It's that time of year to dust down the old ice-cream machine (or if you're wise, remove the clingfilm that you placed over it last summer – it's a good trick of the catering trade which saves you a lot of time cleaning bits of kitchen equipment that don't get used very often).
I don't use my ice-cream machine all that frequently, but when I do, I have a lot of fun creating different varieties.
Earlier in the year I was cooking at the annual Leuka charity gig at the Four Seasons hotel in Park Lane. The formidable Irish chef Richard Corrigan was also cooking at the event, and when it came to the dessert course, my man Harvey went into the freezer room to collect our ice cream to partner my rhubarb tart. We dished it up and sent the puddings to our table, and after we tasted a spoonful of the rather spicy ice cream we realised that Harvey had actually served up Richard Corrigan's ice-cream by mistake – which happened to be in an identical container to mine. I probably won't be serving wasabi ice cream with rhubarb tart again, although our table didn't seem to mind too much and thought it was all quite amusing; Corrigan's table didn't seem to notice either ...
Chocolate mocha and cardamom ice cream
The secret to a good chocolate ice cream lies in the quality of the chocolate you are using. I'm a big fan of Amedei Tuscan chocolate but a good 70 per cent cocoa bar will also do.
You can find Turkish coffee, flavoured with cardamom, in Turkish or Middle Eastern supermarkets, or you can simply make some espresso and crush up some cardamom pods in a coffee grinder, and infuse it in the coffee for a few minutes.
1 cup (100ml) of strong Turkish coffee with cardamom (see above)
1 litre milk
125g glucose syrup
100g good quality cocoa powder
300g extra bitter chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids
Bring the milk, sugar, glucose and cocoa powder to the boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar has melted. Pour on to the chocolate with the strained Turkish coffee and stir until all the chocolate has melted. Leave to cool before churning in the ice-cream machine. Serve with Turkish Delight.
I reckon the sundae and knickerbocker glory are going to make a bit of a comeback on restaurant menus. They are lovely and colourful, and can be tweaked and adapted according to what's in season; autumn fruits, for example, would make a great sundae providing great colours after those bright summer reds.
If you really want to go to town, you could also make strawberry crisps by simply slicing large strawberries and drying them in an airing cupboard or an extremely low oven until dry and crisp.
300–350g strawberries, hulled
About 120ml clotted cream
About 400ml good-quality vanilla ice cream, preferably homemade – see the following recipe (but leave out the cherry purée and the grated chocolate)
Blend about half of the strawberries in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain the purée through a fine sieve to remove the seeds if necessary.
Slice the rest of the strawberries. Put a few strawberry slices in each of four tall glasses and spoon in some of the purée and clotted cream. Pile three small balls of ice cream into the glasses, scattering in more strawberry slices as you do so. Spoon on the rest of the strawberry purée and clotted cream, then top with the remaining strawberry slices to serve.
Black Forest coupe
The Black Forest gateau must be on the verge of becoming extinct. This retro classic sat around on the dessert trolleys of too many hotel and restaurant dining rooms throughout the Sixties and then it exhausted itself. But there's nothing wrong with a Black Forest gateau, as long as it's made well with quality ingredients. This recipe is a subtle reinvention.
Fortunately, I managed to get my hands on a jar of Julian Temperley's Morello cherries in Somerset apple eau de vie (£12.50 via ciderbrandy.co.uk, or telephone 01460 240782). Alternatively, use cherries in kirsch.
Julian's cider brandy has been going down a storm in my new restaurants in Smithfield and Dorset – and Johnny, my manager in Lyme, has even created a Hix fizz with a Temperley cherry dropped into a glass of champagne.
For the cherry purée
200g cherries, stoned
100g caster sugar
For the vanilla ice cream
400ml full-cream milk, such as gold top or Jersey
One and a half vanilla pods
1/2 tsp Bourbon vanilla essence
400ml Jersey or clotted cream or a mixture
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
For the coupe
150g grated good-quality dark chocolate
100-120g chocolate cake, or a large chocolate muffin
40 cherries in kirsch or eau de vie
60ml double cream, whipped
Put the stoned cherries into a saucepan with the sugar and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Blend in a liquidiser to a coarse purée and leave to cool.
Put the milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pods lengthways with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the milk with the point of the knife, then add the pods as well. Bring the milk to the boil and remove from the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return to the pan on a low heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk, but don't let it boil. Remove from the heat, take out the vanilla pods and whisk in the cream. Leave to cool then churn in the ice-cream machine. When it has set, remove from the machine and transfer to a container; carefully stir in the cherry purée and grated chocolate to form a rippled effect. To serve, break the chocolate muffin into serving dishes. Douse with the liquid from the cherries then ball the ice cream on to the sponge; scatter over the cherries.
A kind of Eton mess
I'm inspired by the giant meringues in the window of Ottolenghi in Islington – they're striking, marbled examples and I sometimes use them instead of making my own.
For the meringue
3 egg whites
100g caster sugar
1tsp white wine vinegar
4 balls of vanilla ice cream
300-350g mixed berries (see Real Food, page 55)
Pre-heat the oven to 120C/gas mark 1. In a mixing machine with a whisk attachment, or by hand (though this will take a while), whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the caster sugar and continue whisking until the mixture is really stiff and shiny. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk again for about 30 seconds. Spoon the mixture on to a clean baking tray, lined with silicone or greaseproof paper, into 4 round domes, making an indentation with the back of the spoon in the middle of each. Alternatively, make one big meringue. Cook in the oven for 1 hours so it's crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, but don't let the outside colour – you want it white. You may need to cook a little longer depending on your oven. Remove from the oven; cool. Meanwhile, blend about 100g red berries to a smooth purée in a liquidiser. To serve, hollow out the meringues by carefully pushing the centre in with the back of a spoon to make room for the ice cream. Fill the cavity with a ball of ice cream, scatter over the berries and drizzle with a little sauce.Reuse content