Ice-cream of the Month – Chocolate Oaty Biscuit

The idea for this ice-cream came to me all of a sudden, when trying to think of biscuits, ice-cream and dairy free foods all at the same time. Something like –

Dairy alternatives-oat milk-oats-Hobnobs-icecream…Eureka!

I’m not sure if I can call it Hobnob flavour, because it doesn’t have the actual biscuits in it (and copyright); but it does take the individual elements and make them into a glorious whole.

Normally  I would be extremely sceptical of non-dairy ice-cream, but honestly, this was amazing! If you want to go gluten free, then just use gluten free oats. It you don’t need to be dairy free and can’t get one of the ingredients, then just use regular milk or cream. I guess if you wanted to go vegan you could thicken the custard with cornflour, but the finished product wouldn’t quite have the right taste or texture.

Chocolate Oaty Biscuit Ice-cream

Ingredients:

  • 400ml oat “milk” (I used Innocent brand)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 70g golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200ml tub of oat “cream” ( I used Oatly creme fraiche)

For the oat crumble:

  • 100g rolled oats
  • 100g golden syrup
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 40g dark chocolate

Method:

In a large bowl, beat together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour.

Heat the oat milk in a saucepan till almost boiling, then pour over the egg yolks, beating well the whole time.

Turn the heat down. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir over a moderate heat with a spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken. Don’t cook for too long or it will curdle.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt, syrup and vanilla. Put the oat cream in a jug and pour the custard in, beating with a fork to combine. Put aside to cool, then chill in the fridge.

To make the oat crumble:

Toast the oats in a large frying pan. This will take around 3 minutes. You want the oats to have a nice nutty, toasty smell but not to be significantly browned.

Remove from heat and stir in the salt and syrup. Return to the heat, stirring quickly, for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and tip the oats onto an oiled baking tray to cool down.

When cool, break into small pieces. Chop the chocolate into small pieces, mix with the oat chunks, and put in the fridge to chill.

When everything is chilled, follow your ice-cream machines instructions, remembering to add two thirds of the oat/chocolate mixture when prompted. Keep the remaining oat crumble to use as a topping.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can put the chilled custard in a tupperware container in the freezer. Every hour, break up the ice crystals with a fork or whisk. When it is almost completely frozen, mix in 2/3 of the oat crumble and leave in the freezer to set.

To serve, remove from freezer and allow to soften for 5-10 minutes before scooping, as it sets quite firmly.

Small Comforts

It’s been a tough year, huh?

In a world of uncertainty, sadness, and chaos, we need small comforts more than ever. Crafts, hobbies, and cooking help to keep us grounded and occupy uncomfortably long and empty hours.

This October, Buttered Crumbs will be bringing you a month of warm, cosy, autumnal escapism. Expect sugar and spice and all things nice; revisiting old favourites, trying new twists, and rediscovering forgotten treats from the past.

So pop the kettle on, wrap yourself in a blanket, and we’ll begin…

Remember Buttered Crumbs is also available in Twitter and Instagram flavours. It would be lovely to hear about your favourite autumn and/or comfort foods, so don’t forget to comment!

Nice and slow

I never used to see the point in slow cookers. Occasionally someone would offer me one they didn’t want anymore, but I figured I’d rarely, if ever, remember to set it going in the morning. However, when I  was buying my super fancy all singing & dancing ice-cream machine it was on special offer; buy it and get a  nice shiny slow cooker for free! Not a bad bargain really.

It turns out that a slow cooker is great for those days when you know you’ll be too tired or busy to cook later, and is the best way for cooking cheaper cuts of meat to tender perfection.

I rarely, if ever, remember to put it on early enough.

GoodFood Slow Cooker Favourites Edited by Sarah Cook. BBC  Books, 2011.

A collection of recipes first published in the BBC Good Food magazine, most of which seem to have been adapted for a slow cooker, rather than having been written for one.

Why did you buy it?

Because I had a brand new, shiny slow cooker. I also trust BBC Good Food recipes because they are thoroughly tested, unlike many other recipe books.

Do you use it?

Yes. A few of the recipes are family favourites, though to be fair I saw them in the magazine first.

Judge a book by its cover…

Meh, it’s fine.

So, what did you make?

I tried to do something from each section, starting with breakfast:

Honey crunch granola. Nice enough, but not wildly exciting. Certainly not worth the hassle of making in a slow cooker when it would have taken a fraction of the time done the usual way. It was taking forever to crisp up; eventually I got bored and finished it off in the oven.

Apple spice tea loaf. I like a nice tea loaf, spread with butter, yummy. You were supposed to put the loaf tin INSIDE the cooker. Nope, didn’t fit. Who has a slow cooker that big anyway? Decided to cook it in the main ‘bowl’ (?). To cut a long story short, it was not a tea loaf, it was a pudding. We ate it with custard.

Duck and pineapple red curry was very good, well suited to slow cooking, as was the sticky spiced lamb.

The easy kedgeree was horribly stodgy; that, and the haddock with chorizo (which was nice but not cooked properly) would both have been better off being cooked in a pan.

For dessert we had hot chocolate mousse and banana rice pudding. Rice pudding is fine done in the slow cooker, but you can’t walk off and leave it; there’s a very fine line between al dente and overcooked, you need to be there to support it during it’s transition.

Is it worth buying?

There are several excellent recipes in this book, but they tend to be the ones that cook slowly in the first place, rather than those that have been adapted. There are certainly worse books on the market.

Is it still in print?

It’s still available second hand or via kindle, though I believe the books were rebranded a while back so might be available under a different name.

Clotted Cream Cake

Buttered Crumbs has not had a holiday for years. O, to be in Cornwall, land of clotted cream, having a proper cream tea.

Or a big slice of clotted cream cake. Using clotted cream instead of butter, and the seeds from a vanilla pod, it tastes just like ice cream in cake form, what’s not to love? Serve with more cream and some strawberries (quartered, sprinkled with a little sugar and left for half an hour to develop some syrupy juice) for an extra special treat.

Clotted Cream Cake (from a recipe in The Great British Book of Bakes)

  • 2 eggs
  • 225g caster sugar
  • a vanilla pod
  • pinch of salt
  • a tub of clotted cream (around 225g usually)
  • 200g self raising flour

Pre-heat the oven to 170°c/150 fan. Grease and line a loose bottomed/springform cake tin.

Whisk the eggs and sugar together until thick and mousse like. Stir the cream until it becomes runny. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod and add them to the eggs.

Add the cream and salt to the eggs and whisk until only just combined.

Fold in the flour with a metal spoon until just combined. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. If the top gets brown before the cake is cooked, cover with a sheet of baking paper (not foil). Cool on a wire rack.

It’s jam first in Cornwall, cream first in Devon

Garden Party Ice-Cream

Many people have a romantic view of the past; there is a word for it, which for the life of me I can’t remember, meaning a yearning for a past time, a golden age, which perhaps never really existed.

For me it’s the inter-war period – the twenties and thirties – which I tend to view through rose tinted glasses, mainly because all of my knowledge has been gleaned through British novels of the time, 90% of which are dectective stories from the likes of Agatha Christie and Margery Allingham. There may be a body in the library, but there are garden parties, house guests, afternoon teas and the feeling of an endless English summer, populated by independant young women and handsome heroes making eyes at each other in a secluded area of the vicarge garden.

Who needs reality anyway? Forget your troubles for an hour or two with a classic novel and a big bowl of homemade ice cream that tastes like a dream of summertime; layered with strawberry sauce, studded with shortcake and meringue, drizzled with a cheeky lemon syrup, and no cyanide, sparkling or otherwise.

First published July 2019


Garden Party Ice Cream

For the ice cream:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 300ml milk
  • 80g sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tin of condensed milk
  • 6 shortbread biscuits
  • meringue – either made using the left over egg whites or a couple of bought meringue nests.
  • 500g fresh strawberries
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp sugar

First chop the strawberries and put them in a saucepan with the lemon juice. Heat gently until the berries are soft, mash them a little, then stir in the sugar. Allow to cool then pop in the fridge.

Break the biscuits and meringue into chunks (if you made your own using the left over egg whites, you will need about 1/4 of it. The rest can be used as a garnish later). Chill the chunks in the freezer.

Put the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl and whisk to combine. Heat the milk to boiling point.

Pour the milk onto the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat gently, stirring the whole time with a wooden spoon or spatula (the whisk won’t make enough contact with the bottom of the pan, risking a burnt and lumpy custard) until the custard has thickened to the consistency of cream and remove from the heat.

Pour into a large jug and add the double cream and condensed milk. Cool in the fridge.

Make the ice cream following the instruction for your machine. If you don’t have an ice cream machine you can pour the custard into  a 1.5 litre tupperware container and put it in the freezer. Every couple of hours, stir with a fork to break up large ice crystals. When it is fairly thick but still stirable, add the ripple as below.

When the ice cream is ready and working quickly, spoon half of the mixture into a tupperware type container, spread with spoonfuls of strawberry sauce and sprinkle over half of the chunks. Repeat for a second layer. Using a palette knife or simliar, ripple the two mixtures together. Don’t overdo it or it will lose the ripple effect!

Freeze for a few hours or overnight.

Meanwhile make the optional lemon syrup.

Lemon Syrup

  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • zest and juice of 6 lemons, preferably unwaxed.
  • 200ml water

Sterilise a large glass jar or bottle and keep it hot. This can be done in the oven at around 120 degrees, in the dishwasher if you have one, or by heating in boiling water. Wear rubber gloves to avoid burns.

Put the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 mins

Add the juice and zest and simmer for another 5 mins.

Very carefully pour into the hot bottle. It has to be hot, otherwise the heat of the syrup will cause it to crack. Remember boiling sugar is INCREDIBLY HOT, please be careful and keep pets and children out of the way.

Allow to cool, then keep in the fridge. As well as a dessert topping you can add soda water to the syrup for a refreshing drink.

Strawberries aren’t actually berries but “accessory fruits”.

Feeding Friends

Let me tell you the story of why the microwave permanently smells of burnt garlic. Once upon a time I thought it would be a good idea to test ALL of my recipe books…

How to feed your friends with relish aims to take the fear and stress out of cooking for friends; whether it’s a full on dinner party or helping out during a difficult time by popping round with something nice. There are plenty of helpful tips on what to cook, how to create the right atmosphere etc. Definitely one of those books that leaves you hankering after a particular lifestyle. However, I’m wondering how rigorously the recipes were tested.

A quick pea soup with ‘blasted’ garlic (perfect for feeding unexpected guests), asks you to microwave a bulb of garlic for 5 minutes until ‘soft and mellowed’. After 1.5 mins the kitchen was filled with acrid smoke as the papery outer skin did its best to burst into flames. The garlic itself was burnt and hard. And to this very day, the microwave stinks of burning garlic.

How to Feed Your Friends with Relish by Joanna Weinberg. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2007.

A pea-souper

Why did you buy it?

Can’t remember. Probably because it has menus in it, I’m a sucker for menus.

Judge a book by its cover…

Classy. Nice size, nice illustrations, lovely thick paper. Very middle-class-younger-person-with-taste, which I’m assuming is the target audience.

Do you use it?

Not a great deal. The parts about entertaining are great, in reality the recipes often disregard her own advice and are more fussy and time consuming than necessary. A lot of the time there will be ingredients that at least one member of the family will veto, and after the fiasco with the microwaved garlic I’m treating other recipes with extreme caution.

What did you make?

Well. Pea soup… actually there were other issues with the recipe, there is no way that 500ml of stock is going to make enough soup for four. Other than that, it was nice. Then we tried a cottage pie, tarted up with the addition of chorizo. Not bad, but nothing special.

Sausage meat and cabbage casserole was really nice, but again there were issues with the amount of fluids, this time way too much. There were also some flapjacks, which were pretty good. Oh yeah! I forgot about the steak sandwiches, they were lovely.

Is it still in print?

Not sure, but copies are available in print or via Kindle.

Is it worth buying?

Hmm. It’s a nice book. I would recommend it to experienced cooks, who know when and where to make adjustments, and who want to entertain more; otherwise not really. I will be keeping my copy though.

Egg Free Cakes – Part 2: Vinegar cake

Vinegar seems like a strange ingredient in a cake, doesn’t it? One of the many roles of egg as an addition to cake batter is to help the cake rise properly, giving a lighter texture than an eggless cake. Here the vinegar combines with the bicarbonate of soda to give the batter enough oomph to rise.

You honestly can’t taste the vinegar, there’s just a slight malty flavour to the crumb. Trust me!

Vinegar Cake

  • 225g (8oz) butter
  • 450g (1lb) plain flour
  • 225g mixed dried fruit (sultanas and raisins work well)
  • 225g (8oz) light soft brown sugar
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 300ml (1/2 pint) milk
  • 3 tbsp malt vinegar

Preheat oven to 200/ 180 fan/ gas mark 4. Grease and line a round or square 9″ (23cm) cake tin.

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the fruit and sugar.

Sprinkle the soda into the milk, then add the vinegar. It will froth up. While it’s still frothing, add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Turn into the cake tin and bake for 30 mins. Then reduce the temperature to 170/ 150 fan/ gas mark 3. Continue cooking until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. If the top starts to burn before the cake is done, cover with a piece of baking paper (not foil).

Cool in the tin for 30 mins, finish cooling on a wire rack.

Malt vinegar is made from ale whch is allowed to become vinegar.

Egg Free Cakes – Part 1: Honey Cake

Lockdown. It could have been worse; though, I daresay for many of us It coud have been better. Still, plenty of time for baking right? IF you can get the ingredients of course. A combination of panic buying, and people having nothing better to do than make banana bread, has left the shelves a little bare. I mean, I’m all for people discovering the joys of homebaking, though there is a slight feeling of “hey, I liked baking before it was cool!”

Supposing you have managed to grab the last bag of flour, but what’s this? No eggs! Who is panic buying eggs anyway? If you look online there are various suggestions, often on vegan sites, for alternatives to eggs. Try them if you want, but I always find that recipes that never used ‘X’ ingredient in the first place always turn out (and taste) much better than adapting an existing recipe with alternatives.

So I’m going to share my two favourite egg-free cake recipes: Victorian Honey Cake – also low fat (but not low sugar, you can’t have everything) – and Vinegar Fruit Cake, which is a lot nicer than it sounds, the vinegar just adds a pleasant maltiness.

The honey cake is an adaptation of a recipe found in the first edition of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management. We like to have it for breakfast. The original recipe calls for cream rather than buttermilk, I have tried it this way, but it’s very dry. Milk also works, if you can’t get hold of buttermilk, both give a nice chewy texture. Use any kind of honey; I like to use a mild honey for the cake, then while it’s still warm from the oven, brush liberally with a stronger tasting honey (Greek, for example). Cut the cake into squares, fingers, or use a cutter to stamp out fancy shapes (keep those lovely trimmings to eat sneakily while no one’s looking).

Victorian Honey cake

  • 4oz (120g) caster sugar
  • 8floz (230ml) buttermilk
  • 10oz (300g) plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbinate of soda
  • 4tbsp honey
  • More honey for glazing

Grease and line a square 9″ cake tin. Preheat oven to 190/ 170 fan/ gas mark 4.

Mix the sugar and cream together in a large bowl. Sift in the flour and soda and fold into the mixture.

Mix in the honey, and scrape the mixture into the tin.

Bake for around 30 mins (but check after 20), or until the top is a light golden brown and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. Spread the top generously with more honey while still warm.

Honey bees typically produce 2-3 times more honey than they actually need.

Yorkshire Mint Pasty

Most of us are familiar with Eccles cakes – dried fruit (mainly currants) encased in circles of pastry. If you’re interested in regional cookery you may have heard of the similar Chorley cake and Coventry God cakes. I had never heard of the Yorkshire pasty before, though a quick Google shows that many from the Yorkshire area remember their mothers and grandmothers making these treats from carefully handed down family recipes.

What stood out and made me want to try them was the addition of fresh mint to the usual currant and spice combo. The recipe isn’t terribly helpful, so I had to improvise a bit. Also I’m not keen on currants, so I used raisins and sultanas. Candied peel from supermarkets can be hard and bitter, if you can make your own that would be best, otherwise the best you can afford. If you hate the stuff, use grated orange zest instead.

As for the shape, there doesn’t seem to be any strict rules; you could go for any of these:

Quite honestly, although I could happily have eaten several, each bite was such a taste surprise it was hard to say if I actually liked them. I guess I must have!

Yorkshire Mint Pasty

  • 1 sheet of shortcrust pastry or homemade pastry made with 120g plain flour and 60g fat ( this could be butter, vegetable fat, margarine or lard)
  • 7 tbsp Mixed dried fruit, or your own blend of raisins, currants, sultanas and candied peel (I used 3 tbsp raisins, 3 tbsp sultanas and 1 tbsp candied peel
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 30g butter
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 or 2 tbsp Chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Mix the fruit, peel, sugar, mint and spice in a bowl.

2. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut into shapes if you want, though you can just sprinkle the filling over half of the pastry, fold it over, and cut into rectangles (a bit like a Garibaldi biscuit).

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3. Divide the mixture between the pastry shapes. Dot with little blobs of butter. Seal the pasties with a little water. If you like they can be glazed with egg and sprinkled with sugar.

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4. Bake at 180/160 fan/gas mark 4 until golden brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.

Coventry God cakes were traditionally given to Godchildren by their Godparents at the start of the new year.

The Good Life

This book review has been a long time coming because I’ve been busy doing studenty things at university; now it’s lockdown/holiday, let’s see if we can catch up a bit. Actually lockdown has been a good opportunity to catch up on the recipes in this book, because there are like, a lot…

In the early 1930’s Florence White was concerned that the English way of life was going down the drain; people couldn’t cook properly anymore and were eating too much fancy foreign muck. I wonder if she read the Daily Mail too?

Before our precious traditions were “crushed out of existence” she endeavoured to compile a book of traditional and regional recipes. Some came from older books, others were sent in by the man (or woman) on the street. Strangely enough these traditional recipes include various curry and pillau dishes, and lump in Stotch, Irish and Welsh dishes under the general banner of “England” but we’ll gloss over that.

The methods aren’t always clear, some ingredients are nigh on impossible to find, some recipes are just gross; but it was interesting to see how, and indeed how little, English food has changed over the centuries. So here goes..

Good Things in England by Florence White. First published 1932

Why did you buy the book?

I think it’s mentioned as one of the all time classic cookbooks in Nicola Humble’s marvellous book Culinary Pleasures, an excellent reference for beginner collectors.

Judge a book by it’s cover…

It’s naff, but it was the seventies so we’ll let them off. You’ve never seen a less appetizing salmon roll in your life.

Do you use it?

Not necessarily to cook from, but as a useful reference when researching vintage recipes.

What did you make?

A bunch of stuff. There are a lot of sections, so I tried to cover a bit of everything, which is probably why it’s taken me six months. Ok, we tried mock turtle soup (but without the calf’s head) which was nice, could be used a an interesting starter for a themed dinner party; baked fish with bacon and peas, mock hare – basically a fillet of beef seasoned like game – then ‘Hindle Wakes’ a slow cooked chicken flavoured with lemon and prunes, then coated with streaky bacon and finished in the oven, I recall that one being pretty good. For pudding we had apple pie scented with rosewater, Ripon ginger cake, Shrewsbury cakes (actually biscuits), Gypsy bread and Yorkshire mint pasties (more on those later). I wanted to make the older version of Bath buns but you just can’t get caraway comfits anymore!

Image
Hindle Wakes

Is it still in print?

Surprisingly, yes. It must really be a classic then.

Is it worth buying?

That’s a tough question. You won’t find it much good for everyday cooking. Modern tastes and reliable supplies of food mean we’re unlikely to be making brain sauce or rook pie anytime soon; we don’t need seven ways to cure meat or sixteen varieties of gingerbread. However, it is interesting from a historical or research point of view, or if you like collecting vintage books.

Henry I died from a “surfeit of lampreys”, a gross slimey fish.