This month's idea for IMBB is eggs hosted by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant . With all the hot weather we're having I thought ice cream would be a fab idea, especially as the ice cream maker has been sat in the freezer waiting for any excuse to make ice cream for about a month. When I am feeling very lazy, but want a tasty pudding, I like to throw a load of muisjes and chocoladehagel (which for those unlucky folk who've never experienced them, they are a dutch specialty, not generally eaten with ice cream but on bread or beschuit (aka Dutch toasts)) over vanilla ice cream, so I thought why not try out making my own fennel and chocolate chip ice cream, and while I am at it try something a little unusual and add a ripple of tarragon puree to make it just a little bit more aniseedy! So here they are Fennel and chocolate chip ice cream and Fennel and Tarragon ripple ice cream. And whilst I was up to my eyeballs in fennel I thought I'd re-create the roasted fennel and black olive salad I made for Mum and Dad when they came down to visit at Easter.
fennel and tarragon ice cream
Fennel ice creams
First I infused 300ml skimmed milk and 300ml single cream with 3 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds by bring them all to the boil and then turning off the heat and letting them sit and cool for about an hour. I strained off the fennel seeds through muslin, giving the seeds a good squeeze to get out all the flavour. The ice cream maker was ready in the freezer and so I made a custard with the flavoured milk/cream mixture 175g caster sugar and 6 egg yolks, being careful not to boil it. I allowed it to cool and then churned it to ice cream. (If you don't have an ice cream maker you could cool the custard and then put it into a freezer tub. Let it semi freeze and beat it to make it smooth and then freeze again. Just repeat the beating-freezing step a few times to get an ice cream) To make the choc chip variety I stirred a handful of dark choc chips through half the ice cream before putting it in the freezer. For the tarragon ripple, which actually became more of a thoroughly mixed element as I was a little to thorough with my rippling, I took 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh french tarragon and ground it with a tablespoon of caster sugar and a tablespoon of water in a pestle and mortar. Then simply stirred through the other half of the ice cream before putting that in the freezer too. Both are very tasty, particularly the extra aniseedy tarragon-ripple fennel variety, but I think there was a little too much sugar for my taste and would try 25g less next time.
roasted fennel and olive salad
Roasted fennel and olive salad
For this I took a bulb of fennel and cut it into 8 segments, leaving a little of the base in place so that they didn't fall apart, but removing a small amount of the hard central core. I roasted the fennel on a tray at 200°C for 20 min after drizzling with a tiny amount of olive oil. When these were done I let them cool while I prepared the rest of the salad. I washed 4 large Cos lettuce leaves, tore them into bite size pieces and put them on a plate. I scattered over 8 roasted olives - I always think of them as greek ones butthat'ss probably not a good description, I get them in the supermarket without any brine on them, so they're dry and rich in flavour, and quite salty. Then the fennel was scattered over and I dressed the salad with the juice of a tangerine. The sweet, slightly crunchy nature of the fennel is just perfect with the salty olives. I can quite happily eat this salad all by myself and when I cooked for Mum and Dad I used three fennels and just tripled the other ingredients. Its good on its own or with tarragon and orange marinatedd pork chops!