Friday, 10 June 2011

Driving me Cuckoo!

You will be glad to know that Shropshire cuckoos are alive and well in Mortimer forest. One resonant cuckoo abounding through the forest is charming. Half a dozen is driving me cuckoo on every walk this week! Of course it could be the time of year when the males are desperate for a bit of action and calling out for a willing Mrs.; bragging their assets with cheerful repetition and nonchalance! But the charm did ware off after the first half an hour! The dogs didn't raise an ear between them, they were far too busy chasing squirrels!
Back at home now and I can give you the two ice cream recipes. Both easy and ideal for plan ahead dinner or lunch party. Serve with florentines or tiny macaroons.
It is very easy to make ice cream but the only possible danger is over heating the custard so that it curdles, if this happens, do not panic! Immediately, put the custard into a liquidizer or failing that a food processor and beat it into emulsifying once again. As long as you have not actually made scrambled eggs this always works!!!!!!!!!!!

Elderflower Ice Cream (to make in the next 2 weeks before the season is over)
300ml home made elderflower cordial or make up about half cordial recipe and leave out the citric acid, you will easily drink the remaining cordial in a few weeks but I do suggest keeping it cool in the fridge
300ml full fat organic milk
300ml organic double cream
6 free range large egg yolks
100g unrefined caster sugar

Make a custard by heating the milk in a small pan over medium heat until simmering point is reached. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks until pale and fluffy with the sugar in a food processor or by hand. Pour the hot milk gradually into the eggs, beating all the time.Transfer the mixture to a thick based sauce pan over very low heat and stir with a wooden spoon pretty often in order to avoid the custard curdling. The custard needs to be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. When it is, pour it into a plastic container and leave to cool. Stir in the elderflower cordial and chill in the freezer until it is thickening up. Beat thoroughly before folding in the whipped cream and leave in the freezer until nearly frozen. Beat thoroughly again, I put it in my food processor. Seal and freeze until needed.

Chocolate and Chilli ice cream
350ml organic full fat milk
1 heaped tablespoon high quality cocoa powder
6 large free range egg yolks
125g unrefined caster sugar
a sprinkling of dried chilli flakes
120g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
300ml double cream

Heat the milk with the cocoa in a thick based saucepan over medium heat until it has all melted. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together either in a food processor or by hand in a bowl. Beat in the hot chocolate milk and a sprinkling of chilli flakes. Then put the custard into the pan over very low heat and stir from time to time until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon. Add the chocolate pieces and stir until melted. Pour the hot custard through a sieve into a plastic container and discards the chilli. Leave to cool and then freeze until becoming thick. Fold in the whipped cream and freeze for an hour. Beat the ice cream thoroughly to get rid of any ice crystals. I use my food processor. Freeze and beat again a few hours later and then it will be really creamy. Seal and freeze until needed.

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