Brown bread and butter ice cream

There is just something so exciting about an ice cream flavour that could also be a breakfast, or lunch or some such. Bread and butter go together yes, but I was a little pessimistic about this applying to ice cream. I heard though from a trustworthy friend of mine that this ice cream was the business, so despite my fear of a soggy bread ice cream nightmare, I went in, full faith. The bread crumbs are coated in sugary butter and put in the oven till crispy and caramelly. It almost turns into a kind of hardened honey comb. The results were absolutely bang-on delicious. I think it could have been sweeter, but other than that it was perfect. This ice cream goes particularly well with fruity accompaniments; I think raspberries complement it well but it would be amazing with strawberries too.

One important note for the recipe is that you don’t want to burn the butter as this would mean ruining the lovely nutty flavour and give you instead an overpowering bitter taste.

Brown bread and butter ice cream

100g brown bread, torn into chunks

120g brown sugar

60g butter (I used lightly salted)

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

125ml whole milk

375ml single cream

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Crumb the bread in a food processor and grease a large baking tray with a little butter.

2. Scatter crumbs over the tray and mix the sugar through. Bake for 15 minutes or until the crumbs appear crisp and golden but do not burn them! Turn the crumbs halfway during the baking process to ensure an even colour.

3. Leave the crumbs to cool and break up the clumps.

4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat until it turns a little golden in colour and smells nutty. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

5. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla. Put 125ml of milk and 1/2 cup of cream in a pan over medium-low heat until it is just about up to the boil. Gradually pour in the egg and vanilla mix, whisking continuously. Pour the mix back into the pan, lower the heat and whisk for a few minutes. The mixture should thicken a bit (to test, run your finger along the back of a wooden spoon and if the liquid runs together this means it isn’t done yet. You want to run your finger along the back of the spoon and see the line you have made).

6. Remove from the heat when ready and add the rest of the cream along with the melted butter and sugary bread crumbs. Cool for a good few hours and churn in an ice cream maker.

Makes 1 litre.

(Recipe adapted from Apples for Jam: Recipes for Life by Tessa Kiros, Murdoch Books)

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Chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and haloumi salad

Haloumi has to be one of my all time favourite cheeses. Saying that, I also am prone to drooling over and consuming any mozzarella (smoked, unsmoked) in sight, comte and any blue cheese that is made by Neal’s yard. This recipe actually calls for manouri but it works really well with haloumi. As the weather turns into full-on summertime, this is perfect for alfresco dining and gets the most out of the seasonal asparagus. The one issue with this salad is that it is probably best to use the ridged griddle pan mentioned, however as I don’t have one of these just yet I just used my trusty cast-iron pan. This salad is a sensation, even if in the picture it looks more like a tofu stir-fry—probably due to the choice of plate! Of all the Ottolenghi salads I have tried as yet, it is my favourite and could possibly be the best salad mankind has ever invented … well, that might be going a bit far … but do try it, it is delicious alongside a rack of lamb or grilled fish.

Chargrilled asparagus, courgettes and haloumi salad

350g cherry tomatoes, halved

140ml olive oil

24 asparagus spears

2 courgettes

200g haloumi cheese, sliced 2cm thick

25g rocket leaves

sea salt and pepper

Basil oil

75ml olive oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

25g fresh basil

pinch of salt

black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the tomatoes with salt , pepper and 3 tablespoons olive oil.

2. Spread out on a baking sheet lined with parchment skin side down and roast for an hour or until it looks partially dried. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

3. Break off the tough end of the asparagus and blanch in lots of boiling hot water for 4 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the spears from cooking any further, drain well. Put the asparagus into a bowl and add 2 tablespoons olive oil along with some salt and pepper to taste.

4. Slice courgettes very thinly lengthwise (a vegetable peeler will do the trick). Mix them with a tablespoon of olive oil along with salt and pepper.

5. Heat your griddle pan on high until it is extremely hot. Grill the courgettes and asparagus, turning to grill evenly. Remove and leave to cool. Fry the cheese on the griddle pan in the remaining olive oil till golden.

6. For the basil oil, food process all the ingredients till smooth. Assemble the salad in layers and drizzle with plenty of basil oil.

Serves 4–6

(Recipe from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, Yotam Ottolenghi, Ebury Press)