Saturday, 26 April 2014

Ice Cream Oysters

I used to play at the top of my parent's garden when I was a kid - doing plenty of un-girly things like making mud pies, building dens, and recreating Egyptian burials for small teddy bears* (*These were fairly disturbingly realistic. Rest in Peace Tedtankhamun). 

And there used to be an ice cream van that used to drive nearby.  And it's speakers were broken. And it used to play Greensleeves. But a really horrible and distorted version. It was eerie and scary.  I used to drop what I was doing and run back down to the house. And still, to this day, it gives me the heebies. 

Luckily, the ice cream van near our house plays the Match of the Day theme tune. Whilst this is strange, it makes me dribble for an ice cream oyster.  Here is my take on the styrofoam esque, stale chocolate dipped shells of the oysters you get from the ice cream van:  Vanilla ice cream in a waffle cone oyster shell with toasted marshmallows. 

I am entering these into Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge which has been resurrected with the theme of Chasing the Ice Cream Van.  You can read all about BSFIC and how to enter here.  


Ice Cream 
4 egg yolks
100gr caster sugar
600ml cream
300ml milk
2tsp vanilla extract

Waffle Oyster Shells
1 egg
50gr caster sugar
25gr unsalted butter
25ml milk
40gr plain flour
Tiny pinch of salt


1, First make the ice cream,whisk the egg yolks, caster sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract together until fully combined.
2, Bring the milk and 150ml of the double cream to just below simmering point and pour slowly onto the beaten egg etc using a whisk to combine.
3, Pour back into the saucepan and set over a low heat. Stir continuously until the custard has thickened and you get a nice thick covering on the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil as this will give you lumps. 
4, Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour in the rest of the double cream and stir. This needs to cool now until completely cold. 
5, When the custard base is completely cold, churn in an ice cream machine as per the machine's instructions then freeze this until you're ready to put them together.

6, To make the shells, you need to first doctor a mould.  I used tiny pyrex bowls and cut a thick piece of cardboard and taped it to the side. I used washi tape so you can see the best way of taping it on (and who can resist pink paper tape with teeny tiny swallows!?)  Cover, using foil.  You will only need one of these as the shells dry and harden quickly. Set this to one side. (See below picture)

7, Make the cone batter by beating all the ingredients together until you have a batter.  As per your waffle cone maker's instructions, preheat and cook about 30ml of the batter until golden.  I half filled a 1/4 cup measuring cup.  Be prepared for the next step.
8, Lift the deep golden soft cone off the heated grill and directly onto the mould. Stack a couple of sheets of kitchen paper on top and as quickly as possible, using your hands, mould this down and around your mould. They stay soft enough to mould them but you have to be quick.  The kitchen towels will help prevent your hand from burning.  They are hot.  You can also press down on it with a clean tea towel. 

9, Remove the kitchen paper and when the shell is nearly cold, it should be hard and so lift this off and store in an airtight container. I don't recommended cooling them completely on the mould as they have a tendency to stick.  They are quite fragile so you don't want to be trying to pry them off the mould. There will be trial and error.  I broke some. Ok, I broke a lot. I would go so far as to make double the recipe just in case you, like me, have the dexterity of the Hulk. 
10, Add a couple of scoops of ice cream to one half shell, blow torch some mini marshmallows laid out on a baking sheet, sprinkle on and rest the other on top. Pearl-fect. (Sorry...)

Sunday, 20 April 2014

We Should Cocoa: Hot Cross Fudge

We Should Cocoa is hosted by Rachel Cotterill this month, who has challenged us to use chocolate in an Easter creation.  The coconut challenge round up can be seen here.   You can read all about We Should Cocoa and how to enter on Choclette's blog here.

I haven't had a hot cross bun this year.

I seemed to forget about them when in the supermarket. Or run out of hours in the day to make some at home.

I like to think it's my subconscious being protective.  It remembers the mince pie binge that happened over Christmas and so it's purposefully making me forget about them. 

I've tricked it with fudge though. Two can play that game... 

Based on this recipe


1 x 397gr can of condensed milk
150ml milk
450gr light soft brown sugar
100gr butter
75gr raisins, chopped roughly
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tsp mixed spice

30gr white chocolate, melted for decoration


1, In a large, heavy based saucepan combine the condensed milk, milk, sugar and butter and set over a medium-low heat.  Stir until complete dissolved and then bring to a boil.
2, Stirring continuously bring it to soft ball temperature (118o/c) and then remove from the heat.  Stir through the raisins, vanilla extract and mixed spice. 
3, You now need to beat the fudge until it thickens and starts to set, don't scrimp on this stage, this part will incorporate air in and give it it's crumbly and super melt in the mouth texture.
4, Pour into a 20cm lined baking tin and leave to set completely.
5, Divide into squares and the using the melted chocolate, pipe little crosses on top. Leave these to set before eating.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Mini Egg Easter Bread

I'm currently rocking my Awkward Spring Wardrobe (ASW).

This phase of the year is all about making bad wardrobe decisions; like wearing a coat because your cold in the morning and then sweating a gallon on the tube at 6pm. Or putting on a little jacket and spending the rest of the day wrapping a pashmina around your face because you're so cold. 

I don't know how to dress for 12 degrees C.  I'm sorry.

ASW doesn't discriminate - it is all encompassing.  It stretches down to your feet. I chose ballet pumps the other night and it rained so hard that by the time I got home, my toes were like little wrinkly ice cubes. 

And all the way through to your work out gear, I went for a run in layers the other day. Mistake.

ASW is even more awkward when you see those perfect women with their pastel handbags, over sized sunglasses and spring dresses. Oh, and a cardigan artfully on the shoulders. They never look cold.

My idea of adding pastels to my life comes in the form of mini eggs. Soft, sweet, plaited bread dough (I used my Six Plait Loaf recipe), studded with Easter's bounty. That'll do for now, or at least until the weather sorts itself out.


500gr strong, white bread flour
50gr unsalted butter, chopped into chunks
1 x 7grs sachet of easy blend yeast (fast action yest)
3tbsp caster sugar
1 egg (medium/large)
Around 250ml lukewarm water
Hard sugar coated mini chocolate eggs (around five per loaf)


1, Sift the flour into a large bowl and add in the butter.  Rub this together with your finger tips until completely combined and there is no large lumps of butter.
2, Add in the yeast and caster sugar and stir together.
3, Add in the egg and most of the water.  Start to bring the dough together into a ball, adding more water as you go if you need it.  You want a ball of dough that is soft to the texture and only the tiniest bit sticky. 
4, Knead (or dough hook in a stand mixer) it for for 5-10minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  Transfer into a clean, oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave somewhere warm for an hour or until it has doubled in size.

5, When you have big fat dough, knock it back with your fist and divide into six equal balls.  Divide each of these balls into three equal pieces, roll them into fat sausage shapes that are around 15-20cm long. Pinch these together at one end and do a simple three strand plait. When you have finished plaiting, pinch the ends together and tuck them under.
6, Place on a lined baking sheet and cover with clingfilm.  (Optional: you can sprinkle them with a little granulated sugar at this point if you want, it doesn't add a huge amount though).  These don't really need a second rise, instead I just covered them, turned on my oven to 220o/c and then baked them for 11-13 minutes until they are golden brown.
7, Once they are cooked, take them out of the oven and transfer onto a wire cooling rack.  Minding your fingers, as they will still be hot, jam in a mini egg in each of the "plait holes" (See pictures for reference. I can't believe I don't have a better word for "plait holes") I used, on average, five eggs per little loaf. They will melt and crack a bit.
8, These are best eaten warm, the warm melted mini eggs are the best bit.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Game of Thrones Macarons

Things I have learnt about Game of Thrones:

If something bad happens to someone because they were poking around, it probably isn't a good idea for you to follow their lead. Oh, Ned.  

Don't ever pick a favourite. (Favourites = instant death)

Nothing good comes from either being married or going to a wedding.

(Bonus: It still isn't really ok to talk about the Red Wedding)

Never trust a Frey, a Greyjoy, a Lannister anyone.

If you read the books and are ahead of the TV series then you constantly worry about spoiler verbal diarrhoea.

Dragons are totally badass.

Jon Snow knows nothing.

Winter is coming. 

More importantly, the next series starts on 7th April. I am excited.

Macaron recipe from here. Basic red buttercream filling.