Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Chocolate-Orange Ice Magic!

Bird's Ice Magic, simply put, is my favourite 80's ice cream topping. You'd squeeze it from it's conical bottle onto your ice cream of choice, at which point it would solidify into a hard chocolate shell. The available flavours were chocolate, mint, butterscotch, and best of all, orange.

The criteria for an authentic chocolate-orange Ice Magic replica are:
  • remains liquid when cool
  • sets hard when very cold
  • tastes sickly sweet, but with a pleasing orange tang
A quick bit of research shows that a few other people have successfully met the first two criteria by mixing melted chocolate with coconut oil. But I had to get the orange flavour in there, and also make sure that the oil didn't dilute the sweetness of the chocolate. I decided that the solution was to infuse the oil with orange rind, and add a little syrup into the mixture too.

I put the rind of a large orange in a bowl with some coconut oil, and microwaved it on the lowest power for 20 minutes. The oil unsurprisingly turned an orange colour, and filled the kitchen with an amazing smell. I strained the oil, then stirred in some milk chocolate (left over Easter bunny) along with a small squeeze of chocolate syrup. I heated it for a few more seconds until the chocolate had melted, and then left it to cool.

I spooned it over some cold vanilla ice cream, and sure enough, within a few seconds it had set solid! Victory was mine!



Thursday, 23 May 2013


Many years ago, a friend told me that you could make quick, tasty pizzas using naan bread as a base. And it's a tip which has served me well over the years - just spread with tomato paste, herbs, cheese, and whatever stuff you have lying around, and shove into the oven.

But today, I'm taking this concept a step further. Taking inspiration from this long-standing nugget of wisdom, I have created a brand new "recipe" - the Jalfrezi Pizza. To make a Jalfrizza, if you will need:

  • Large garlic naan
  • Chicken tikka jalfrezi (takeaway is perfect)
  • Onion bhaji
  • Paneer
  • Tomato puree
  • Coriander (optional)

To make the sauce for the pizza, separate out all the sauce you can from the curry, and mix with tomato puree. Then spread liberally over the bread.

Add a layer of paneer onto the pizza, then top with the pieces of meat, vegetables, and chilli from the jalfrezi. Finish with chunks of onion bhaji, and if you're feeling elaborate, some fresh coriander.

Put it in the oven at a pretty hot temperature for a few minutes - as a rough guide, at 220 for 10 minutes, it comes out a bit burned. Enjoy with a nice cold bottle of IPA (Indian Pizza Ale).



Saturday, 18 May 2013

Cookie Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookie Dough Ice Cream

Cookie Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich



Sunday, 12 May 2013

Juicy Lucy Burger

The "Juicy Lucy" is a burger with cheese stuffed inside of it, instead of placed on the top like a regular cheeseburger. An American invention (naturally), the result is a huge slab of a burger, packed with hot molten cheese. Guaranteed to cause a mess, and quite possibly scold the roof of your mouth.

So far so good. But this wasn't enough for me, I wanted my own unique twist, something that would really pack a flavour. I considered a few different options, until I settled on a sort of "Tex-Mex" theme... hot chili tomato sauce on one side of the burger, and guacamole on the other.

I made the spicy sauce by frying chopped onion and chili, adding black pepper and cumin, then chucking in some tomato puree, ketchup, Tabasco, and chopped coriander.

The burger was made by sandwiching a big lump of cheese (Cheddar and Gouda) in between two large burgers, and pressing the edges together while it cooked. I squashed the whole thing down as much as possible, but it was still a gargantuan burger. I actually had to put it in the oven to make sure it was cooked through.

This monstrosity - placed between a toasted bun with generous dollops of guacamole and the spicy tomato stuff - is a whole meal in itself. No chips or onion rings necessary, just a comfy chair and a nice cold beer.



Monday, 6 May 2013

Celebrations Pie

Our corner of South London has it's very own baking club, known as Band Of Bakers. My wife has been a proud member since its inception, and often brings home all manner of tasty cakes and breads. They seem to take it all pretty seriously, and they even had a brief flirtation with fame, when teak-faced housewives' favourite Paul Hollywood visited them for one of his TV shows. Now, baking isn't really one of my strengths, but stuffing my face with cake certainly is - so I finally managed to gatecrash one of their meets last week. The only catch was that I had to bring something with me.

As this was to be their first anniversary, the theme was 'celebration'. I anticipated multi-tiered cakes, opera cakes, croquembouche, and all manner of extravagant creations. But I had a rather different interpretation of "celebration". Hence, the Celebrations Pie was born. A chocolate covered tart, consisting of three sections inspired by Mars, Snickers, and Bounty bars.

I started by making the pastry base - I'm no baker, so rolling out some shop bought sweet pastry into a tin is about as technical as I get. The packet promised "perfect pastry every time", which seemed optimistic, but it turned out about as well as I could hope for.

I then made the first filling - "Bounty" - by mixing dessicated coconut, condensed milk, and icing sugar. No cooking necessary, but it did need to be chilled in the fridge to solidify.

When it came to creating the malty "Mars" filling, I found plenty of recipes online for making fluffy nougat. But they were all way too technical, involving sugar thermometers, "hard ball stage", and all sorts of nonsense. My own version consisted of melted chocolate, half a jar of marshmallow fluff, and a couple of teaspoons of Horlicks.

I also used the marshmallow fluff for the Snickers filling, this time mixing it with melted white chocolate and roasted peanuts. I didn't think of it as cheating - just common sense.

Obviously the Mars and Snickers sections needed a caramel topping. I made this by taking another can of condensed milk with some glucose syrup and golden syrup, and sticking it in the microwave for a few minutes. Finally I topped the whole lot with melted milk chocolate, and it was ready to go.

So, how did the celebrations pie go down at the baking club birthday party? As predicted, there was a plethora of impressive cakes on display, and mine did look a bit sad in comparison. One person even mumbled "urgh, I'm not eating that", which I found pretty funny. But actually most people were very positive and encouraging, and generally kind towards the special kid in the class.

In fact, my creation was (almost) all gone at the end of the night -  but I did manage to rescue a slice of "Mars" to take home. I was fairly happy with it, but if I were to be critical, the Mars filling needed a stronger malty flavour, and the Snickers needed more peanuts - and maybe even a pinch of salt.

I went home happy, with a belly full of cake and booze, and a big box full of amazing cake. And if they'll have me back again, I may just have a few more tricks up my sleeve...