Posts tagged cream

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée


ith Valentines Day heavy on the February agenda and a strong committed desire to stay at home and cook up a feast, this dessert made a perfect and suggestively named addition. Personally, the thought of going out for dinner on Valentines Day fills me with dread! The busy restaurants, the ‘special menus’, the overpriced deals and the crowds of daters and lovers. Understandably, showing your love with your cooking is not for everyone. And I’ll admit, for someone who loves nothing but spending a month menu planning and an entire evening in the kitchen, creating a 3 course feast was selfishly high on my priorities. This also being the way to a/my man’s heart, it seemed like a win-win…

When thinking of a menu, creme brûlée and passion fruit were the first things on the list being two of my beloved guests favourites. A decadent, creamy and light end to a meal that finished off a French themed super perfectly. Call me cliche with the theme but I didn’t hear any complaints…

I always fail to remember how easy creme brûlée is to make. And this year I finally, FINALLY invested in a cooks blowtorch. And an investment I wish I’d done long ago. A cheap and tremendously useful kitchen addition. Gone are the days of burnt creme brûlées shamefully neglected under the grill. Sweet creme brûlée, a mans gadget and the involvement of flames…again…a win-win dessert. And who doesn’t love the first crack of the sugary top!?

Serving suggestion: I failed to make these on the night but I’d serve these with mini coconut shortbreads. See here and instead of adding the rosemary, replace with 2 tbsp of lightly toasted desiccated coconut.

Serves 5 (I reused the infamous ‘Gu’ ramekins and this made 5)

  • 500ml double cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 passion fruit
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Find a deep roasting tin and get your ramekins ready in the tray.
  2. Add the double cream to a saucepan and scarp in the seeds of the vanilla pod using a teaspoon and add in the pod too. Scald the cream. I.e. Heat until just below the boiling point. It should be just ready to bubble but not simmer. Remove from the what and let the vanilla infuse for a few moment while you whisk the eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar and the pulp from all the passion fruits. Whisk well to combine.
  4. Place a tea towel underneath the bowl to prevent it moving and then, whilst whisking continuously, pour in the hot cream in a slow stream. Continue whisking until well combined.
  5. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a good pouring jug or saucepan. Discard the vanilla pod husk and the passion fruit seeds.
  6. Pour the mixture evenly among the ramekins in the roasting tray filling to the top.
  7. Fill the tray with hot water, pouring until the liquid comes about halfway up the ramekins.
  8. Carefully so as not to spill, place the tray in the centre of the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until just set and with a very slight wobble in the centre. Leave to cool completely before chilling in the fridge.
  9. When ready to eat, remove from the fridge and scatter a thin, even layer of caster sugar over the top. Using your blow torch, glaze the surface and the sugar will begin to caramelise. Rotate the ramekin as it melts to ensure it evenly caramelises being careful not to burn. Sit for about 1 minute and then enjoy! With shortbreads if you wish.

If you’re keen for a French showstopper then I also made this pork cassoulet for main.

Creamed Spinach & Goats Cheese Crumble



appy New Year! This was quite rightly a while ago now. January has come and gone and I’ve yet to even blog a shortbread biscuit or mince pie. But I’ve been sunning myself on South Africa’s beaches, drinking from their vineyards and eating…biltong. I don’t regret my absence. However, it has been a shameful while since I’ve given FITP some loving attention. Importantly I must confirm it is NOT because I’ve stopped cooking or experimenting. My pans continue to earn their keep and my fellow friends kept fed and watered. Its been quite an adventure over the past months and that combined with the lack of natural light, I’ve had limited time to take pictures worthy of my perfectionism and blogging standards. Recent stressful distractions at the later end of 2017 have sucked my what would have been ”recipe daydreaming time” for my blogging creations. More so I have sadly (?) opted for either comfort eats or trusty go-tos. That said there have been some blog worthy comfort eats that will have to grace these pages before the summer…

But this Monday evening in early February once again faded into another dark quiet Monday with nothing to excite me except the idea of coming home for dinner and a round of ‘Silent Witness’ (Judge as you will). That coupled with the tight budgets I’ve restricted myself to in order to fund my tenacious sun worshiping this year means that experimenting is also not such an attractive prospect for the bank balance. This dish therefore fits quite nicely. Its amazing what a £1.20 bag of frozen spinach can make and just how far it’ll go. You’re skeptical about spinach going a long way…I can tell. But this could feed a vegetarian army if such a thing exists.

Tip – opt for a larger more shallow baking dish for a better eat. Mine was a little deep and small.

Serves 4-6 (Adapted from Jamie O’s classic here)


  • 1kg frozen spinach ‘blocks’
  • 1 red onion, chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Nutmeg
  • 150g soft goats cheese
  • 100g breadcrumbs OR bread
  • 100g oats
  • 100g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 250ml creme fraiche
  • 1 lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 180.
  2. Start by sweating the onion in a little oil in a large frying pan until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the spinach ‘blocks’ and turn up the heat to a medium setting. You want to cook out the spinach for a out 10 minutes until the blocks have melted down and you have evaporated the majority of the water.
  4. Meanwhile, blitz the bread in a processor into breadcrumbs. Season well.
  5. Add the oats and pulse lightly just to combine.
  6. Add the cubed butter and blend until you have a crumb like texture.
  7. Stir in the almonds and reserve this topping for later.
  8. Once the spinach has reduced in moisture, grate in a good few gratings of nutmeg. Add the mixture to the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and season well.
  9. Add the creme friache and the zest of the lemon and pulse to combine. (These steps are optional. If you don’t have a processor you can simply stir the creme friache and spinach together to achieve a more textured mix).
  10. Tip a third of the mixture into a shallow baking dish (In hindsight, the one I used was a little deep). Crumble over a third of the goats cheese.
  11. Repeat with the next layer alternating with goats cheese and spinach. (Alternatively, you could add the goats cheese to the spinach mixture and pulse lightly. I preferred having nuggets of goats cheese rather than an overall flavour throughout).
  12. Once you’ve used up all the mixture, top the spinach evenly with the crumble.
  13. Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until the crumble turns a golden brown and the juices from the spinach are starting to bubble up around the edges.
  14. Dive in!



Date & Himalayan Pink Salt Truffles


ts safe to say I’ve been provided with my fair share of artisan chocolate samples for blog experiments. From Green & Blacks to Doble & Bignall the ampersand seems to be a common (and successful) theme here (If we forget the Loving Earth samples. Dairy free, doesn’t count). That said, next in the greedy queue naturally seemed (drum roll)…Doisy & Dam. A superfood chocolate they say! Quickly discovered to be due to the ingredients added and not the output of its consumption. Sadly. So when D&D approached ‘forage in the pantry.’ with a teasing package of goodies to sample I was keen to take up the challenge of a new creation!

Doisy & Dam are indeed just that. Teasing. A mixture of naughty and nice. Chocolate and superfood ingredients creating delicious bars of solid and artisan chocolate. I think the first thing I said on trying these samples was ‘Wow, the textures are great!’ and it wasn’t until researching their background that I discovered their claim for ‘irresistable texture’. They’ve nailed it. Take the ‘Cocao Nib & Vanilla’ bar which is my favourite so far. The cocao not only adds a lovely crunch and texture but a subtle unassuming bitterness to the what is after all a dairy milk bar. Their chocolates are said to never be made with more than eight ingredients (minimum 8% superfoods and have a high cocoa content to squeeze out the room for sugar and fat). Whilst I’m a true 90-99% gal, this comment I can casually breeze over but quite rightly. The flavour is worth it.

So, down to the recipe. The best way to really taste the true flavour of a chocolate (besides sampling fresh from the packet in slab form) is to make something pure. Pure flavours, nowhere to hide. Truffles? Forget chocolate fondants and mousses, truffles really do not hide bad quality. Now I normally lean towards dark chocolate truffles. They are more stable at room temp and have a better flavour and quality.  Whilst my goodie bag contained a mixture of dark and milk, I couldn’t help being drawn towards the ‘Date & Himalayan Salt’ edition and that I did.

A healthy indigence as D&D would say….thats wiped out here sadly with the cream addition…


s I’ve mentioned I wanted to keep these super simple so they are plainly tossed in cocoa. However for a twist try adding an extra ingredient/texture to the mixture before pouring into the container (e.g. chopped nuts, diced ginger, more cocoa nibs, more salt, coconut…). Equally you can roll the finished truffles in this ingredients of choice instead and forgo the cocoa powder.


  1. Heat the cream in a saucepan until just below the simmer.
  2. Break up the chocolate and stir into the warm cream off the heat. Stir until fully melted and combined.
  3. Line a shallow bowl or tupperware with cling film. Pour the mixture into the dish. It should be about 2cm in thickness but this is optional. Allow to cool, cover and refrigerate.
  4. Once set, place in the freezer for about 1 hour or until hardened. This just makes it easier to cut.
  5. Get a large mixing bowl and add a few tbsp of cocoa powder
  6. Turn out onto a chopping board and cut into pieces (size optional). Mix in the cocoa powder and then store in the fridge in a container.


Rosemary Creme Brule & Pine nut Shortbread


aster is all about lamb. Lamb is all about rosemary. Stay with me here…



aster lunch menu planning for a group of hungry guests isn’t usually that flexible as lamb joints grace the ovens and aga’s of cooks round the UK. Dessert however allows some creativity. I love the flavour of rosemary in sweet dishes especially when you pair it with sweet caramelised apricots (see here for pannacotta), earthy honeyed pine nuts (see here for pine nut tartlets) or almond and sweet nectarine (see here). Its a shocker I’ve not made a rosemary ice cream yet but creme brule is the next best thing. Having wanted to serve this with some caramelised fresh apricots and almond praline, I settled for some pine nut shortbread since the season did not agree with my fruit of choice. Feel free to experiment here, adding more rosemary to your tastes. Its subtle but still infuses nicely into what made a fitting, elegant and light dessert after a joint of garlic studded lamb leg, roasties and spring greens.

Rosemary Creme Brule

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 500ml double cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2 x 10cm lengths of rosemary
  • Soft brown sugar to caramelise
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Prepare 6 creme brule dishes/ramekins (dependant no the size you get around 6 portions- you can use whatever you like as long as its oven proof) and stand them in a deep roasting tray. The tray needs to be deep enough that the ramekins can sit in there and you can fill the tray with water half way up the ramekins.
  2. Lightly bash the rosemary in a pestle and mortar to begin to release the flavoured oils. Then add to a saucepan with the double cream and the vanilla pod.
  3. Scald the cream by bringing it just below boiling point then immediately remove from the heat and leave the rosemary/vanilla to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain and discard the rosemary. Scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod into the cream and discard the pod.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar in a wide bowl.
  5. Carefully stir in the warm cream whisking continuously so that the eggs don’t scramble. Continue to whisk until all is combined.
  6. Sieve the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat on a very gentle heat for about 1 minute until the mixture begins to thicken a little and coats the back of a wooden spoon – careful the heat isn’t high or it will scramble.
  7. Pour the mixture into the ramekins.
  8. Fill the tray with boiling water so it rises half way up the side of the ramekin.
  9. Carefully place the tray in the oven and allow to cook for 30minutes until the creams are set with a slight wobble. Leave to cool and then chill until needed.
  10. When ready to serve, scatter a layer of the brown sugar over the top of each cream. Using a blow torch or carefully using a hot grill, heat the top until the sugar beings to caramelise and sets hard. Careful not to burn…its tricky…mine did!
  11. Serve with the shortbread biscuits for dunking if you wish.

Pine Nut Shortbread


  • 175g plain flour
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  1. Dry fry the pine nuts in a frying pan until golden. Leave to cool.
  2. Combine the butter, flour and sugar in a food processor and mix until combined and the mixture in crumbly. Then tip in a handful of the pine nuts and continue to processor the mixture until it forms a dough.
  3. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and combine into a ball. Wrap in cling film and leave to cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  5. Combine the rest of the pine nuts in a pestle and mortar and bash lightly. Add the 2 tbsp of caster sugar and bash into a ‘pine nut sugar’.
  6. Roll the shortbread and cut out rounds (whatever shape and size you want) the thickness of 1 pound coin and place them onto a lined baking tray.
  7. Continue using up the dough. Scatter the pine nut sugar over the top of the shortbread evenly.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until just beginning to turn pale golden. (Don’t overcook past pale gold).
  9. Cool until ready to serve.

Dorset Apple Cake



here is nothing like a bit of baking on a cold, drizzly weekend to ease and nourish the soul and there is nothing like the warming spices of cinnamon and ginger combined lovingly with a spongey sweet cake and some juicy sharp seasonal apples to bake! Devoured cold with a warm brew or warm and spongy with lashings of Ambrosia, ice cream or just a trowel-ful of clotted cream you’ll fail to not be comforted by this festive tray bake. Open to additional ingredients this cake batter would be beautiful marbled with chunks of sweet marzipan or topped with some flaked almonds or toasty pecan nuts.

Adapted from Marry Berry

Makes about 18 large pieces

  • 3 large cooking apples (About 550g)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a tray bake tin (about 30cm x 23cm)
  2. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice each thinly and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon to prevent browning.
  3. Now, using an electric hand mixer or food processor, blend the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, half the cinnamon and ginger together before adding the eggs. Beat well adding a splash of milk to loosen for a few minutes until golden, glorious and combined.
  4. Spoon half into the lined baking tray. Top with halve the apples slices scattered randomly but evening over. Sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon
  5. Spread over the remaining batter and even out with a pallet knife
  6. Top with the remaining apples slices, pushing them into the batter slightly.
  7. OPTIONAL: Top with flaked almonds or nuts or a sprinkle or crunchy demerara sugar.
  8. bake for about 40 minutes until golden, spongey and firm and just communing away from the sides of the tray.
  9. Leave to cool before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream or at room temperature with a nice cup of tea!

Jess - Dorset Apple Cake3

Gingerbread Latte Ice Cream, Salted Pistachio Brittle


Its Easter, a foodie occasion so I cannot forgo a dessert menu without this icey sweet delight. Coffee is such a crowd pleasing and moresih dessert flavour (if you’re a caffeine lover) as it naturally tops off a dinner and satisfies those bitter fans and the sweet toothed. From tiramisu to coffee cake I love it. But in ice cream….well need I say more. With the subtleyly of the ginger and cinnamon it makes for a ironically warming flavour in this cooling ice cream. Acoompanied with a warm lava centred chocolate fondant it was the perfect finale to Easter lunch.

Ice Cream (Serves 6 modestly)

  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp coffee granules
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Heat the cream until just coming up to the boil. Add the coffee and spices and whisk until all combined off the heat.
  2. Leave to cool.
  3. Whisk in the condensed milk until thoroughly combined and transfer to a container or tupperware to store int he freezer.
  4. Freeze until set! You can remove it from the freezer about 5 minutes before serving to make it easier to serve.

Salted Pistachio Brittle

Very general measurements and method here! If in doubt use a sugar thermometer.

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 160g roughly of golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 60g pisatchios, crushed
  • 1 tsp malden salt
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  1. Line a baking tray with non stick parchment (grease with oil if you want)
  2. Crush the nuts and mix with the salt and set aside.
  3. Mix the sugar, syrup and water in a pan. Heat on a medium high heat but do not be tempted to stir. Allow it to melt and begin to caramelise and bubble. Leave for 5-10 minutes or so bubbling away until the syrup beings to turn golden. Watch very closely here as you don’t want it to catch and burn or turn too dark. When a golden brown colour add the butter and remove from the heat and quickly pour onto the baking tray.
  4. Immediately scatter over the salty nuts evenly and leave to set. It will harden quickly, within 10 minutes! Once poured out and still soft though you can move the tray around to make it thinner if required by tilting.
  5. Once set, peel from the parchment and break carefully into shards for each guest

Moules Mariniere Sauce, Crushed Potatoes, Crispy Seabass


I adore devouring big bowls of French and simply cooked mussels. Albeit shamefully with a dainty bowl (large bucket) of lightly salted (heavily salted) crispy French fires (never chips….its got to be fries. Like the ones McDonalds do). I have many happy memories of enjoying this meal with my best friend in our local Wiltshire gastro pub with a side order of gossip after a relaxing ride. Seeing as she’s embarked on an adventure to Abu Dhabi to conquer the world of financial advising and make us our millions I could only experiment with the classic moules mariniere and wish she was here to enjoy it with me.

After following the ever dramatic and addictive Masterchef final this week, one of my favourite chefs Tom Kerridge showcased one of his signature dishes. His take on the classic moules served with a creamy topped stoat foam. Whilst I love mussels I often finish the meal still feeling hungry, dissatisfied and with sticky garlicky fingers. So, picked from the protective homes of their shells and tossed in a creamy sauce Tom’s method seemed like a much more relaxing eat. This is certainly a cheap eat (£1.50 for a bag of mussels!) that boasts rich expensive flavour that looks and tastes luxurious. My take on moules mariniere with crushed new potatoes and crispy skinned seabass.

(By the way, the reason I always use seabass is I LOVE IT! But feel free to use another white fish here such as bream, cod of haddock.)

Serves 2

  • 2 seabass fillets
  • 1kg mussels,
  • About 8 small new potatoes
  • Handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1-2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely diced
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • Large knob butter (about 30g)
  • 4 tbsp creme fraiche
  • To serve – lemon, green beans/samphire
  1. Start by cleaning and de-bearding the mussels. Chuck away any with cracked shells or that are open and don’t shut quickly when tamped sharply on the kitchen surface (Only cook closed mussels; only eat open ones).
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. For the potatoes, par-boil until soft but make sure they are not waterlogged and falling apart and drain. Crush lightly with the back of a fork, season well and toss with olive oil.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until crispy.
  4. For the mussels and sauce heat the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat until it beings to foam adding a little oil to stop it burning. Add the garlic, carrot and shallot and gently soften for about ten minutes.
  5. Turn up the heat and add the wine. Reduce slightly. Add the mussels to the pan, place the lid on and allow to simmer for about 3-4 minutes. The mussels are ready as soon as they open.
  6. Once open remove the pan from the heat. Carefully pick the mussel meat from the shells (discard these) and return the meat to the wine sauce. Place back on the heat and simmer gently to reduce slightly. Add the creme fraiche and season to taste. Finally stir in the parsley and a little lemon juice and keep warm while you fry the fish.
  7. Get a pan on a medium high heat. Season the fish and score the skin to prevent it curling in the pan.
  8. Fry skin side down for about 3 minutes, finishing for the finish minute on the flesh side.
  9. Serve the creamy sauce with the potatoes and fish. Serve with green beans or samphire and a squeeze of lemon juice.

WINE: Try a lovely Chablis such as Domaine Sebastien Dampt 2014 available at Armit Wines


Jess - Chablis

Caramelised Garlic Tart

I’d seen this recipe in my thumbed copy of Ottolenghi’s ‘Plenty’ too many times to flick past it again. I’d heard good things about it…they’re true by the way. The original recipe calls for puff pastry which I think would have tipped me over the edge into food heaven but I used a lighter flaky shortcrust infused with thyme after an indulgent week that just couldn’t handle the butter content of puff. Either pastry is fine but I suggest puff just to do it justice. Agreed, when you read the recipe and see 3 heads of garlic, separated and peeled you may find yourself navigating away to another site. However, there is no need to contemplate taking a half day off work as it really won’t take long and you’ll be rewarded with the benefits on eating. The garlic is sweet and glazed when cooked and teasingly moreish.

Serves 6-8

  • 375g puff pastry, rolled/ 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry flavoured with thyme (optional)
  • 3 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 220ml water
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp each chopped rosemary and thyme
  • 240g goats cheese- a mix of soft and hard or a mix of cheeses if you’re not a goat cheese lover
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 100ml double cream
  • 100ml creme fraiche
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C . Grease and line a tart tin (about 28cm) and line with the rolled puff pastry. (You can also use a shortcrust pastry which is what I actually did when I made it). Prick all over with a fork and line with a sheet of parchment and some baking beans. Bake blind for about 15-20 minutes until mostly cooked and then remove the beans and parchment and return the case to the oven for 5-10 minutes to allow the base to brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the cloves of garlic in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain.
  3. Return the garlic to a clean pan with the a splash of oil and fry for a few minutes on a high heat. Add the balsamic vinegar and the water, boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the sugar and the herbs and a pinch of salt. Simmer for another 10 minutes until the liquid begins to reduce and turn syrupy. Set aside.
  5. In a jug, whisk the eggs, creams and plenty of seasoning.
  6. In the pre-baked tart case, crumble or grate over your choice of cheese and then top with the garlic cloves and syrup. Add some more thyme leaves also if you like.
  7. Fill the gap of the tart with the cream mixture and bake at 160°C for 35-40 minutes until set and golden brown.

I served mine with a fresh rocket and baby cos salad with some griddled courgette slices, toasted pine nuts, wafers of parmesan cheese all dressed lightly with lemon juice and olive oil. Devine!


Gruyere and Onion tarts

This recipe (that is religiously made every year on Christmas eve in the Wardlaw house), is courtesy of Delia and has always been the most deliciously simple combination. For some reason we didn’t make it this Christmas eve, so feeling cheated I found myself whipping out a batch for a warming lunch in this Christmas provoking weather….


  • 2 eggs
  • 75ml single cream/creme fraiche
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  • 75g Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 25g butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • Cayenne pepper


  • 175g flour
  • 75g butter
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • ½ tsp mustard powder
  1. For the pastry, rub the butter and flour together and add the cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper. Add enough water to bring together to form a dough and then wrap and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease some small tart tins. Roll the pastry out thinly and line the tins. Bake the cases blind with baking beans and parchment for about 15-20 minutes until turning a pale brown. Remove the beans/parchment for the last 5 minutes to cook the base. Leave to cool in their tins while you do the filling.
  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sweat the onions until soft and beginning to turn a golden colour. Do this slowly to get a good flavour (about 20-30 minutes). Set aside.
  4. Mix the eggs, cream and mustard powder together in a jug adding a pinch of cayenne according to taste.
  5. Fill the tart cases with the onion and grated gruyere and fill with the egg mixture. Scatter over a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before tucking in.

I made a tomato salsa to top mine by finely chopping a mixture of coloured cherry tomatoes, some bruised thyme leaves, salt and pepper and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Leave to infuse and serve at room temperature atop your tarts with a green salad.

Carrot Cake Ice Cream



What could be better than combining the forces of a good cake and its  slutty partner in crime ice cream? This recipe is adapted from the Babel Restaurant in South Africa, Babylonstoren, whose ‘cookbook-come-brochure’, is to die for. As a spicy ice cream, they suggest serving it with chilli grilled pineapple slices, but hey, whats wrong with serving it with a slice of carrot cake….?

  • 500ml double cream
  • 180ml milk
  • 180ml caster sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 125g carrot, boiled and grated
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 2ml ground nutmeg and ginger
  • 125g walnuts/pecans toasted and roughly chopped
  1. Start with the custard base. Heat the milk in a saucepan with 90ml of the sugar and the seeds from the vanilla pod until just coming to the boil.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl (a wide shallow bowl helps) with the remaining 90ml of sugar until combined.
  3. When the cream is hot, tip a third of it in a slow stream into the egg yolks whisking continuously and vigorously to prevent it scrambling. Make sure it is all combined then add the rest and whisk together for a few minutes.
  4. Tip the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a low heat stirring with a wooden spoon continually until the mixture begins to thicken and it coats the back of the spoon and leaves a mark when you run your finger through it. keep the heat low and keep stirring to prevent getting scrambled eggs….
  5. Strain through a sieve into another wide shallow bowl. Whisk in the ground spices.
  6. Peel about 2-3 carrots (depending on their size) and boil whole in water for about 5 minutes, until soft. Cool under cold water and then grate into the custard base and mix to distribute. Leave to cool and then place in the fridge.
  7. Meanwhile, toast the nut in a dry frying pan for a few minutes or in a hot oven for 5 minutes and leave to cool.
  8. When the custard is cool, churn in an ice cream maker for about 15-20 minutes until thick and beginning to freeze. Once it begins to thicken during churning, tip in the toasted nuts. Place in a container and freeze.