Peanut

Bread and ice cream

bread

We’ve had a really tough week. Ben’s dad died. We knew it was coming (he had cancer) but this didn’t make it any easier.

My first instinct is to turn to food for comfort (I think it’s the only way I know). And for our family ‘happy’ foods would be ice cream or perhaps a home baked loaf.

So on Sunday we had a sugar-crazed ice cream ‘mash up’. I made vanilla ice cream and presented it with a selection of sauces, with sweets to garnish, in true ‘Pizza Hut Ice Cream Factory’ style. This was reminiscent of sleepovers when I was 14 where we would eat pizza and ice cream until we felt sick and then watch naff horror films like Nightmare on Elm Street or Child’s Play.

The ice cream ‘mash up’ was fun and temporarily took our mind off things. Only just like my teenage self we got over excited and ate so much that we felt ill and had to lie down and listen to audio books (in lieu of television) for the rest of the day.

In the end it was the next morning’s freshly baked bread that won through. Slathered with real butter this was the stuff of true, wholesome, everyday happiness.

With Ben away watching over his ailing father, it has fallen on me to make the daily bread. I had to ask for his current recipe which has been updated since the one I posted back in September 2013 (the main change being the larger size since our children now eat more than we do).

So please find below four recipes for ice cream sauces and one for a good loaf of bread.

Peace be with you David Shelton (1950-2017).

Ice Cream Mash up

icecreammashup

For my homemade vanilla ice cream recipe click here. Or just buy some ready made.

Each of the sauce recipes below makes a jam jar full. More than you’ll need for one session but they will keep well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, or you could freeze any leftovers.

Milk chocolate peanut sauce

  • 175ml of double cream
  • 100g of milk chocolate
  • 100g of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy it’s up to you)
  • 3 tablespoons of golden syrup

Heat all the ingredients slowly in a saucepan until everything is melted and amalgamated. Best served warm.

Hot chocolate fudge sauce

  • 80ml of double cream
  • 60ml of golden syrup
  • 40g of dark brown sugar
  • 30g of cocoa powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 85g of good quality dark chocolate
  • 15g of butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Heat all the ingredients slowly in a saucepan until everything is melted and amalgamated.

This creates a thick sauce. Add a little more full milk or double cream if you want it thinner.

Salted caramel sauce

  • 175g light soft brown sugar
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g butter
  • ½ tsp salt (I prefer a bit more but start with ½ tsp and see what you think)

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan set over a low heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up and bubble the sauce for 2-3 mins until golden and syrupy. Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving. Can be made up to 3 days in advance and chilled – gently reheat to serve.

The other option is to open a tin of caramel condensed milk and add a good pinch of Maldon sea salt.

Raspberry sauce

  • 350g bag of frozen raspberries
  • 50g of icing sugar

Heat the raspberries (straight from frozen) with the icing sugar over a low heat in a saucepan on the hob. Let it simmer for a few minutes (3-5). I like a smooth texture with no pips so I sieve the mixture before serving but this is a total pain and does take ages (plus nightmare washing up to get the pips out of the sieve). If you don’t mind pips then just skip this step.

Or, alternatively, whizz up a tin of raspberries in syrup and sieve (or not).

Best served chilled.

sauce

Sumptuous sauces (clockwise from top left, raspberry, milk chocolate peanut, salted caramel and dark chocolate).

sweets

Sprinkles

 

Ben’s bread (current version)

  • 900g of strong bread flour (mainly white with 200-300g of spelt or wholemeal if you like)
  • 12g of salt
  • 6g of easy bake yeast
  • 550ml of water
  • (Optional) A small handful of seeds of your choice e.g. sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, poppy

Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Bring together with your hands and knead for at least 10 minutes.

Leave in the bowl covered with cling film until it has at least doubled in size – usually 2 hours but this may take a bit longer if it’s a cold day.

Knock back the dough with your hands and knead gently for another minute. Grease a large bread tin (mine is 28.5cm long, 13.5cm wide and 7cm deep) and  press the dough into the tin. Leave to rise in the tin for another 30-60 minutes. The dough needs to reach just above the top of the tin and this for me usually takes around 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220oC or 230oC if, like me, you like a really golden crust and put a tin of boiling water in the bottom of the oven to create some steam (this also helps with the crust formation).

Bake for 18 minutes at 220oC/230oC.

Then remove from the tin and bake for 17 minutes at 180oC.

Leave to cool before slicing.

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Pad Thai

pad thai

This is another gem from my little pink Thai cookbook. It has become one of our favourite mid-week suppers.

When we were travelling in Thailand we ate Pad Thai (basically Thai fried noodles) an awful lot. As we were often off the beaten track and not able to speak the language this was the one thing we could both pronounce and rely on to be cheap and delicious. While it is ubiquitous in Thailand it seems as though every food place has its own slightly different recipe therefore you don’t feel as though you’re being too boring.

There was one occasion though when it let me down. We had walked to a road side restaurant in Kamphaeng Phet (a town not used to tourists). The waiter was unable to understand our few Thai words and so produced an old English/Thai dictionary. I looked up and pointed to the English word ‘noodle’ where upon the gentleman in question looked at me with a very puzzled expression. It was only then that I realised that I’d actually tried to order ‘a simpleton’. We ended up letting the waiter just bring us the dish of the day, a crab dish. It was delicious and proved that being adventurous often does pay off.

This dish is very simple to make. Once you’ve done the chopping and mixed up the sauce it takes about 5 minutes to cook. It does taste very good with home-made noodles but if you don’t have time for this then the ones you can buy ready to use (like Amoy ‘straight to wok’) are fine.

Pad Thai (Thai fried noodles)

Serves 2 generously

  • About 500g of fresh rice noodles, or cooked dried noodles, or home-made fresh noodles cooked (see my post Home-made pasta). This is the prepared weight
  • 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon roasted peanuts, chopped
  • A good handful of chives or the green tops of spring onions, chopped (you can use the whites of the spring onion as a garnish on top)
  • Fresh vegetables, I generally use cabbage (finely chopped) and carrot (shavings made with a peeler so that they cook really quickly). In the photo I used kale which was fine. Bean sprouts are good too.
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Red chilli (optional)

Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce (or you can use Golden Mountain sauce as a vegetarian alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1-3 tablespoons of light brown or granulated sugar (the original recipe uses 3 tablespoons but I just can’t bring myself to use that amount of sugar so I tend to use about 1 ½ and it tastes fine)
  • 2 tablespoons of tamarind juice (or you can use lime juice as an alternative)

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Put 1 tablespoon of oil into a very hot wok and fry the garlic for a few seconds (only until golden brown) then add the noodles and vegetables. Fry for a couple of minutes to combine and then add the sauce and stir again until heated through.

Move the noodles to one side of the pan and add another tablespoon of oil into the clear space and add the eggs stirring briefly to mix the yolk and white.

Now leave until the underside of the egg mixture is cooked then spread the noodles over the top and leave briefly. Then give everything a good stir – you want to separate the egg a little whilst still leaving some larger chunks. Add the chives or spring onions and stir again.

Serve with a sprinkle of peanuts, lime wedges (if you have some) and rough chopped red chilli (if you like a little heat).

You can also add dried shrimps, fresh prawns, chicken or tofu to this dish. I would add these at the start with the garlic. Personally I prefer to keep it a simple vegetable only affair.

Vegetarians will need to use a vegetarian version of fish sauce for this dish.

NoodlesDSCN1672