29/07/2012

No churn lemon curd ice cream.

This is all Kavey’s fault. No, really, it is. If she hadn’t run her Bloggers Scream for Ice-cream then this would never have come to my attention. I always read, because I like ice cream on occasion, but it has to be creamy, and definitely with NO ICE CRYSTALS. I don’t own an ice cream machine, and previous attempts have been less than stellar.

I’m a gelato girl, to be honest. My first memories of an ice-cream that truly made me go WOW was a rum and raisin filled cone in Italy. I’m not sure what town we were in at the time, possibly Salerno, but OH MY GOD that was an ice cream to stay in the memory. Believe me, the exoticness of a rum and raisin ice cream out of what looked like a Mr Whippy machine is not to be underestimated. Then we visited a factory with some friends of my parents, and they gave me a small tub of coffee ice cream. Bang. Sold. Creamy, smooth ice cream was the only way I wanted it, so when I saw the amazing concoctions using condensed milk and double cream on Kavey’s blog then I knew I had to try it.

One drawback stood in my way. The use of cream. My husband is allergic to cream and milk so I dithered as to whether this would actually be possible, but when I finally had the time to have a day of doing nothing at home, I decided to give it a go.

I decided to use Greek yoghurt in place of the cream. Not only because of my husband’s allergy, but also because in quite a few reviews I had read on condensed milks creams, there was reference to a slightly greasy mouth feel, and I figured that yoghurt would make it a lighter dessert.

I took a rekkie at what we had in the fridge, faffed a bit about what flavour to make and then went with the Use Up That Stuff In the Jar flavour.

1 500g carton Tim’s Dairy Greek Yoghurt

1 397g can Carnation condensed milk

4 heaped tablespoons lemon curd*

1 tsp vanilla paste

1 tsp Sicilian lemon extract

Whisk the yoghurt to get some air into it, then whisk in everything except the lemon curd.

Pour into a plastic container (I used an empty ice cream tub) and then dollop in the lemon curd, and pull it through the mixture with a knife.

Go OOH at the pretty pattern, and then pop it in the freezer so you don’t just eat it all with a spoon.

6 hours later, take it out of the freezer, test it, and marvel at just how soft and creamy it is.

My next experiment is going to be a coffee ice cream, in honour of Kavey, because I know how she loves her coffee with condensed milk. I just have to get some more yoghurt…I can see this fast becoming an addiction.

I also really, really want to make this. Lots. Dead Elvis? Bring it on baby.

Also that gives me an excuse to link to this song. You’ll thank me. Really. In the end.

IMG_5558

IMG_5559 COPY

*The lemon curd was home made, concocted from Persian lemons that my Mum had sent me from her tree in Cyprus. They are thinner skinned than normal lemons, with many seeds and a floral, delicate taste. They are also known as Meyer lemons in the US.

17/07/2012

Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket

I blame Adam Richman from Man Vs. Food. Oh and then Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. It’s all their fault. If they hadn’t featured brisket on their shows, SO MANY times, then I wouldn’t have an obsession with trying to cook the perfect one. They have also made No 1 Husband lust after a smoker. See? ALL THEIR FAULT. Totally.

I’ve cooked beef short ribs in the slow cooker, and then made barbecue beans as well so that the liquor from the ribs didn’t go to waste. They were very good, and I will most definitely make them again. I’ve cooked shoulders of pork in the oven, long and slow, and they were okay, but they were never quite what I was looking for. Perhaps I don’t really know what it is I’m looking for. Maybe it’s some ideal that TV shows have created, one that I can never achieve because I don’t have an industrial smoker running 24 hours a day on oak chips and pecan shells, looked after by a large Southern man who’s been barbecuing for 40 years and whose skin is perfectly wrinkle free, dark and shiny from all the pork  and beef fat that’s in the air.

I’d quite like to have those things, but I don’t, so I have to make do.

I found a 1.5kg piece of rolled brisket in the Co-op on special offer, so I nabbed it. Remembering how we liked the flavour of the beef short ribs that I cooked, I used the same basic cooking liquid.

1 x 1.5kg piece of rolled brisket

2 cups pressed apple juice (I used Ringden Hall farm juice as that’s what we always have)

1 cup barbecue sauce of your choice (I used Kraft Chick’n Rib because that’s what I had)

1 wee tub of that Knorr beef stock

2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika

1 tsp garlic salt

1 tsp onion granules

This is so easy.

Put beef in the slow cooker. Pour over the juice and sauce. It should come just over halfway up the joint. If not, add a bit more of each.

Add all the other ingredients in to the liquid, mix well. You can add a finely chopped onion to this too if you fancy. It just adds another layer of flavour.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then on LOW for another 4.5 – 5 hours.

Hoik the meat out, wrap in foil to keep warm while you set about reducing the sauce to a thicker consistency in a saucepan on a medium boil.

We just had the meat with plain boiled rice, but with the thickened sauce spooned over the meat, and the thinner one from the slow cooker served on the rice.

The recipe definitely worked. The meat was tender, and it happily pulled apart with a fork and some tongs. No carving required.

We have enough meat and thickened sauce left over that I think I’ll stuff it into tortilla wraps with cheese and salad for dinner this evening.

 

BBQ brisket ii

06/07/2012

Hush Brasserie, Holborn.

A spur of the moment dinner decision this week, when my friend Liese was visiting from Athens, led us to a very good meal indeed.

I work in Holborn, and used to go past French Kitchen every day and think how nice it looked. This is probably more due to a slight girl-crush on Rachel Khoo, but it did look inviting. We tried it once, for an early evening dinner, and it was nice, though the seating was so uncomfortable that both my guest and I had aching backs by the end of the night! A few weeks later, I went past on the bus as usual and the whole thing was being ripped out. Was it something I said?

In its place there arrived a Hush Brasserie. I made up my mind to try it, and last night had the opportunity to do so.

The fact that many good and interesting vegetable dishes were on the menu outside the restaurant pleased us, because as much as I love meat, there are days when you just want a good salad, or a perfectly cooked dish of asparagus. It was also a very warm evening, and salads felt right, so when I saw Globe Artichoke, Green Salad & Hazelnut Vinaigrette mentioned, well that was me won over. Liese had spied a Goat’s Cheese, Broccoli and French Bean salad as well, so that was our Light Main sorted out.

In we went.

It’s a pleasant, quite airy space, with a large bar to the right and oh thank heavens, comfortable seating. No wooden benches any more for which I am truly thankful.

The menu is in a clear font, nicely written.

http://www.hushbrasseries.com/assets/images/menu_june.pdf

There is no squinting or reading through overloaded descriptions. THERE ARE NO FOAMS. Please, do not give me a foam. I want a sauce, with oomph.

I ordered an iced tea. Thank you Hush for realising that people who do not/cannot drink alcohol also want something a little more exciting than a Virgin Mojito.

This was Rose Tea with vanilla and elderflower. It was utterly gorgeous, though possibly made with too much ice because when all that melts, the bottom half of the drink is vaguely rose flavoured water. That aside though, it was incredibly good. I want all that heady flavour to last, which is why I think there should be far less ice.

And it was pretty too! As is Liese’s dress.

Rose iced tea with vanilla and elderflower  Tea close up

My starter came up, and to say we were astonished…that puts it mildly.

This is a stuffed artichoke. That is a very large dinner plate. It was ALL OURS (we decided to share) and we ate every delicious bit.

Globe artichoke salad with hazelnut dressing

Pulling off the leaves is fun, and the Hollandaise sauce was just right for dipping. Underneath the beautifully dressed salad was the soft, creamy textured bottom and it was meltingly tender. Munch, dip, munch, dip, munch.

Glorious.

Almost sated, but not quite, as we had our Light Main to look forward to.

This beauty here is the Goat’s Cheese, Broccoli and French Bean salad. It also had sweet little bright pods of glistening green. Broad beans! The way they should be! Podded, skinned and lightly dressed.

Broccoli goat cheese and bean salad

The cheese was excellent, firm but still creamy and all the flavours were so fresh and very zingy with dressing.

Again, only one point and that is that the broccoli needs to be smaller if served in that deep a bowl, as it is quite hard to cut it into mouth sized pieces, but oh MY the taste. I didn’t want it to end. I was so excited by it that I Tweeted Nigel Slater.

We had chosen a side dish as well, because we are like that.

I present to you Aspen Fries. Frites tossed in parmesan and truffle oil.

Frites with parmesan and truffle oil

Yes, they are in a wee bucket. Yes, it may be a bit of a restaurant cliché now but everything is forgiven because THE TASTE. Salty and crisp, with both the scent and taste of truffle, but it was in no way overwhelming. I’m not a huge fan of truffles, not really, as I find they can overpower just about anything, but this…it was so very moreish.

I think I texted quite a few people saying “I HAVE TO BRING YOU HERE.” If I didn’t, rest assured I was probably thinking of you.

All in all, that came to just over £30 and it was worth every penny.

I’m going to go back and work my way through the menu.

Thank you Hush! We loved it all.

Hush Brasserie, 95-97 High Holborn
London
WC1V 6LF
020 7242 4580
holborn@hushbrasseries.com