Thursday, 11 September 2014

Caramelised Fig Ice-Cream



Figs are in season. Apparently I've been telling everyone this, but its making me stupidly happy. There's something wonderful about a sudden glut of a fruit of vegetable at certain times of year (and I'm probably still sore about the ban on Alphonso mangoes earlier). Right now everywhere is selling figs, and selling them cheaply. 4 for £1 at Sainsbury's last time I checked. 

The little purple parcels are one of my all-time favourite fruits, but they're normally so expensive and rare that I eat them exclusively whole, as a stand-alone item. I can't even bring myself to use them fresh, cut up in an elaborate salad or as a topping for something sweet, let alone throw them into a recipe in which they'll be completely mutilated with no idea whether or not the resulting concoction has been worth it. 



Good thing its fig season:D

For this recipe I've used cashew butter to add texture and creaminess. As the flavour of cashews is quite mild, this really allows the fig flavour to shine through. I've only used a little syrup to caramelise the fruit, which gives just a very subtle sweetness - this means it pairs very nicely with maple roasted almonds and a dash of extra syrup on top! 


By the way, its fig season. Go wild. And make this ice-cream:D

Caramelised Fig Ice-Cream

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 3-4 hrs
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 figs
  • 1 tsp vegan butter-type spread
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter
  • Dash of salt
  • Extra maple and maple-roasted pecans for topping (optional)
Instructions
1. Slice banana and fig into small pieces.
2. Heat butter in a skillet and mix together maple, lemon juice and water in a small bowl. Once hot, add fruit, and saute for a minute before adding the maple mixture. Cook until the fruit has broken down and created a thick lumpy jam-like mixture.
3. Transfer to a bowl. Let cool slightly, then freeze for around 2 hours. Mine slipped easily out of the bowl after this amount of time - any longer and you may need to wait for it to defrost before blending. (Alternatively, you could try freezing the mixture in an ice-cube tray and just pop the cubes out.)
4. Transfer to blender along with cashew butter, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend, taste, and add more salt if required.
5. Transfer to a container, and freeze for at least another hour before serving.
For Maple-Roasted Pecan topping:
1. Pre-heat oven to 175C.
2. Coarsely chop pecans and coat with 1 tsp maple syrup. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 6 mins, keeping an eye on the them - when you can smell a nutty aroma, they're done.
3. Let cool for a few minutes. Scatter over ice-cream with a drizzle of extra maple.
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Friday, 5 September 2014

Marzipan Ice-Cream with Raw Brownie Bites



Time for a much-needed update. This past month has been insane! Having spent it working for the Underbelly venue, the Edinburgh Fringe has rushed past in a mad purple blur. Working 6 days a week, seeing shows literally whenever I wasn't working, and multiple nights partying like a loony left me spending all the money I earned  more time in the town centre than I did in my own house. I met many wonderful people, saw more mind-boggling (and ridiculous) acts than I could count, fell out with my liver, and by the end of it had completely lost all sense of time and place. It's been an unforgettable experience.


Needless to say, I was so rushed off my feet that I barely had any time to eat, forget cook. Now just into September, we're still having the odd sunny day up here in Scotland, so I'm choosing to cling onto the notion that smoothies and ice-cream remain acceptable. Is ice-cream ever unacceptable?!? Certainly not this one; marzipan soft-serve, complete with chocolate brownie bites. Its a simple, yet delightfully sophisticated treat that should do nicely to make up for my month of absence. 



This ice-cream utilises the famous frozen banana trick in combination with rich almond butter to achieve its smooth and creamy texture - with the incorporation of almond and vanilla flavours, it really does taste a lot like marzipan! The brownie bits, flavoursome and chewy, add a bit of bite in amongst the soft sweetness and take this desert to another level of deliciousness. Almond lovers in particular must try it!

Marzipan Ice-Cream (With Raw Brownie Bites)

by Shonalika Tilak
Cook Time: 20-30 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
    For Brownies
    • 1 Medjool date
    • 4 almonds
    • 1 ½ tsp rolled oats
    • ½ tsp cocoa powder
    For Soft-Serve
    • 1 frozen banana (100g)
    • ½ tbsp almond butter
    • ½ tsp vanilla
    • ¼ tsp almond extract (or more, to taste.)
    Instructions
    1. Blend brownie ingredients with a little water, until mixture starts to clump up. Scoop out and form into little balls/bites - whatever size you like. I think I made around 9 big the first time around and closer to 20 small the second - I prefer the latter! Shove these in the freezer while you make the ice-cream.
    2. Blend soft-serve ingredients with a little milk until smooth.
    3. Add bites to the ice-cream. Serve immediately, or leave in the freezer for about an hour for a firmer texture.
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