I is for Ice cream

This homemade ice cream is a sweet cheat. It takes minutes to prepare (plus several hours to freeze) and is great to impress midweek. I make mine with crushed honeycomb (see my earlier blog), but you could mix in anything from pistachio nuts to crystallised ginger to fruit. However you want to make your ice cream, this is a rather calorific dessert, so eat with restraint….or a small spoon.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Freezing time: minimum 4 hours (ideally overnight)

Ingredients:

  • 600ml double cream
  • 397g (1 can) condensed milk
  • 120g honeycomb

Recipe:

  1. Pour both ingredients into a large bowl and whip until the mixture forms soft peaks.
  2. Add your ice cream flavour, in this case all the honey comb made previously (smashed into large chunks, small pieces and some dust) and stir gently.
  3. Transfer into a freezable container and freeze overnight.

Ice cream - softly whipped

Ice cream - mixed

Ice cream - ready to freeze

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H is also for Honeycomb

This week I’ve needed a sweet tooth, so I’ve managed to create both another H recipe (honeycomb) and homemade ice cream (the upcoming I recipe).

Honeycomb is deceptively easy to make, you just need to keep an eye on it as sugar gets very hot!

Baking soda

 

Honeycomb - sugar and golden syrup

Preparation time: 1 minute

Cooking time: 5 minutes (plus 1hour of cooling in the fridge)

Ingredients:

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1.5 tsps baking soda

Recipe:

  1. In a saucepan, stir the sugar and golden syrup together. Stir as much as you want now but as soon as you apply heat, you must not stir, only swirl.
  2. Put the saucepan over a medium heat until the mixture has completed melted and bubbles until the colour of maple syrup, which takes about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the baking soda and stir vigorously. The honeycomb will froth up instantly. Pour this onto greased tinfoil.
  4. Put in the fridge and leave to set for about an hour. Smash with a clean hammer or rolling pin and it’s ready to eat.

Honeycomb - bubbling

Honeycomb - frothing Honeycomb - setting

Roasted tomatoes

So firstly apologies as this was meant to be halibut based recipe rather than a haddock one, but I couldn’t get hold of any in time for this blog, so I had to make do with my local supermarket offering of haddock. Either fish will work!
 Haddock, shrimp and scallop linguine
The tomato sauce can be prepared up to a day in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge. It just needs reheating when you’re cooking the fish.
Tomatoes ready to be roasted
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Ingredients:
  • 325g Haddock (or halibut) – skinless, boneless and cut into pieces
  • 150g Shrimps or prawns (cooked)
  • 175g Scallops
  • 1 lemon
  • 500g fresh linguine
  • 15 ripe tomatoes (feel free to use a mixture of varieties, which will enhance the flavour)
  • 1 tbsp Tomato purée
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Handful of freshly chopped parsley
  • Handful of freshly grated Parmesan
Recipe:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with tin foil. Cut the tomatoes in half and place on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in the oven to roast for 30-40minutes.
  2. Spoon the roasted tomatoes (and all the juices that will have leaked out) into a food blender with the tomato purée, basil and blitz until it has turned into a paste (but still with a few bits – you don’t want to make soup!)
  3. Put the linguine in a large pan of boiling salted water and leave to bubble away.
  4. Meanwhile chop the halibut (or haddock) into pieces and fry for 3-4 minutes in a drizzle of olive oil. Then add the scallops and shrimps (or prawns) with the juice of half of the lemon and continue to fry for another couple of minutes until the fish is cooked. This will not take long and you don’t want to overlook the fish.
  5. By this point both fish and pasta should be cooked, so drain the pasta (reserving about a cupful of the pasta water in the large pan with the pasta). Add the fish, tomato sauce, and 2/3 of the chopped parsley then gently combine until everything is well coated in the tomato sauce.
  6. Top each serving with the remaining chopping parsley, Parmesan and a wedge of lemon.

Tomato sauce - frying onions

Roasted tomatoes

Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta

G is for Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta

This dish is superbly simple to make, tasty and very rewarding with a glass (or several) of a dry white after a long day at the office.
 I do enjoy making my own gnocchi, which isn’t that difficult but time consuming enough to be left to the weekend, so it’s out of a packet in this recipe but there’s nothing wrong with that!
Gnocchi with spinach and pancetta
Ingredients:
This makes enough for 2
  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 206g cubed pancetta
  • 260g young spinach leaves
  • 100ml single cream
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • A squirt of lemon juice
Recipe:
  1. In a large frying pan tip all the pancetta cubes and fry on a high heat until starting to turn golden and crisp. You won’t need to add any oil, as there is plenty of fat in the pancetta itself.
  2. Once golden, remove the pancetta and place on kitchen paper to mop up any excess fat.
  3. In the frying pan pour away about half the remaining fat and top up with a dribble of olive oil (not extra virgin, regular will is fine). Add the garlic and fry on a medium-low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile salt a large pan of boiling water and toss in the gnocchi. It should sink to the bottom, and after about 5minutes will raise to the top of the pan – indicating it’s cooked.
  5. Turn the heat down under the frying pan as low as it will go and toss in the spinach.
  6. Stir the spinach around until its coated in the garlic-y oil and has nearly all wilted.
  7. Then add the cream, a spritz of lemon and a couple of turns of pepper and turn up the heat, letting the cream bubble away for a few minutes.
  8. By this point the gnocchi should be cooked, so turn the heat off both pans. Add the pancetta back to the frying pan, drain the gnocchi and add that too.
  9. With a wooden spoon gently fold everything together so the gnocchi is coated in the creamy sauce and serve immediately.

F – Fig and Almond Tart

My fig and almond tart takes enough effort to blitz together a few key ingredients and slice up a handful of figs to produce a special dessert.
Fig and almond tart - ready to cook
Ingredients:
  • 350g all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zested
  • 6-8 ripe figs, washed and dried
Recipe:
  1. Heat the oven to 200C.
  2. Roll the pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle approximately 34cm x 18cm.
  3. Beat the double cream and egg yolk together and use to brush the edges of the pastry. Fold the edges of the pastry over to make a 1cm wide border. Brush with more of the glaze and chill the pastry on a baking sheet for at least 30 minutes. The idea here is to produce a frame of pastry to hold in all the fig juices and almond and lemon mixture.
  4. In a food processor, add the ground almonds, caster sugar, softened butter, egg, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Whizz together until smooth – you will probably need to use a spatula to push in all the bits stuck on the side. Don’t worry if the mixture is thick, it’s meant to be.
  5. Spread the almond filling over the bottom of the pastry and chill for 10 minutes while you prepare the figs.
  6. Cut each fig into quarters through the stalk. Arrange the figs cut-side up over the almond mixture. Slide the baking tray into oven and cook the tart for about 35-45 minutes until golden.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Fig and almond tart