Saturday, August 27

Rhubarb and ginger crumble ice-cream

Yesterday I made ice-cream for the first time in my life. Having always been scared off by the fact that I don't have an ice-cream maker (and don't want to buy one as it's just another machine to find room for) and people saying it's a faff without one, I was spurred into trying by Delia Smith, of all people.

Well, not actually Delia herself, rather her Summer Collection book which I acquired in a charity shop in Folkestone and which has a whole chapter on ice creams and sorbets. So I bought a large, shallow plastic box to make the ice-cream in, acquired a frightening amount of double cream, and set about producing my very own ice-cream flavour using a jar of rather runny rhubarb and ginger jam, and some leftover crumble crunch that I'd had from a crumble I made a few weeks ago.

Rhubarb and ginger crumble ice-cream

two tubs (approx 560ml) double cream
one jar of rhubarb & ginger jam (or any other type of fruit jam - if it's runny, so much the better!)
leftover crumble crunch* in small pieces

Whisk the double cream until it is thick (but stop before it stands in peaks). Stir in the jam and mix thoroughly. Fold in the crumble crunch and place into a shallow freezer box (mine had a capacity of 3 litres) with a lid on.

Put it in the freezer and set a timer for about 90 minutes. When the timer goes off, take the box out and stir the ice-cream thoroughly again. (It should be part frozen by now, the stirring helps to give it an even consistency although this doesn't seem to be a great problem when you are using just cream). Put it back in a freeze thoroughly.

The only drawback with this recipe is that it sets extremely solidly. About half an hour before you intend to serve it, take the box out of the freezer and put it in the fridge. It should be soft enough to scoop when you need it.

*the crumble crunch was spare from a crumble I made using the recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's excellent River Cottage Everyday book. As well as 225g plain flour, 200g butter, and 150g caster sugar, the crumble topping includes 75g oatmeal and 75g ground almonds. Once you've rubbed the butter into the flour, mix in the other ingredients and then squeeze bits of the crumble together to make 'lumps' before spreading it on a baking tray and baking at gas mark 5/190C for 20-25 minutes. You can cool it and store in a jar for several weeks to use either as a topping on desserts, or in ice-cream as I did above.

Friday, August 26

Two at a time

This is my current work in progress - first attempt at knitting two socks at the same time. I've made great strides over the last week due to train journeys to Eastbourne and Bishops Stortford to visit friends, and am finding it pretty easy.

The Magic Carpet yarn from the Yarn Yard was the catalyst that made me try two at a time; it's knitted out of two strands of sock yarn, and dyed in its knitted state, so that when you unravel it and knit it into socks, the colour changes match.

Loving the colours although finding the unravelled yarn a bit annoying, obviously it doesn't knit up as evenly as it would if I were to wash it and straighten it out a bit. I'm assuming it will all even out when I wash and block the finished socks.

Now slightly curious about the heels (I do short rows). I guess I have to do one at a time, won't be able to manipulate the needles otherwise?

Pickled courgettes II

A couple of years ago I posted about pickled courgettes, linking to the recipe on the Riverford website that I had adapted.

Since then, it has gone off the website and left no trace.

Luckily I wrote it down in my cookbook and it's been in use today for pickling the lovely yellow courgettes given to me by knitting friend Jenny, which I stupidly forgot to photograph before slicing them up...!

Pickled courgettes

500g courgettes
2tbsp salt
1 small onion
chilled tap water (I usually put a bottle in the fridge the day before)

500ml cider vinegar
120g sugar
1.5tsp mustard powder
1.5tsp crushed mustard seeds
1tsp turmeric

Slice the courgettes as thinly as possible, using a mandoline or cheese slicer if you have one, and slice the onion into thin rings. Put them in a large bowl, sprinkle over the salt and cover with chilled water.

Leave for an hour, then drain, rinse and dry thoroughly on a clean teatowel in batches.

Put all the spices, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan, heat and simmer for three minutes, then leave to cool.

Pack the courgette and onions into a large sterilised pickling jar, then pour the warm pickling mix over them. Refrigerate for at least a day before serving. Will keep indefinitely in the fridge (and should be ok out of it too).

Sunday, August 14

Spiced damson jelly

Last weekend I was lucky enough to find a new internet friend who was offering spare fruit from his garden trees. He turned out to have a garden full of damson, greengage, apple and fruit trees, not to mention some rather luscious blackberries.

I had hoped to pick a bag of greengages that myself and the Curse could gorge on, but it turned out there weren't many gages left. Instead I picked a kilo of damsons and about a pound of blackberries, and brought them home to process.

The blackberries are now blackberry vinegar (using this recipe) and the damsons have been made into a slightly runny spiced damson jelly.

I used the basic jelly recipe in Pam Corbin's River Cottage Preserves book, and added a chunk of cinnamon stick, some cloves and some allspice to the damsons and water as I cooked them up.

After straining through muslin overnight, I boiled up the liquid with some sugar until it was starting to set, then put it into jars. It's still not very well set but that's fine as I will probably use it mainly to add to gravy and other sauces.