No fuss Strawberry Ice Cream

 

Bit of a delay since my last post due to wi-fi connectivity issues which I won’t go into as it was a traumatic time! If you haven’t experienced it believe me, in a house with 2 adult children, bar the entire house going on fire, having no wi-fi is guaranteed to cause a few epic melt-downs and stress levels to go sky-high. We still had food, electricity, a roof over our head, even a TV,  but no wi-fi ….you get my drift! Anyway if you are feeling a bit sad to see Summer come to an end and stressed having to get organised again with meals / school lunches / uniforms etc cheer yourself up with this week’s recipe for the most fabulous strawberry ice cream. No need for any fancy ice cream machine here to make this delicious ice cream with a wonderful fresh strawberry flavour. Serve it on a cone or with some fresh strawberries. Yum!

(This is a recipe from Rachel Allen’s book Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends.)

Makes approx. 2 litres. (Serves approx. 12 people)

Ingredients

250g (9oz)fresh strawberries
Juice of 1 lemon
250g (9oz) caster sugar
200ml(7floz) water
4 large egg whites (roughly 100g or 4oz of egg whites)
a pinch of cream of tartar (Bextartar)
300ml (10 ½ fl oz cream, whipped which should come to about 500ml or 17 ½ fl oz whipped cream)

 

How to make it!

  • Purée the strawberries with the lemon juice in a blender or food processor.
  • Push the purée through a sieve to remove the seeds.
  • Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • Boil fiercely for 5 minutes, until it thickens and the last drops off a spoon dipped into it form a kind of thread.
  • Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff.
  • Still whisking, gradually pour in the hot syrup in a thin stream and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool, glossy and stiff (about 4/5 minutes).
  • Fold in the strawberry purée and the whipped cream, though not completely so as to give it a nice marbled effect.
  • Freeze overnight.
  • The ice cream can be scooped / served straight from the freezer.

 

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Rhubarb Fumble!

The star of this recipe is the crumble which is so so easy to make – perfect for kids to make as it is completely foolproof. The recipe makes a full jar of the delicious crumble just like the one in the photo. Since I made this last weekend I have had to hide the jar as fistfuls were disappearing overnight! Think of crumbled home-baked cookies and you get the idea. The crumble will go on anything ………ice cream, fruit, custard for example and is delicious cold. This recipe has 3 parts to it, all very useful on their own i.e. poached rhubarb, custard and crumble. If you don’t make the rhubarb or the custard please give the crumble a go – eat it on its own or serve it with some fruit e.g. strawberries and ice cream or natural yogurt.  I have rhubarb growing in my garden so I am always looking for recipes to use it up as I hate wasting it. It is the easiest plant in the world to grow, needs absolutely no care or attention so if you have any space at all buy a couple of plants and you will have a supply year after year.  Continue reading

Oaty Shortbread Cookies

I am calling these ‘Leaving Cert’ cookies! In our house at the moment it feels like we are all doing the dreaded Leaving Cert (once was enough!). The skills, time, support and patience required are not to be under estimated.  We have now experienced two types of student –  I don’t know which is worse! Mr ‘Laid Back’ who starts at 0% and works upwards towards getting a bare pass in all subjects – anything more is seen as unnecessary and a waste of energy! Then we have Miss Anxiety who is the opposite – works non-stop,  starts at 100% and stresses about not knowing everything on the course in an effort not to lose marks. This is the one we are going through at the moment – counselling, chats, hugs, cups of tea, coffee, treats, the list goes on, all part and parcel of being a parent of a Leaving Cert student nowadays. Continue reading

Skinny Lemon Cupcakes


It’s been a busy few weeks with unfortunately little time for writing or blogging. My darling daughter (DD) is currently doing her Leaving Cert so blogging time has been taken over by ad hoc counselling, feeding, listening and tea making while LC mock exams were underway and various project deadlines loomed. In fairness DD is a very hard worker and the stress these kids are under is enormous so I try to do anything I can to help and food always works! I keep telling her that if you can get through the Leaving Cert you can deal with anything and will definitely have proven you can cope with pressure. That brings me to these skinny lemon cupcakes which are a perfect guilt-free treat for any occasion where comfort food is required and you can even have two at a time if you want! The recipe is from “The Hairy Dieters” i.e. from the Hairy Bikers.  Continue reading

A treat for someone you love!

 

strawberry-m-ice-cream-cake-2017I thought I would post this recipe again as it is such a yummy dessert – an absolute winner, guaranteed to impress and have people asking for seconds. Perfect for a dinner party or a romantic dinner for 2 and because it is prepared in advance there is no stress on the night.

Imagine  strawberries & cream, strawberry ice cream and meringue all combined into a delicious, beautiful ice cream cake.  All you have to do when you want to serve it, is take it out of the freezer, leave it for about 5 minutes and decorate with some fresh strawberries. Don’t be put off by the length of the instructions as each step is really easy. I do this in two stages – make the meringues in the evening and leave them to dry out in the oven overnight (with the oven door ajar). Then the next day whip the cream, whizz the strawberries, mix it all together, scoop it into the tin and pop in the freezer.

You will need a 23cm (9in) diameter spring-form cake tin

Ingredients for meringues:
4 egg whites*
pinch of salt
300 g (11oz) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for the strawberry sauce:
200g (7oz) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
juice of 1 lemon
50g (2oz) icing sugar
500 ml (18fl oz) regular cream

Preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F), Gas mark 1,

  • Line two baking sheets with baking parchment or use two silicon baking sheets
  • Place the egg whites in a large, spotlessly clean bowl, add the salt and whisk into soft peaks.
  • Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking between each addition. Continue whisking until all the sugar has been added and the meringue forms stiff, glossy peaks.
  • Using a large spatula or metal spoon, fold in the vanilla extract.
  • With a tablespoon or dessertspoon, scoop up a heaped spoonful of the meringue mixture, then use a second spoon to scrape the mixture onto one of the lined baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining mixture, leaving a little room in between each meringue. (Note – the meringues are going to be broken up anyway so don’t worry if they are a bit uneven or messy looking!)
  • Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. (To test whether the meringues are ready, gently lift up one and press the base – it should be crisp but give way with a bit of pressure.
    If possible, allow to cool down completely in the oven, with the heat switched off and the door slightly ajar.
  • Transfer the cooked meringues to a wire rack – they will crisp up further as they cool.
  • Line the cake tin with a double layer of cling film.
  • In a food processor or blender, whiz the strawberries with the lemon juice and icing sugar
  • Pour the mixture through a sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds left in the sieve. (You can get away without doing this, believe me, I have done it several times!)
  • Pour the cream into another bowl and whisk into soft peaks,
  • Crumble the meringue into the whipped cream and stir together to mix.
  • Add the strawberry sauce, swirling it through the cream and meringue mixture.
  • Tip the mixture into the lined cake tin and smooth the surface with a spatula.
  • Wrap the tin in cling film and freeze for at least eight hours or preferably overnight.

To serve: Take the frozen cake from the freezer, unclip the tin and carefully lift out the ‘cake’. Remove the cling film from the sides of the cake, then use a palette knife or metal fish slice to carefully transfer the cake from the base of the tin to a serving plate. Cut into slices to serve, either on its own or with fresh strawberries.

*1 egg white weighs 25g or 1 oz

Yummy Custard Tarts

custard-tarts-2

You won’t believe the operation that went into photographing these tarts! I like to take my own photos for each recipe that I post and each recipe is one that I have made recently so I can write about them while they are fresh in my mind. At this time of year food photography is really challenging because of the shortage of daylight. So, to give you an example – I made the tarts in this photo on a Sunday evening, it was too late in the day to take photos so in order to be able to take the photos the next day I first had to hide the tarts so they wouldn’t be eaten! On Monday then I ran in the door from work around 4pm, took over the kitchen and basically had about 30 mins to whip out the tarts to try and get some decent shots. I needn’t tell you I was getting some funny looks while this was going on! Sometimes I would take about 40 photos before I even have one or two I am happy with and sometimes they are all rubbish which can be really annoying. If I don’t get a decent shot the trouble is the food is eaten and I have to start all over again! Continue reading

Simple Scones


scones-1

Over the years I have never really mastered the art of making perfectly formed scones in terms of their size and shape. Luckily though, despite their imperfections they have been beautiful and delicious on the inside (just like ourselves!). Now, I no longer  beat myself up about not being able to make the ‘perfect’ scone , instead I take comfort in the  fact that there are rarely any left just 24 hours after coming out of the oven!   Continue reading