Pumpkin!

Pumpkins aren’t just for carving! Get down to your local farm shop and get some seasonal pumpkin in for a great Sunday lunch dessert, smaller denser fleshed pumpkins are better for eating, leave the huge ones for carving!

Ingredients

Sweet pastry

  • 500g plain soft flour
  • 250g unsalted cold butter, cubed
  • 180g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 whole eggs.
  • 1 egg beaten.

Pumpkin filling

  • 300g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 300g squash, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 110g light soft brown sugar
  • 70ml milk
  • 50ml single cream
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 tsp ground cloves
  1. Make the sweet pastry by combining the sugar and egg yolk, then add the butter and, using a wooden spoon, mix until it starts to come together. Add the sifted flour and rub together, then knead into a dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the pastry from the fridge and give it a quick knead to soften, then using a rolling pin, roll pastry to roughly the thickness of a pound coin and carefully line a 21cm loose bottomed tart case, either fluted or straight sided. Fold the over hanging pastry down the outside of the tin, but do not be tempted to trim it flush with the top of the tart case, you want a surplus of pastry to allow for any shrinkage and over colouring when cooked. Place the lined case in the freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Make the pie filling by roasting the squash and pumpkin together, in the oven at 180c for 20-30 minutes, until soft and lightly coloured. Remove from oven and blitz with a stick blender or in a table top blender until totally smooth.  Turn the oven down to 170c
  4. Remove the tart case from the freezer and line with parchment or catering quality clingfilm and fill with rice/baking beans or coins and blind bake for 15-20 minutes in the hot oven (170c)
  5. When the pastry is no longer wet in the middle, remove the baking beans etc and place the case back in the oven for another five minutes until the pastry is fully cooked, but not too coloured.
  6. Brush the inside of the case with the beaten egg and rebake for 2-3 minutes until the egg glaze is shiny and cooked. Remove from the oven. Turn the oven temperature down to 160c
  7. The squash and pumpkin will have lost a large amount of water in the cooking process, you should have roughly 400g of puree, if you have any more it can be frozen or used for soups etc.
  8. Add the sugar to the puree and whisk until smooth.
  9. Add the eggs, milk, cream and spice to the puree and whisk until smooth. Fill the blind baked case with the mixture and cook in the oven at 160c for 30 minutes or until the mix is set, but still very soft in the centre.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  11. Enjoy!

We all love yoghurt, why not have a go making your own!

Whether it’s for breakfast with fruit compote, for cobbler or soda bread, yogurt is always in my fridge. however i always make it and never buy it ready made, not only is it much cheaper, but as always  when making anything from scratch, i know exactly whats in it.  so i thought id let you all know how easy it is to make your own! Yogurt making is easy and you certainly don’t need to fork out on an expensive yogurt maker, the only extra equipment you may need to purchase is a digital probe or thermometer.(which your should all have as serous cooks already!)

All yogurt is  milk that has a been soured and thickened by bacteria, known as cultures, that ferment the lactose (milk Sugar) giving lactic acid, which results in yogurts texture and sour tang and helpfully also prevents the yogurt from spoiling quickly.

All you need is milk, a few spoons of natural yogurt, and milk powder if you wish for a thicker yogurt. Any milk can be used, I usually go for an organic whole milk as this is what i always have available, but any milk will work.

Firstly warm the milk up to around 85c, this temp isn’t too critical but we don’t want it to go too much higher as you then start to cook the milk which will change the taste of your yogurt. This heating helps to produce a thicker yogurt (by denaturing the proteins if you’re interested, allowing the milk to thicken more) also it kills the bacteria already in the milk which may alter the effectiveness of your added yogurt culture and also possibly result in some nasty bacteria growing which may be harmful.

While the milk is warming add some milk powder if you wish to increase the thickness even more, around two table spoon per half a litre of milk is plenty.

When the milk has reached 85c, allow it to cool gently until it is 46c-this temp is critical, anymore any you could kill your friendly bacteria. When at 46c simply mix in a few tablespoons of natural yogurt to your milk.

The yogurt then needs to be kept warm for at least eight hours, there shouldn’t be any need for any more than 24, to thicken. An airing cupboard is great for this, or pour into a warmed sterilized Thermos flask. When it’s thickened simply pour or spoon into a tub and refrigerate.

Hopefully this should produce a great tasting yogurt, at a fraction of the cost of brought yogurt. Just remember to always save a few tablespoons of your yogurt to make you next batch.

There is no excuses now never to have a pot of delicious homemade yogurt sat in your fridge!

Beetroot Heaven

Hello and welcome back to my blog.

Today I have a great chocolate recipe for you involving a versatile but sadly often over looked vegetable.

The humble beetroot

The humble beetroot

At this time of year our local farm shops are heaving with seasonal fruit and veg, whether it’s marrow sized courgettes, heads of sweet corn or the first of the apples, there is plenty to choose from. However there is one veg that never really gets the praise its due, often you’ll see it sitting forlornly in the veg box, wrinkled and soft to the touch and far past its best. I’m talking about the humble beetroot.

The beetroot has certainly come a long way from the dark days of the seventies when crinkle sliced beetroot, steeped in overpowering and harsh vinegar was the way most people experienced it. Many restaurants and TV chefs are now rightly championing beetroot, however it is still often over looked by the home cook and that’s a shame, as it’s not only a great tasting and textured ingredient, it’s also incredibly good for you, being full of iron, vitamin C and many other nutrients.

(Take a look at http://www.lovebeetroot.co.uk for more info on its health benefits)

With its myriad of uses, from roasted with a good balsamic and served alongside duck, or pureed and stirred through a risotto, its certainly a useful companion in the home cooks arsenal.

But what I want to talk about is a crowd pleasing and indulgent use of the beetroot, one sure to increase its street cred, which can only be achieved by a dessert.

Beetroot is a great vegetable to use in a variety of cakes and puddings. It’s sweet (which is obvious when you realise it is closely related to sugar beet from which we make sugar) and moist, all sought after qualities for creating a great cake. These are the same virtues of the carrot, and carrot cake is a tea time favorite the world over, so why not beetroot cake? Or better still beetroot brownie?

Brownies by their nature should be soft, sweet and moist. Adding beetroot retains all that lovely moisture, but removes some of the over powering, tooth aching sweetness and makes the brownie a more light affair, but in no way does it damage the necessary feeling of indulgence that is so important when consuming a brownie!

Beetroot Brownie

  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3 medium free range eggs
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 150g plain flour
  • 250g cooked beetroot
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in to a bowl along with the butter, and melt over a pan of gently simmering water.
  2. Grease and line a brownie tin roughly 20cm by 20cm.
  3. Beat the eggs with the sugar until pale, thick and increased in volume.
  4. Peel and then grate the beetroot into a separate bowl. (To cook the beetroot, simply remove the leaves and any roots, and simmer until tender. Then refresh in cold water until cool enough to handle and peel. Gloves are always a great idea when dealing with beetroot!)
  5. When the chocolate and butter have melted, pour into the egg and sugar mix and fold together with a spatula.
  6. Add the pinch of sea salt and a good cap full of the vanilla extract, fold this in.
  7. Sieve in the flour and fold in to the chocolate mix.
  8. Add the grated beetroot and fold all together.
  9. Pour in to the prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes at 160c, a brownie should be moist and still slightly sticky, so a skewer inserted into the brownie should come out with some soft brownie still attached but not raw wet mix! You may need to bake these a few times to get the cooking times perfect in your own oven, but having to cook several batches of brownies will, I doubt, be much of a hardship.
  10. When cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tin and slicing. Serve at room temperature for the perfect soft textured brownie.

These brownies will go down a storm with your friends and family, none of them guessing that your secret ingredient is the humble beetroot! Why not post a picture of your brownie on our face book page, we’d love to see how you get on https://www.facebook.com/RedHenCookerySchool?

Happy cooking!

Richard

Not just for chips…

 

 

Hello again!

As a chef salt is something that features in nearly every one of my dishes, even dessert. It gets our taste buds going and sharpens the flavour of food. Good seasoning is one of the most important skills any good cook needs to master.

But there is more to salt than just something we sprinkle on our chips.

Firstly I’d like to talk about the kinds of salt available. The most common salts you will find are table salt, rock salt and sea salt. There are other kinds such as black salt and Himalayan pink salt but you won’t often find these on the super market shelves so we won’t be touching on those today.

Table salt is the most common. Free flowing, and cheap it’s an obvious choice. However being heavily processed it is stripped of any other minerals like magnesium and often has an anti-clumping additive added, as opposed to sea salt which is minimally processed. Often just simply being sea water that has been evaporated off over heat or even just left out in the heat of the sun. This means that the salt is actually more than just pure sodium chloride, such as table salt, but a mixture of sodium chloride and as many as 30 other essential minerals.

These extra minerals can give sea salts a sweeter and tangy taste, as opposed to the often acrid, harsh taste of the refined and processed table salt. Flavour wise there is just no comparison between table salt and a good sea salt like Maldon or Cornish. Also I feel sea salt has a stronger, more pronounced salty taste, meaning you use less of it.

This of course though is all personal preference, as with any ingredient in cooking, you should use what you enjoy to eat, regardless of what other people say you should!

Another bonus to sea salt, particularly the Maldon and Cornish varieties, is the texture. Due to the slow evaporation of the water, sea salts are often formed of large soft crystals, which are perfect to finish food, crumbled between the fingers they are as much there for texture as seasoning.

However, even with the extra minerals sea salt is still sodium chloride, just like table salt, meaning we should all be aware of how much we consume, due to the associated health risks with all forms of salt.

Salt whether table or sea salt, isn’t just there to season, it also has the great many other uses, one of which is the effect of reducing bitterness in food. This is particularly useful in stock and sauce making, homemade stocks sometimes have a slight bitterness to them. Many peoples first choice would be to sweeten the stock with sugar. But salt is much more effective at this, it’s more a case of suppression of bitterness than increasing sweetness.

A great way to show this is to take some dark chocolate, over 70% works best, and sprinkle with a small amount of salt before eating. You should notice a sweeter taste to the chocolate. You can also add a pinch of salt to tonic water for the same effect, the water on its own is very bitter, but as you add more salt the bitterness lessens considerably.

Salts other useful skill is the fact that it removes water from fruit and vegetables, this is called degorging. Cucumbers, tomatoes and aubergines are the most common to degorge, a few minutes sprinkled with salt pulls out lots of the water, intensifying the flavour and firming the flesh.

This technique is brilliant when making coleslaw, sprinkle the onion, cabbage and carrot with salt, leave for an hour or so, wash with fresh water and then dress with mayo as usual. This degorging stops the coleslaw turning watery after a few hours.

Degorging also works wonders with fish, lightly salting white fish such as cod and haddock pulls out the water from the fish, firming up the flesh and stopping too much water releasing when it is cooked. This is particularly useful when battering fish. Simply sprinkle with the salt, leave for twenty or so minutes and then wash off with plenty of cold water and pat dry with a paper towel and cook!

So although too much salt is no good for anyone, it does still deserve its place on everyone’s kitchen shelf, and not just for sprinkling on chips!

Happy cooking!

Richard

It’s the perfect season for….Asparagus

The season is short, and the price may be high, but British grown asparagus is one of, if not the most, celebrated of British seasonal cuisine, with a season ending officially on the 21st June it’s time to get cooking and eating the British wonder vegetable. Packed full of nutrients, taste and supposed aphrodisiac qualities this vegetable is not one to be missed.

Although available all year round the South American or Spanish imports will never live up to the high standards set by seasonally grown British asparagus.

This isn’t just a patriotic statement though, it’s scientific too! Like all green veg once picked, the natural sugars start turning in to starch, meaning the longer it’s been cut the less sweet and tasty it will be. The same applies for garden peas, you’d have to pick your peas on the day and preferably the same hour as you want to eat them to beat the taste of a bag of Birds’ Eye Peas. Which is why they make such a fuss about them being frozen within half an hour of being picked.  Unfortunately asparagus doesn’t freeze well, or more accurately defrost, so this isn’t an option.

So the closer you are to the field it’s grown in the better! So if it’s grown in Britain then it stands a chance it’s going to be better than its jet lagged South American cousins! And if you’re in Worcestershire then you have no excuses, as Evesham is one of the biggest asparagus growing hot spots in the UK.

Supermarket brought asparagus is fine (as long as it’s British) but like most things food, your local farm shops and farmers markets may be the best bet as they will be supplied directly from the farm, meaning lower food miles and excess packaging.

One of asparagus’s many great features is how easy it is to cook, steam boil, roast or sauté it all works well.

Simply wash the asparagus and peel or trim off any woody bits from the base of the stem and you’re ready to cook!

Boil or steam for three minutes maybe a touch more if they are really thick stalks, then drain and either eat straight away or sauté in some foaming butter or char-grill over the BBQ, season and you’re ready to eat!

So with under two weeks left of the season there is no time to wait!

Rich

A little nugget of heaven…

Hello and Welcome!

For some reason a number of groups who booked private cookery parties with us last month wanted to make chocolate truffles…don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, it’s a win win in my opinion – we get to share all our chocolatey knowledge and have some serious decorating fun all in the same session. The only thing we’d say is don’t give them all away, save (at least) a few for yourself!

bite-size pieces of chocolate heaven...

bite-size pieces of chocolate heaven…

A chocolate truffle is basically a piece of pure chocolate heaven, traditionally made of a ganache centre, it’s outer shell can be finished in a variety of deliciously different coatings. You can also flavour the actual ganache to make it that little bit more different, I’ve tried Chocolate Orange, Mint Chocolate and Rum but my favourite has still got to be the original dark chocolate.

Truffles make fantastic presents, when you see the lucky recipients beaming smile just don’t tell them how easy they were to make! So have a go and we’d love to see how you get on – why not post a picture to our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/RedHenCookerySchool and share your beautiful creations.

Naz

Ingredients
280g good-quality dark chocolate , 70% cocoa solids
284ml pot double cream
50g unsalted butter
 
Method

1. Chop the chocolate and tip into a large bowl. Put the cream and butter into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter melts and the cream reaches simmering point. Remove from heat, then pour over the chocolate. Stir the chocolate and cream together until you have a smooth mixture. Add any flavourings to the truffle mix at this stage (divide the mixture between bowls and mix in liqueurs or other flavourings, a tsp at a time, to taste. Try Bourbon, Grand Marnier, Pepperminy, Coconut Rum or the zest and juice of an Orange), or leave plain. Cool and chill for at least 4 hrs. 

2. To shape the truffles, dip a melon baller in hot water and scoop up balls of the mixture, then drop the truffles onto greaseproof paper. Or lightly coat your hands in flavourless oil (such as sunflower) and roll the truffles between your palms. You could also use a piping bag to pipe rounds onto greaseproof paper.
 
3. Coat your truffles immediately after shaping. Tip toppings into a bowl and gently roll the truffles until evenly coated, then chill on greaseproof paper. Try: crushed, shelled pistachio nuts; lightly toasted desiccated coconut, ground almonds; or roll a truffle flavoured with orange zest and juice in cocoa powder. To coat in chocolate, line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Melt 100g milk, dark or white chocolate for 10 truffles. Allow chocolate to cool slightly. With a fork, pick up one truffle at a time and hold over the bowl of melted chocolate. Spoon the chocolate over the truffle until well-coated. Place on the baking tray, then chill.

4. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 days, or freeze for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge overnight. To give as presents, place 8-10 truffles in individual foil or paper cases inside small, lined boxes tied with ribbon. Keep in the fridge until you’re ready to give them.

We’re recruiting…!

Kid’s Cookery Club Group Leaders

We are very proud of the children’s cookery clubs we run during the school holidays. We insist on small class numbers and quality, hands on teaching to create a fun and inspirational atmosphere for our mini Jamie’s and Nigella’s so that they have a great cookery experience with us. We believe this is what makes so many parents send their children to us again and again.

We are busier than ever with our holiday clubs and need help with running these. We’re looking for people who share our enthusiasm for working with children and our passion for cooking and teaching. It’s important to note that this post is only for working during the school holidays, please only apply if you can commit to this. You’ll need experience of working with children and basic cookery knowledge is a must. Please note that should you be offered the role we will have to undertake an enhanced CRB check for you.

You will be given plenty of notice on which days you’ll be working and on average this will be 3/4 days out of 5 each week, you will not be required to work weekends.

Hours will be 9.00 – 4.00.

For further information on specific duties and salary please get in touch either by email to naz@redhencookery.co.uk or call 01905 422997 and ask for Naz.

You could soon be part of our fantastic cookery school team!

Dark, miserable evenings…a hearty stew is just what you need!

Hello!

This week I’m talking about the role Fat plays in cooking a moist and tender piece of meat with a great Beef Stew recipe at the end. With winter well and truly here it’s time for stews and braises and all the other warm, comforting blanket-esq foods perfect for the dark miserable nights.

I’m going to talk specifically about the British classic of beef stew, a simple enough dish that I imagine many of you have made before, but to take this everyday dish to the next level there are a few key points to understand, and one of the most important is the role fat takes in this dish.

Fat gets a lot of bad press, with supermarkets selling incredibly lean meat, the consumer believes that lean, fat-less meat is the best to buy, but for long slow cooking fat is vital, because fat equals lubrication. There is a belief that cooking a food in liquid keeps the food moist, it doesn’t – what it does is keep it wet which is different. For example, if you take a chicken leg and poach it in water until the flesh is soft and falling off the bone it is undeniably moist, in that it’s wet. But as to the texture of the meat it will undoubtedly be dry and more like saw dust than the meltingly tender meat you were hoping for. But take the leg and cook it in oil or fat (which is a method called confit) and cook it to the same extent, the meat will be soft, tender and beautifully moist, all because of fat and its amazing lubricating properties.

Meat fats are water soluble so poaching or god forbid, boiling meat, will result in dry chewy meat but cooking in oil or fat will result in the meat being perfect. But obviously if you’re making a stew you can’t have it made of oil, so how do you get that fat in the sauce? Two ways; the addition of a fat ‘donor’, and in selecting the right cut of meat to start with.

Supermarkets sell ‘braising’, or ‘stewing steak’, this is usually taken from the top shoulder of the animal and is tough and fibrous, which is perfect for slow cooking, but has no way near enough fat, or horrible as it may sound, connective tissue, so what you need is a piece of shin.

Shin is full of fat and connective tissue which when heated unravels and melts forming gelatine, which makes for a rich, unctuous gravy for your stew, though it sounds unappealing it makes all the difference. When it comes to a fat donor, I simply mean adding something to raise the fat content of the gravy and that is done simply by the addition of some good streaky bacon to the stew – in my last professional kitchen as head chef, making streaky bacon just for adding to braises was a weekly job during the colder months!. All this will make the meat braise in a stock saturated with fat keeping the meat moist and tender.

However, all this hard work adding bacon and choosing the right meat could be for nothing if you then break the golden rule of slow cooking, and boil the dish!

Boiling meat makes the proteins inside contract and forces all the moisture out, so a gentle simmer means they stay much more relaxed and the meat is even more tender. However, that doesn’t mean that the stock or gravy shouldn’t be hot, as stated by food writer and general food genius Harold McGee  in his book The Curious Cook, “strands of beef collagen (connective tissue) don’t even begin to unravel until the temperature exceeds 140F (60C), and they don’t dissolve into gelatine in any appreciable quantity below 180F (82C)” – so all those chewy bits will stay just that unless you keep the stew relatively hot. So a temperature of 85c (or just a simmer if you have better things to do than check the temp of your stew) will keep the stew as tender as can be.

Last tip, making anything like this, whether it’s a beef stew, curry or lamb hot pot, it will always benefit from being left overnight, not only does it make it easier to get the excess fat off from the top (its done its job now and the gravy will have absorbed all the gelatine so the set fat on top is fine to remove) it also allows the flavours to develop and mature meaning your stew will be better the next day!

Happy cooking!

Rich

Beef Stew

Serves 4 – 6

  • 800g shin of beef
  • 2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Beef dripping, butter or oil
  • Six slices of streaky bacon, sliced into lardons
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 600ml beef stock (cube is fine, or even half ale or stout and stock is also great)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunky slices
  • 2 small turnips, peeled and cut into chunks

1. Trim the beef of its outer sinew and cut into large chunks. Toss with the seasoned flour to coat. Heat a heavy-bottomed casserole or pan on a medium flame and add a knob of dripping or butter, or a couple of tablespoons of oil. Brown the meat in batches, adding more fat if necessary – be careful not to overcrowd the pan, or it will boil in its own juices – then transfer to a bowl. Scrape the bottom of the pan regularly to prevent any residue from burning.
2. Once all the meat is browned, add some more fat to the pan and cook the bacon and onions until soft and slightly browned. Add them to the beef and then pour in a little stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Add the beef and onions, the rest of the stock, season, and add the herbs. Bring to the boil, then partially cover, turn down the heat, and simmer gently for two hours.
3. Add the carrots and turnips, and simmer for about another hour, until the meat is tender enough to cut with a spoon. Leave to cool, overnight if possible, and then lift the solidified fat off the top and bring to a simmer(not to the boil!) to serve.

 

This week it’s all about Ice-Cream!

Last week we were lucky enough to have received some fantastic kitchen appliances from our friends at Cuisinart.  Although all the appliances are amazing pieces of kit, I was particularly excited about the ice-cream machine…

That’s because I absolutely love ice cream,  it’s quite simply amazing – whether it’s on its own or as a great accompaniment to an amazing dessert it really can be the difference between a good dessert and a great one. But with many cheaper ice creams being nothing more than vegetable oil, good quality ice creams are obviously at a price premium, it means making your own is the best way forward. It also means you can experiment and make some more unusual flavours which may not be available at the local supermarket but more of that later.

Making ice cream is surprisingly easy and the best news is you don’t have to invest a lot of money into a specialist ice cream machine (of course you could just buy an ice cream machine if kitchen gadgets are your thing!) in fact you’ve probably got everything you need already in your kitchen.

Ice cream is exactly what it says it is – frozen cream. But rather than just freezing your cream mixture you do need to keep breaking up the ice crystals so you have a smooth texture in your mouth.

All an ice cream machine does is freeze the mixture and keep churning it to keep the ice crystals small. But you can easily do this at home by freezing your mix but keep whisking it every half hour or so throughout the day – yes it’s alot of whisking but think about the good it’s doing to your upper arms!

When you’re happy it’s smooth enough (you’ll have to keep tasting your ice cream to check this so it isn’t all hard work!) allow it to freeze solid.

However to achieve that perfect texture there is one more step that you can do which is then to allow the frozen mixture to defrost for a few minutes then blend with a stick blender or in a food processor and then re- freeze, this will result in an amazingly smooth ice cream all without the aid of a specialist machine.

As for the mix, simply freezing sweetened, flavoured cream is as simple as it gets. For example;

330ml milk

250g sugar

650ml double cream

2 tsp vanilla extract

Simply mix all together, and allow the sugar to dissolve and then start freezing!

However for something richer and more of a “classic” flavour, a simple frozen custard is needed such as:

2 vanilla pods

500ml milk

500ml double cream

12 free-range egg yolks

200g caster sugar

  1. Put the sugar and cream together in a small pan, split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds, add seeds and pod to the cream mix, warm over a gentle heat.
  2. Beat the yolks and the sugar together with a whisk until thick and creamy.
  3. Allow the cream to come up to the boil and then turn off the heat.
  4. Ladle a small amount of the hot cream into the yolks and whisk until all combined, repeat two or three times until the yolk mixture is a similar temperature to the cream mix.
  5. Add the mix back to the pan and put onto a gentle heat, or over a Bain Marie, and allow to cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, stirring all the time to prevent scrambling the eggs.
  6. Pass custard through a sieve and chill.
  7. Freeze and churn!

This recipe is sweeter than a normal custard as the ice cream will lose some sweetness due to the cold temperature, which is something you should remember when making any different flavours! Another great tip is to add a few teaspoons of liquid glucose (which is available in supermarkets) or a shot or two of vodka, which will help keep the ice cream easier to scoop.

The great thing about using custard to make your ice cream is that due to it being made hot, you can infuse so many flavours into it, why not try cardamon – simply omit the vanilla and replace with a few cracked cardamon pods and proceed as normal (this would go brilliantly with the tart tatin from one of my previous blogs!) The flavours are literally endless, they don’t even have to be sweet, why not try a mustard and dill ice cream and serve it with  some  poached salmon?!

Go on and have a go!

Until next time…

Rich

The Un-dead Bread!

It’s Hallowe’en and as scary as the costumes and carved pumpkins are, there is something I find truly horrible that makes me shiver with terror.

‘What’s that?!’ I hear you ask…

I’m talking of the horrible undying bread!

With its Frankenstein inspired ingredients list of scary sounding chemicals, and its ability to never go stale and remain soft, limp even, for weeks on end, not to mention its soul less lack of taste and texture, it truly is the living dead of the baked goods world. Continue reading