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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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.

Dairy Free Banana Bread With Apricots

My daughter’s allergies are changing so it is time to try reintroducing some foods. We are trying wheat after an experiment with dairy just didn’t work.

She just celebrated her birthday and I felt a bit sad that everyone else enjoyed cake except her – she has never been keen on the wheat and gluten free offerings. Now we are trying wheat, I thought she could now have some.

Whilst living down under, I discovered just how good the antipodean cafe staple of banana bread really could be. A good one is never dry and is almost fudgey in it’s consistency and taste.  It is also a great way to use up those over ripe bananas that usually end up in the bin.  In my version, I gave added some pre soaked dry apricots which reduce the quantity of added sugar and add a delicious moistness to the finished loaf.

Serve this straight from the oven in generous warm slices or it is even more delicious served a day or so later toasted with lashings of (dairy free!) butter.  If you can manage it, make up some homemade lime or passion fruit butter, really easy and a great tart foil to the rich, gooey sweet banana loaf.

Serves: makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients

3 really ripe bananas
250g self raising flour
125g light muscavado sugar
100ml of vegetable oil.
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Around 8 pre soaked dried apricots (try soaking them in tea or fruit juice for interest)
50ml oat or soy milk (may not need)

Method

1) preheat oven to 150c
2) mix the sugar and oil together well.
3) add bananas and mash into the sugar and oil
4) fold in bicarbonate and flour into the mixture. Do not overmix! It’s ok to still have some lumps in.
5) roughly chop the apricots and fold in.
6) if mixture is dry, add some of the oat/soy milk.
7) place the batter in a well oiled loaf tin and bake for around 40 mins.