Category Archives: Ice Cream

MSU Food

I was all over-excited whilst I was at MSU about their dining hall. I know. It’s a totally random thing to be over-excited about. But it was just so amazing, and so clever, and there was so much choice, that I felt I needed to share the experience with you. The dining hall is vast, I said in an earlier post that it feeds 2400 students every day during the term. As a result the actual area is large and there are various places to sit with all the food being centrally located in the middle. For $9.99 you can eat as much as you want, and this includes freshly baked cookies and soft serve. Say what?

Basically you take a tray and cutlery and then you can decide what you’d like. There’s pizza and burgers, a vegetarian station, a Caribbean station, one that does ‘home made’ foods, a stir fry station, a grill, and sushi. They’ll also make you sandwiches and there’s a salad bar with a gazillion items on. Oh and there’s cereal and dried fruits and nuts. There’s also an ice cream and waffle place as well as the soft serve and cookies. There’s a variety of colas as well as water, juice and tea or coffee. All on a help yourself basis. It’s amazing. I had food from various stations in the time I was there, including roast chicken with mash (I had that twice), and stir fried noodles with pork and vegetables. I had various salad combinations and a lot of dessert. I had to, so I could tell you all about it. My favourite were the cookies, particularly the chocolate chip ones. Americans do such good chocolate chip cookies.

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Macaroons for Ice Cream Sandwiches

So whilst I was at home last week I made macaroons for ice cream sandwiches. I got the idea (and the recipe) from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home. I can’t remember how I heard about Jeni but I became fascinated by her ice creams because they’re made without eggs and use a slurry of cream cheese and corn flour to thicken the custards. I still haven’t gotten around to actually making the ice creams (because I was obsessively making David Lebovitz’s salted caramel ice cream), so I made these instead.

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They’re surprisingly easy to knock up and are really good when paired with ice cream. (I had another drama with the ice cream cylinder again (!) so I served various ice creams I’d made during the week plus some vanilla ice cream friends bought with them after I’d messaged them desperately at the last minute. I am totally buying an electric ice cream maker as soon as funds allow.) Jeni serves them as ice cream sandwiches but I did a DIY dessert, setting out the two different types of macaroons, the ice creams and then peanuts, pistachios and raspberries so people could add what they wanted. It was fun, and really good.

I used the recipe Jeni sets out but didn’t blend the icing sugar and almonds together. Rather, I ground the almonds in a coffee grinder and then sifted the icing sugar and almonds into a bowl, as you do for regular macarons. I found them moreish and the perfect accompaniment to ice cream. The best combination was chocolate macaroon, salted caramel ice cream and roasted peanuts. Bliss I tell you.


Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton-Bauer

1 1/2 cups flaked almonds

2 1/2 cups icing sugar

3/4 cup egg whites (left over from all the ice cream making)

pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For chocolate ones: 3 tbsp cocoa powder

Line two trays with baking paper. You can mark circles on the paper with pencil but then flip the paper over otherwise the pencil marks will attach themselves to your macaroons (this happened to me). I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to make the circles but you can choose the size that suits your needs.

Grind the almonds and sift with the icing sugar into a bowl. (If you’re making chocolate macaroons, sift the cocoa powder too.)

Whip the egg whites with the salt and, once soft peaks start to form, add in the sugar, in tablespoons until you have a smooth, glossy meringue.

Fold the almond mixture into the egg whites – I did this in three goes.

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You should end up with a mixture that is reasonably firm but which still spreads a little. Place the mixture into a piping bag with a nozzle and pipe rings onto baking paper lined trays.

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Allow the macaroons to rest for half an hour. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 170C. The macaroons are done when they’ve coloured ever so slightly on top and can be lifted easily from the tray with the help of a palette knife.

Allow them to cool before storing them in the freezer to use as needed…

Raspberry Vanilla Ice Cream

I’ve spent the last week at home, in Johannesburg, catching up with friends, eating a lot of steak, and cooking – despite what it looks like from my obvious state of absence on this blog. But never fear, I finally feel like writing again and to start I’m going to tell you about this raspberry vanilla ice cream I made.

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I’ve been making ice cream almost constantly since Easter. I had a disastrous time then – I have an old school ice cream maker, one where you freeze the cylinder and then churn the ice cream by hand. I didn’t freeze the cylinder for long enough so it was incapable of freezing the litres of ice cream I had made. We had icy custard instead of ice cream. It would’ve been embarrassing if anyone was really bothered but fortunately, my family are very chilled out. My aunt made amazing choux buns instead and everyone was distracted playing badminton and volleyball anyway. I left the ice creams in bowls in the freezer, with instructions for beating every few hours. Apparently they made it into ice cream (one plain vanilla, one raspberry vanilla like this one) and were eaten with meringues (which is weird since that’s how I’m serving the ice cream later). Since being back at my mom’s, I’ve made three ice creams (all for dessert today). The locals keep telling me it’s cold, and to be fair, I did have a jersey on yesterday but today it’s lovely and warm and sunny. It’s positively high summer in my mind and so I thought I’d share the first of the ice cream recipes with you.

I have been making ice cream using various recipes from various chefs. This recipe is adapted from Gordon Ramsay’s book Just Desserts. I’d forgotten about this book – it lives on the shelves here. I was given it as a leaving present when I left the one hotel in Scotland. It is actually an amazing reference point for basic recipes and I can’t believe I haven’t cooked from it more. The vanilla ice cream is a fairly standard recipe although it uses an insane amount of egg yolks. But this results in smooth, voluptuous ice cream which I have tarted up by adding in crushed raspberries. It tastes of high summer. And childhood. (My childhood anyway, and that summer of the berries.)

Raspberry Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from Just Desserts by Gordon Ramsay

250ml full cream milk

250ml double cream

50g caster sugar

6 egg yolks

2 vanilla pods

250g raspberries

1 tablespoon icing sugar

Place the milk and cream in a saucepan. Split the vanilla pods length ways and scrape the seeds into the liquid. Add in the pods themselves and heat the mixture until scalding point.

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Meanwhile, whisk the yolks and sugar together until slightly paled.

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Temper the milk mixture into the egg mixture. (This means pour the milk mixture carefully over the egg mixture, whisking whilst you do so, so as not to scramble the eggs.) Return the mixture to the heat, and cook until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Strain into a mixing bowl. I like to add the vanilla pods back into the mixture to infuse overnight.

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Cover the custard with clingfilm and chill in the fridge overnight. The next day, pour the custard into your ice cream machine and churn. When it is nearly ready, smash the raspberries and stir the icing sugar into them. Add this to the almost churned ice cream. The raspberries will make the ice cream ever so slightly icy. Freeze completely in a tupperware. Remove from the freezer about 10 – 20 minutes before you want to dish up as this ice cream sets fast. (This also prevents you from standing at the freezer and eating it out of the tub.)

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Momofuku Milk Bar

Maybe there are places that you absolutely have to go to when you are in a particular city. For me, this place was Momofuku Milk Bar. How could I not? The hype surrounding the cafe/dessert bar is legendary as is the Cereal Milk. 

I sought it out on East 13th Street late one evening. There was a queue out the door and a crowd of fans taking pictures and talking about their options. It was very difficult to choose – someone recommended the blueberry miso soft serve – but I went with the classic Cereal Milk milkshake, compost cookie and crack pie. I might not be back in the East Village for a while so excess is fully warranted I feel.


Personally, I loved the milkshake best. It was an extremely cold version of the milk at the bottom of my cereal bowl and it reminded me of school mornings. The crack pie was like eating pure sugar and I’m not sure it’s really the thing for me. The compost cookie was a revelation – that mix of sweet and salty and utter ridiculousness. I’m going to have to get hold of a copy of the book so I can try the recipe at home…

Christmas Ice Cream

We’re having a Christmas in July dinner this weekend. It’s the kind of thing those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere take joy in doing because it’s a legitimate time to eat excessive amounts of food with a fire burning in the background. December just doesn’t allow for that here. Christmas in July is a very broad term for what I’ll be serving on Saturday but I’ve made up for it with dessert. I’m making pear and panettone pudding and serving it with this Christmas ice cream. I know that many of you are fans of the traditional Christmas cake. I am not. It is my worst type of cake and I only make it every year because it makes the house smell so fabulously of Christmas. I then give it away. As fast as I can.

So the choice of Christmas ice cream is a little unusual for me. I’m not a fan of raisins, except when accompanied by salty peanuts, but this ice cream is such a winner I may have to rethink my stance on the subject. It has all the flavours of Christmas, plus the soaked raisins, that lift my mood the way only Christmas can. The recipe comes from a Delicious magazine, Christmas issue (2009) (I seem to have a few Christmas editions, Christmas being my favourite time of year and all) but I’ve adapted it in some ways. I cooked the raisins in the brandy and orange juice and zest for 10 minutes before allowing it to cool and sit overnight. I think this just gives the raisins an edge and moistness that would be lacking if you just soaked them. I also added the mixed spice to this mix to infuse before adding it to the ice cream. (The original recipe says to add the mixed spice to the almost perfectly churned custard.) Finally I added the raisins in at the beginning of the churning process. This is probably not the best idea if you ice cream machine is electric and violent but mine is ancient and requires me to turn it in the frozen cylinder so no harm done. I recommend just adding the raisin mix in at the end (as suggested in the magazine) to avoid any of the stress caused by early addition.

This would make a great addition to your Christmas menu if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Perfect for Christmas Day lunch, after a braai…

Christmas Ice Cream
Adapted from Delicious Magazine (December 2009)
150g cake mix (raisins, sultanas)
100ml brandy
juice and zest of one orange
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
500g single cream (also known as ‘fresh cream’)
250ml full cream milk
1 vanilla pod
2 cinnamon sticks
6 large egg yolks
110g caster sugar
300ml double cream

So, first thing, put the cake mix, brandy, orange juice and zest into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add in the mixed spice and set aside to cool.
In a pan, heat the single cream, milk, vanilla and cinnamon til scalding point. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Once the milk is scalding, pour some of it into the egg mixture. Whisk this to incorporate and then pour this back into the pan with the rest of the milk. Cook to 72C, the stage where the custard has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon.
Strain into a clean bowl, cover the top with cling film and allow to cool to room temperature.
Unfortunately you have to wait until tomorrow to continue with your ice-cream making. Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight. When the raisin/brandy mix is cool, cover with clingfilm and leave to develop flavour overnight too. This doesn’t need to be refrigerated but you can if you’re so inclined.
The next day, remove the custard from the fridge. Lightly whip the double cream to soft peak stage. Fold the double cream into the custard in two stages making sure it is thoroughly mixed. At this point you can add in the raisin mix or you can wait until it’s almost fully churned to do so.
Churn according to your ice-cream machines instructions.* Freeze until firm (about 4 hours or so).
Eat in large quantities, either on it’s own or with pear and panettone pudding.

*If you don’t have an ice cream machine I’ve heard you can freeze such ice creams in plastic tubs, putting clingfilm over the top to prevent a skin from forming and removing from the freezer to beat every 2-3 hours (so as to break down the ice crystals). Make sure to remove the clingfilm before beating and you’ll need to beat about 3 times or so before allowing the ice cream to freeze thoroughly. I haven’t tried this method so I can’t comment on it’s effectiveness… If you have, let me know how it works!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I feel the need to mention how the obsession with peanut butter ice-cream came about before telling you all how amazing it was. On Wednesday I attended a little shindig hosted by WineStyle magazine and Real Time Wines. It was held at HQ in Sandton, a place I’d heard about from Cape Town people and which is now open here. The evening began with Pongracz MCC in its new 375ml incarnation which Andy (of Real Time Wines) said was just too big to drink through a straw. Well, I personally think that if I found myself in a park on a sunny day with a bottle of this stuff and no glass I would happily make do with a straw. (But then I have been known to do this before so perhaps I am just a heathen.) We then went on to do a blind tasting of six wines. My favourite turned out to be of the cheaper persuasion. I am not reading anything into that. Not at all. The whole purpose of the tasting was to illustrate that you can drink good wines that taste fantastic without breaking the budget. See? My kind of people.

The concept of HQ is genius really. They serve only salad, sirloin and chips. You get the salad (a take on a Caesar with Parmesan, lettuce and pine nuts) as a starter. You can then request how your steak is cooked but that is really all the contemplation that is required. As the person who finds what she likes on the menu and then only ever orders that (for ever more) this is exactly the restaurant I need. No guilt at not ordering something different. No menu envy. Genius I tell you. The steak (with its Café de Paris sauce) was honestly possibly the best steak I’ve had in Joburg. Ever. The chips were great, crispy on the outside and fluffy potato on the inside. They come around with more sauce and chips once you’re about half way.

But the real genius of HQ is their desserts. I know right? A steak restaurant with palatable desserts? You can have my first born child. I am not one for ordering desserts. They are always a disappointment. (Obviously I reserve this judgement for regular restaurants and cafes. Michelin starred/AA rosette places are another story.) Crémé Brûlée is always overcooked. Cheesecakes are crumbly and not smooth. Chocolate quality leaves a lot to be desired. However, I was pleasingly surprised with the chocolate fondant I ordered at HQ. It had the correct melt-y centre. It was hot and sweet and densely chocolate-y. It was something I would order again. It is responsible for the peanut butter ice cream.    

Ah peanut butter. Here we are again. I feel there is no explanation necessary for you presence here today. Just thinking about you makes me hungry. You see, chocolate and peanut butter are a marriage made in heaven. (Apologies for the cliche. There is no other way to describe them.) And as someone who ate a ridiculously good chocolate fondant on Wednesday, I decided it was necessary to recreate said fondant for Friday but to serve it with peanut butter ice cream. Its a happy place people.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
250ml double cream
250ml milk
90g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup peanut butter

Heat the milk, cream and half the sugar to scalding point. Whisk in the peanut butter. In a bowl, whisk the rest of the sugar and the yolks until combined. Pour a ladle-full of cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk. (This is called tempering.) Then pour that back into the cream mixture. Return to the heat and cook to 72C. Usually this is the temperature at which the custard coats the back of a spoon. Due to the peanut butter, it coats the spoon from the word go. If you tip the pan so you can see the bottom, you will observe that the custard begins to cling to the bottom of the pan. The mixture is now ready. Strain into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge over night. Churn in an ice-cream churner according to instructions. Serve alone, between stroopwafels or with chocolate fondants….

Chocolate Fondants
Alas this is not the recipe from HQ (I am on a mission to get it though so watch this space) but from a fellow chef with whom I worked ages ago. He declared it to be the best fondant recipe in the world. Its definitely up there in my top five.

175g dark chocolate (the better quality you use the tastier the fondants will be)
50g butter
50g sugar
2 yolks
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter (30g)

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Melt the butter and the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar to ribbon stage (where the mixture turns white-ish and you can make a ribbon with the mixture).

Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix until combined. Finally fold in the flour. Mix just until it comes together and the flour is combined. Don’t over mix.

Place in 4 greased ramekins and bake for 11-13 minutes, depending on ramekin size. Serve with ice cream of choice.