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The first day I got my Kitchen Aid ice-cream maker attachment, I was planning on making an ice cream dessert for a dinner party the next evening. I knew I wanted to make something unusual, so went on the hunt for an exotic recipe. Ever since I was a small girl, my favorite flavor of the frozen stuff has always been pistachio, so when I stumbled across an article in LA weekly on ice-cream week and saw this slightly complicated recipe for pistachio-rosewater ice-cream, I knew I had to try it. Please don’t be daunted by all the steps – as long as you have an ice-cream maker of some sorts and a bit of patience, I promise the results are startlingly good and worth the fiddling.  Added bonus – as I was half-way through making this dish and tasting the custard boiling up, it occurred to me that the taste was very familiar, but not in the way I expected. Because the recipe uses predominantly evaporated milk, the delicate flavor and slightly denser texture is more akin to Indian kulfi than gelato or ice-cream as most people know it. Well, anytime I can recreate a bit of the far east in my kitchen is good news for all and if you’re not yet convinced, try the below. It’s divine.

Note: Make sure to use rosewater for cooking, and if you can’t find it in your local supermarket or speciality store, it’s usually available to ship from Amazon for under $10. You only need a couple of drops so as long as you store it properly, the bottle will last a long time.

Total time: 2 hours

Yields: Approx 1  1/2 Pints.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the real stuff please!)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons rosewater

Method

Crush the pistachios in a mortar & pestle or chop in a food processor.

Combine the milk, sugar and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the pistachios and bring to a light boil.

Allow to simmer for 15-20 mins, then remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and slowly mix in approx a cup of the hot milk pistachio liquid to temper the eggs.

Now add the egg-yolk mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly as you pour it in.

Cook the custard mixture over a low heat, stirring constantly until the custard clings to the back of a spoon and your finger can run a path through it without it running. (At this stage i find it important to have a little taste… to ensure, you know, it’s definitely delicious).

Meanwhile, set a bowl large enough to hold all the custard over an ice bath. (What’s an ice-bath I hear you cry – basically, lots of ice and water in a bowl, with another bowl on top of it, allowing ingredients to cool down very quickly…)

Now, remove the custard from the heat and immediately strain into the bowl set over the ice bath. Thoroughly chill the custard, placing a piece of plastic wrap over the top when it’s cooled slightly to avoid a skin forming.

When the mixture has completely cooled, mix in the heavy cream and rosewater and prepare according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

ice cream

This is indulgent enough to enjoy on its own, without any accoutrements. (You can thank me later ;)

TIP!! Don’t discard the milk cooked pistachios, they are stunningly rich, chewy and sweet. You can add them to the ice-cream when it’s in the maker, or add them to your yoghurt in the morning. Goodness that just keeps giving.

(Recipe first published in 2009 by Felicia Friesema in www.Laweekly.com )

This recipe stems from one of those evenings when I was faced with a lean pantry and a fussy appetite, but now I go back to it regularly as it’s very simple and quick, but yields impressive and colorful results. I realize there’s a couple of ingredients included that might not be sitting in everyone’s pantry – but don’t worry.

1. If you don’t have/can’t find sweet soy sauce at your local supermarket, then try mixing in a spoonful of honey with some normal soy sauce instead for the same flavor profile.

2. I am a big fan of infused olive oils when done well, but fear not – a good quality olive oil will work just as well here, it just wont be quite as lemony, which might even be a preference for some.

Total time: 35 mins (10 mins prep, 25 mins cooking)

Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as a side/main

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large zucchini, enough to yield 2/12 cups when chopped
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil for frying
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp of kejap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 1 15.5 ounce tin of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 2- 3 ripe plum tomatoes or one large ripe heirloom tomato (depending on the season)
  • 2 tbsp of lemon infused olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

Method:

Wash the zucchini thoroughly so the skin is shiny and clean and then chop into slices the thickness of a dollar.

Now gently heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Test if it’s ready for frying by adding one slice of the zucchini to the pan – it should start to sizzle nicely.

Now add all the zucchini to the pan and coat evenly with the heated oil. Allow the slices to fry on one side for at least a couple of minutes before flipping to check that they are starting to brown.

The zucchini should take about 7 – 10 minutes total to pan fry. When they are halfway done, you can add the chopped garlic – I don’t like adding too early as it tends to burn and burnt garlic is not a good addition to any salad, trust me!

A minute before removing completely from the heat, add the Ketjap Manis to the pan. TIP!! Be sure to have your extractor/fan going as the pan is going to be hot and any soy sauce tends to smoke when heated like this. Adding the soy sauce and allowing the zucchini to fry in this sweet, bubbling mixture for a minute adds a a nice sticky char to the veggies, just watch them and don’t let them burn.

Remove the zucchini from the heat and keep the pan covered while you assemble the rest of the salad.

Toss the garbanzo beans into a large serving bowl.

Chop the tomatoes into eighths or if you’re using one of those mammoth heirlooms probably much smaller pieces. There’s no hard and fast rule here – however you like to eat your tomatoes in a salad is fine, but ideally they’d be similar size chunks to your zucchini.

Add the tomato to the beans and now tip in the warm zucchini. Add the lemon olive oil, lemon juice, sesame seeds and season well. Combine thoroughly to ensure all the lemon and oils become infused into the warm veggies. Serve with hot crusty bread, plank salmon, seared halloumi cheese or even simple grilled chicken. Enjoy!

In my humble opinion, there is never a bad time to help yourself to a delicious, moist slice of banana bread paired with hot coffee or if you’re a Brit like me – a great cup of tea. There are of course fantastic recipes abound for this baked staple, this is just one my favorites that i originally found on food.com and then played around with by adding various ingredients until I was satisfied with the perfect outcome.

Total time: 2 hours (Prep 1 hour/Bake 1 hour)

Yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or all purpose white if you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks or chips

Method

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. (The non stick variety are by far the best).

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. (Note, if you have a stand mixer, it helps to use here so you can go ahead and prepare the rest of the ingredients in parallel, just beware – you may still need to give the mixture a good hand whisk at the end as even my beloved Kitchen Aid didn’t get that light fluffy consistency you are looking for here.)

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and give it a good stir until combined. Then add the dry ingredients, mixing until the flour just disappears – you don’t want to overwork the dough here or the bread will become stodgy. Now add the chocolate chunks and give the dough one final gentle mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for an hour  – or until a toothpick/skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Once baked and out the oven, leave to cool in pan for approx 15 mins. Then turn the pan over and gently slide the loaf onto a wire rack to cool before serving. Although chef’s prerogative is to try a warm slice, you know – just to be sure it tastes good…

TIP! If you’re not a fan of chocolate but you’re still reading this recipe – thanks for sticking with me. Here’s the good news – you can happily leave out the chocolate chunks and substitute with walnut or macadamia nut pieces, the proportions  stay the same and instead you’ll enjoy a slightly crunchier but still moist loaf. Chocaholics can also increase the amount of chips by a 1/2 cup or mix it up by adding some milk choc chips in there too. Delish.

If you keep this bread in an airtight container, it will keep for 3-4 days… although I dare you to not eat it all by day 2!

 

This dish and many simple variations is one my favorite sides to throw together on a week night when all I have in my fridge are a few lonesome potatoes and half a pot of sour cream. You can easily miss out the sweet potatoes altogether and it is equally tasty – I’m just obsessed with the tangy creaminess of nicely mashed sweet ones, especially as they’re now known to be even healthier than the average tater. Serve this side with salmon, chicken or even a good burger. Yummy anytime.

Total time: 45 mins – 1 hour (Prep 20 mins/cook and finish 20-40 mins)

Serves 3-4 depending on those appetites!

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bag fingerling or any small/new potatos
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes (the orange variety) – if in doubt at supermarket, scratch a tiny pinch of potato skin away and the flesh inside should be bright orange
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper for seasoning
  • Touch of Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 tbsp Creme fraiche or Sour Cream
  • 1 good handful fresh Italian parsley (roughly chopped)

Method

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove

Rinse and clean your fingerlings (or new potatoes) and chop any very large ones into smaller halves.

Peel your sweet potatoes and rinse thoroughly, cut into roughly same size chunks as your other potatoes (this is so that they all cook equally in the same time).

Plop all potatoes into now boiling water with the knob of butter and a tbsp salt and reduce to a decent simmer for approx 10-15 mins, cooking time will vary depending on size/type of potatoes.

Check that both types of tater are cooked so that they are soft but still have some bite (you don’t want the fingerlings to just fall apart) and then remove from heat and drain from the boiling water.

Leave potatoes in hot pan and add a generous slug of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.

Then with a hand masher start to smash the potatoes together. The effect you are looking for is for the sweet potatoes to almost completely break down but the fingerlings to retain some shape – these are smashed, not mashed!

Finally when you have the potatoes at a consistency you are happy with, transfer to serving bowl and while still warm , stir in remaining ingredients: onion, vinegar, creme fraiche (or sour cream) and chopped parsley. Check the seasoning one last time.

Voila, double smashed potatoes. Now serve, spoon, eat and repeat! Enjoy

TIP! True vegans or veggies can leave out the dairy in this dish, it’s just a taste I like – if doing so just increase the amount of olive oil and vinegar slightly.

 

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