30 March 2012
ain't it a shame that at the top they serve peanut butter and jam
Lessons I was reminded about this week: just because you refresh and refresh your inbox it doesn't mean a particular person is going to email you. And then a little (1) will appear but it's just a newsletter that you've signed up to and now suddenly feel particularly hateful towards. Learn that one well. Another thing: respect deeply those people that can make a room look good. I tried sticking a bunch of images to one of our bedroom walls yesterday. Stood back to survey my room-embiggening skills - a picture fell off the wall, breaking the frame. Everything else was on at least a 45 degree angle. It looked so good in the pictures of other people's houses! However, Tim and I gave our room a much overdue, much procrastinated clean on Monday - needed since January - and the unfamiliar feeling of just being able to walk in a straight line across the floor makes me feel like we should be featured on an interior design blog or something.
What else was I re-reminded of? That you should never read the comments (or, increasingly, the opinion columns, ammiright?) on news websites unless you feel like playing fast and loose with your blood pressure; that we LOVE Sam Cooke; that other people have actually heard of musicals and I shouldn't be so surprised every time someone says they *gasp* like one; that people can be surprisingly generous and being generous can be fun; the simple joy of finding 20 cents on the ground; how supersonically fast I get anxious; how I can't turn my brain off even when I'm having an amazing, wonderful, delicious massage from a professional. And importantly (or at least, relevantly) how much I LOVE making ice cream. I know I didn't invent peanut butter chocolate ice cream, why it's as old as the hills themselves, but the recent release of Whittaker's new peanut butter chocolate block inspired me quickly to tackle this mighty combination for the first time. And it had been a significant while since I'd made ice cream - like our bedroom being tidy, the last occurence was back in January. Not sure how I got through, but I'm pretty brave.
I appreciate that your local supermarket might have gleefully marked up the price of the chocolate, which is why I didn't use the whole block in the recipe - instead I made sure to leave some for judicious nibbling. I also completely appreciate that you might not be able to get hold of such chocolate at all, which is why I provided a more analogue alternative. I also wanted the making of this to be as easy as possible - this is an ideal one for a newcomer to ice cream to try. It practically makes itself. Whatever effort you have to put in though, will reward you at least tenfold in pure deliciousness.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Recipe by me.
200g Peanut Butter Chocolate, such as Whittakers OR 1/2 cup peanut butter and 150g milk or dark chocolate, depending on your preference, plus about 1/2 cup sugar.
250mls (1 cup) milk
In a pan over a low heat, melt the chocolate (or other things), milk, and a generous pinch of salt together, stirring occasionally until smooth. Chill till thickened significantly - might help to put it in the freezer for a while. Taste some. It's wonderful. Once it has the texture of whipped cream, whip up your actual cream till fairly firm and thickened, but not verging on changing into butter, and then whisk the two together to form a soft, airy pale chocolatey mixture. Transfer into a freezerproof container then freeze. Allow to sit out of the freezer for about ten minutes before you want to eat it so you can scoop it easier.
The unfrozen mixture is like the best peanut butter smoothie of your life in the whole world, so with that in mind I'm not quite sure on the quantities this makes, but I'd say just under a litre, which I wouldn't want to feed any more than four people with. As I said, the method is winningly uncomplicated, so it wouldn't be too taxing to double all quantities. The salt is important - it really helps intensify the flavour and make everything taste more of itself. Don't worry about stirring this as it freezes - the useful fat content keeps the texture hovering round the 'perfection' level even when completely untampered with. The ice cream itself is pale but the chocolate presence is definite, shot through with the cream's light butteriness. Being ice cold softens any of peanut butter's rougher flavour undertones and hanging out with chocolate brings out its earthy sweetness. It's wackily delicious stuff.
Still other lessons present themselves to me: that whole "you can't go back" thing, which I was reminded of when I realised it had been a whole year since Tim and I went on our first ever holiday, the holiday that we'd been saving six years for. Naturally, I re-read our entire travel blog and got a bit weirdly sniffly, not that the writing on our blog was particularly geared towards heartstring-pluckery, but I guess because we were so happy and optimistic and overseas and the whole thing is such a nice memory, but also as far away and untouchable as the first time we were over there in 2005. Anyway, we've got our trip to The America in just over six months to anticipate hotly and save frantically for, so no use looking backwards too much. A bit of backwards-wallowing every now and then though is pretty harmless.
Your lesson: make this ice cream, it's truly not difficult, and even if you're all "Aagh! Ice cream! The second-most intimidating foodstuff! (After souffles of course)" then be happily reassured that your opinion is wrong. As far as this recipe is concerned, at least.
But seriously, when I said I couldn't turn my brain off during the massage, I did decide that I love what was happening to me and I want to have another one at some point this year. So I ask of you, other overthinkers out there (I see you!) if I accept that my brain won't turn off no matter what fragrant oils and unguents are applied with firm capable hands to my less-firm exterior, what should I think about which will at least be calming? I suspect brainstorming new recipes will be too involving, planning the week ahead too counterproductive, remembering every regretful thing you've ever said and done too intuitively obvious...As a former dancer, I could just imagine someone dancing to the twinkly piano music that constantly plays in the room. Ideas?
Title via: Rufus Wainwright's California, so breezy and fun but he couldn't have known that peanut butter used this way is exactly what you'd want to be served at the top. Or at any stage...
Like I said, Sam Cooke. Ain't That Good News subverts the usual "I got a letter this morning and my baby is dead/run off with someone else/etc and is simply a snappily fantastic song.
Ultravox, Vienna. I am easily manipulated by music, this is one such song that does it so well.
Next time: I still have a couple of quinces staring at me as they get all saggy and old. But I also bought on special some pork shoulder. PULLED PORK TIME. Unless there's some ye-olde style pork and quince slow-cooked thing out there that can tempt me with its magical deliciousness, that is.