Sunday, 16 June 2013

Recipe - Easy Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream and Tiramisu

Happy Fathers Day!  Not the happiest day for everyone, so love to those who are missing someone today as well.  

Today I was hoping to blog about my first ever attempt at homemade ice cream.  I've felt so ill the last couple of days and Mr G has been wonderful and really taken care of me and the kiddies.  Yesterday was their school fair and he took them alone, something I wouldn't relish doing myself.  So despite feeling like going back to bed, while he was out I decided to make him some ice cream.  And the bloody camera... I hadn't emptied it of photos or formatted the card for a while.  It was almost full.  So when I put the camera on and took a photo, it would freeze.  Only when I finally emptied it onto my computer last night did I realise these pictures hadn't actually stored.  So my step by step ice cream post consists of three pots of mint ice cream.  I could have bought those and you'd be non the wiser.  But I did make it, promise!

It was so simple too!  Over the years I've coveted and gathered many kitchen gadgets... The Actifry for example - that turned out to be a complete waste of money and shelf space.  The Actifry.  Pffffffffft.   Those chips that are in the pictures can be achieved by no other means but deep frying, sorry.  The chips you get from one are like limp, greasy, anaemic slugs, a worse result than you'd get from spraying them with oil and putting them in the oven.  I digress.  The ice cream maker, I really wish I'd got one sooner.

First of all I heated 225ml of milk with 50g of caster sugar and heated it gently until the sugar had dissolved.  Then let it cool.  I then stirred in 225ml of double cream and used food colour and peppermint extract to get the colour and minty taste.  The picture doesn't do the colour justice, it's a bit greener than it looks!  It went into the pre-frozen bowl and churned for about 35 minutes.  I added dark chocolate chips just as it was starting to thicken.   Popped it into these little pots, and into the freezer to finish off.  We tried some later and it was really nice.  Mint choc chip is not my favourite ice cream by a long shot, but I had to work with what I had to hand. This will probably be my new obsession now, finding wonderful ice cream flavours!  The only criticism I have is that it doesn't make a lot of ice cream, those pots are the size that an individual Weight Watchers dessert comes in.  The bowl has to be frozen for 24 hours before you make a batch.  Maybe you can buy additional bowls, that would be handy.

The other recipe I have for you was the Tiramisu I made for my birthday party last month.  I'll spare you the step by step photos, as you know me - all together now - *I take crap photos*

3 fresh, Free range Eggs, separated
5 tbsp caster sugar
400g fresh mascarpone cheese
300ml double cream (I used Elmlea Light)
2 mugs instant strong black coffee
2 packs Lady Fingers (I didn't use them all but needed more than one pack)
Cocoa to dust

Put the mascarpone into a bowl and beat to ensure there are no lumps. 

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar, then whip into the mascarpone.  Whip the egg whites to firm peaks and fold them in to the mix.

Whip the cream and fold this in.  Add 3 tbsp Amaretto to the mixture.  It has to be said, I added about half a bottle to the mixture. 

Put the coffee in a bowl and add about 3 tablespoons of Amaretto.  Dip the biscuits in the coffee and line a large trifle type dish. Fill with the mixture, layer with another row of biscuits and mascarpone mixture. 

Chill for 2 hours, and dust heavily with the cocoa powder before serving. 

Right -  best get stuck into some housework before Mr G gets up, ready to be spoiled and waited on hand and foot!   Back later with how our Fathers Day went!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

23 days later... smoking, profanities and bondage. All in a month's work.

I really am terrible.  I am.  I'm not even going to apologise or make false promises this time because, I am - a self confessed - crap blogger.  Crap blogger, taker of crap photos, but you all know that my family are so crazy that now and again, there will be a little gem that makes it worthwhile that you stuck around.  Plus I do have a good excuse why I haven't been around for a little bit.  So we'll ease back in slowly.  How about my foul mouthed, permanently peed off 6 year old?

Monday Morning, getting ready for school

Adam:  Can we go to the park after school?

Mr G:  No.  No we can't.

(Methinks - Harsh.   But... question was aimed at Daddy, not wanting to undermine parental responsibility...)

Adam:  Why not?

Mr G:  Hmm.  Let's see.  What was it you called me last night?  Before you flounced up to bed in a temper?  What was it again?   Oh yes.  A drama queen...

(Methinks - Oh Stephen, grow up!  He's 6!  And for the record, you are privy to the occasional RADA moment...)

Mr G:... and an a**ehole.

(Methinks - Fair enough then...)

Priceless moment of the week - Mr G watching Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' video.  The uncensored version.   4 minutes and 31 seconds of  *shocked face*.  Thank you BT Vision. 

Priceless moment of LAST week - me winning a bondage kit in a competition.  That conversation went like this.

Me:   I've won a bondage kit.

Mr G:  I'm too old for this kind of sh*t.

Me:  We'll see.

Don't ask about Weight Watchers.  I'll be back next week.  I'm still paying for the ruddy thing by Direct Debit.  Anyway...

On a lighter note, I have stopped smoking!  It's 10 days since my last cigarette.   I gave up in September 2006, and I stopped for 18 months.   New Years Eve 2007, which was a sad and quiet one for us as we'd lost my Father in Law a few months previously.  Just Mr G and I, very melancholy, a few beers, Jools Holland on the TV - I fancied a cigarette and I was fine the next day, it didn't restart any urge in me.  Cue a period of huge stress in March 2008, and I got complacent.  I'd had some before and I was ok.  Wrong.  One, here and there, soon grew again to 15 - 20 a day over the years, and before I knew it, it's 2013 and I'm wheezing like Muttley from Wacky Races in bed every night.  Not good.  So - although constantly on my mind that I should give up, and tomorrow would be the day, it never was.  Why?  

Having 'successfully' given up smoking before - I'd like to compare it to childbirth.  I've had four.  One Caesarian, three normal.  And they bloody hurt.  All of them.  Pain like I've never known it.  And for someone like me, who is so squeamish of needles, blood, hospitals, anything medical, giving birth on gas and air alone - it stung a bit.  But did that stop me having another child?  No.  A couple of months later, it wasn't so bad after all, was it?  Less than three months after giving birth, I know what would be a good idea!  Getting pregnant again!  And let's face it, the random crap I was coming out with on the gas and air was worth it alone, hilarious and - in parts profound - if only I could remember it.   I'm sure I had the solution to world peace while I was high on that stuff.  Minute I stopped chugging it... *gone*.  

Mr G:  Why are you laughing?

Me:  Bahahhahahhahahahah.

Mr G:  What are you looking at?  (Prises up and looks out the window)

Me:  Tree.  Bahahahahhaahahhahah.

Giving up smoking however.  The first time.  Took three weeks from my last cigarette to waking up and going about my routine only to realise much later in the day that I hadn't actually thought about it once.  So - if you look at it that way, not too bad.  How quick can three weeks go, right? 


That is why I delayed, and bartered with myself, and gave myself get out clauses and so on.  It was bloody horrendous.  All you people out there, who, like me are marvelling at how quick your life is flying by?  Stop smoking.  If you don't smoke, start, and then try to stop.  I have never known time to go so slowly.  Both then and now.  These last ten days, I'd have normally seen off about 6 weeks by now.  I'd be on my Summer Holiday now, if I'd continued smoking.  I'd be on a beach, instead of in the rain, in Wales.  I digress.

So I don't know what happened the other Sunday.  I'd woken up after a night in with friends, mouth like a bear had crapped in it, hangover from hell, and about 10 cigarettes left in the packet.  Lovely sunny day, and I was incapable of boiling the kettle to make coffee so I sat outside with Allen Carr's 'Easy Way to stop Smoking' (Ho bloody ho).  And I read it from cover to cover.  Dawn to dusk.  I had my last cigarette 10.30 pm. 

In principle, his book is brilliant.  Complete common sense.  He does debunk and dispel myths about smoking and the addiction.  However - what I couldn't grasp was his theory that after reading his book - I would actually enjoy the process of giving up smoking.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy to be an ex-smoker.  I'm happy I took the plunge.  I don't regret it.  Any pangs or urges I might have, can be countered with being able to breathe without squeaking at night (after such a short time too!) or smelling stale cigarette smoke on someone passing me and realising, that doesn't smell too good.  The money I'm saving every day.  But ENJOYING the process?  Ok.  I've been so tired, having to take myself off to bed at any given hour of the day or night.  I only woke up 30 minutes ago?  I don't care.  I'm going to bed for 5 hours.  You have no clean underpants?  Turn them inside out, they'll do for another day.  Weepy.  Lethargic.  Homicidal to the extent that has only been seen once before, when I took the contraceptive pill and it turned me into a complete evil piece of work.  Snappy.  Irritable.  Stomach cramps.  Flu like symptoms.  Complete apathy towards everyone and everything.  Yeah, Allen.  It's been a blast, mate.  Loving every minute...  So that's what's taken up some of my time.  Getting easier by the day, I'm glad to report. 

Things I have 'acquired' in the last three weeks... an ice cream maker.  I took it out of the box today.  23rd May that came, so that shows you how much of a ray of sunshine I've been!  A camping toilet.   Everyone has been warned not to crap in it.  Someone will.  And it probably will be me. 

Me:  But Sweetheart!  It was 4 in the morning.  I could have been murdered walking to the shower block!   Now, be a dear and empty it for me, you know I have a weak stomach when it comes to faeces...

A cool box that keeps food frozen with the aid of ice blocks for up to 5 days.  I didn't take note of the measurements before I hit the 'one click order' button.  Put it this way - don't bother looking for a coffin for me when I die.  My friends walk in and they're like 'Whoa!  What the hell?'   I don't actually know if it will fit in the car.  We may have to buy a trailer for it.  It's just *there* in the living room like a weird contemporary coffee table.  Oh, and a steam mop.  My kitchen floor wasn't actually black.  It was light grey...  So in three years time you may get an ice cream post from me.  Or an amusing anecdote about blocking the 'Kampa Khazi' - I kid you not, I didn't name it.  Like something from 'Carry on Crapping'... and on that note...

Ta ta for now...

M x