14 February 2015

Mochi Ice Cream

After my Sister Bip and I tried the mochi ice creams, she's been wanting to try and make some at home. We did try over the Christmas holidays, but hadn't prepared properly and used rice flour we found in our Mum's cupboard. This was not a good idea, it wasn't the glutinous kind and so the gloopy mixture we concocted went straight to the bin. And Bip was well disappointed and upset. But she wrapped all the ice cream balls in a bag, ready to be wrapped in mochi dough.

However, this time she'd prepared and bought the fancy glutinous rice flour and we found our way back to the recipe we'd chosen. This is a very good web page, it has step-by-step photos and is very easy to follow.

The two things we did was to do our own measurement conversions to be on the safe side and also ignored the instructions for cooking the dough in the microwave - short bursts and keep an eye on it is the way to go.

The mochi dough is a very interesting thing. Lundulph looked up about the word glutinous in this context - it doesn't have gluten like wheat flour, but instead it refers to its stickiness like glue. Here's where the photos step-by-step proved really useful, because if I hadn't seen how much corn starch to use, I would have glued together half the stuff in the kitchen to myself.

What I mostly liked about the mochi was how it felt to the touch - like really soft and feather-light velvet. I was also surprised that even though I'd covered the mochi dough with so much corn starch, it quite happily combined back to a ball and allowed itself to be rolled out a second and a third time. But it's messy work and Bip didn't want to get too involved and wandered off to play with her phone towards the end of the mochi rolling.


There was a lot of cling film involved and I felt bad about it and I wonder if there is an alternative that can be used instead.


Once all the pieces were done, she helped in making the mochi ice creams by handing me the ice cream balls one at a time, while I rolled them up and gave back to her to place in the freezer.

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We couldn't wait to try them and did so a couple of hours later after lunch. This was a bad idea - despite working as fast as we could, the room temperature mochi dough had melted the ice cream balls substantially.

The next day we tried again and this time the mochi ice creams had firmed up nicely. What I didn't like was that the mochi dough felt rather bland - I'll try to add more sugar next time. And I think a sweeter ice cream would be worth using as well. Or perhaps nutella or dulce de leche or gianduja. It would be nice to trim off some of the overlap of the mochi dough as well, will need to think about that.

Lundulph kindly acted photographer as I was up to my elbows in cornstarch and although my camera has had its share of food splatter, I felt this would kill it for sure.

13 February 2015


This year my Mum is turning 70 and so we went to Sweden to celebrate.

Of course my Mum did most of the food, but she put me in charge of breads and as she was going to do a buffet table, we thought the Festive Christmas Bread would make a nice centre piece.

But Mum had invited quite a few friends, so more bread was required and I decided to try my hand at épis, which is French for ear as in the ear of grains like wheat. They are very decorative and quite easy to do and my Mum would be pleased as she likes crunchy crust on bread. Plus I quite fancied the idea of being able to tear, rather than slice the breads.

The tricky bit was the festive bread of course, but I managed to work out a a schedule to slot in the different steps of the two breads and managed to get everything done on the day of the party.

For the épis, I used Mr Bertinet's trusty basic recipe for white bread, double amount. This resulted in 5 good sized baguettes, which is what épis are. But rather than slash them prior to baking, grab a clean pair of scissors and snip the dough along the length of the baguette, but not all the way through. And with each cut, move the cut piece alternatively to the right and left. That's it.


I also now know that my Mum's oven bakes very unevenly, even though it's fan assisted. Hopefully I'll remember that for the next time. I managed to burn one of the épis and also a couple of the petals of the festive bread. Still they all went as Mum had made a selection of lovely dips.

Despite my intentions for the guests to tear pieces of bread, none of them dared to start on the festive bread and I got the honour of pulling away the first piece. At the end of the party, the festive bread looked like it had been attacked by a lawn mower.

1 February 2015

Classic Roast Chicken

The other day, Lundulph commented that he fancied roast chicken and we both racked our brains and couldn't remember when we last had made roast chicken. Most definitely in our early days of dating, but not since then. So he put in a request for roast chicken and I set about with my quick internet searches to find something suitable and I did - "Classic Roast Chicken" - and it seemed to be easy enough to do.


But as always, I end up tinkering - this time because the recipe didn't mention potatoes and I thought something green would be nice as well. So here goes. Now I have a lot of goose fat left over from Christmas. I filtered it as best I could and keep it in the fridge. I suspect I'll have to throw away most of it as it's bound to go off soon enough, but it hadn't yet, so I decided to use that. I'm sure butter will work just as well.

serves 4

1 kg waxy potatoes
4 medium-sized carrots
1 large onion
4 - 5 tbsp goose fat
1.4 kg whole chicken
salt and pepper
1 lemon
several sprigs of thyme
800 g button mushrooms
400 ml chicken stock from cubes
1 tbsp plain flour 1 tbsp soft whey butter


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 °C.
  2. Peel and rinse the potatoes, carrots and onion, then cut into bite-sized chunks and place in a large deep-ish roasting tin. The tin should be large enough to fit the chicken and the vegetables without them being too crowded.
  3. Use half of the fat and spread among the vegetables. Stir together to get them as well coated as possible. The goose fat should go runny in a warm kitchen.
  4. Remove any giblets from the chicken and discard or save for something else. Mix together salt and pepper and sprinkle inside the chicken cavity.
  5. Wash the lemon and thyme. Cut the lemon in two. Stuff one lemon half, some of the thyme, then the other half and finally some more thyme into the main cavity.
  6. Make some space in the middle of the roasting tin and place the chicken there on its back.Rub the remaining goose fat all over.
  7. If there's any more thyme remaining, sprinkle over the vegetables and put the odd sprig between the wings/legs and body of the chicken. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes.
  8. Peel and clean the mushrooms, and add them to the roasting tin after the 40 minutes are up. Stir to get them coated with some of the fat, then bake everything for a further 50 minutes.
  9. Just before the time is up, make up the chicken stock and place in a frying pan and bring to a simmer. Put the broccoli to steam as well.
  10. Remove from the oven and carefully pour out the juices from the roasting tin into the frying pan, the cover the chicken and vegetables with aluminium foil and let rest for 10 - 15 minutes, while you make the gravy
  11. Keep the gravy simmering in the pan and stir in the flour, followed by the whey butter. Keep simmering until it thickens a little and goes opaque.
  12. Carve the chicken and serve with the roasted vegetables, steamed broccoli and gravy.

Well, a quick search on the blog just now reveals that my original thought of not having had roast chicken for ages is not true. Methinks that we're getting old and forgetful. Lundulph did make roast chicken a a few years back. OK, so it's still "ages" but not as much as pre-dating the blog.