Vanilla Icecream Pudding Surprise! (Another belated christmas post)

Since I made my confession about strawberries I have been feeling lighter, less freakish, so good in fact that I feel I must make another confession. I love everything that comes with a traditional Christmas – turkey, ham, roasted veggies (particularly roasted veggies! mmmmmm…) cranberry sauce, mustard. Christmas lunch and dinner leaves me completely full and happy. However, and be prepared because you may not believe me when I say, I almost never eat dessert at Christmas.

*whistles*

Yes, you read that correctly. This is the only meal all year that I do not finish with something sweet. Why? I don’t like fruit pudding, I don’t like fruit cake, I don’t like mince pies. It may seem like I don’t like fruit full stop, but that is not the case at all! It’s something to do with the combination of dried fruit, mixed peel and booze that just puts me off Christmas desserts. So this year, when I was given a mission by the mothership to make Christmas dessert, I decided to make a pudding but not of the traditional kind.

Enter…

Vanilla Icecream Pudding Surprise!

One of my birthday gifts from my beautiful mother was a Cuisinart Icecream Machine. I had been trying to make a decent icecream in it since November, but nothing was going to plan. Icecreams were too eggy, too icy, not setting, just plain sucky. This was going to be a Christmas showdown between me and that icecream. Armed with a recipe from the brilliant Guillaume Brahimi, I felt up to the challenge.

I followed the recipe exactly (I like to cut corners and substitute a bit here and there, but not this time baby!)

It looked pretty good churning away so I got to work on the ‘surprise’ part of the dish

What else would it be?

Guillaume’s recipe uses Mars Bars and Toblerone but I wanted to add the Cherry Ripe to make it a bit more festive, and because they were sitting in my cupboard begging to be used. And who can ignore a cry for help from a poor little chocolate bar? I only used 1.5 bars of each type of chocolate 1. so I could snack without detracting from the finished product and 2. because, well, it was just too much to put 6 full bars of chocolate in

I got a-chopping (and a-snacking!)

When the icecream was churned, I added the chocolate and poured it into the pudding basin

don’t forget to line your pudding basin with cling wrap so that you can get your pudding out when you want to eat it

you can use the overhang to cover the icecream to protect it in the freezer

Like this! Then pop it in the freezer overnight to set properly

Even though I lined the pudding basin with cling wrap, I still needed to dip the bottom of the bowl in hot water for a few seconds to help it come out properly. I made a chocolate sauce to go with the pud because it didnt feel like the usual custard and cream would be appropriate. However, I won’t post the recipe because although it was ok, it wasnt amazing and therefore not blog worthy.

mmmmm pud

yummo!

The icecream was smooth and creamy and vanilla-y and, studded with chocolate it was the perfect end to christmas day.

Although I made this recipe as a delicious christmas pud, you could do it in any shape or with any surprise. Im thinking M&Ms, nutella, snickers, oreos, the possibilities are endless! It’s almost like a Cold Rock at home. Mmmmmm…

So, my lovelies, if you made this icecream, what surprise would you add?

Vanilla Icecream Pudding Surprise – Adapted from the Christmas Tree Icecream Recipe by Guillaume Brahimi (published in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Living December 14, 2010)

Ingredients

375ml milk

375ml pouring cream (I used pure cream)

3 vanilla beans

8 egg yolks

150g caster sugar

1.5 Mars Bars (roughly chopped)

1.5 Toblerone bars (roughly chopped)

1.5 Cherry Ripe bars (roughly chopped)

Method

1. Bring the milk and cream to the boil

2. Slice the vanilla beans in half lengthways, scrape the seeds out and add to the milk and cream

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined, then gradually add a third of the hot milk mixture and combine. Do this very gradually so as not to cook the eggs!

4. Put the egg and sugar mixture back into the pan with the remaining liquid and stir over medium heat until the custard reaches 80-85 degrees celsius or until it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon

5. Immediately remove from heat and strain the mixture into a bowl (I had my bowl in an ice bath to make sure the mixture absolutely stopped cooking) and chill overnight

6. Churn in an icecream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the icecream is churning, line your mould with cling wrap leaving enough around the edges to fold over the top of the icecream

7. Once the icecream has reached desired consistency, stir in your chocolate and pour into the mould, folding the cling wrap over the top to protect it from the freezer. Freeze overnight or for 24 hours until set

8. To remove, dip the bottom of the mould in hot water for a few seconds and use the edges of the cling wrap to lift it out of the mould. Drizzle with the sauce of your choice and enjoy!

Christmas 2010 Unwrapped

Let me begin this post with a reindeer.

She says hello. I first saw her before Christmas 2009 in David Jones and foolishly thought I would come back and purchase her another day. A few days later all the reindeer were gone!! I couldn’t believe my luck when I visited the shop again in November last year and found a little herd of well dressed reindeer waiting to take up residence on my dining room table. Even though it is well and truly past christmas, I can’t bring myself to put her away in a dark cupboard for the next 11 months. Poor thing 🙁 So, in an attempt to extend the season, here are a few things that made me happy this Christmas.

Chocolate Christmas Crackers

I bought these Jessica Walker Chocolate Christmas Crackers from David Jones a few days before Christmas. Although they don’t make a “bang” they are filled with delicious milk chocolate balls. The chocolate is in the same style as the Lindt balls (of which i’m not a fan) but taste infinitely nicer. Plus, it was fun to yell out “bang” (despite them being ‘crackers’) when pulling them.

Gingerbread

Who doesn’t love gingerbread? Well… the mothership for a start. Ginger causes her to malfunction so although she loves the way my gingerbread makes the house smell, she does not like to eat it. Every year I make a gingerbread house but this year was all about trying new recipes so I made some simple gingerbread biscuits decorated with royal icing and my awesome piping skills /end sarcasm.

Some christmas trees, stars and love hearts. Three fantastic things that all come together at christmas!

And then there are presents….

I received quite a few presents this year that are very relevant to this blog (and quite a few that are not but I might just post about anyway due to their extreme awesomeness). First up was an incredibly thoughtful package from my sister containing…

A Wilton icing turn table – a bit like a lazy susan that you can use to spin your cake around while you’re icing it. Here I was thinking I was just particularly unco when icing cakes but I spied Buddy using something similar on Cake Boss which seemed to make things much, much easier. Here’s hoping!

Several silicone sugar art moulds – in the shape of a bow, reindeer, flowers, hearts, happy/sad drama faces and a high heel shoe! Can’t wait to try these out!

And even though in my excitement I didn’t take a picture of these, I also got several bottles of artificial flavourings including Musk Flavour, Raspberry Flavour, Rose Flavour, Orange Flavour and Lemon Flavour. Oh the possibilities!!

From the beautiful Mr and Mrs S…

Amongst other things

A set of Palette knives, one little and one big one. But both are very useful for the icing of cupcakes and big cakes

A set of  modelling tools (bottom right hand corner) for intricate detailing

A silicone mould for many different types of leaves (which goes very well with the flower moulds from sis. Serendipity!)

A Wilton decorating triangle, which you can’t see properly in the picture but is a plastic triangle with different indents on each side to make patterns in soft icing

Some super cute cookie cutters in shapes every girl needs – shoes, dresses, lips etc

A set to make Jam filled cookies!

And a few silicone baking sheets which will be less wasteful than covering the trays with baking paper each time I make cookies.

Far out, my baking drawer is very well stocked now!! I also got some gorgeous gifts from my super thoughtful boyfriend. Prepare to be very jealous of my…

Personalised apron! How cute is this! Argh it makes me melt a little inside each time I put this baby on I love it so much! And in case you cant see the part that is personalised, here is a close up

Bam! Cuteness!

And have you met Jessica?

She’s my other christmas present from the ever thoughtful boyfriend. I’ve always wanted to start a collection of Royal Doulton ladies because im such a sucker for their pretty dresses and elegant poses

and the shoes! Did I mention the shoes? So dainty!

Little Jessica here goes with the Holyrood pattern from the Royal Albert 100 years collection. The Holyrood was the first tea set my mum bought me out of this collection and she gave it to me as a graduation present back in ’07. Its lovely to start my lady collection with the same pattern. Now I need to work on finding a beautiful (and safe!) place to display her.

So that was my Christmas (minus a few recipe posts I am still to write up) and it sure was a great one. I may even have to go out on a limb and say best christmas yet! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!

Edible Christmas (or any time) Gifts #3: Novelty Sugar Cubes and New Year Resolutions

We all know that a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, so why not gift some novelty sugar cubes that are quick and easy to make, not to mention being unbelievable cute!

All you will need is 125g caster sugar, 1tbsp water, some food colouring, baking paper and some small cookie cutters.

Add the water to the sugar and mix so that it resembles coarse sand.

Divide sugar among different bowls then add food colouring and mix

Place the sugar between two sheets of baking paper and press to a depth of around 1cm.

Using your cookie cutters, stamp out shapes. I used a pallet knife to transfer each sugar cube to a fresh sheet of baking paper, be careful as they are quite fragile while they are wet. Repeat with different colours and shapes.

Leave to dry overnight

And package them into pretty boxes or cellophane bags. Easy!

So, starting the year off on a cute and sugary note, I hope to continue my cooking throughout 2011. 2010 saw me go through several jobs, highs and lows and a few near misses in the kitchen (*cough*stupid pears*cough*). With a stable, 1 year contract looming I hope to make 2011 a successful one in the career department (as well as all other departments!) but don’t want to let my cooking fall by the wayside.

I began this blog when unemployed for a few long months, in an attempt to stave off the inevitable boredom and depression that comes with continuous rejection letters. While I no longer rely on this blog to fill the empty hours and minutes I spent waiting for the phone to ring, I have found this culinary journey so enjoyable that I hope to continue blogging throughout 2011. In order to do so, I have made a few cooking resolutions to keep me on track. I haven’t had much success at keeping new years resolutions so hopefully I have come up with a few goals that I can achieve this year! What do you think? Achievable?

2011 Resolutions

1. Learn how to bake delicious, fluffy bread from scratch, without a bread maker

2. Learn how to cover whole cakes in fondant (inspired by the lovely KayB)

3. Finally crack the elusive macaron

4. Take consistently better pictures!

Hopefully by keeping the list small, I will not fail this year! So, my lovelies, what are your resolutions? Have you ever been able to keep them?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!