Sat Bains

Brown sugar ice cream with a miso caramel swirl

miso caramel ice cream

I don’t own a mobile phone and I’m not on facebook (which I hate) but I do rather uncharacteristically use (and even like) twitter. And I don’t mind admitting that this is mainly to salivate over pictures of beautiful food. Some people may find it super sad but I really am interested in what Nigella (who lives a life of glamour and privilege so far removed from mine) is eating for lunch.

I also follow my almost-neighbour and culinary magician Sat Bains (although I could happily do without the macho gym and gun photos) and he once tweeted a picture of his miso fudge which had me dribbling all over my laptop. I could literally taste how great that flavour combination would be.

Despite not being able to try the real thing (because I’m not wealthy enough to eat at his restaurant on even a yearly basis) the idea stayed imprinted in my brain. Then recently I came across a recipe for miso caramel in Tim Anderson’s new Japanese cookbook ‘Nanban’ and so I just had to give it a go.

In Tim’s recipe he uses the miso caramel to flavour a ‘whippy’ ice cream (made with cornflour not egg yolk) and mixes it in completely. In my version I use my favourite standard vanilla ice cream recipe (only this time I replace the caster sugar with brown sugar) and then use the miso caramel as a ripple. This way you get a pure hit of sugary umami* (for all those Sat lovers out there you’ll know what this means).

All pretensions removed, if you like ice cream, salted caramel and Japanese flavours then it’s very likely that you’ll love this ice cream.

NOTE: umami* – a category of taste in food (besides sweet, sour, salt, and bitter), corresponding to the flavour of glutamates, especially monosodium glutamate (miso is naturally high in MSG, as are many other foods that we all love – Parmesan cheese, soy sauce, marmite, ripe tomatoes, breast milk!)

Brown sugar ice cream with a miso caramel swirl

For the miso caramel

  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 55g miso paste
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

For the brown sugar ice cream

Makes 1 1/2 pints

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 dessert spoon of cornflour
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream

First make the caramel. Heat the milk in the microwave or in a pan until it is nearly boiling.

Then put the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and let it bubble away until in turns a dark amber caramel. Keep a careful eye on things because it will turn very quickly.

Whisk in the hot milk but be careful because it will bubble up. Keep whisking until all the caramel has dissolved.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the miso and vanilla extract.

Pass the mixture through a sieve and then return to the heat and let it simmer away until it thickens up a bit. You want a nice thick pouring consistency. Leave to go completely cold.

Now for the ice cream. In a bowl beat the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar together.

Heat the milk in a saucepan slowly until it is almost boiling and then stir this into the egg and sugar mixture.

Tip the whole lot back into the pan and place on a medium heat stirring continuously with a whisk until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Try not to let it boil or there will be a chance it will curdle and ruin.

Cover the mixture and leave it to cool first to room temperature and then in the fridge.

Once cold, stir in the cream and churn in an ice cream maker until thick.

To assemble, take a plastic container and first put in half the ice cream mixture, then drizzle over half the caramel. Spoon in the remaining ice cream and then finally the rest of the caramel. Take a butter knife and run it through the mixture in a wavy motion to create the swirl.

Place in the freezer to finish hardening.


If you like ice cream and don’t already have one I really do recommend buying an ice cream maker. I have a Magimix Le Glacier ice cream maker – the cheaper sort where you have to freeze the bowl overnight before using (about £50 from John Lewis or Argos). If you don’t have an ice cream maker then you can still follow this recipe but you will need to whip the double cream first before adding it to the milk/egg/sugar mixture. Fold the cream into the custard and then freeze, beating every couple of hours with a fork or in a food processor until it is firm enough to scoop (usually about 6 hours).

If you really can’t be bothered with making ice cream then just make the caramel and pour over shop bought vanilla.


Mushroom kasha with a Sat Bains twist

mushroom kasha

When it comes to dinner in our house we tend to operate an informal rota of the three main carbohydrates – rice, pasta, potato. Not necessarily always in that order but certainly never two nights running of the same. Sometimes this gets a bit monotonous so it’s nice to break it up a bit by having an alternative to add to the mix.

This kasha recipe which uses pearl barley as an alternative source of carbohydrate was given to me when I was a student by my house-mate David’s mum. David had enjoyed it as a child because it has a comforting, baby food like texture a bit like risotto. I cooked it a lot at university but since then, and until recently, it has lain in my recipe book unnoticed.

That was until I visited the wonderful Restaurant Sat Bains back in May (an ultra-special treat for my husband’s birthday – it’s so expensive!) and we ate an amazing dish of pearl barley, belly pork and turnip. They deep fried some of the pearl barley kernels which gave the dish an added dimension and a nutty crunch. After this experience I decided to resurrect my old kasha recipe and add deep fried pearl barley (Sat Bains style) to liven it up a bit. It works nicely so thanks Sat.

Mushroom kasha

Serves 2-4

  • 250g pearl barley
  • 28g knorr beef stock pot, or you can use a vegetable one for a vegetarian dish
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • A sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
  • A splash of vermouth (optional)
  • 12g porcini mushrooms
  • 180g chestnut mushrooms, chopped into thin slices
  • A good handful of chopped parsley
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of cheese (parmesan, cheddar or a mixture of the two)
  • 30g butter
  • Salt and pepper

Start by rinsing the pearl barley in cold water  replacing the water several times until it runs relatively clear. Then transfer to a small saucepan and cover the pearl barley with an inch and half of water and add the stock pot.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir at regular intervals and add more water if necessary.

After this time, remove a heaped tablespoon of pearl barley from the pan and spread out onto a sheet of kitchen roll to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to dry out a bit.

Crush the garlic and add this to the pan along with the rosemary, 15g of the butter, the porcini mushrooms, the vermouth and a couple of twists of the pepper mill. Then continue to cook on a low heat for another 30 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Again you may need to add more water and you will need to stir regularly (but it is not necessary to stir continually like with a risotto). By the end of the cooking time most of the moisture should have been absorbed. Check the seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if necessary. Keep warm on a very low heat with a lid on.

Put a frying pan on a medium heat, add the remaining 15g of butter and sauté the mushrooms until they are soft, and season well with salt and pepper. Stir these into the pearl barley.

In another frying pan heat a good cm of groundnut or sunflower oil until it is close to smoking. Tip in the pearl barley that you dried and set aside earlier and cook for a couple of minutes until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a sheet of kitchen roll.

To finish the dish, add a handful of cheese to the pearl barley and stir well. Serve into bowls and garnish with the remaining cheese, deep fried pearl barley and parsley.