Really Fast Chocolate Frozen Yoghurt

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When I die, I will no I have arrived in heaven if there is an ice cream parlour on every corner. I have always loved ice cream since I was a child. It creates a sense of excitement deep inside me that no other food can come close too. It reminds me of sunny days by the sea, shopping trips to city department stores (my mum would take me to the Bentall’s cafe for ice cream as a treat/bribe), a special ending to lunch or dinner and riding my bike one handed licking a cone in the other.

I love all sorts of ice cream (or frozen dessert as some will call the wider genre!) from frothy, soft Mr Whippy or frozen custards, to zesty frozen fruit blocks and poles to luxurious, gourmet concoctions containing salted popcorn (thank you Heston!). My favourite type has always been chocolate and as I have aged, my preference is for the darker and more bitter variety. When we lived in Sydney, I had a really funky, top of the range ice cream maker, one of those where you don’t even need to freeze a bucket as it has a built in freezing unit. You can crave ice cream at 11pm and have your own batch in a cone ready to eat by 11:30pm

My wife has noticed that our daughter has inherited my zeal for the frosty delights and whenever we go anywhere always asks for an ice cream. Just today, pondering aloud, Mrs Jamie asked me how we break it to the little girl that you shouldn’t expect ice cream every day – I told her she probably needs to work on me first as I could see no error in the statement.

So I dedicate my post today of my favourite recipe for Rapid chocolate frozen yoghurt to my daughter – we share a pleasure that your mother will never understand!

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Serves: 6 small portions (or 4 normal ones)

Ingredients

100g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
100g icing (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup double (heavy) cream
250g Greek yoghurt
1 tsp good quality vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt

Method

1) Break up chocolate into as small bits as possible and place in a large microwave proof bowl.
2) Heat chocolate on high until it has melted into a smooth paste. It must not get too hot otherwise your frozen yogurt is ruined. The best way to do this is to watch it as it heats and open the door to stir it around every 20 seconds or so.
3) Once melted, slowly, pour in a couple of spoonfuls of cream and combine well with the chocolate. Pour in the rest of the cream and whisk well until smooth.
4) Whisk in the rest of the ingredients until well combined
5) Add to your ice cream maker and churn until set.
6) Serve on its own, or it does go extraordinarily well with raspberries.

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Ginger & dark Chocolate Tiramisu

I was told a few years ago by a quite mad and quite brilliant French Human Resources Vice President that the mother of innovation is hardship.

I had these words ringing in my ears when I decided to make Mrs Jamie one of her favourite deserts – Tiramisu. On some of our previous travels, she has been spoilt eating this fabulous desert in Rome and Tuscany prepared lovingly by handsome chefs in fantastic kitchens.

Unfortunately, I had neither the good looks or fabulous kitchen or even some of the key ingredients that I have used when preparing this dish before.

Ever the optimist, I picked up some great Mascarpone cheese from a deli in Lake Taupo, New Zealand and shopped for the rest of the ingrediants at the local ‘Countdown’ supermarket.

Opening up my bags in our basic holiday house kitchen, I suddenly realised I had no Ameretto or similar alcohol to go in the pud! I did have a couple of bottles of beer, but drew the line at ruining a dessert and wasting precious Montieths ale…

So, I thought adding some grated ginger would be a way to add a different flavour that would make the absence of booze not be so grave. And this time, it worked!

The finished dessert came out fantastically and the ginger kick wove in beautifully with the strong coffee and dark chocolate. Best of all, the fluffy creaminess proved to be a welcome treat in my subsequent recovery from a nasty nip from a red back spider in the washing. I vow to shake all jumpers in future before putting them on.

6 nice size portions, or around 50 sneaky spoonfuls over a couple of days…

Ingredients

Around 200-250g Mascarpone cheese
1 pint of double (or heavy) cream
2 tsp good vanilla essence or contents of half a small vanilla pod
250-300ml of really good, strong coffee
Slab of madeira cake (make your own, or buy one to save some time here – just buy a really nice one)
4 Tbsp sugar
1 egg white
Around 50g of finely grated 70% cocoa dark chocolate
A pice of skinned root ginger size of half a small matchbox finely grated

Method

  1. Whip cream until it holds soft peaks in a bowl
  2. Beat egg white until really stiff – the more air you can get in, the better.
  3. Beat sugar, vanilla and ginger into mascarpone.
  4. Fold cream into mascarpone mix.
  5. Fold egg white into mix gently but well.
  6. Cut madeira slab into thin slices
  7. Have coffee brewed and pour into a bowl
  8. Dip madeira cake into coffee and place in a layer in small loaf tin.
  9. Sprinkle a thin layer of grated chocolate on the cake
  10. Place layer of mascarpone/cream mixture on top
  11. Repeat steps 7-10 until all ingrediants are used and make sure you finish with a creamy layer.
  12. Sprinkle the rest of the chocolate on top of the dessert
  13. Chill for at least two hours and serve sliced on large plates.

Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding with Chocolate

It was my brother in law’s birthday a couple of months ago. Unfortunately for him, the day of his birth, September 11 is now far better known for other reasons, in fact he was 21 the day the planes struck the world trade centre so his special day became a bit of an irrelevance.

However, this year I cooked dinner for him and finished off the meal with a twist on traditional bread and butter pudding. I like how in this recipe there is a great partnership between the buttery brioches, creamy custard, bitter chocolate, sweet prunes and lifted by a far more adult slug of ameretto.

Apologies to my gluten, wheat and dairy intolerant followers (and daughter!) in advance for this recipe…

Serves: 8-10 portions (this is very rich, so small is better!)

Ingredients

1 good brioche loaf sliced or 4-6 small brioches sliced
1/2 a vanilla pod or best vanilla essence
2 eggs
4 egg yolks
350 ml of half fat milk
300 ml of single cream
120g of soft brown sugar
150g of best dark chocolate – 70% cocoa solids or better
Around 10 prunes
A good handful of pecans
A shot of ameretto liqueur
Sufficient butter to butter brioche slices
Sugar to sprinkle on top of pudding.

method

1. Put eggs in a bowl and mix with electric blender until slightly foamy and paler in co our.
2. Melt 100g of your chocolate in microwave with a tablespoonful or two of the milk. Do 15 second bursts and keep checking until just melted and combined with the milk.
3. Pour a little of chocolate in with eggs and combine with mixer. Then gradually add the rest whilst mixing constantly.
4. Put milk, cream, a few pecans crushed and the vanilla pod (or essence) in a large pan and bring really slowly to a simmer. Again, keep a good eye on it, as it starts to boil remove from the heat and let it cool somewhat.
5 Strain milk into egg/choc mixture and combine again with blender – if the milk is too hot and you don’t mix rapidly, then you will have a disaster!
6. Add your slug of ameretto. This is now your chocolate custard to use in pudding.
7. Chop remainder of chocolate, prunes and pecans into small chunks.
8. Butter brioche slices and place in a good size (20-25cm square?) baking dish. Between each layer of brioche, sprinkle in bits of the chocolate/prune/pecan mixture.
9. Once brioche is used or dish is full, pour in chocolate custard over the whole thing making sure the top layer of bread is well moistened with the custard mixture.
10. Sprinkle with sugar and leave for 30 mins or so (longer is fine) before baking.
11. Bake at 160c (fan oven) for 20-30 mins. The baking dish should be placed in a deep baking tray with some water in it to creat a Bain Marie whilst cooking.
12. Serve with some extra thick single cream.

Sticky Toffee Pudding With Brandy Caramel Sauce

The weather in Hampshire has taken a sudden cooler turn this week. My wife tells me one cannot pretend it is shorts weather here any longer and I must wear longer attire. It will reduce the puzzled looks from other shoppers on the plus side.

Anyway, as the shorter days and longer nights descend on the northern half of the world, seasonal fresh soft fruit for dessert begin to disappear from our menu.

Fear not, one of the absolute delights is the ability to justify the treat of an old fashioned English Pudding.

I have eaten this many times, but always thought it would be complicated and time consuming to reproduce an inferior imitation of what is served in restaurants – surely you need some specialized equipment or ingredient to make something so good. All you need is around an hour, a cold evening and a few hungry friends..

Serves 4

Ingredients

150g dates
200ml of Earl grey tea (English breakfast is ok too)
60g butter
90g caster sugar
2 small eggs
120g self raising flour (or 1 extra large)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp good vanilla essence
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp of horlicks or malted milk drink powder (don’t worry too much if you don’t have it)

Brandy caramel sauce

120g white sugar
40ml water
200ml double cream
40ml of brandy (or whiskey)

Method

1. Preheat oven to 165c
2. Soak dates in hot tea for at least 30 mins, overnight is fine.
3. Chop soaked dates finely
4. Oil a loaf tin well (it is called sticky for a reason…
5. Cream butter and sugar together until pale in colour. Add egg little by little, beating well between each addition to avoid curdling.
6. Fold in all remaining ingredients (not the sauce ones!) until just combined.
7. Place in loaf tin and bake for 40 mins or until inserted knife comes out clean.
8. Now for the sauce, put sugar and water in small pan and heat on a high heat.
9. Do not walk away from the pan and do not stir. Just watch it bubble until it begins to turn from golden to light brown. Remember do not stir AT ALL!
10. Once it goes from golden to light brown you have a window of around 10 seconds otherwise it will burn and you need to start again.
11. Take off heat and immediately add cream – it will froth right up and look really angry. be careful as it is hotter than hell! Once it begins to calm down you may stir this quite hard, but carefully.
12. The sauce is great at that point, try it if you like (carefully) as it is sensational.  The sauce is great just served with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
13. Add brandy to sauce and stir well.
14. Pour a third sauce over pudding in loaf tin. Cut pudding into thick slices served with rest of sauce and a swirl of cold cream.
15. Undo your belt a little and enjoy the happy pudding induced bliss like state.