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
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.