Friday, June 22, 2012

Caramel Snickers inspired Ice Cream

 I created this desert as a treat for a special friend of mine. I knew her favorite treat was snickers and I needed to make her ice cream so I decided to combine the two. Oh... My.... Goodness... there are a couple of components to this dish so this will take a bit of preparation, but it is so amazingly good if I do say so myself, I had to make this post just so I could remember how to replicate this recipe again. 
Not only is this creamy caramel gelato fantastic by itself but I add in smooth chocolate ganache with toffee bits and chunks of snickers bar you have yourself rich and totally indulgent dessert.


2 snickers bars cut into 1cm cubed pieces
1/8 cup toffee bits

Vanilla Ice Cream Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla essence (or if you have vanilla beans available use 1 whole bean about 6 inches in length)
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar

Caramel Sauce Ingredients
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup half and half
8 TBS butter
good pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate Ganache
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate morsels
Approx 2 cups heavy cream

I use a cuisinart Austomatic Frozen Yoghurt - Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker. It makes 1 1/2 quarts. Be sure to freeze your bowl 24 hours.

Prepare this ice cream the day before you want to eat it.

Begin by making your Caramel Sauce. In a sauce pan combine butter half and half on medium heat. As butter begins to melt add sugar and salt. Keep temperature low enough that it is not boiling yet. Allow sugar to melt completely before turning up temeperature to a medium simmer, simmer for 2 minutes before removing from heat completely. Allow it to cool while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
For the Vanilla ice cream.-
Combing eggs, egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl.  Use a hand mixer on medium speed to beat until the mixture is thick, smooth, and pale yellow in  colour, about 4 minutes.

Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes (do not boil too much or it will forma skin and become chunky).
Take 1/2 cup of milk mixture and add it to eggs.. this will temper them so you dont have scrambled egg ice cream. Beat together, add another 1/2 cup and beat as well into the eggs.
Slowly pour the eggs into the sauce pan with the milk and cream stirring constantly.. 
Cook stirring constantly, and being vigilant to scrape down the sides and bottom. Continue cooking over medium low heat until it starts to thicken without boiling - coating the back of a spoon.
Add vanilla (if you over cook this you will get custard)
 Add in 3/4 of your caramel sauce and  stir to combine, it should be fluffy and smooth.
remove from heat and allow this  to chill completely before making into your ice cream.

While your cream mixture is chilling MAKE YOUR GANACHE.
Ganache is always more of a feel for me than measurements.. it depends on your chocolate. In a regular cereal bowl pour the chocolate morsels.. allow them to sit evenly across the bottom.
Bring the cream to a boil and pour immediately over the chocolate. ONLY pour enough cream to cover the chocolate. Let it sit for about 30 seconds to melt the chocolate and then with a fork whisk the cream into the chocolate until it is a smooth runny mixture.
Place in the fridge until luke warm - it should be thick but still able to drizzle.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER! you have the components.. now lets DO this thing!

Turn on your ice cream machine to begin rotating. Pour in the caramel icecream mixture to manufacturer recommended level (remember it needs to be chilled not just cooled).
Allow it to mix, just before it is the desired thickness put in the toffee chips.
Let it continue to mix until it is the desired consistancy.
Take your freezer bowl and scoop in 1/3 the ice cream into your serving and setting bowl. sprinkle 1/3 your snickers pieces onto the ice cream and them dollop and drizzle ganache over the top. You want people to get a good blob of ganache. Continue to layer this way with ice cream, snickers and ganache. Lastly top with ice cream and snickers.
Cover with plastic wrap directly onto the ice cream so there is no air in the container or dish. Allow this to set in the fridge at least two hours or over night.
Save remaining caramel sauce in the fridge until you are ready to serve ice cream. Heat and pour on top.
Heaven in a bowl!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Seafood Laksa

This is one of those meals where if you have fresh seafood you should take advantage of it. This Thai meal allows the seafood to have front and center stage.

Allow 200grams of mixed seafood per person (Fresh fresh fresh is all I can say on this) - we used a mixture of mussles, calimari and fish in this paricular batch
Fresh chinese egg noodles or rice noodles if preferred
750 mls coconut milk
750 mls chicken stock
Laksa Paste (allow 1 tbsp per person)
fish sauce to season
1 tsp palm sugar
Laksa leaf (also called Vietnamese mint)
100 gms bean sprouts
crispy shallots
wedges of lime
fresh cilantro leaves
chopped tomatoes

Skim the thick cream off the top of the coconut milk.  Heat the cream in a large saucepan, add laksa paste, allowing one tablespoon per person. 
Fry gently until fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining coconut milk and chicken stock.  Bring to the boil.

Add palm sugar and fish sauce.  Add seafood, reduce heat and poach gently until cooked. (once it is simmering it is done!)

Blance noodles in boiling water and divide between the serving bowls.
Pour on laksa and garnish with sprouts, shallots, lime wedges, laksa leaf, cilantro and tomatoes. It sounds like alot to garnish but every little ingredients has their part to play in layering flavors and creating this beautiful soup.

Sausages and Lentils

Lentils are one of those ingredients that are hearty like rice or pasta yet extremely good for your body. In these cold winter months I have been trying new satisfying recipes that give me the warm fuzzy feelings without the calorie guilt. In my recent trip to Australia my mum made us this dinner that is extremely simple and wonderfully layered with flavor. Best thing about it is that it only took me 10 minutes to put together, and then it takes care of itself. Thats my kind of meal!


1 Large can of diced tomatoes (doesn't have to be diced can be crushed)
5-7 Sausages. (I love a big good quality aussie snag fresh from the butcher) I used Johnsonville IrishO'Garlic Sausages.
1 White Onion sliced and chopped
4 Garlic cloves
1 cup Lentils
Approx 4 cups beef stock
1/2 cup chopped Italian Parsley stems
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (coriander) stems
Cilantro Leaves to garnish

Heat up an extra large non stick fry pan to medium high heat. Begin cooking sausages, do not cook all the way through just brown on the outsides.
While snags are cooking micro-zest your garlic . This is one of my favorite utensils right now. Sometimes I do not have time to chop finely and this give me the chance for fresh garlic at high warp speed.
When sausages are crisping up and browned on the outside remove them from the pan.
To the juices in the pan add some olive oil and heat.
Add onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and saute gently until onion is see through.
Add tomatoes, beef stock, cilantro, parsley and lentils.
Mix together.
Place sausages back in the pan, place lid on pan and allow it to simmer slowly for approximately 1 1/2 hours.. or until lentils are soft and dahl like. If necessary add more beef stock.
When it has a dahl like texture serve immediately and sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander leaves.