Flat Ruthie Ventures Up the Mountain – Strawberry Jam & Coffee and Baileys Ice Cream

For any eagle eyed readers out there, you may remember that Flat Ruthie of Cardboard Me Travels sneaked into my suitcase on a recent trip back from the UK.

Stowaway on Board!

While she was here she took the opportunity to do some sightseeing, so we didn´t see her for a while. However, it´s strawberry time here and as soon as she heard I had bought a few kilos of local strawberries, she finally joined me again.

Obviously, as we were going to be cooking, she insisted on a little apron, so I obliged.

We weighed out a kilo of washed, chopped strawberries then simmered them until slightly soft. Then we added a kilo of sugar, a sachet of pectin and the juice of half a lemon and boiled until setting point.

Ruthie stood back for a while as burning jam can be pretty dangerous but she was pleased to see how well it all turned out.

The next morning the sun shone brightly and I called her to join me for breakfast in the garden.

I think all her sightseeing must have worn her out as she stayed in bed and missed breakfast completely.

When she did eventually get up she decided she needed a good strong coffee to get her going.

No decaf in this house!

As I was making ice cream from Chgo John´s amazing recipe, she had the bright idea of replacing the pistachios I had wanted to use (but couldn´t find) with a shot of coffee.  I didn´t have half and half either so she explained to me that I could substitute a mix of both half whipping cream with half full fat milk for this part of the recipe.

Just as we were about to pour the ice cream mix into the machine she decided that about 100ml of Baileys would also be a good idea, so we put that in too.

After a little churning and a couple of hours in the freezer it was time to taste the ice cream. She took her pinny off to eat and her verdict was….mmmm, we´ll definitely make this again!

Finally I can take my pinny off and have a little break!

Thanks for the visit Ruthie, it was fun. Do keep the pinny, it suited you and it definitely won´t fit me!

Christmas “Pudding” Jewelled Ice Cream

If you don´t like cake, or stodgy puddings, a great alternative at Christmas is ice cream.  To me there is something very decadent, almost naughty, about eating ice cream in the depths of winter. Of course, if you live somewhere that Christmas falls in the middle of summer, then it´s even more perfect.

We´ll be eating this not as an alternative to pudding, but as well as!  I´ll serve it with my Light Christmas Pudding and Boozy Fruits….and who knows, a few mince pies may sneak onto the table too.

It´s very easy to prepare, and can obviously made ahead of the Big Day. It´s another Delia Smith´s Christmas recipe, which I have tweaked a little over the years.

The night before you want to make the ice cream, soak about 100g of your favourite mixed candied peel (chopped) and raisins, plus some glace cherries in about 6 tablespoons of rum or your favourite liqueur and stir in 3 tablespoons of honey. I also used dried apricots and cranberries – it´s up to you!

For the ice cream, using an electric whisk, beat 4 egg yolks with 100g of caster sugar until pale.  Grate about 75g of creamed coconut into 400ml of double or whipping cream and heat it gently until the coconut has melted.  Stir over the egg mixture while whisking (it should thicken a little, but don´t worry if it doesn´t) then when it has cooled a little stir in 200ml of thick, creamy, Greek yogurt and add about a teaspoon of vanilla essence (optional).  Finally stir in the fruit and alcohol with honey and pour into a 1litre pudding basin.  Cover with a lid or a few layers of foil and freeze.

When it is about half frozen (it took about 8 hours in my very packed freezer) spoon the mixture out into a bowl and mix it gently to distribute the fruit which will have sunk to the bottom, then pack it back into the pudding basin.  Cover, freeze and forget about it until you are ready to serve.

This ice cream stays fairly soft, so you can turn it out and serve it immediately.  I usually hold a hot wet tea towel around the bowl for a few seconds before turning it out. It doesn´t look quite as pretty in the photo today as it will on the Big Day on a beautiful plate and drizzled with boozy fruit.

Plums for My Porridge – Perfect Plum, Cinnamon and Vanilla Compôte

Do you remember my beautiful plum tree I showed you back in the spring? No matter if you don´t.  I knew back then from the enormous amount of blossom it had, following the rainiest winter for over 80 years in Andalucía, that we would have lots and lots of plums.

Of course, we did and we´ve been eating and enjoying them, giving a lot away, and the chickens have thoroughly enjoyed pecking away at those that fell to the ground.

A couple of weeka ago the plums really were coming to an end.  The last few clinging on to the tree were looking a little sad and soft, so I decided to turn them into a kind of compôte (rather like a jam) to drizzle over my porridge, or oatmeal, in the winter months.  It´s also delicious with ice cream!

You can either peel and stone the plums first, or do as I did – boil and squish!  I put them in a large pot and on a gentle heat for about 30 minutes, by which time the skins had popped and the plums were soft.

On with the kitchen gloves and I removed all the stones and skin, then passed the fruit through my trusty mouli.  You could also use a stick or regular blender. The prepared fruit weighed 2.3 kgs, so I added just under half the weight of sugar (1kg) and the juice of one lemon.  As this started to warm and the sugar dissolved, I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence and 2 sticks of cinnamon.

I let it boil quite hard for 5 minutes, removed the cinnamon sticks then poured it into sterilised jars.  Now I´m ready for the cold weather and already anticipating my first bowl of porridge with Perfect Plum Compôte!

And now, a confession.  I made this last year too (minus the vanilla) and earlier this year I was making ragú for my pasta and fumbling around in my despensa (that´s a little Spanish larder) when I grabbed a jar of this instead of tomato conserva.  Can you believe I didn´t notice the difference? We even ate the pasta, initially saying things along the lines of “gosh, you can really taste the sweetness of the tomatoes coming through”.  Eventually we decided that the taste was overly sweet (even the minced meat, garlic and red wine couldn´t compete) and the realization of what I had done dawned on me.  Not a recipe I´ll be repeating….still can´t believe that we ATE it!!!