Cherry Coconut Lime Ice Cream

Love Your Freezer!

I know it’s that time of year again where I am still surprised it can get this cold in the UK; we’re experiencing the four seasons of snow, wind, sunshine and rain all in one day. Having said that, it’s also a perfect time to raid the kitchen cupboards or in this case the freezer to see what gems of a recipe I can create with ingredients you have thrown to the oblivion of the freezer bed.

Here is a recipe that I made a few months back- the beauty of it is that it requires no complicated equipment like a ice cream maker which to be honest you only bring out once a year to impress your neighbours. Nope, just your freezer box, some frozen cherries (or any frozen fruit you have) and 4 other ingredients.

This creamy ice-cream is really very satisfying, with so little effort. I think you’ll love it!

Loretta's Kitchen

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A few weeks ago I was catching up with a couple of friends, when quite naturally the conversation turned to food and some of the interesting food combinations we have had on our travels and experiments with chocolate in our baking. In that moment, Catherine interrupted my train of thought as she more or less re-enacted the first time she tried Cherry and Coconut Ice Cream in Barbados.

“It has to have the little bits of coconut in it” she explained, leaving the rest of us salivating at the thought. I immediately began to picture the combination, but the thought of grating a whole coconut on a lazy Sunday morning, just wasn’t my idea of fun. The conversation moved on, but the challenge never left me.

I knew I wanted to make an egg-less ice cream, one that also didn’t require an ice cream machine nor took all day to set. It…

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Raspberry Cheesecake Brownie

 

Someone once said that the best things in life come in threes like friends, dreams and memories. I would like to stick this cake at the end of that quote, because the three layers that make up this sweet sandwich will be a close memory I hope to never wake up from.

This cake has something for everyone: when I brought this cake into work Monday morning, the winning layer appeared to be the soufflé type raspberry cream topping. Others favoured the dense texture of the brownie and a small minority enjoyed the fluffy and  slight saltiness of the layer of cheesecake.

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My eyes are immediately drawn to the creamy top if I’m honest; I’m not one for things being symmetrical and in order, but I have to say I love how the contrasting textures hold together forming this perfectly layered square.  I was a little nervous baking the brownie and the cheesecake together,  fearing one would bleed into the other forming some kind of marble effect. But as long as you keep the cake in the fridge, the cream will keep on top of the cake and keep its shape for a good 6 hours.

 

Rasberry Cheesecake Brownie

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Brownie 

200g Sainsbury’s Belgian dark chocolate chips

200g unsalted butter (softened)

250g icing sugar

3 eggs

110g plain flour

 

For the Cheesecake

400g cream cheese

150g icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

 

For the Cream topping

300 ml whipping cream

100g icing sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

150g  fresh raspberries, plus extra to decorate

 

For the brownie:

Preheat the oven to 170°C (or Gas mark 5)

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (do not let the base of the bowl touch the water). Stir occasionally until the chocolate is  melted.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and with a spoon or electric whisk beat until you have a fluffy light cream.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.

Gradually beat in the flour until you get a smooth mixture. Do this for about 2 minutes on high speed with an electric whisk.

Slowly pour in the melted chocolate and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared baking tray and smooth over with a palette knife.

 

For the cheesecake:

Put the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix until smooth and thick. Add one egg at a time, while still mixing. The mixture should be very smooth and creamy.

For a little lighter and fluffier mixture, beat the cream at high speed for 1 minute with an electric or manual whisk, but be careful not to over-mix, otherwise the cheese will split. Spoon on top of the brownie and smooth over with a palette knife.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm to the touch and light golden around the edges. The centre should still be pale. Leave to cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2 hours at least.

For the cream topping:

Put the cream, sugar and in a bowl and whisk or beat until firm but not stiff.

Mince up the raspberries with a fork (keeping 12 or so back for decoration) and stir into the cream.

Turn the brownie out onto a board and turn the right way up.

Spread the topping evenly over the brownie, cut into portions and decorate with more raspberries.

Adapted from the  Humming Bird Bakery Cookbook 

 

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

A friend of mine ‘returned home’ to get married in Guyana and a couple of our mutual friends joined her for the experience. For most of them, this was their first trip to Guyana; although of Caribbean descent themselves, I had to admit I was slightly nervous for them as Guyana is a very different experience to say Jamaica and Trinidad and so I was interested to hear their take on the country, especially as I hadn’t seen the country for over 10 years myself.

They all came back smiling I am pleased to say, not only for our friend whose wedding was beautiful and heart warming, but also for the love of the country. “Those Pine Tarts were so amazing!” recalled one of my friends, also the Chief Bridesmaid at the wedding. “And although I don’t eat a lot of meat, I really enjoyed the pepperpot stew”.

I was curious to hear how much Guyana had really developed since I last visited. When I was there, it felt very rural yet lively with friendly, approachable people and social events that brought out the whole community. But those Pine Tarts, yes I had to agree, are pretty good. My mother use to make these during the summer holidays once the school term was done and would sometimes pack them into our bags for summer play-scheme.

Pine tarts a very easy to make with either fresh or canned pineapple. The sweet pastry really holds the filling together and tastes just as good as the jam inside. So if you have time during the summer holidays, I would recommend setting aside an hour or two to make some of these tarts for the family. You won’t regret it.

Guyanese: Pine Tarts

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients: 

For the Pineapple Filling

425g Pineapple Chunks (or fresh pineapple chunks)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp Vanilla essence

For the Pastry

1/2 cup salted butter (soft)

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

2 3/4 cups plain flour

2 tsp sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg (egg wash)

3/4 cup ice cold water

Method

The filling

1. If you are using fresh pineapple, then peel and cut the pineapple into large chunks and transfer into a food blender, pulsate for a minute until you have small lumps. You want to then measure out 2 1/2 cups of pineapple from that to use in the filling.

2. If using pineapple from a can, take the fruit and half of the juice and pulsate in the blender until you have small lumps.

3. Place the fruit into a sauce pan with the remaining juice and the spices and sugar. Simmer slowly for 30 mins under a low to medium heat or until the mixture thickens to a jam like consistency. Keep stirring regularly to avoid it burning. When ready, remove from the heat and set aside to cool down completely.

The dough

4. Place the flour, butter, salt and sugar in a bowl and mix together until it forms a crumbly texture. Then little by little, add the cold water until you can form a dough. Knead the dough to a  smooth log (about a foot long), wrap in cling film and refrigerate for between 30 minutes and 4 hours before use. When you are ready to use it, leave the dough out the fridge for about 30 minutes to get to room temperature.

The assembly

5. Cut the log into 1 inch thick rounds, flour your work surface and roll the dough out into a 6″ circle (I used a plate).

6. Place 1 1/2 tablespoon of pineapple filling into the middle of the circle and brush the edges with egg wash.

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7. Fold the corners of the dough into the middle, to form a triangle. ensure the ends are sealed, you can use a fork to do this.

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8. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (optional)

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9. Bake in the oven (Gas Mark 5) for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

10. Serve hot or cold.

Puerto Rican Pineapple ‘Rum’ Cake

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This sweet and sticky dessert had me licking my fingers long after I’d finished eating it (a disturbing image I know). This is a dense, warm and crunchy cake (from the added pecan nuts) to share on a plate of vanilla ice cream or warm creamy custard.

The creation of the ‘Rum’ syrup was a very think on your feet moment today; although I don’t drink, I really wanted to make this cake with the sweet sticky albeit rum glaze. I have eaten a few pineapple cakes in my time but they were either very dry or looked way too dated with the huge pineapple rings and ‘red eye’ of the cherry staring up at me.  No, it’s time pineapple cake had some refresher training.

The ingredient combination for the ‘Rum Syrup’ work very well together, you get the warmth from the ginger and the spice from the cloves, the closest you may get to the real thing, if you want to substitute it that is.

Lifting off the cake tin is the most exciting part of the whole recipe: make sure you let the cake rest before doing so at least for 15 minutes, then it should just slip out. The cake is quite dense which is another reason why you shouldn’t add too much glaze with the pineapples as syrup will just get absorbed in the cake and make it stodgy.

 

Puerto Rican Pineapple 'Rum' Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
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Ingredients

For the ‘Rum’

1 1/2 cups Pineapple Juice

1/4 cup light brown sugar

4 cloves

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 tsp Angostura Bitters

1 tsp Almond Extract

 

For the Glaze and the Pineapples

1 cup of Rum mixture (above)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 pineapple, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices

 

For the Cake Mix

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 cups Granulated White sugar

1 tsp almond extract

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ‘rum’ mixture

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup crushed pecans

1 tsp ginger powder

 

1 (9-inch) square cake pan
Vanilla ice cream for serving

 

Method

For the ‘Rum’

1. Pour all the ingredients into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.

2. Bring the heat down to allow it to simmer for another 5 minutes before taking it off the stove and straining it through a sieve.

 

For the glaze and pineapples: 

3. In a small saucepan over moderate heat, combine the brown sugar and 1 cup ‘rum’, and bring to a simmer.

4. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about a third.

5. Stir in the butter. You should have a dark brown syrupy mixture.

6. Add the pineapple slices, gently stirring to coat them in the glaze, then let them sit for about 3 minutes.

7.Transfer the pineapple slices to the bottom of a 9-inch square cake pan, with a little of the Rum Syrup (not all, save most for after baking) arranging them to cover the bottom.

 

Make the cake:

8.In a mixing bowl (preferably electric), combine the butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

9. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated.

10. Add the vanilla, pecans and rum, and beat for 30 seconds.

11. Fold in the flour and salt. pour the batter over the pineapples in the pan.

12. Bake under Gas Mark 4 (180 C) until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

13. Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes then flip it onto a serving plate so that the pineapples are on top.

14. Pour any extra Rum Syrup over the pineapples or vanilla ice cream you choose to serve it with.

15. You can keep the cake at room temperature for up to 10 hours, that why it retains it sticky glaze

 

Street Food Series: Churros w/ Chocolate Ginger Fudge Sauce

 

Churros are proof, if you ever needed it, that Pretzels are best served hot!

Most of us have done this: you spot Mr Pretzel man with his red uniform 50 yards away, standing like an awkwardly enticing Butler (because Butler’s aren’t generally enticing), holding a silver platter filled with freshly baked warm Pretzels tossed in cinnamon sugar and roughly chopped into pieces. And like a Magpie, you swoop in to take the biggest piece of bread you can find, scooping up as much sugary dust as you can. I love their warm fluffy texture and the gritty sweet feel of the sugar and cinnamon against my teeth. But at £4 a piece, I knew I had to find a cheaper snack which gave me the same satisfaction.

So in walks Ms Churros – a Spanish ‘pretzel stick’ if you will, which is popular on the streets of Latin America, France and Portugal,  and has finally made its way across the English Channel to the cobbled streets of London. Unlike Pretzels, which tend to be a lot bigger and denser, Churros are a lot crisper and lighter. They are also noticeably spirally twisted in shape, kind of like the horn of a unicorn, making it all the more easier to dip into the dark bitter chocolate sauce it is traditionally served with.

Churros are fried at a very high temperature until golden and crisp on the outside. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle.  The curly umbrella hook shape of the Churro is a result of the free-style way in which the dough hits the hot oil when frying so now the pressure is off to create the perfect Churro stick!

The silky, fudge like chocolate sauce I made works perfectly with this snack: Green and Blacks has a wide selection dark chocolate flavours which is what I used for this simple sauce. You will have perfect bitter-sweet dipping fudge chocolate in seconds!

 

Churros with Chocolate Ginger Sauce

  • Servings: 10-12 sticks
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the Churros

1 cup water

3 eggs

1 tbsp Bob Red Mill’s Masa Harina (Corn Flour not starch) – optional

1 cup of Plain Flour

1/2 cup  unsalted butter (soft)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Vanilla Essence

1/2 tsp almond essence

1 tbsp Light Brown Sugar

Canola Oil (fry)

 

For the Coating

1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon powder

 

 

For the Chocolate Ginger Sauce

100g  Dark Chocolate

1-2 cubes of crystalized ginger

1 cup Double Cream

 

Method:

For the Churro

1. In a deep pot combine water, butter until completely melted over a medium to low heat

2. Add the flour and corn flour stirring continuously. Keep stirring over the heat until the mixture thickens and clumps together into a smooth ‘ball’ .

3. Remove from the heat and briskly stir in the eggs one at a time.

4.Add the vanilla, almond and sugar and mix well

5. Transfer mix to a piping bag with a star shaped nozzle or the ‘churrera’  mentioned above on the smallest nozzle.

5. Heat the oil to 182°C (359.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Pipe churros batter straight into the hot oil. Use your fingers or a knife to break off the batter to the desired length. Once the churros are browned lift out and put onto a plate covered with some paper towel to drain.

6. Roll the churros through the cinnamon sugar in a separate tray.

 

The Chocolate Ginger Sauce

1. Break the chocolate into small cubes and place in a glass jug or bowl with the cubes of ginger.

2. In a saucepan, warm the cream (not to boiling point), then pour half of the cream into the glass bowl with the chocolate and stir. Then slowly add the remaining cream into the bowl and stir well.

3. Remove the ginger cubes when you have the desired intensity of the ginger in the sauce  before serving.