21 March 2015

Home-made Ice Cream Sandwich

Recently I popped into my local Lakeland shop and spotted an intriguing tray in a corner - it had 6 indentations with square pattern for making ice cream sandwiches.


Now I really don't have space for another uni-tasker like this, so walked away from it, once that I'd noted the brand. Back home, I searched for the recipe for these, but it seems these weren't available unless you go and buy the baking tray. But a lot of other interesting recipes came up and I liked the look of this one, which has very good step-by-step instructions with photos.

113 g unsalted butter
100 g granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
65 g plain flour
25 g unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
1 litre ice cream of your choice


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C fan. Line a large cookie sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Gently melt the butter and remove from the heat before it boils.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl, add the sugar and whisk together.
  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and incorporate well.
  5. Add the flour, cocoa and salt and mix in well too.
  6. Scoop the mixture onto the baking sheet and then using a knife or better an offset spatula spread out to about 3 mm thickness.
  7. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the baking sheet around and bake for a further 5 minutes so it bakes evenly. It's ready when it looks dry on the surface.
  8. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack.
  9. Once the cake has cooled, take the ice cream out of the freezer and if it's hard, let soften a little.
  10. Carefully cut the cake in two equal parts and transfer one of them onto a large piece of cling film.
  11. Take the ice cream out of its box and cut about 1.5 cm thick slices. Place the ice cream slices on top of the cake which is on the cling film. Make sure to cover the cake up to the edges and leave no gaps between the ice cream slices.
  12. Place the other cake on top of the ice cream and push down gently, then wrap the cling film tightly around the whole thing and place in the freezer overnight
  13. When ready to eat, cut into pieces and serve.

I baked and assembled the ice cream sandwich last night and served to Lundulph after lunch today as a surprise. He quite liked it and so did I. I used rum & raising ice cream and it was very soft to begin with, so I didn't really need to leave it out, but just had to quickly wiggle it out of the box. The assembling requires preparation and you need to work fast, so that the ice cream doesn't melt too much.

Sadly, despite my smoothing efforts, the cake was a bit thick in the middle. Also it was quite crumbly and even though I was careful, it broke in a few places. I think I could take advantage of the humid air in the UK and leave the cake out for a bit - that might make it a bit soggy. I could definitely work on making the sandwiches more attractive. Rum & raisin was a pretty good choice and was really nice with the chocolate cake.

Possibly try out a few other recipes as well.

15 March 2015

Another Cookie Press Fun Evening

Not only was it fun to use my new cookie press, I'm quite pleased that my Mum's also re-discovered how much fun it is too. But she opted for savoury versions with different types of cheese. In fact, for her birthday she made so many, I wouldn't be surprised they'll eat them for weeks to come. To begin with, my Dad had been very suspicious about them, but then ended up eating 6 in one go and my Mum had to hide the box.


However, in my searches to find a recipe for my Mum, I came across this one which seemed to be a bit less unhealthy than many others and I decided to make a batch and take to work as thank you to some of my colleagues.


Makes about 80

115 g unsalted butter at room temperature
1.2 dl + 3 tbsp icing sugar
0.6 dl + 3 tbsp corn flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp lime zest
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut milk drink
2.4 dl + 3 tbsp wholemeal flour
colourful sugar sprinkles


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 °C fan and place 3 cookie trays in the freezer to chill.
  2. In a large bowl, add the butter, icing sugar and corn flour and whisk together. The mixture should be crumbly.
  3. Next add the vanilla, lime zest and salt and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add the coconut milk drink, followed by the wholemeal flour a little at a time.
  5. Fill up the cookie press and stamp away onto one of the chilled trays, straight onto it, without lining or greasing.
  6. Sprinkle colourful sugar sprinkles and bake for 10 minutes until the cookies just begin to get some colour.
  7. Repeat until all the dough has been used up. You might need to place the cookie trays back in the freezer and use again.
  8. Once the cookies are out of the oven, transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Store in an air-tight box.

Now, I had to convert the amounts from American to metric and I thought I'd weigh everything while I was at it, but I kept forgetting to include the additional tablespoons when weighing, so will have to weigh again next time. This of course meant I had to add things as I realised I'd forgotten them, so frankly the above instructions can probably be boiled down to "mix everything together, add the wholemeal flour at the end".

The dough was sweeter than the previous recipe I used, but adding the sugar sprinkles made them just right and they were well popular at work - people had seconds and thirds. There were still a few to take home and Lundulph was massively pleased.

And I have ideas for next time - swap the butter for coconut oil to make completely vegan and also swap some of the wholemeal flour with ground nuts. And perhaps skip the sprinkles and dip in chocolate.

8 March 2015

Peruvian Roast Chicken

After making the Classic British Roast Chicken last month, I got wondering how other countries make roast chicken and a quick search came up with what claims to be a Peruvian recipe, which seemed quite intriguing, so I put it on my to-cook list. And since we were both hit by the nasty cold that's been doing its rounds this week, I thought a nice roast chicken dinner would perk us up nicely before the start of the new week.


And it was indeed delicious.


1.3 kg chicken, no need for the giblets
1 lemon cut in quarters
5 cloves of garlic
½ tsp salt
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
60 ml + 2 tbsp white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp paprika
1½ tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano


  1. Cut off any excess fat around the chicken cavity, then rinse the chicken and pat it dry.
  2. Starting from the cavity, carefully push your fingers under the skin and loosen it as much as possible, also on the thights, but be careful not to tear it.
  3. Peel and mince the garlic with the salt, then using a little of this paste at a time, rub in under the skin of the chicken, making sure to distribute as evenly as possible.
  4. Using two of the lemon quarters, rub over the skin of the chicken.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together the vinegar, the 2 tbsp of white wine, the olive oil, paprika, cumin, black pepper and oregano, then brush the chicken all over.
  6. Place the chicken in a plastic bag, pour in any left-over marinade, then seal the bag and turn a few times to distribute the marinade as much as possible.
  7. Let the chicken marinade for 5 - 8 hours.
  8. Pre-heat the oven to 220 °C (non-fan assisted).
  9. Transfer the chicken to an oven safe dish and push the four pieces of lemon into the cavity, then tie the legs together and place in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
  10. Transfer the left-over marinade to a bowl.
  11. After the first 15 minutes are up, turn down the oven to 190 °C and brush some marinade onto the chicken.
  12. Continue roasting for a further 20 minutes, then baste again and repeat two more times. Check that the juices run clear, then the chicken is ready.
  13. Remove from the oven and pour out the juices from the roasting dish into a frying pan along with any left-over marinade and the 60 ml wine. Scrape off any bits from the roasting dish and add to the gravy as well and simmer for 3 minutes.
  14. Carve the bird and serve.

Lundulph and I have developed a taste for quinoa lately, so as both this recipe and quinoa come from South America, I thought that would work nicely together. I also added some cherry tomatoes and shredded Chinese cabbage (OK, so this kind of breaks the South American theme, but it's so nice). All in all, this was a lovely meal for the two of us - we put away half the chicken in one go.

Like the previous chicken, this one had cooked so nicely, it was coming off the bone, so I cleaned the left chicken half and it was ready for the next meal. As it happened, there were other things to eat as well, so Lundulph happily ate that on his own the next day.