Monday, 29 July 2013

Retro Biscuit Ice Cream #5 - Pink Wafer Sandwich

Pink wafer.


Not a particularly masculine pair of words, I'm sure you'll agree. However, my latest creation involves something akin to "building", so I guess I can reclaim a modicum of manliness there. The plan was to create a sort of giant pink wafer, with vanilla ice cream in the middle. Side walls built out of actual pink wafer biscuits, and the top and bottom out of rectangular ice cream wafers.

The first thing to figure out was how to dye the large wafers pink, to create the top and bottom layers of the wafer sandwich. My first idea was to soak them in a solution of red food colouring, then dry them out in the oven. However, they emerged from the oven rather crinkly and deformed - this technique was clearly not going to work. The second approach involved "painting" them with a stronger solution, followed by a brief blast in the oven.

Although not the perfect colour, at least I now had something I could work with. Now it was time to build the wafer construction which would house the ice cream. I cut the pink wafers in half lengthways, to create thin strips to use for the walls. Then, casting my memory back to an earlier creation, I remembered that melted chocolate and marshmallow fluff was possibly the stickiest substance known to man... this would be a perfect glue for sticking all these wafers together!

I filled the structure to the brim with almost-frozen ice cream, and then stuck on the wafer "lid" with more of the gluey mixture.

After tidying up the surplus glue which had started to ooze out, I put the whole thing in the freezer, and after a couple of hours it was ready to eat! It was the perfect size to cut in half and share with someone special. But I ate it all myself.

The sunny weather may be coming to and end, but there's never a bad time for ice cream.



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Double Prawn Cocktail Sandwich

Once upon a time, prawn cocktail was considered the king of sandwich fillings. Prawn cocktail sandwiches took pride of place on buffet tables, M&S chiller cabinets, and - I imagine - eighties power lunches.

This is not the case any more. The noble prawn sandwich struggles to compete against today's offerings of jamón serrano and manchego cheese on artisan sourdough, let alone hay-baked swan thigh with foraged woodland herbs and owl's egg mayo on freshly baked pain de campagne. More often than not, you can find a prawn cocktail sandwich, limp and soggy, reduced to 50p in Boots at 7:45pm.

But I have never lost faith in the prawn cocktail sandwich, and I think I've found a great way to boost its fortunes. I bring you the double prawn cocktail sandwich. Containing prawn cocktail AND prawn cocktail crisps.

Of course, I had to taste a few crisps first, just to check they were up to the high JerryFishbiscuits standards. When the time came to assemble the sandwich, I found that a layer of green stuff was necessary to prevent the crisps from getting soggy (creating "food barriers" is a complex subject which has been touched upon by Mr Noodles here). I wouldn't want anyone thinking that I was going all health conscious.

I honestly believe that the 'Double Prawn Cocktail' could become my new sandwich of choice.

Furthermore, I think many other sandwiches could benefit from the addition of crisps. I'm thinking cheese and pickle sandwiches with a layer of cheese and onion crisps. Or BLT with a layer of smoky bacon crisps. So many possibilities...




Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Retro Biscuit Ice Cream #4 - "Viscount"

Welcome to the latest post in the Retro Biscuit Ice Cream series! Luckily the weather's been absolutely scorchio recently, perfect conditions for enjoying your favourite biscuits in a delicious ice cream format!

As well as creating another instalment in the series, I'm fulfilling two promises with this post. Firstly by satisfying my friend's request to see a "Viscount" style ice cream. And Secondly, by entering for the latest Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge, something I've been meaning to do for some while now. The latest challenge is for herb based ice creams - but more on that later. I do like to try different things out (you could even say I was "adventurous" in my own way), and I've already made ice cream from a custard base. I've also used the condensed milk method, and I've even used Angel Delight ice cream mix (it actually does turn out better than you'd think!). So for my latest retro biscuit ice cream, I'm making frozen yoghurt!

The Viscount was a fine biscuit indeed, with a layer of creamy minty stuff and a milk chocolate coating. I haven't seen it in a few years, in fact I was certain it had been discontinued... but apparently, despite attempts to re-launch it in the "luxury" market, it can often be found in Iceland and pound shops! I suppose I could make a return visit to Iceland in the name of research, but I really don't feel quite ready for that yet. So I'm recreating the noble Viscount in ice cream (sorry... frozen yoghurt) form entirely from memory. I started with a recipe for mint chop chip frozen yoghurt which I found online. The base of this recipe is a frozen yoghurt made with fresh mint (aha!), so I made a syrup with a handful of mint leaves and a ton of sugar. Once the syrup had cooled down, I strained it and whisked it into some greek yoghurt, along with a little buttermilk. I was intrigued to see that the recipe stated that green food colouring was optional... should I leave it off-white as per the Viscount minty filling, or go green in keeping with the colour of the Viscount wrapper (and traditional mint-choc-chip style)? Of course, it had to be green!!

I couldn't be bothered to use the ice cream machine, so I decided to just bung it in the freezer and give it a damn good stir every half hour or so. While it was freezing, I broke up some biscuit (shortcake and digestive) pieces and some milk chocolate chunks, ready to stir into the yoghurt once it was almost set.

But I suddenly had a last minute brainwave. I remembered the box of After Eight mints we had in the dining room. Somebody had bought them round a while ago, and they had been sitting there ever since (the mints, not the person).

I know what you're thinking. It's not 1981 any more. Who, for the love of god, brings After Eights with them when they're invited for dinner? We have strange friends. But that's another story - the point is that this was a perfect way to acheive an extra level of minty chocolatey tastiness. I mashed them up and stuck them in the microwave for a bit, and stirred the brown minty goo into the frozen yoghurt along with the biscuit and milk chocolate chunks.

It may look a little messy, but the Viscount-themed 'fro-yo' was pretty good! Admittedly the combination of the mint syrup and the melted After Eights resulted in severe mint overload, but I decided this was probably a good thing.




Thursday, 11 July 2013

Chilli Cheese Dog Pies

I know it's a little bit late for the 4th of July, but here's a little tribute to America, the undisputed kings of junk food. Chili cheese dog pies.

I would have loved to have brought a whole pile of chili dogs to the July Band Of Bakers event, but it wouldn't really be practical. It wouldn't really be baking, either. So this is the next best thing.

First of all I obviously had to make the chili. I made it fairly hot, with a large chili pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, Tabasco, and smoked chili paste. Once it had cooled, it was time to assemble the pies.

Twelve individual pastry cases with hot dogs inside...

Topped with chili...

And red cheese...

And yellow cheese (as I imagine Americans might call it). Then baked in the oven for 20 minutes.

Served warm(ish) with a dash of American mustard.

It's funny how things always taste hotter when you're cooking them. My wife coughed and spluttered when she tried a spoon of the chili, but in the final pie format, it tasted rather tame. Just as well I brought the mustard!



Monday, 1 July 2013

Retro Biscuit Ice Cream #3 - "Orange Club"

I'm not really a 'social media' type of fellow. I supposed I'm just too busy coming up with ridiculous dishes to spend time engaging with the twitterati. But when my PR representative took to Twitter to ask my numerous fans what retro biscuit they'd like to see turned into an ice cream, I was deluged with responses. While I'd love to make all of them, it would take me literally most of the morning. So I've just picked one for now - the orange Club.

I've always liked Clubs, the layer of chocolate was pleasingly plentiful, and the biscuit was satisfyingly crisp. They now come in four flavours - milk chocolate, fruit (raisin), orange, and mint. But back in the day, there was also a plain chocolate variety with a golf ball on the wrapper. Now why, I ask you, would they put a bloody golf ball on the packet? What's all that about?

Anyway, for the orange club ice cream, I decided that the best approach would be to make two separate ice creams - chocolate and orange - and sort of swirl them together with biscuit chunks. I'd recently read about a way of making ice cream by simply whipping up double cream with condensed milk and putting in the freezer, so I decided to use that approach for this project.

For the chocolate ice cream, I melted some milk chocolate with a bit of cream, and then when it had cooled, whipped it up with some more cream and some condensed milk.

For the orange ice cream, I added some orange rind and a little marmalade to the cream / condensed milk mixture, and whipped it up in the same way. I put alternate spoonfuls of the two ice creams into a plastic tub along with pieces of shortcake, mixed it about a bit, and put it into the freezer overnight.

It looked a mess in the tub, but actually looked pretty damn good when served in scoops. In honour of the Club's thick chocolate coating, what better way to serve this than with a topping of my home made chocolate orange 'Ice Magic'?

I'm not 100% sold on the cream and condensed milk method of making ice cream, though. The texture didn't seem quite right - not rich and dense like a custard ice cream, nor did it resemble a soft-scoop ice cream. It was a litte bit... crumbly. Maybe a fancy restaurant would call it an "iced parfait" or something. It still tasted pretty good thanks to the awesome flavour combination, but I reckon there are better ways of making ice cream!