June, 2011

Jun 11

I scream for ice cream

I’m mad for it, entirely mad for it. I’ll eat it until I’m about to pop. The most expensive varieties right down to the cheapest. Hearing the clanging, chaotic melody that chimes forth from an ice cream van that heralds the potential of a 99 Flake still gets me excited.

A cornetto, strawberry flavour of course, has always been a favourite – the cone going chewy around the top just where the chocolate coats it.

A little tub in the theatre with the funny flat spoon in it; a big pile of different scoops topped with sauces and all manner of sprinkles at the cinema; an artisan variety picked up from Gelupo in Soho flavoured with the most wonderful Italian ingredients; memories of a rectangular block of ice cream shoved between two wafers or choc-ices from which I would try and eat as much of the chocolate as possible before tucking into the ice cream alone.

I frequently used to discard the chocolate entirely in favour of the block of bright yellow frozen pleasure.

One of my favourites is the banana split; a grown up version is easy and ready in a shot. You don’t need a recipe for this but a few suggestions – an entire banana, per person, split down the middle; a generous scoop of good vanilla ice cream in the middle. 

A long pour of sea salted caramel or shop-bought butterscotch drizzled over the top along with an equal measure of chocolate sauce is perfect. Or add sprinkle of your choice of toasted nuts and lastly, some marshmallows tumbled over that have been shown a blow-torch for a few seconds to get them toasted.

Now that is a proper pudding. Stick a paper brolly in it if you must.

Jun 11

Hail Caesar

I split my time in the kitchen 50/50 between creating new recipes and cooking the classics.

For me, these dishes form an important basis from which you can develop and tweak recipes – but they’re also, more often than not, classics for a reason – because they are utterly delicious.

One such dish is Caesar salad. I ate one recently in a restaurant that was very good but didn’t quite deliver – perhaps they’d swayed too far from the original with cheffy flourishes.

I decided that I would make one at home – a perfect light-ish meal for a Saturday night post a few olives, a shared plate of charcuterie and a few glasses of wine.

Once we’d sat down to eat I couldn’t understand why a) anyone would mess with such a great thing and b) why we don’t see this classic salad on more restaurant menus because it is so utterly yummy.

I am guessing it’s probably the raw egg thing – but use good, organic, free range fresh egg yolks here for best results – and use your leftover whites to whip up a meringue for pudding.

Click here for my recipe for classic Caesar salad

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