I’m not a Mum who treats sugar as the devil. I have a very sensible (well I think so) theory that by saying something’s off limits you create all kinds of both negative and exciting connotations. Dieting, giving up smoking, stopping dating unsuitable men… by saying it’s off limits all of a sudden we all want it more. So this recipe is a welcome surprise. I’d read about blitzing frozen bananas up to make ice-cream but had never really trusted that it might rival my love for the proper creamy stuff. I was wrong. Add some frozen morello cherries and honey and I’m there, face first in the tub, not sharing with anyone. Well I am almost 40 weeks pregnant…
Three years ago: Banana and custard melts
Cherry & banana ice-cream
I freeze my bananas ahead of time, whenever they are slightly on the turn. Don’t whatever you do freeze the bananas whole and then try to blend with a domestic blender. It will likely cause a lot of smoke.
Blitz the banana pieces and cherries with a stick blender or in a large food processor with the blade attachment until smooth. Add honey to sweeten slightly and re-freeze in tubs. Ta-da! Lovely ice-cream with loads less guilt.
Photography by Minal Photography.
So you know how I pimped those 29p waffle cones from Aldi? If you didn’t then you can check them out here. They’re the classy sister to these wafers.
The principle is exactly the same, just more about sweets and less about nuts and praline and other tip-top delights. These wafers are the grubbier version, the one you secretly eat, alone. A bit like when you smuggle-buy a Malibu and coke but ask for it in a long glass to pass it off as a plain Diet Coke. Or when you buy expensive rear facing car seats (not the baby ones, I’m talking the next stage up for talking children) so you can buy McDonalds cheeseburgers at the drive-thru without the kids telling Daddy. Just me then?
About 25g chocolate (dark, milk, whatever takes yours of your toddlers fancy)
Take the chocolate, break into pieces and then melt in the microwave in short blasts. Mine took a minute to get to the almost molten stage, then a few stirs with a teaspoon to get it all the way there. Pop your wafer onto a plate.
Let the chocolate sit in the bowl/cup/whatever you melted it in, until it starts to harden a little. Once it’s at the still-mixable but visibly-thicker stage, spoon it onto your wafer with a teaspoon being careful to get a good covering but not to let it spill over the sides. (Only because it’s easier to let it set this way without getting it soldered to the plate.)
Then decorate with sweets. Maybe just gummy bears, maybe dolly mixture too. Perhaps chocolate coins. Strawberry laces for sure. I raided our treat tin. All houses should have a treat tin in my opinion.
Let it set and then serve alone or with ice-cream.
This is Charlie pointing in glee and delight. I don’t think I could have earnt more Mothering points if I tried.
Today I wore a ski jacket to feed the ducks so I guess you could say summer isn’t quite here yet. That doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy an ice-cream though. My eldest son disappointed me immensely as a baby by showing zero interest in ice-cream. Unperturbed Mr B and I selflessly set out on a crusade to introduce him to joys of the cold stuff by feeding him a spoonful every Saturday. He’s 4 this year and you could say our hard work has paid off.
This is a simple idea that I am disproportionately excited about. Already I dream of stem ginger attached to my ice-cream cones in great sugary cubes… macadamia nuts on white chocolate and of course praline of any kind set into rock hard caramel, like an ice-creamy toffee apple but without the fruit, which frankly always ruins it for me.
1 ice-cream cone
50g dark chocolate
5 pistachios, shelled and chopped
Grab a glass and set aside – you want a tumbler type glass where the top of your cone clears the rim of the glass. Take the dark chocolate, break into pieces and then melt in the microwave in short blasts. Mine took a minute to get to the almost molten stage, then a few stirs with a teaspoon to get it all the way there.
Let the chocolate sit in the bowl/cup/whatever you melted it in until it starts to harden a little. Once it’s at the still-mixable but visibly-thicker stage, spoon it into your cone with a teaspoon being careful to get a good covering on the inside and also a little around the edges.
Take your chopped pistachios and sprinkle into the cone and around the edge. Prop the cone in the glass to set completely before filling with ice-cream. You can fill it before it’s set but for me the crunch of thick, thick set chocolate is worth waiting for.
I mean seriously, how good does that look. I’m already thinking some cocktail themes could work here. Toasted coconut on a white chocolate covered cone filled with Malibu and pineapple sorbet?
I’m off to buy some kulfi.
Hands up those who’s offspring received a lot of chocolate from Santa? Hands up who’s still ploughing through it? Hands up who likes ice cream? Three raised hands and this recipe is for you.
This is easy, easy, easy. And perfect for making with kiddies. Charlie liked watching me bury the treasure and even instructed me which goodies to drop next.
Make sure your ice cream machine is ready. So the frozen bits are frozen and the inside is scrupulously clean. If it isn’t then you’re in trouble as this contains raw eggs.
Put the sugar in a saucepan and add 1 tbsp cold water and heat until you have a caramel coloured syrup – be careful not to let it burn but you do need to be relatively fearless. Once it looks suitably autumnal in colour – a kind of deep red, add 3 tbsp boiling water and then cover the pan and leave on a medium heat for about 15 mins.
Take off the heat and pour, a dribble at a time, into the lightly whisked egg yolks. Whisk as you go. Then, keep on whisking until it’s all light and frothy and pop into the freezer for 30 mins. Leave the whisk in the bowl and give it a good stir every 10 or so minutes. It may have separated in the cold so this helps with that little issue.
After the half hour of freezing the caramel and egg yolks is up, fold in the whipped cream. Mix with a metal spoon carefully and then pour into your ice cream machine. Mine takes 45 mins to run which is just enough time to have a heated discussion with a 2 year old about which chocolate to sacrifice to the ice-cream and which to keep in the sweetie tin. And which not to feed 12 week old baby Max.
Once the ice-cream is ready take a very clean plastic container (with lid of course) and put about 1.5cm of the ice cream in the bottom. Then add some buried treasure. Then add more ice-cream, then more treasure. And so on and so worth. Try to save some coins for the top to leave sticking out at jaunty angles. It looks cool and pleases small people too.
Put the treasure in the freezer for another few hours to set harder and then enjoy the treasure hunt!
We are all poorly. Coughing and spluttering and retching. The lurgy has struck. So this will be short.
So Christmas day is nearly here (well according to The Early Learning Centre there are 11 more sleeps.) I’m serving cherry and pecan pudding rather than Christmas pudding but for the traditionalists feel the need to offer something brandied to accompany it. Not being a fan of brandy butter (is that just me?) I thought a nice brandied ice-cream might go down a treat. The nutmeg in this recipe is very subtle – this isn’t a highly spiced or boozy ice cream, more a hint of the festive season in a frozen cream format. Is also very good for lurgy induced sore throats. And you don’t even need an ice cream maker!
Right, first thing’s first, take the raisins and put into a saucepan with the brandy. Heat over a medium flame for about 5 mins, stirring until all the brandy is absorbed or thereabouts. You can then set this saucepan aside – you can even do this the day before and leave overnight.
Next, put the sugar in another saucepan with 1 tbsp cold water and heat until you have a caramel coloured syrup – be careful not to let it burn but you do need to be relatively fearless. Once it looks suitably autumnal in colour – a kind of deep red, add 3 tbsp boiling water and then cover the pan and leave on a medium heat for about 15 mins.
Take off the heat and pour, a dribble at a time, into the egg yolks. Whisk as you go. Then, keep on whisking until it’s all light and frothy and pop into the freezer for 30 mins. Leave the whisk in the bowl and give it a good stir every 10 or so minutes. It may have separated in the cold so this helps with that little issue.
In the meantime whisk the double cream until it forms peaks. Top tip for not getting cream all over your kitchen is to use an electric hand held mixer and do it in a tall mixing jug. After the half hour of freezing the caramel and egg yolks is up, fold in the whipped cream, add the raisins and also grate in a little nutmeg. Mix with a metal spoon carefully and pop into a lidded container and re-freeze.
Every hour or so for about 5 hours take a fork to the mixture and stir, breaking up the ice particles. You can do this more often if you remember. Sounds like a faff but when you taste it all that forking will be forgotten. Mr B even said ‘remind me why we have ever bought ice-cream?’ upon tasting this little creation. If only I’d known ice cream was this easy to make earlier.
I have a confession to make. I was a smug parent. Charlie used to eat pretty much anything we put in front of him (well, except for the lentil and spinach puree I lovingly made which had the texture of soil – note to self to taste the puree before feeding it to Baby Bell #2.) The effect of this was a smug Holly who nodded sympathetically when A N Other parent worried out loud as to how to entice their toddler to eat a wide, varied and nutritious diet. Inside I was congratulating myself on my unfussy offspring. No turkey twizzlers or potato faces at Bell Towers! Clearly his palette was a reflection of my wonderful parenting.
This smug behaviour has quite rightly resulted in a karmic backlash. Since toddlerdom commenced Charlie takes any opportunity he can to embarrass me on the food front. He throws anything healthy on the floor and then points and squeals at foodstuffs in the immediate vicinity covered in fat, salt, sugar etc. The owner of the coveted food is irrelevant. He will happily shout and point at a stranger’s plates, probably steal from them too if allowed. His ASBO behaviour is clearly not a reflection on my parenting, of course.
What to do? Why smuggle of course! I never thought I’d smuggle fruit, veg and various lean meats into food, but in desperation I’m afraid I do. These lollies were borne after Charlie rejected the humble raspberry, which incidentally he loved on holiday 2 months ago. He ate one after his dinner last week and started to wretch. On closer inspection there were no maggots or other nasties, just a toddler with a schizophrenic palette and a will of steel. Well, the last laugh’s on him… he lapped these up.
You need some lolly moulds for this. First thing to do is take your moulds and pour water into them, then decant water into a measuring jug to see how much lolly mixture you need.
Using a food processor, whiz up the raspberries, adding the other ingredients once they’re mashed to a pulp. Pour the lot into an empty measuring jug to see if you need any more ice cream/yoghurt in order to fill your moulds. If you do, taste as you go – there’s no way a heavily yoghurt based lolly would have gone down well with Charlie and his girlfriend Belle.
Fill the lolly moulds, add the tops and freeze overnight if poss or for at least a few hours. To get the lollies out of the moulds stand them in a bowl of hot water for a minute or so, then ease out gently. Serve outside, wearing clothes for dripping on.
P.S. The first set of lollies I made were mango based. The lolly mixture tasted delicious and I fully recommend it – just pulp the flesh of a whole ripe mango rather than use the raspberries. Unfortunately, in a pregnant fashion, I put the moulds in the fridge upside down. Mr B had to clear up the sunny mess and console me. I didn’t cry over split lollies though, which I think is impressive.