Monday, June 19, 2006

Pistachio heaven

While searching for last month's IMBB I found this fabulous idea by Sam of Sweet Pleasures - an ice cream event. My ice cream maker has been lanuishing in the cupboard all winter and what better time to get it out than now as I am gently melting in the summer heat! After making Joanna's pistachio and date meringues I was in pistachio mode so knocked up a little pistachio ice cream and a very delicious prune frozen yoghurt, and why not go the whole hog and stuff some dates with a pistachio paste!

Pistachio Ice cream
150g pistachio nuts - without shells (!) and unsalted
500ml semi-skimmed milk
2 eggs and 1 eggs yolk
140g caster sugar

I tried to remove the skins of the pistachios by blanching them in boiling water for a minute and then rubbing with a coarse tea towel - but this was not the most successful thing to do! May be gently roasting them would be better. I ended up picking off the skins from most of the nuts by hand - only to be done if you really love a green ice cream as its fairly time consuming. So once you've prepared your nuts put them with the rest of the ingredients into a liquidizer and blend until smooth. Then pour through a fine seive, to catch any lumps of nut, into a pan and heat gently until the custard thickens slightly. Cool it off - I actually put mine into the freezer to get fairly cold - and then churn in a pre-frozen ice cream maker.

Prune frozen yoghurt
250g ready to eat de-stoned prunes
juice and rind of one lemon
500ml greek yoghurt

Put the prunes into a pan with enough water to cover them and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes and then cool. Liquidize with the yoghurt and lemon juice and zest. Chill and churn! Couldn't be simpler!!

Pistachio stuffed dates
230g pistachios (unsalted and shelled)
230g icing sugar
1 egg white
Dates (de-pitted) - lots!

Place the pistachios and sugar in a blender and whizz until finely ground. Then add the egg white and mix until a dough is formed - I had to add a little water too. Then cover and chill overnight. Use a broad bean sized amount of the paste to stuff the dates. (The recipe for the pistachio paste was actually from the Food TV website and was recommended as a base for making ice cream but I found it was too coarse and very sweet for that purpose but makes excellent stuffing mixture!!)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Gardener's World

Yesterday I had the day off and went to oggle at the plants and gardens at the NEC - and how fabulous they all were, I managed to come away with only 6 new plants which were bedded in last night while everyoneelse was watching the footie - I could here the roars when the goals were scored!! The shows on til Sunday - resist if you can!!!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bacon burgers

An inspired idea by what I had left in the freezer! Blitz together 3 rashers smoked back bacon and 500g lean minced beef with 1/2 an onion, a handful of breadcrumbs and one egg. Make into 4 patties and fry until golden on both sides. Then pop in the oven (150°C) for 10 min. Serve with coucous made with summer vegetables lightly fried with fajita spices and chicken stock.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seedy Buns

I made these last week and they were promptly demolished by hungry cyclists, so I forgot all about putting them up here on the blog. I had lunch in the Orange Cafe a while ago and had bread with caraway seeds to munch on while we were waiting. It was really yummy so I thought I would try to re-create it - however my early attempts didn't really hit the mark. These buns were great though. I tried lots of different spice seeds and all worked well apart from the fennel which was a bit strong.

Wholemeal bread buns with spice seeds
200g strong wholemeal flour
200ml luke warm water
150g strong white flour
7g fast acting yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon corriander seeds
1 tablespoon onion seeds
1 tablespoon fennel seeds

In a bread maker add all of the ingredients apart from the seeds in the order stated. Then program the machine to make dough. When its ready take out the dough and knock down. Then divide it into 12 small balls. Mix 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds into two balls and so on for all the dough. Two can be left plain. Place on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 30min. Brush with a little egg beaten with water, then bake at 200°C for 15 min. Cool on a wire rack.
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