Is it longing for guidance in this uncertain world? Is it actually the cosmic truth? Is it that I'm a bit self-absorbed and like to read things about myself and think, "oh, that's so typically Aries of you, Laura!" Probably definitely the last one. Anyway, I bring this up because my horoscope today said "Your plans are more ambitious than you first realised, (cue Homer Simpson style "aaagh!" from me) though they are still very much within the realm of possibility. ("Phew!") You will need a lot of help. ("D'oh!")
Of all the horoscopes to read when you're planning on debuting your YouTube video tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream! So I decided to cautiously ignore it, except for the bit about the "realm of possibility." I want to go to there!
Let me defensively acknowledge some things first so you don't have to: Yes, it's distinctly amateurish, as I have but a phone to be filmed with. Yes, there are a lot of cuts and it's a little quiet. Yes, I was in a post-lunch downwards spiral, but there was no other time to make the ice cream. Yes...I am pretty toothy. It's from my mum's side. On the other hand, it was really fun, and the pilot episode is always a bit shaky, right? (Unless you're, like, Game of Thrones) Honestly, I really enjoyed this, and while it's a little bit nervous-making putting yourself out there on YouTube, I'm already on here. If this blog is all the thoughts in my head, the videos are a bit like what you'd hear if you were sitting at my dining table with a cup of tea, or perhaps walking past me on the street, where I'm still very likely to be talking about custard.
Suggestions for the next one are welcome (although "Please! No more!" will be studiously ignored like a bad horoscope) but I must warn you, I'm already thinking about pastry: one batch traditional and buttery, one batch gluten free. What say you?
Cider Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups cream (plus - optional - an extra 1 cup cream)
1 cup apple cider (I used Old Mout's Classic Apple. Use what you like - I also love Bulmer's.)
Find a freezer-safe container of about 1 litre capacity.
In a wide pan, carefully heat 1 1/2 cups cream. Don't let it boil - turn it off once you start seeing steam rising off it. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugars till thickened and a little bit lighter in texture. Carefully pour a little hot cream into the yolks and sugar, stirring thoroughly, then pour in the rest.
Wipe out the pan and tip everything back into it. Stir continuously with a spatula over a very low heat, till it's the texture of a good thickshake. Remove from the heat, continuing to stir - you now have custard. Once it has cooled a little, whisk in the cider, and scrape it all into the container. Freeze.
If you like, once the ice cream is partially set, you can whisk up the extra cup of cream till thickened but not whipped and mix the two thoroughly together. This gives it a creamier texture, and of course, gives you more ice cream. But frozen custard on its own is all good.
As I said, I thought it up on Friday night and foolhardily tweeted about it, which, in my dubious code of honour, means that it had to happen. Luckily, it tastes spectacular - the apple flavour shines, with a mysterious hint of fermentation, which gives it a strangely sophisticated edge that you wouldn't get from mere apples alone. Yet the cider flavour isn't overwhelming either, with any threat of pub-carpet scent fades as the mixture freezes. I was a bit nervous that the aggressively bubbly structure of the cider would bubble right into the custard and break it up, but apart from a little fizzing, the two liquids settled into each other nicely.
Alcohol doesn't freeze, so the cider content keeps this lusciously soft - I spooned the scoops of ice cream you see above straight from the freezer. It's truly delicious stuff.
While on the subject of shoddy video editing, my mission to turn Poppy the kitten into an internet sensation continues with her first video.
ALSO, I recently had an article published for the clearly excellent and discerning 3news.co.nz, called How To Hunt a Cookbook. If you've ever thought long and hard about how to get more second-hand cookbooks in your life, this might help you out some.
Title via: Local wonder David Dallas and his bouncy, affable, and crocodile-snappy tune Till Tomorrow from The Rose Tint.
Mariah Carey's MTV Unplugged album is so brilliant, it caught me by surprise and I listen to her enough to forget that she really was, and still is, monumentally talented. Listen to her sing Make it Happen - when she cries "Grrrrouuuund-aahhh" towards the end I nearly cried from the amazingness of it all.
Neil Young, Don't Let It Bring You Down - one of my favourite songs of his. Having been about six years since I lost my copy of his biography Shakey, I can't remember how exactly he got into singing (what with that improbable voice) but I'm so glad he did.
Next time: Possibly...a drink called Purple Jesus. Or the very sensible pea soup that I promised last time.