Tag Archives: kitchen experiment

Peanut butter: Round 2

peanut butter #2

This time, I used a bag of chilli-flavoured peanuts. Chopped a small handful, ground the rest down to a powder in the blender, then mixed in the oil in a separate bowl. Much easier this time. And it’s a good result – a pleasant orangey colour, with normal peanut butter tastiness followed up by as much chilli heat as you’d probably want in a sandwich.

Might not work so well in a peanut butter and jam sandwich, mind. Cream cheese, maybe, but jam, no.

Balsamic Ice Cream

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of balsamic ice cream since I first saw it years ago. Finally decided to take the plunge and make it, just using a standard base ice cream mixture. All I can really say for it taste-wise is that it’s very odd, as you’d imagine it to be. Will have to inflict it on someone else to see if it wins approval.

Balsamic Ice Cream
Makes about 600/700ml (450gish). Fits easily in a Carte d’Or tub.

100g sugar
65ml water
2 egg yolks
300ml tub double/whipping cream
1 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar

Dissolve the sugar in the water and boil til syrupy (you can test it by dripping some into a glass of cold water and seeing if its squishy). Whisk the egg yolks with a splash of hot water until pale and thick, then gradually stir in the syrup. Whip the cream (to soft peaks) and then mix the two, adding the vinegar, beating back to soft peaks. Stick in a tub and freeze – no need to stir every few minutes (phew!), it’ll be ok to scoop straight from tub to gob.

Balsamic Ice Cream

That’s it all tubbed up and straight out of the freezer. If I had a proper scoop I’d show it served. Then again tub + spoon is probably how it’s going to end up being demolished, so think of this as a serving suggestion.

Progress Report: Chilli Oil

OK so I kinda forgot to post about this when I set it going… it was about a month ago (I think). About a tablespoon of chilli flakes dumped in a small bottle of olive oil with a few peppercorns, a star anise, couple of cardamom pods, couple of bay leaves, that kinda thing. Just had my first taste of it – losing the cardamom pods on the way (mmm, crunchy) – and it’s coming along nicely. Left the mouth nice and warm after a bowl of salad (rocket, tomatoes, feta & cucumber… was supposed to have some olives in it as well but I snacked on too many when I got home from work so didn’t really fancy more) but could definitely do with a bit more maturity.

Anyway, here it is. Focussing mainly on its deliciously orange glory. Yay!

Progress Report: Plum Brandy

Some time ago, you may recall, I began to prepare a bottle of plum brandy. My plan was to forget about it for a few months, something I achieved admirably. This was helped by my lack of a funnel, which would make getting the strained goo back into the bottle a bit too messy for my liking.

I finally found a funnel. Two, actually. Cute little metal ones from TK Maxx – that place is a goldmine for kitchenware, which is useful considering it’s about the only place in Birmingham that sells any (affordable) kitchenware at all any more.

Anyway… this is what the brandy looks like now. It’s been strained through a fine-ish colander, so some of the pulp has gone back in the bottle, along with the cassia bark pieces and a little more *cough*brandy*cough*. It is tasting very nice indeed. A bit too sweet though – hoping the extra *cough*brandy*cough* will temper that. More news once I get round to getting some muslin for the final straining.

By the way, momentous occasion… first non-phone-camera picture taken for the blog. Thank you mother and father for the birthday pressie. 🙂

Plum Liqueur

yeah, yeah, plums, blah blah why can’t I finish them *breaks down in tears*

Actually, this never came to fruition thanks to the charming checkout girl in Tesco on New Street. I was obviously having a young-looking day. Or week actually – mental note made not to straighten hair again while it’s this short. Bah. Anyway it took me a good few days to remember/be arsed to go buy some brandy, because I decided that after the condiments had been dealt with, booze was the way forwards. So… the saga of the plum brandy begins. This’ll probably be about 300% alcohol by the time I remember about it and go to drink it. As it is I have some preserved lemons in my fridge that I made last year some time, and I’ve still not touched them apart from the monthly fridge-clear-out-what-the-hell-is-THAT routine. Then they get a quick shake and a ‘well I suppose they’re supposed to look like that’. I’ve got no sodding idea, I’ve never seen a preserved lemon.

Er… back onto the liqueur anyway.

Plum Liqueur
Makes probably just under a litre, but not sure yet.

1 1/2 lb plums
1 1/2 cups brandy
1 1/2 cups sugar
few strips cassia bark

You’re supposed to do this in a proper aging container, but the way I see it is this: did the peasants ever have proper aging containers in ye olde days? Did farmers out in the middle of bloody nowhere have £300 sterilisation kits? No. So bugger off, I’ll do it how I want to. Accordingly, I’m making this in an old glass olive oil bottle. The alcohol will keep it plenty clean. So I personally pitted and cut the plums into eighths, slid them into the bottle, shoved the sugar and brandy over, slotted some cassia bark in (you can use cinnamon sticks but I had the cassia to hand) and screwed the top on. Now I’m going to try to ignore it for a couple of months. I shall post again about this. Not that anyone actually reads this blog, you’re all too busy not reading or commenting on my music one, but meh. What can you do.

NB I had 1 pound 10 and 3/4 ounces of plums before pitting and including the weight of the ice cream tub they were in. I forgot to count them. But that amount perfectly fits into a 1 litre Filippo Berio olive oil bottle, which depending on the size of your plums and how much you may have to cut off them if they are imperfect and you are picky, leaves enough for a stiff drink or some brandy butter.


Hot Plum Sauce

fner fner.


Anyway, the ongoing saga of the tray of plums… cake done and eaten. Chutney made and maturing. Er… Er… desperately searching for ideas… plum sauce! Yes, maybe some chinesey-type plum sauce.

Hot Plum Sauce
Makes about an ice-cube bag full.

450g plums, halved and pitted
2 red chillies, chopped
150g caster sugar
100ml white wine vinegar
150ml cold water
1 inch root ginger, grated
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
a load of ground black pepper

Stick everything in a big saucepan. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain through a colander. Serve/store.

Now the original recipe says de-seed the chillies. Why on earth would you do that? Get two bog-standard salsa chillies, leave the seeds in. Go on, I dare you. Life’s for the living, and who needs tastebuds anyway.

At the first opportunity I’m going to have this on ice-cream.

Also you may be wondering why I have measured it in an ice-cube bag. It’s because it only lasts a short time in the fridge, and I really don’t eat plum sauce that fast. So, it has to be stored in small quantities. Ice cube trays + sugary stuff = mess. Ice cube bags, however, seemed to be the perfect idea. PERFECT I SAY.

This has yet to be proven. Will update if it turns out to be a terrible idea. Note that on the pic, as it’s frozen, it’s a much lighter colour than it is fresh. It’s a gorgeous… well, plummy red colour. Surprisingly.