Wednesday, 26 March 2014
There are a lot of locally grown cauliflowers in the grocers and supermarkets around where I live at the moment and so I have been consuming quite a large number of these vegetables. My fail safe go to recipe for cauliflower is always a good spicy vegetable curry although I have been known to go a little more left field with the gluten free cauliflower pizza. Cauliflower also provides a great gluten free alternative to couscous and this recipe is so simple to make. It’s also great if you are just generally trying to keep your carb intake to a minimum.
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by breaking the cauliflower into small florets. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the cauliflower, cooking for about 8 minutes until just tender. Drain the cauliflower and allow the steam to escape, letting the cauliflower cool down and dry a little.
Once cooled place the cauliflower in a food processor and whizz with a pulsing action so that cauliflower starts to resemble the little grains of couscous. Be careful not to over blend the mixture otherwise you will end up with more of a puree.
Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the lemon juice and zest, the oregano and salt and pepper. Mix the added extras through the couscous until evenly distributed throughout and then serve.
Mine turned out to be a great accompaniment to a chicken and apricot tagine!
Monday, 10 March 2014
So spring has arrived and daffodils are springing up on roundabouts and motorway embankments across the country. Across much of the land temperatures have also been soaring and barbeques and shorts have started to appear. I, however, live in Northern Ireland so am yet to experience balmy temperatures and sun soaked Sunday afternoons. In fact whilst working outside at the weekend I was wearing thermal base layers!! But hey whatever the weather it is never the wrong time to eat ice cream. So whether or not you are enjoying a tropical climate here is my first ice cream recipe of the year to enjoy. And even if I do say so myself I think this is possibly the most mouth wateringly delicious ice cream I have ever made…I can’t stop eating the stuff, it is divine.
This recipe is based on my original no-churn egg white ice cream recipe, but this time I made a simple vanilla base and then swirled in gallons of salted caramel sauce and honeycomb pieces. Making all of the various elements for this ice cream takes a little time but honestly it’s worth it (and making sugar bubble and froth like an erupting volcano whilst making the honeycomb is so much fun, I felt like a kid in a mad science lab making that). So if you have a little bit of spare time and can drag yourself away from the spring sunshine give this a go….just be warned the resultant ice cream is seriously addictive!!
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
I adapted the recipe from Add A Pinch for the caramel sauce
400g soft brown sugar
160g butter (chopped into chunks)
320ml double bream
1 teaspoon salt
Put the sugar into a large pan and place over a medium heat. Stir the sugar until it starts to melt and clump together.
Add the butter to the sugar and continue to stir until the sugar and butter have melted together and a smooth consistency is achieved.
Remove from the heat and then stir in the cream and salt until smooth and glossy and lightly golden in colour.
Place to one side and allow to cool.
FOR THE HONEYCOMB
I followed Nigella Lawson’s recipe to make this.
100g caster sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
Place the sugar and golden syrup into a medium sized saucepan and mix together before placing over a medium heat (once on the heat do not stir) and allow the mixture to melt. Continue to heat until the mixture begins to bubble and turns golden in colour.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda, stirring continually until the mixture froths and bubbles up. Then pour out onto a piece of non-.stick baking parchment.
Allow to cool and then bash into bite sized pieces with the use of a rolling pin.
FOR THE ICE CREAM
100g egg whites (approx. 3 egg whites)
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
310g caster sugar
Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla pod
320ml double cream
A sugar thermometer is also needed
To make the meringue;
Using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer whisk the egg whites in a large, clean bowl until they start to look foamy. At this point add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the egg whites form stiff peaks (this means that if you lift the mixer out of the mixture a peak should form and it won’t collapse or ‘wilt’ once the mixer/whisk is removed….check out Delia for more info!)
Place the sugar and water into a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. Swirl the saucepan gently (but don’t actually stir the mixture) until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear.
Stick your thermometer into the mixture, raise the heat and allow the mixture bubble rapidly until 112 °C / 234 °F is reached.
Remove the sugar syrup from the heat.
Begin beating the egg white mixture again and slowly (and very carefully) begin to pour the sugar syrup into the egg white mix, beating all of the time. Once all of the syrup is added continue to beat the mixture for another 10 minutes or so until the mixture has cooled and has a nice glossy finish.
Stop beating and set to one side (this is the Italian meringue done)
Scrape the seed from the vanilla pod and transfer to another large bowl along with the cream.
Beat the mixture with an electric hand mix until it has doubled in volume and is light and fluffy.
Add about a third of the cream to the Italian meringue and gently fold in until well combined. Continue adding the rest of the cream to the meringue bit by bit until well combined (but try not to over-mix the mixture at the point).
Fold through the smashed up honeycomb pieces until evenly distributed throughout the mixture and then transfer to a freezer proof container and bung in the freezer. Leave the mixture for about 4 hours until it is starting to firm up nicely and remove from the freezer. Drizzle the caramel sauce over the top of the ice cream and then using a skewer or a chopstick swirl the caramel into the ice cream to create a ripple effect throughout the mixture. Return to the freezer and leave over night to allow to set completely (there is no need for further churning…which is a bonus).
Then tuck in and enjoy….just try not to eat it all at once!
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Yes it’s Pancake Day (otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday) again and as you are reading this I am most probably tucking into my 5th or 6th or possibly 7th pancake of the day! I will also being doing the double and enjoying savoury stuffed pancakes (blue cheese and mushroom) followed by the traditional lemon and sugar topped pancakes for pudding. The essential ingredients for a classic pancake are simply flour, milk and eggs but if you are following a diary free or vegan diet then pancakes are a no go. But these American style pancakes are made with my tofu ‘buttermilk’ that I first used to make vegan soda bread, with the addition of a banana for a little extra bulk.
150g silken tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium banana
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Place the tofu, water, lemon juice and banana into a food processor and blitz until a smooth, thick liquid is formed.
Place the dry ingredients into a bowl and stir together before adding the tofu mixture. Beat together with a whisk until a lump free batter is produced.
Place a frying pan over a high heat and add a little vegetable oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot spoon large dollops of the mixture into the pan, flattening out a little with the back of the spoon. Once air bubbles begin to appear in the pancake use a spatula to flip the mixture over and cook until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with a generous drizzle of maple syrup and tuck in!