Dark Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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A thin slice of this dark chocolate tart is all you need (though you might want more)

This Saturday morning, the sun shining bright despite patches of cloud hanging heavy in the sky, I rolled myself out of bed and headed down to the farmer’s market. Although I love a lazy Saturday morning as much as the next person, there’s something so invigorating about the bustle of an early morning market and so satisfying about bringing home the freshest food to be eaten on the day it was bought that I just couldn’t resist.

Creme Egg Ice Cream (Fior di Latte, Milk Chocolate, Passion Fruit)

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A thin milk chocolate shell encloses soft, pale fior di latte ice cream

Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. How do you eat yours?

If you’re me, the answer is not very often. Despite their popularity (300 million of the things are sold every year in the UK), and strong association with all things seasonal (Creme Egg ads are to Easter what Coca Cola ads are to Christmas, sad but true), I’m just not that keen on them. Give me a caramel-filled alternative or handful of Smartie-like Mini Eggs any day over the sickly fondant slop that fills the nation’s favourite Easter egg.

That’s not to say I don’t like the idea of them. There’s something about peeling back the foil, biting off the top and licking out that gloopy goo which brings out the child in all of us. This childish joy has been so perfectly captured in the Creme Egg ad campaigns that every year I’ll be tempted to try one, opening it in eager anticipation only to be defeated after a couple of bites by the onset of sugar on top of more sugar. Continue reading

Chocolate sorbet & Honey sesame brittle ice cream

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Creamy chocolate sorbet & wholesome honey sesame ice cream

For me, cooking for others is all about the joy of shared experience. It’s family sitting round a big kitchen table and breaking bread, friends catching up over long boozy dinners, the look on people’s faces when you emerge from the kitchen – whether carrying an incredible confection or a simple supper – and the satisfaction of introducing your loved ones to favourite recipes or brand new flavours.

Cooking for others can also be tricky; there are different tastes to consider, different appetites to allow for, and in some cases, diet restrictions to bear in mind. Heading round my parents for dinner recently, I knew I wanted to make something using the ice cream maker they’d given me for my birthday, but was confronted by a few constraints. My Dad, as per your (larger than) average middle-aged man, is on a semi-permanent diet to keep his heart in healthy shape, and my Mum doesn’t have a hugely sweet tooth.

Luckily I’ve not yet inherited either of these troublesome traits, but I wanted to create an ice cream (or two) which they would both enjoy. After a few hours trawling through recipe books and tinkering with ingredients, these two flavours are the result. Continue reading

Butterscotch Pecan Ice Cream Tartufi

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Creamy butterscotch pecan ice cream in a smooth chocolate shell

Cooking, for me, is all about memories; indulging in old ones and creating new ones. Looking back over previous posts, you’ll notice that the vast majority include the lines ‘When I was little’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to recreate’, and I think this sentiment is somewhat universal. Much of our lives can be measured in the edible; from celebratory meals and birthday cakes, to the comforting smell of a Sunday roast, the zing of an exotic new spice or a single taste which transports you instantly to a certain time or place.

When I was given an ice cream maker for my birthday, there were certain flavours I knew I had to make. Rich chocolate and vanilla – my all-time favourite childhood combination – velvet smooth and dripping from a giant cone; milky straciatella, packed with fragile shards of bittersweet chocolate; nutty gianduja, a slightly more sophisticated take on Nutella, and mint choc chip – for me the flavour of France – piled high in a sundae glass and topped with delicate clouds of crème chantilly. Continue reading

Gianduja ice cream chocolate chip cookie sandwiches

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Hazelnut heaven: creamy gianduja ice cream sandwiched between chewy chocolate chip cookies

What could be better than a scoop of gianduja ice cream, velvet-smooth and creamy with sweet chocolate undertones and the richness of roasted hazelnuts?

If you’re an ice cream purist, not much. But if you enjoy the sweet things in life on a scale of decadence just tipping into over-indulgence, I’d suggest trying a scoop of gianduja ice cream sandwiched between two crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies. It’s heaven. Or as close as you’re going to get through a mouthful of frozen dessert anyway. Continue reading