28 June 2008

Primal Ice Cream

I said I was going to feature my raw-vegan-food experimenting, but, I lied. Should probably have thought a little harder before commiting to that "next time" feature. To make up for it; a post about 'gasp' JUST ONE DISH. The reason for such uncharacteristic brevity is not a sudden foray into the soul of wit, but to display my entry for the Ice Cream blogging event - my first ever go at a blogging event - at Mike's Table: I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Frozen Desserts. While the name doesn't trip off the tongue, it did get me inspired to make something frozen, perfectly timed for Wellington's bitterest winter since July 1929. Disregard that last bit, as I made it up, but don't disregard this amazing Cinnamon-Date ice cream. Which I also made up. See what I did there?


You may well wonder, where does she get off saying her own creation is amazing? Well, frankly it is. Lucky break, I guess, but there's no need for false modesty. I've made this before, and looking back it is a nice pat-on-the-back reminder that I really did learn a bit in my photography class since then.



Above: All together now, "I wanna live with a cinnamon girl, I could be happy, the rest of my life..."

Cinnamon Date Ice Cream

This is an original recipe insofar as I (a) haven't seen it anywhere before and (b) entirely invented it myself. Having said that, I am studiously avoiding googling it in case there are forty-squillion variations and it's common as muck. You don't need an ice cream maker for this because...I haven't got one and have made perfectly lovely stuff without it. This is altered slightly from my original recipe, but only in the name of improvement.




150g dates, chopped
1/4 cup muscovado sugar
50g butter
1/4 cup water
2 t ground cinnamon
1 400g (or so) tin sweetened condensed milk
Full cream milk
500mls (2 cups) cream. Okay, so it's not going to win any health awards.

Probably the most difficult thing about this recipe is chopping the dates. They are sticky and don't take well to cleaving (well, would you?) Firstly, melt the butter in a good sized pan and stir in the brown sugar. Once it has combined into a caramelly puddle, tumble in your dates and water and stir thoroughly. The dates will soften and the whole thing will become almost jammy, add the same amount of water again if need be. Remove from the heat, and stir in the cinnamon and condensed milk. Now, fill up the empty can with full-cream milk and tip that into the pan, stirring the whole thing together thoroughly. Finally, whip the cream and fold it into the mixture. It will be a little odd as the date mixture is so liquidy, but persevere and it will come together without any trouble. Taste - and taste again because it's so nice - and decide for yourself if it needs any more cinnamon. Pour into a container and freeze, stirring after a couple of hours to break things up a bit.

This is intensely fabulous - as I noted first time around, the cinnamon makes it somehow warming even though it's frozen. The tooth-dissolving sweetness of the raw mixture is banked down when it freezes, leaving only caramelly smoothness. The dates become marvelously toffee-ish when frozen, almost like chunks of praline. Very grown-up stuff, and the perfect ice cream for winter.



So, there it is; my entry. I should note that I enjoyed being able to revisit one of my recipes, as I can't really afford to test them out rigorously. I look forward to seeing what other people have come up with, to store the inspiration for when we are enjoying balmier climes...

I've already mentioned once or twice that I long to write one brilliant cookbook, but as I was walking to work (via a visit to Tim at Starbucks) I had - and one must turn to Elphaba who says it best - "a vision almost like a prophecy; I know it sounds truly crazy, and true, the vision's hazy..." It was so unbelievably simple that I ground to a halt. I want more than just a cookbook-I want - one day - a bakery/cafe, where I make all sorts of goodies - including inventive gluten-free fare, fresh-baked bread rolls, and any number of amazing cakes and cakelets. Tim could make the coffee and manage the mathmatical side of things, and he could also be my chief recipe taster. I could purchase lots of mismatched, otherwise-unloved second-hand chairs and cutlery and cups and saucers and play only fantastic music over the speakers. Tim's coffee would be incredible (the boy has talent) and we'd have Havana and Mojo and Illy and all the other big names fighting to be our providers. In the summer I could make tubs of ice cream to dish out by the coneful, and in the winter, a huge pot of ever-simmering soup. We'd live in the flat above the shop, and never branch out into a franchise - just keep it cosy and exclusive. We'd have a whole host of regulars - possibly including an inscrutible customer who drinks black coffee and types on their laptop and eventually goes on to write the great New Zealand novel - And from there I could write and finance my cookbook, while doing a little freelance subediting on my computer (no, I haven't let go of that one, it's just the idea of a life spent hunting solely for mis-placed semicolons seems a little...cold.) And one day our bakery-cafe would be known as an icon of wherever it may be located.

Well, a gal's got to have a dream, doesn't she? I don't know why it suddenly hit me that this was what I wanted, I've never had any real desire to work in hospitality (I can tell you now, I'd be a terrible waitress) and I even worked in a bakery for the better part of a year without thinking it was where I wanted to make my career. But such is the prerogative of youth. Tim even seemed enthusiastic. Well, I said "accounts" very quickly and "chief taster" loud and slow. Obviously it can't happen for a good long while - does there still exist those cosy little shops with flats above them? But you might as well know because there's only so long I can keep this thrilling, distracting idea hugged to myself, and I don't see any reason why it can't work out exactly as I'd like it to.

Finally - we had a visitor on Thursday.


One of the particularly charming things about where I live is the dense cat population. I'd never seen this particular kitty before though. He was a solid, brickish cat, entirely grey, and BIG. He reminded me of the late Micky, a cat who was also barrell-like and vocal. This cat had the most peculiar miow, it sort of went...mirwooo.
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Above: He wasn't camera-shy, either.
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Next time: Forty-seven different dishes in one post, including, definitely, the raw veganry.

16 comments:

  1. Just about to run(metaphorically) out the door to a family tea at the Lees for family members in transit from Tasmania - Oxford (Thought you might like to contemplate the Englishness of Oxford again.)Love the photos of the cat - it looks very much like one that used to hang round here recently - terrorising (with the emphasis on "tear") and shredding our wimpy boys. We called it "Sod Off" in a Black Adder/Baldrick moment. Must have worked because we haven't seen it for a while.

    Love the look of the ice cream. Love today's title. Love the idea of the cafe. Your cook book could be on sale at the cafe... "Love the food? Buy the book!"

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  2. The ice-cream looks beautiful, and I love your idea of the cafe. I hope you make that dream come true.

    xox Sarah

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  3. The sheer deliciousness of those delectable photos of ice-cream have really highlighted the fact I visit your flat (or "phlat niggah!") at times where the is a shocking absence of food....

    You know my number.....

    And I know I have verbalised this but for the sake of the written word (being somewhat more legally binding and all that claptrap) I promise to endorse every which creation that comes out of your bakery/cafe to my future patients, diabetic and all....

    Ah the joys of ellipsis.... "it says it all, without actually saying it"

    Oh also please thank Tim for the free Skinny Vanilla Latte...
    (I just can't stop!....)

    Your's

    Scotty...

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  4. I like the sound of that date and cinnamon ice cream. It looks good. I am going to have to try making an ice cream with sweetened condensed milk.

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  5. I really dig the ice cream. The way you put how the cinnamon kind of 'warms' it makes it sound delicious.

    I know we live in a world where it's easier said than done, but hey there's just a thin line between dreams and goals. If you know what you want, you can make it happen.

    I personally miss small coffee shops. All we have around here are starbucks, so a private one would be nice. And you're damn right about one thing... only FANTASTIC music should be played.

    Ok maybe just a little bit of heavy metal if a baker called Adam shows up...

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  6. Mum: You've got it :)if the cat comes round again might have to call it that lol.

    Sarah: Thankyou, me too :)

    Scotty: You are the living end lol. There's always a free skinny vanilla latte with your name on it :)

    Kevin: It sounds unusual but it really works :)

    Adam: Some Metallica with your mocha? ;)

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  7. OMG! I'd eat tons of your ice cream. Condensed milk rocks!

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  8. Brilliant! I love cinnamon in ice cream and I can only imagine how great the dates must have been. Have you tried adding nigella's sticky toffee pudding into ice cream?

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  9. Yummy icecream, cute cat and I would definitely come to your cafe/bakery wherever it happens to be :)
    In the words of the Rocky Horror Picture Show: "don't dream it, be it"
    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfVc4azawoo)

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  10. Re your offal moment - De-liver us from evil (namely becos I am in the midst of trying to metaphorically describe several sow's ears as silk purses whilst trying to write our boarding reports! You can tell it's only 3 more sleeps to go :). The cat looks v.cute - one thing I miss out here where dogs rule. You could always do an ice-cream called oh sinner mon (with various additives) whilst playing regae numbers in the background. If none of this makes sense, I have just worked 36 hours straight and may have lost some pespective along the way LOL.
    Cheers
    Lynn

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  11. The ice cream looks fabulous, love all the flavours in it!
    Hope you do write a cookbook - one can never have too many!

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  12. The ice cream looks wonderful!

    I used to live in a neighborhood with a little coffee/ice cream/dessert shop - and the people lived upstairs and I LOVED that place. They had indoor seating and an outdoor little courtyard that felt like Italy. Divine.

    LOVE the cat, are you keeping him?

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  13. The ice cream looks fabulous! I adore dates!

    I love the idea for your cafe. I'd totally hang out there!

    Cute cat!

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  14. Oh, that ice cream looks so good! Great for the summer, since the heat is so killer.

    The cat is so adorable! I want to give a big kitty hug :D

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  15. Wow, your icecream looks amazing, if a little heart-attack-inducing! I love that you serve things in cups too! I usually do, and not because I don't have any bowls clean! It's apparently summer here (in the UK) but it sure don't feel like it! Off to scour the rest of your lovely blog!

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  16. I just made your ice cream, although I didn't put any milk in (I realised I had none...and then realised this might be because I don't ever buy milk), but am considering buying some milk to make my own condensed milk (apparently it's not that hard?)

    Also, it's not that unhealthy...certainly better than commercial ice cream, with all the preservatives (god knows why, you freeze the stuff!) and fake stuff.

    Anyway, I just read your cafe thingee and omg, it's liek, the exact sort of cafe I'd like to start myself pretty much.

    Also, if you're interested in a really good read about food: In defense of food by Michael Pollan is great, and alleviates so much guilt about eating fats! Particularly butter... Ah yes.

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