chunks and chop up your white chocolate as small or big as you want it. When the blueberries are cold you can start churning the ice cream; just pour in the plain ice cream custard followed by the blueberries. Once churned quickly fold in the nuts and the chocolate and put in the freezer until it’s hard enough to eat.

blueberry macadamia ice cream

A Tropical Birthday – Coconut cake with exotic fruits

I never used to make a birthday cake for Keith’s birthday. I used to be very lazy. One birthday I made some vanilla muffins topped with shop bought lemon mousse, one year I made a coconut cake with whipped cream and topped with all sorts of sweets and another birthday I made a gooey chocolate cake topped with a mint chocolate icing and that’s as close as I got. I never made a proper cake that’s well thought out and that I spent lots of time and thought on. However, I’ve changed. Last year I made him a chocolate cake filled with a chocolate arrack ganache topped with whipped cream and marzipan, he loved it. This year I asked him what he wanted and he just said “something fruity”. I should have known; he’s getting around to rich chocolate desserts and dark chocolate but most of the time he’ll still prefer something fruity.

I spent lots of time thinking up this cake. I had decided on a cake with meringue, vanilla sponge, lemon curd, strawberry compote and strawberry mousse but one sleepless night I had en epiphany when I imagined a tropical cake with a coconut sponge, another coconut element of some sort, orange curd, mashed bananas and passion fruit mousse. After much thinking I decided that the second coconut element would be a macaroon disc, because the cake had to be balanced in terms of consistencies as well as flavour. I also decided to add banana in the passion fruit to provide it with some more complexity and to complement the tropical flavours further, as well as softening the tartness of the passion fruit and the orange. As an afterthought I decided to add a orange jelly mirror with some Passoa liquoer in it. I wanted it as a decoration only but it added yet another consistency dimension to the cake and made it a bit fresher.

Soft sponge, chewy and slightly hard macaroon, deliciously juicy orange curd, slightly chunky mashed bananas topped with airy and velvety passionfruit banana mousse and a fresh jelly mirror. Perfect!

You will get some leftover sponge, bit of leftover mousse and probably some leftover orange curd.

The recipes are my own apart from the passionfruit banana mousse, which I borrowed from Joe Pastry, slightly changing the batch size.

Tropical cake with coconut, passion fruit, orange and banana

Coconut sponge

1 egg
90 g/3.2 oz light brown sugar
50 g/1.8 oz melted butter
38 g/1.3 oz orange curd
50 g/1.8 oz desiccated coconut
45 g/1.6 oz plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Put the oven on 175 degrees C/347 degrees F (150 degrees C/302 degrees F if you’re using a convection oven). Butter and flour a 5 inch cake tin. Melt the butter together with the orange curd. Stir together the coconut, the baking powder and the flour. Whisk egg together with the sugar until it’s light and pale, about 4-5 minutes. Whisk together the egg mixture and the dry ingredients and the butter mixture until it’s combined nicely. Pour the mixture in the cake tin and bake it for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Slice the cake into three pieces, two pieces that are about 40% the thickness each and one that’s about 20% (this is the leftover one, do what you want with it).

Macaroon disc

1/2-1 egg
50 g/1.8 oz desiccated coconut
22 g/0.8 oz light brown sugar

Put the coconut and the sugar in a bowl and add egg until it’s a sticky batter. Let the batter swell for ten minutes. Pat it out into a 5 inch circle on a sheet of greaseproof paper and bake in the oven at 175 degrees C/347 degrees F (150 degrees C/302 degrees F if you’re using a convection oven) until it’s golden.

Orange curd

Juice and zest of two oranges
Juice and zest of one lemon
90 g/3.2 oz butter
200 g/7.1 oz sugar
3 egg yolks
Pinch of pectin sugar (you can omit this but the curd wont be as thick as I like it)

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook it on medium heat while whisking until it’s thick and covers the back of a spoon, this might take over 20 minutes. Strain it through a sieve into warm jars and let it cool down.

Passionfruit banana mousse

264 g/10.4 oz sieved passion fruit pulp
110g/2.82 oz banana
56 g/2 oz sugar
20 g/0.7 oz lemon juice
2.3 teaspoons/just over 9 g/just over 0.3 oz gelatine powder
300 g/10.6 oz whipping cream

Make the mousse just before you’re about to pipe it into the spring form tin. Put the banana and the sieved passion fruit in a blender together with the sugar and blend the fruit until it’s a purée (if you don’t have enough passion fruit then make up the weight with more banana), add the lemon juice and strain the mixture through a sieve. Put about a third of the mixture into a saucepan, warm it gently and add the gelatine. Stir until it’s dissolved and put this mixture in a large bowl and add the rest of the purée. Let it cool while stirring every now and then. When it’s close to room temperature whip the cream to soft peaks. Put the fruit puree in a cold water bath and scrape it with a spatula until the puree is getting thicker, remove the bowl from the bath and whip the cream to stiff peaks. Fold in the fruit puree.

Orange juice jelly mirror with Passoa

200 ml/7.1 oz orange juice
20 ml/0.7 oz Passoa
2/3 teaspoons lemon juice
Just under two teaspoons gelatine

Make this about an hour before you’re going to pour it over the cake (see below). Put the gelatine, the passoa (don’t weight out the Passoa as it contains alcohol and has a different density to water) and the lemon juice in a bowl, stir slightly and wait a few minutes for the gelatine to become spongy while you put the orange juice in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. Stir the gelatine mixture in the saucepan and pour it into a jug that you put in a cold water bath. Stir every now and then until it becomes thick (this takes quite some time).

Assembling of the cake

If you have some suitable acetate sheets then take one or two of these and line a 6 inch spring form tin with it, grease the bottom of the tin with vegetable oil. The acetate sheets needs to be so thick that they don’t feel flimsy and so that they hold their shape in the tin, if you don’t have any then just grease up the sides and the bottom of the tin. Mash up 2 big or 3 medium bananas. Put the macaroon disc at the bottom. Arrange some of the banana mash in a circle, like a border, over it (this is so that the curd wont spread out over the sides). Spread some orange curd (as thick as you want it) on top. As you assemble the layers you pipe passion fruit mousse around the edges, making sure it gets all around the cake (I didn’t do a very good job). Put one of the thicker coconut sponge discs on top of the mashed bananas and the orange curd and put another layer of banana and orange curd the way you did it the first time on top of the sponge. Pipe more fruit mousse around the cake, top with the last of the thick coconut sponge discs and pipe the rest of the mousse of top, spreading it with a palette knife as well as you can. Put in the fridge overnight. Pour the passoa mirror over the cake while it’s in the spring form tin a few hours before you’re going to serve the cake. Carefully loosen the spring form tin from the cake and carefully peel of the acetate sheets. If you didn’t use any sheets the risk is that your mousse might break a little bit. If you’re brave then try to move the cake from the bottom of the tin, if you don’t want to risk anything then just leave it.

Decorate it how you want it, with chocolate decorations, some sliced up fruit (strawberries, passion fruit, kiwi would be nice for example) or with some coconut flakes.

passion fruit mousse

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A comforting treat – Cassia ice cream with oat biscuits and raisins

It’s more or less impossible to find good quality fruit ice cream in the supermarkets in the U.K (I can count to two; a lime coconut ice cream and a lemon curd ice cream) so in the last two weeks we’ve been making fruity ice cream in my precious, new ice cream machine but since I’m a girl that at heart always preferred richer things such as chocolate, nuts and biscuits I soon felt like I’ve had my temporarily cravings satisfied and I felt like making something indulgent. I consulted Keith and we looked through my list of ice creams to make (it spans over two pages now!) and we chose to make a cassia ice cream with oat biscuits and raisins.

My inspiration for this ice cream was part oatmeal biscuits with raisins in them but I also once (or twice, or thrice…) had an ice cream in Sweden called Berte’s äppelpaj which was an apple pie ice cream with crumb chunks, cassia and apple pieces. I thought that why not combine the two flavours, the raisins, the oat-y flavour from both the biscuits and the crumb and the cassia from the apple pie. I expect you could stick some apples in there, but I wanted to focus on the biscuit part of the ice cream, having lots of those chunks.

This flavour ice cream is interesting. Even thought it’s a cold dessert it feels warm and cozy in your stomach, a bit like as if you’ve had a cup of hot chocolate, I think it’s the oat biscuits and the spicy warmth of cassia that does it. If you don’t have cassia then just use cinnamon, it’s fairly similar but a bit harsher and not as sweet. I used muscovado sugar instead of the normal white sugar and it’s caramel tones complements the spice and the oats beautifully. You’ll get biscuit leftovers, but you don’t mind, do you?

Eat on it’s own, half melted over a cassia/cinnamon bun or together with apple pie…

Cassia ice cream with oat biscuits and raisins

300 g/10.6 oz milk
300 g/10.6 oz whipping cream
3 big egg yolks
40 g/1.4 oz glucose syrup
75 g/2.7 oz muscovado sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon, or to taste
55 g/1.9 oz raisins

Oat biscuits

70 g/2.5 oz thick cut oats
70 g/2.5 oz instant oats
75 g/2.7 oz vegetable oil
130 g/4.6 oz muscovado sugar
40 g/1.4 oz golden syrup
Pinch of flake salt

Make the oat biscuits first. Put the oven on 190 degrees C/375 degrees F (165 degrees C/330 degrees F if you’re using a convection oven). Put everything in a bowl and mix together. Spread on a sheet of greaseproof paper and bake until it’s golden. Let it sit until the next day and break it up into little chunks.

For the ice cream put the milk, the cream and the cassia in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put the saucepan carefully in a basin with cold water and let the mixture cool for about half an hour. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night. Churn the ice cream the next day and when it’s done stir carefully and quickly in the raisins and the about 1/4 of the oat biscuit chunks. Put in the freezer to set into a harder consistency.

cinnamon biscuit ice cream

Back to the roots – Scandinavian waffles

It’s funny, growing up in one country but ending up living in another. For me it either feels like I belong in both Sweden and England or, on a bad day, like I belong nowhere. One thing that is true is that whenever I’m in one country I always miss the other country quite severely. When I’m in Sweden I miss how crowded England feel in comparison, I miss hearing people speak English and I even miss the big, also crowded supermarkets with a million different things to buy (Cadbury chocolate for example… Tut tut, I should have better tastes than that but I don’t). My feelings of loss is more subtle when I’m in England and it take longer for them to grow strong but they are there nevertheless. They express themselves mainly by making me extremely proud that I’m Swedish. I will make comments such as “The doors in Sweden are so much better than the English ones; they swing out away from you, rather than towards you. Safer in case of a fire!” or “Swedish trains are much better. So much faster.”, little things that doesn’t really matter at all, but that feels oh so important to comment on.

Every now and then when the feelings of loss are getting too strong I do something Swedish. I bake rågsiktskakor or perhaps listen to Kent even though I prefer other bands. The other week, I decided to order a couple of old, rusty and very Scandinavian cast iron pans of eBay, after spending a very long time trying to find somewhere that sold them. One of them is a Scandinavian style waffle iron and the other one is a “rånjärn” or more commonly known by the Norwegian name krumkake iron. I felt lucky, managing to find something that’s so rare in the U.K. However, when it was only one day before I planned to use them and it came to cleaning off the rust and the ground in dirt as well as seasoning them I felt less lucky. Spending hours scrubbing away with steel wool, muscles getting sore and nails chipping and then getting much of the kitchen dirty from rubbing them with oil and salt and lastly heating them on the hob with oil in to season them was quite tiring (not to mention cleaning up).

We wanted to make some waffles, seeing as we missed the waffle day this year (and the last seven or so years). I did some research and decided on a recipe that looked good. It was quite tricky to use the cast iron pan; you have to remember to turn it every now and then and there was a spot that wasn’t seasoned correctly so the waffles got a little bit stuck at that particular place. We had to experiment with heat settings of the stove as well as time to cook the waffles but we got there in the end. As I was standing there, working like an animal, I felt very Swedish and very admiring of all the Swedish women (and men) that in the past cooked with these heavy cast iron pots and pans every single day.

This recipe makes six waffles. It might not sound like a lot (Keith seemed to think they were like pancakes and thought he could eat four!) but one waffle with a generous topping of whipped cream and jam is normally how much one person eats (although, they are easy to eat so many people eat more and I can’t blame them). As mentioned, best served with whipped cream and jam. Cloudberry jam is very traditional but if you don’t have any then strawberry jam is what I always had when I was small and what I still truthfully prefer. When I was small I used to have whipped cream, ice cream and a few different types of jam on top and I’d often eat at least three waffles… I could eat a lot for being so small! If you have a cast iron pan you’ll have to experiment with heat and time because all stoves are different. And remember to whisk the batter slightly between each waffle or the flour will sink to the bottom! And lastly: I’m not sure how this recipe fares in the more common Belgian waffle iron, so better use a Scandinavian style iron.

Swedish Waffles

50 g/1.8 oz butter
50 g/1.8 oz whipping cream (not whipped!)
180 g/6.4 oz plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
400 g/14.1 oz milk

Melt the butter and let it cool down while you prepare the rest of the batter. Mix the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Pour in half the milk and whisk until no lumps remain. Add the rest of the milk, the melted butter and the cream and whisk again until the batter is uniform. Heat your pan and grease it with some butter and pour in 80-100 ml of batter. On our stove on a medium heat it took about 2 minutes on each side. Repeat until no batter remains and serve immediately.

Swedish waffles

A new start – Cherry almond chocolate chip ice cream

I turned 24 last week. I’m not old (although I sometimes feel old and bitter) but I’m not a child anymore, and it was five years since I was a teenager. As you grow out of childhood and into the responsibility of being an adult you usually get less and smaller presents for your birthday. I don’t really mind; if I want something these days I can usually get it myself because with adulthood comes independence in many ways. However, there is one person that’s still spoiling me; Keith. On my birthday he put a huge box on top of our bed filled with little and big presents. I started with the small ones, opening them in the order he suggested, and at the end there was a big box. I lifted it out, it turned out to be quite heavy, and opened it.

Many people give hints about what they’d like starting a few weeks before their birthday, I’m usually one of them, but my hints are always very subtle (because I do prefer my presents to be personal and thoughtful rather than something I picked out myself) thus not pushing anyone into getting anything for me, but this year I was so busy that I simply forgot.

And that’s why I was surprised when I saw that in the box there was an ice cream machine, which is something I’ve wanted for a long time. It was even the model I was thinking about getting, I guess it helped that we looked into ice cream machines together (reading Ruben’s blog Ice cream science for example, he has written some excellent reviews). As you know I’ve made ice cream before a few times so I already had access to an ice cream machine but the one I used to use was very poor and we got inconsistent result with it (even though the canister had been in the freezer for days before using it it quite liked to turn my ice cream into frozen slush every now and then and it also fell apart while churning the ice cream) and I was tired of taking chances with my ice cream batters that’ve taken time to make and that contained expensive, good quality ingredients.

I was (and still am) very happy, and spent quite some time last week looking at the box next to our bed and stroking the ice cream machine. I also spent quite some time on my birthday and other days last week thinking about what ice cream to make, and I ordered The Perfect Scoop from Amazon to give me more inspiration (although after reading the info bit about technique and ingredients involved I feel like I should have chosen a book that’s more in depth about how ice cream works rather than using up most of the pages on recipes). Together with Keith we eventually decided that the very first batch of ice cream to make in our ice cream machine would be cherry ice cream with coarsely chopped almonds and dark chocolate chips. It felt like a nice way to start a new era of ice cream making (yes, I know. I shouldn’t be this into kitchen appliances).

The ice cream turned out nice, but was a little bit crumbly when it came to scooping it. After doing some reading I figured out that I might need to use more cream in the recipe, some alcohol in it, more glucose syrup, more sugar or (my own thoughts now) not puree any of the cherries because that will make the cherries mix in more with the ice cream thus needing to add more fat and sugar to the ice cream mixture to make it creamy again. It’s absolutely not a problem when it comes to eating it (just leave it out 5-10 minutes before eating), so I suggest that you make some of it if you fancy, but I’m a perfectionist and feel like I should point it out to you.

Faults aside, the cherry flavour has got quite a bit of a kick to it. It’s very tangy and a little of this ice cream goes a long way. The chocolate chips add some richness and bitterness to it and together with the buttery, soft flavour of the toasted almonds it balances the tartness of the cherries nicely, mellowing it ever so slightly and giving it depth.

(Keith really liked the ice cream. I’m planning on making ice cream once a week now and I have a feeling he’s not going to regret giving me the ice cream machine! He’s almost as into eating ice cream as I am)

Cherry almond chocolate chip ice cream

301 g/10.6 oz milk
342 g/12.1 oz cream
40 g/1.4 oz glucose syrup
115 g/4.1 oz sugar
3 big egg yolks
550 g/19.4 oz frozen cherries
70 g/2.5 oz toasted almonds
100 g/3.5 oz dark chocolate chips

Day one

Put the milk and cream in a saucepan together with the glucose syrup. Bring to the boil and put the saucepan carefully in a basin with cold water and let the mixture cool for about half an hour. Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar for about two minutes until it’s fluffy and pale in colour. As you whisk, pour the milk and cream mixture carefully into the egg and sugar mixture. Make sure that you pour the milk and the cream mixture into the egg and not the other way around or the egg mixture might curdle. After the two mixtures are combined, pour into the saucepan again and heat on medium heat while whisking until the mixture is 84 degrees C or it’s thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture into a bowl and put it into the water filled basin again to cool down, stirring every now and then to prevent a skin from forming. When it’s cooled down, cover with cling film and put it in the fridge over night.

Day two

Start with the cherry puree. Put the cherries in a saucepan together with 40 g sugar and heat it. You don’t need any water because the frozen cherries should release plenty. Keep into the mixture while stirring until it’s reduced to about half the amount you started with, you want it thick and syrupy. At this point I pureed about 2/3 of the mixture but I recommend not doing that. Let it cool down in the fridge until it’s the same temperature as the ice cream custard.

Make sure you have your almonds toasted and chopped and your chocolate chips out. Pour the custard in the ice cream machine quickly followed by the cherry puree. When it looks like it’s almost done churning, slowly and carefully pour in the the almonds and the chocolate chips. Quickly use a rubber spatula (remember, no metal in the ice cream canister!!!) to scrape the ice cream into a tub and put it into the freezer and let it freeze into the consistency you want it before eating it.

cherry ice cream

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