Anti Globalisation Ice Cream

I’m not an inspirational chef but I do take inspiration from good ingredients and recipe ideas. One of my weaknesses is recipe book dependence but that’s beginning to change. Over the last year or so I have made a conscious effort to adapt my shopping habits, largely in the face of my monumental hatred of Sainsbury’s. Let’s get something clear – they offer a paucity of choice when it comes to raw ingredients with aisles and aisles of processed food and only a very limited selection of anodyne factory produced “fresh produce”. Then there’s the relentless over-marketing whereby you are brow-beaten into buying 2 for 1 or 3 for 2 when you only wanted 1 so you buy too much overpriced food and it gets wasted. Shocking value and a wearisome shopping experience.


For Sainsbury’s read any of the major supermarkets, but there’s an alternative if you are prepared to forego a little convenience. I’ve taken to shopping at Aldi for mainstream items and then following up with specialist independent meat/fish/grocers for fresh produce. It’s more effort but a far superior shopping basket for two thirds of the cost makes it a no-brainer.

This is how shopping used to be before successive governments allowed the giant corporations to kill all the small independent retails along with our high streets. And my change in shopping habits is forcing me, in a positive way, to rethink the way I cook. No longer can I assume that my precise recipe ingredients will be available. More to the point the independent grocers always tempt me with fresh and exciting goodies that I wasn’t expecting. Much better therefore to ease off on the list and take inspiration from what’s available.

It also means that I am having to rediscover my cooking instincts. My plans to make some Indian influenced ice cream this weekend had to evolve due to a failure to obtain saffron along with arriving home with a glut of natural yoghurt. In Ready-Steady-Cook style, here’s what happened next…

Ingredients
250ml single cream
150ml milk
2tbsp Clear Honey
1tsp cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
3 large eggs
100g soft brown sugar
300ml natural yoghurt
Lemon juice
Chopped almonds

In the mix
In the mix

Instructions

1) Extract the cardamom seeds and chop them finely. I love cardamom and they are great in curries, rice, baking and green or ginger tea. They have to be great in ice cream don’t they?

2) Mix the cream, milk, honey, cinnamon and cardamom in a pan. I was toying with adding one or two cloves and even a light touch of chilli but let’s rein it in for now. Heat and keep stirring, but don’t boil.

Creamy loveliness
Creamy loveliness

3) Separate the eggs and add the yolks to the sugar in a bowl. This is orthodox ice cream making territory. Mix until smooth.

I'll make meringues with the spare egg whites
I’ll make meringues with the spare egg whites
Smoothly does it
Smoothly does it

4) Add the hot cream mixture to the bowl and stir. Return the mixture to the pan and heat until the mixture thickens, stirring all the time.

This is always the fun bit
This is always the fun bit

5) Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge for a couple of hours

6) Watch a film while waiting. I watched Fire In Babylon but you can substitute films of a similar length depending on what you have in stock.

7) Stir in the yoghurt and a little lemon juice. Hmmm, this should be interesting. I was going to add some lemon zest but … I forgot. Ho hum.

Not too much lemon juice - the yoghurt is quite sharp
Not too much lemon juice – the yoghurt is quite sharp

8) Pour the mixture into a pre-frozen ice cream maker being careful not to devour all of the mixture before it gets transferred. You don’t need a machine for this but it’s one of those gadgets I picked up along the way and if you are going to use it enough (like I do) then it does an effective labour saving job.

A messy business. Who designed this small opening?
A messy business. Who designed this small opening?

9) Once you are fed up of the racket made by your ice cream maker spoon the ice cream like contents into a container and store in the freezer.

10) Go to bed. Sleep. Get up. Do whatever it is you do before deciding that you fancy some ice cream.

11) Serve the frozen ice cream with some almond flakes or perhaps some kind of exotic Asian fruit salad. Perfect after a weighty Indian meal. Chicken Saag with masala stuffed baby aubergines and lemon rice since you ask.

But is it any good?
But is it any good?

Verdict – 8.5 out of 10. Good flavours, a fine way to finish an Indian meal and relatively healthy for an ice cream. The consistency was very slightly firm so next time I might change the cream to yoghurt ratio somewhat, or at least remove from the freezer a bit earlier. There’s plenty of scope to play with the flavourings. Some caramelised mango would go well with it.

I’m not sure if this is a recipe blog or an anti-globalisation rant but let’s worry about the taxonomy later – there’s ice cream to consume.

What’s In A Word?

Thanks but you can keep it

The English language is a curious fellow. Its unique depth, diversity and colour can be attributed to the tumultuous history of the British Isles. Countless invasions, migrations and social trends have thrown together disparate languages and dialects culminating in something beautiful.Globalisation and the age of electronic communication have fuelled the relatively recent explosion in the adoption of English, even if it now comes in such a variety of flavours. It is a living entity with a capacity to continuously renew itself. Presently the OED lists 250,000 words. Scrabble has never been so contentious.


With such a volume of words to choose from you might think that there must be no need to invent new ones. This didn’t prevent Douglas Adams & John Lloyd making hay with The Meaning Of Liff. There is an unparalleled joy for many of us in making up new words to suit (or not) the occasion.

What does it all mean?
What does it all mean?

One such occasion inviting of this creativity is the usage of Twitter. For the uninitiated (oh DO get with it) this platform enables you to broadcast messages to sufficiently interested people anywhere on the sole condition that you don’t exceed 140 characters. Such a simple proposition but nicely challenging – how do you communicate effectively when you are tied down in this way? How do you construct a short but meaningful message that targets the intended audience yet leaves some wriggle room for expression?

Twitter

Twitter provides us with the simple joys of the #hashtag whereby any word/phrase preceded by # can be used to frame a message or filter for a subject. This week I stumbled upon the custom dictionary within my mobile phone and learned two things:

  • When I type a hashtag in twitter it appears to get added to my custom dictionary
  • The hashtags you use present an intriguing summary of your personal interests and proclivities.

And so a whole new offshoot of language is spawned – one that is entirely reflective of the author. At times the hashtag captures a wider discussion trend and on other occasions it carries no apparent understandable meaning but sits in isolation – a curious memento of some forgotten conversation. Some hashtags take on a life of their own as people adopt them to form little communities. It just goes to prove that language isn’t a monolith but a democracy – if enough people like a word or phrase it will embed itself in the vernacular, irrespective of “Queen’s English”.

Not amused
Not amused

Here’s what I found in my custom dictionary. I doubt that the Queen would be amused…

AllWork
AV
Bakewell
Berlusconi
BionicPigeon
BitAwkward
Blancmange
BoltonAbbey
BreakfastDilemma
BreweryTap
BuildingWork
CakeCentral
CamperVanExcitement
Clangers
ComputerSaysNo
ConsipracyTheory
CrazyBusy
DancingDuck
DCFCFans
Derbados
DerbyBeerFestival
DerbyFeste
DerbyUK
DoubleStandards
DrinkDerby
DukeOfPuddingshire
DullFilms
EmergencyCake
Eurovision
FathersDay
FedUp
FF
FIFA
FilthyMug
FoodInKeyboard
FreshBite
GaySquid
HackGate
HardCoreDrinkDerby
Hathersage
HolidayRiots
LoveCakes
ManicThursdays
ManTerritory
MilleniumBridge
NatAutisticSoc
NoStaff
NottsBeerFestival
NOTW
Number37
OfficeCalendar
OverbearingInbred
PigTea
PoorlyLeg
PostFootballFootSoak
PubLottery
PuddingOverload
QuadXI
RainGod
RealAle
RobinHood
Santander
Saundersfoot
Shakira
ShitFan
SodsLaw
SportsCake
StPancrasChallenge
Subways
TheBrunswick
TheSun
TheVenue
TonyGubba
TrainPain
TrentBartonFail
Wansfell
WorkMug
YoSushi

Perhaps this appears to be some journey of self-indulgence. And maybe it is. But I know plenty of people take real enjoyment in stretching the boundaries of the English language. Besides, this is my blog so I get to have the last word.