Bitter Lemon Gelato

Bitter Lemon Gelato/Ice-cream

Originally I thought that this wasn’t really a gelato because it has cream in it, but I’ve since looked it up and realised that gelato does indeed usually contain cream/milk fats, just less than what we commonly term “ice-cream”. I have therefore spent my whole life living a lie when it comes to the definition of gelato. A very sobering thought.

This is a recipe that comes before one of the chapters in Livia Day’s Drowned Vanilla (a lovely Australian culinary mystery that you should totally read if you’re into that sort of thing). It is wonderfully sour and tangy, a lovely palate cleansing sort of dessert to have after a meal.

ingredients:

1 cup water
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup lemon juice (around 5-6 lemons)
2/3 cup double cream or thickened cream

method:
Put the water, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a metal bowl, and put into the fridge until well chilled.

Whisk the cream into the mixture, and cover with plastic wrap. Pop it into the freezer. Pull it out every half-hour or so and whisk or stir again, until it’s turned into gelato (about three hours or so). I must admit that I only whisked it a few times, because I was trying to get the baby to sleep and then accidentally fell asleep myself, but it still turned out quite well. I expect some additional stirring would have only made the texture smoother and creamier.

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Fruit Salad

Now the weather is becoming rather warm, fruit salad seems the perfect way to end an alfresco lunch or light dinner. Despite the lack of bananas in the shops, there’s lots of other gorgeous fruits which will combine into a delicious salad.

I peeled some oranges and chopped them into small segments. Peeling kiwifruit is a little difficult, I find – I use a potato peeler, and do it over the bin so the excess juice has somewhere to run. (I’m now wondering if you can juice kiwifruit, and what it tastes like.)

Strawberries are easy – hull and chop into nice large chunks. They’re beautiful against the acidic tastes of the oranges and kiwifruit.

I ate this with a beautiful Jalna yoghurt – their biodynamic Bush Honey flavour, which is a delicately scented, thick, honey yoghurt. I was a little confused about the meaning of biodynamic – from their website, I gather that they mean organic principles, and so I wonder why it isn’t marketed as organic yoghurt. I guess it doesn’t meet the criteria? It sounds like it does from their website, though. Puzzling.

Christmas Pudding Icecream

This is a recipe really only suited to the Southern Hemisphere Christmas, but how well suited to our weather it is. This is perfect to have after Christmas lunch – the familiar spices and fruits of a traditional Christmas pudding mixed up in a very easy creamy homemade icecream.

600 g cream
1 cup icing sugar
60 g chopped glace cherries
1/2 cup chopped raisins
1/2 cup sultanas
1 tablespoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoons toasted slivered almonds
1/2 cup melted dark chocolate
4 egg whites
1/4 cup brandy, frangelico, or other spirit

Put the fruit in a large bowl, and add the spices and brandy. Stir well, and leave to soak overnight. (If you don’t have time, leave to soak as long as possible).

Whip egg whites, and add half the sugar to the egg whites.

Whip the cream, and add the remaining sugar to the cream.

Add the egg whites and cream to the fruit. Mix well. Stir in the melted chocolate.

Choose a reasonably sized bowl to freeze the icecream in. You will invert the icecream to serve it, so it doesn’t have to be a serving bowl. I used a metal mixing bowl, which worked well.

Sprinkle the toasted almonds over the bottom of the bowl, and then gently pour in the icecream mixture. Freeze overnight.

To serve, run a little hot water over the outside of the bowl, and invert onto a plate just before serving.

Freestyle Dessert Cafe

A few weeks ago a friend and I visited Freestyle Dessert Cafe in Rosalie. I just couldn’t go past visiting somewhere that calls itself a ‘Dessert Cafe’.

We sat outside at a little table in the early spring sunshine, and agonised over the menu for a while, peeking looks at what other people had ordered. Eventually, I decided on a Berry Deluxe Sundae, and R ordered the Chocolate Guinness Cake.

My sundae, pictured above, was perfect. Rasberry and strawberry sorbet, vanilla icecream, berries at the bottom of the glass, marshmallows, and a spear of chocolate. Light, sweet and delicious – perfect for a spring afternoon.

R’s Chocolate Guinness Cake was amazing (although I couldn’t detect any taste of stout). It was a rich, smooth velvety chocolate experience, surrounded with an incredible sauce. It was so rich, she couldn’t finish it, and I helpfully polished it off. It was so good, I think I would order a cake next time, rather than a sundae – I’ve had more amazing icecream, but rarely so excellent a cake.

Angela's Stolen Easy Chocolate Torte

Forgive the blurriness and general unattractiveness of the above photograph – the camera ran out of batteries at the critical moment. Don’t let it put you off trying this dessert, another recipe from the blonde and buxom Angela. We’ve decided to do a whole Stolen series with recipes from her ex-husband, and this one is certainly delicious. Extremely rich and deliciously creamy. You simply put in the fridge when the layers are constructed, so you can put it together in a convenient tupperware container if you happen to be taking it to work for the masses to eat (I also like this because you can see the cream oozing out between the layers through the plastic).

2-3 packets of sponge finger biscuits (depending on the size of your container) (the brand I used was Unibic)
300g dark cooking chocolate
700g thickened whipping cream
1 egg yolk
Frangelico, Brandy, Rum – whatever spirit you prefer
2 cups milk

Get the boring bit out of the way first, and whip the cream.

Now, I had some problems with the chocolate. As you can seen from the above picture, rather than a smooth layer of chocolate, I had a rough layer of little chocolate blobs. However, I didn’t follow Angela’s instructions, so I’ll write them out here as she did.

In a microwave carefully melt the chocolate. Remove before it has completely melted and whisk in the egg yolk and a generous dollop of whipped cream. You don’t want the consistency to be too runny – you want a smooth cream texture.

I did mine in a saucepan, added the egg yolk, and the chocolate completely solidified and nothing I could do could smooth the texture. The dessert still tasted gorgeous, but it ruined its looks a little, I think.

In a bowl, mix together the milk and alcohol. I didn’t measure the Frangelico, and just pour in several big glugs – it wasn’t actually that noticeable in the finished dessert, and in future I’d probably do 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup. Taste the mixture to check the strength.

One by one, dunk each biscuit in the milk mixture for 1-2 seconds – not longer, or they’ll be too soggy – then place it into the container until you have completely covered the bottom with tight rows of biscuits.

Smooth a layer of chocolate over the biscuits, and follow this with a layer of whipped cream.

Repeat the process with another layer of dunked biscuits, chocolate and cream.

Repeat with another layer of dunked biscuits and chocolate. Refrigerate the dessert, and add a top layer of whipped cream prior to serving. The dessert is at its best if chilled prior to serving. Decorate with chocolate flakes if you wish.

A Trip to Mt Tamborine

We drove up to Mt Tamborine this morning, ostensibly to go to the local produce markets, although we arrived a little late and there wasn’t much of anything left. We did grab some beautifully fresh avocados and mushrooms, and couldn’t resist a bottle of mulberry and rhubarb jam – dark and delicious looking.

After peeking at some cottages and wondering if we could afford a weekend in front of a fire with a mountain view, we headed for the tourist strip filled with galleries, cafes and fudge shops. I had to buy Lemon Meringue Fudge, which I’d had once before – deliciously tangy.

We stopped off at a butcher in Logan Village on the way home, where the butcher’s three young children were in the shop with him, making rissoles and serving customers. The young girl who served us was probably 10 or 11, and carefully picked up the Italian sausages we bought with her bare hands, stuffing them into the plastic bag, before frowning at the scales, trying to figure out how much we had to pay her. I wondered if they resented having to help out their father on the weekends. Perhaps he pays them pocket money in return.