Wednesday, 31 July 2013

In Search of Tutti Frutti Ice Cream

Do you remember Tutti Frutti Ice Cream? I enjoyed eating it when I was young. Walls Ice Cream (now owned by Unilever) used to make it at the Ice Cream factory in Gloucester. Nowadays it just doesn't seem to be made anymore. Apparently Tutti Frutti Ice Cream was created in the USA during the 1950s by Roy Motherhead, who ran an ice cream business in Okolona, Kentucky. Although 'tutti frutti' is Italian for 'all fruit', the ice cream was named after its inventor's daughter, who had the nickname 'Toodie'. The flavour won several national awards and later became so popular that Little Richard used the name in his song Tutti Frutti in 1955.

Tutti Frutti Ice Cream is made with chopped glacé (candied) fruits and raisins. The ice cream I remember eating had a slight rum flavour and traditional Italian tutti frutti contains raisins steeped in brandy so perhaps Walls added a little rum essence to their mix. The glacé fruits can be of any variety but those used in Tutti Frutti Ice Cream are commonly cherry, pineapple, apricot, ginger and angelica. Tutti Frutti Ice Cream is popular in India and contains glacé fruits of papaya and mango. Sometimes nuts are added as well.

Glacé fruits have a long history as this method of preserving fruits by poaching them in sugar syrup was a way to keep your fruit over the winter months. You can find them today at some supermarkets but if you want to try making Tutti Frutti Ice Cream at home Country Products have a fantastic range of glacé fruits available to buy online.

Strangely enough Tutti Frutti seems to have made it into the flavoured vodka market and I have spotted Aivy Tutti Frutti Vodka from Sweden and Poppin' Tutti Frutti Vodka from the USA. Brothers also brought out a Tutti Frutti Pear Cider (Perry) after people mixed their Strawberry, Lemon and Toffee Apple flavours together to create a new flavour at the Glastonbury Festival in 2009. It was replaced with the similar Wild Fruit flavour this year. I think I'll stick to the ice cream!

Tutti Frutti Ice Cream

4 eggs, separated
300ml double cream
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp chopped green glacé cherries
2 tbsp chopped red glacé cherries
2 tbsp chopped glacé pineapple
1 tbsp chopped glacé ginger
1 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp rum

Add the egg yolks and sugar to a bowl and beat until thick. In a separate bowl whip the double cream and add the rum when the mixture begins to thicken. Continue to whip until stiff. Fold the egg yolks and sugar mixture into the whipped cream. Add the glacé fruits and raisins.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold the stiffened egg whites into the egg yolk/cream/ glacé fruits mixture.

Spoon into a container, cover with lid and freeze for 4 – 6 hours until it is firm.


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Gooseberries and Sauvignon Blanc

Gooseberries are ripening at the moment and I have just picked a basket of sweet red ones. We've always had them in the garden but the red ones are a recent addition and they are lovely. Years ago Gooseberries were so popular that Gooseberry Clubs flourished in the north of England, mainly in Cheshire, Yorkshire, Lancashire and the Midlands. These clubs organised annual shows where the largest and heaviest Gooseberries won prizes such as copper kettles and brass pans. At their height in 1845 there were over 170 Clubs in existence and some of the Gooseberries shown were the size of plums!

Gooseberry bushes can attain great age and size. In 1821, at Duffield, near Derby, a bush had been planted for at least 46 years, and was 12 yards in circumference, while two, trained against a wall near Chesterfield, reached upwards of 50 feet in growth from end to end.

Size wasn't the Gooseberry's only claim to fame, colour was too. As enthusiasts selected seeds for cultivation Gooseberries were developed with purplish red, blue, greenish white and yellow shades.

Gooseberries were first grown in Britain in the 16th century and had medicinal uses – they were recommended to plague victims in London. The Gooseberry is quite high in Vitamin C so perhaps this helped its reputation as a cure. Gooseberries often grow wild in Britain in copses and hedgerows – they are actually members of the currant family, Ribes. Folklore has it that fairies would shelter from danger in the prickly bushes and hence Gooseberries became known as 'fayberries.''

No one really knows where they acquired the name 'Gooseberry' from. Some say it's because it was once customary to send out a chaperone with young lovers to make sure they didn't get up to any mischief and more often than not the chaperone would make themselves scarce by going off to pick Gooseberries. Perhaps this is where we get the sayings of 'to play gooseberry' and 'born under a gooseberry bush' from?

Gooseberries have been used in the kitchen in lots of different ways – as jams and jellies, chutney’s, pies and crumbles, in home made wine making and in sauces for fish (they are great with mackerel). One of the oldest Gooseberry desserts is the Gooseberry Fool which dates back to 1598.

Gooseberry Fool

450g gooseberries
4 tbsp caster sugar
300ml double cream
handful of gooseberries and flaked almonds for garnish.

Top and tail the gooseberries and add them to a saucepan with the caster sugar and a little water (not too much, a few tablespoons of water will do). Simmer until the gooseberries have popped and burst. Remove from the heat to cool – chill in the fridge if necessary. If you want a smooth Fool then sieve the gooseberry mixture to remove the pips and skins. You can also set aside some of the mix to serve as a base for the Fool if you prefer.

Whip the double cream until it is thick and will stand in peaks, Fold in the gooseberry mixture. Serve chilled with a sprinkling of gooseberries and flaked almonds as a garnish.

'Gooseberry' is a commonly used flavour descriptor for wines made with the Sauvignon Blanc grape, especially if they come from cooler climates. The Gooseberry's flavour is tart but tangy-sweet and its fragrance is a little like an unripe grape. A good example of a wine expressing a gooseberry flavour is Chateau Le Rondailh 2011 (red gooseberry). The blend of grapes used in the wine are 20% Semillon and 80% Sauvignon Blanc and it comes from Saint Macaire in Bordeaux.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Add a Little Sparkle to Summer: Cool and Refreshing Desserts Using Bubbly

If you are feeling the heat this summer I have 2 recipes that will cool you down nicely and both use sparkling wine to add some refreshing fizz. You can use Champagne if you wish but as some Champagnes can verge on the dry side I use a fruity sparkling wine instead such as Comte de Laube, Blanc de Blancs. In fact Nick has a new wine arriving shortly called Comte de Ferrand and I can't wait to try this one.

And, of course, if you have any sparkling wine left over from making these chilled desserts you know what to do with it . . . Cheers!

Sparkling Wine and Raspberry Jellies

The best advice when it comes to keeping those bubbles when making the dishes is to use chilled glasses or bowls and to pour the wine very, very slowly.

2 cups raspberries
80g of caster sugar
30g icing sugar
4 leaves of gelatine
200ml of Rosé Sparkling Wine, well chilled
200ml double cream A few drops of red food coloring

Boil 295ml of water with the caster sugar for 5 minutes to make a sugar syrup. Remove from thge heat. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cold water until soft. Drain and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Add to the sugar syrup, mix well and set aside to cool.

Once cooled, divide the raspberries up into chilled glasses (or bowls) and then very slowly pour the sparkling wine to the sugar syrup and gelatine mix. Pour this over the raspberries and leave to set in the fridge overnight.

The next day whip the cream, adding the icing sugar and food colouring at the end of the process. Use this to decorate the sparkling wine and raspberry jellies and serve chilled.

Sparkling Wine Sabayon with Mango and Pistachios

Sabayon is the French version of Zabaglione (which is an Italian dessert usually made with sweet Marsala wine - however the Italians often make it with sparkling Moscato d'Asti. In France its made with Champagne).

8 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
175m Sparkling Wine
1 mango, plus 80g caster sugar
Handful of pistachios, finely chopped

Peel the mango and dice into cubes. Dissolve the 80g of caster sugar with a little water in a saucepan on low heat, add the diced mango and cook for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. Place the mango into glasses and set aside.

Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using an electric whisk, whip the Sabayon mixture (which should become pale and thick like whipped cream – you want it to be soft and frothy). Very slowly add the sparkling wine to the mixture. Pour the Sabayon over the mango and sprinkle with chopped pistachios. Serve chilled.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The World's Most Expensive Cocktails and Some French Summer Cocktails To Try at Home

According to the Guinness World Records the (latest) world's most expensive cocktail was made in February. The cocktail was made by Joel Heffernan at Club 33 in Melbourne, Australia. It sold for £8,583 and the reason it was so expensive is down to its ingredients: Cognac Croizet's 1858 'Cuvee Leonie,' Grand Marnier Quintessence, Chartreuse Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge and a dash of Angostura bitters. It is called the 'Winston' after Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who once enjoyed a bottle of 1858 Cognac Croizet with Allies commander General Dwight Eisenhower on the night before D-Day in 1944. The cocktail was presented alongside sugar vines crafted by a pastry chef and garnished with chocolate nutmeg dust and essence of poppy seed and roses.

The second most expensive cocktail in the world was made in 2012 by Salvatore Calabrese at the Playboy Club in London and cost £5,500. Named 'Salvatore's Legacy' the cocktail is made up of ingredients more than 200 years old: 1778 Clos de Griffier Vieux Cognac, 1770 Kummel Liqueur, Dubb Orange Curacao circa 1860 and two dashes of Angostura Bitters circa 1900s.

The third most expensive cocktail in the world hails from Dubai and was made in 2008. The chief mixologist at the Skyview Bar in the Burj Al Arab Hotel created the '27.321,' which is named for the floor where the Skyview Bar is located (27th) and the height of the Burj Al Arab (321 metres).  

 The 27 .321 costs £3,766 a glass and is made from Macallan 55 year old single malt natural colour whisky, exclusively produced 'dried fruit bitters' and homemade passion fruit sugar. It is served over ice cubes made of water from the Macallan distillery in Scotland, along with an oak stirrer made from a Macallan Cask and is presented in a Baccarat 18-karat gold glass, which the buyer gets to take home.

Lastly the cocktail that started all this 'world's most expensive' competitiveness off in the first place is the Ritz Sidecar which was created at the Bar Hemingway of the Ritz Hotel in Paris. The Sidecar cocktail was invented there for a regular customer who always arrived by motorcycle with a sidecar to warm him up after his journey. The Ritz Sidecar is made with the rare Ritz Reserve 1830 Cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice. The price tag in 2011 was around £1,160.

French Summer Cocktails


The Marquisette is a cocktail that comes from the Ardèche in the Rhone-Alpes region of France.

20 cl White Rum
10 cl Mandarin Liqueur (the French use Mandarine Napoleon)
2 bottles of White Wine
1 litre Sparkling White Wine (chilled)
33 cl Orange Syrup
4 Lemons
4 Oranges
1 litre of Lemonade (chilled)

Cut the oranges and lemons into small pieces and place into a large bowl. Add the orange syrup, Mandarin Liqueur, White Rum and White Wine. Mix and let stand 48 – 72 hours in the fridge. Just before serving add the chilled Lemonade and Sparkling Wine.

Soupe Angevine

Soupe Angevin hails from Anjou (a province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley) – which is the home of the liqueur Cointreau.

1 bottle of Sparkling White Wine (for authenticity use Cremant de Loire)
10 cl Lemon juice
10 cl of Sugar syrup
10 cl Cointreau

Pour the Cointreau, Lemon juice and sugar syrup into a large bowl. Mix well and let it stand overnight in the fridge. Before serving add the bottle of chilled Sparkling Wine and stir very gently so that you don't lose too many bubbles!


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Sweet Cicely, Chartreuse and Summer Salad

Fennel Tops are the latest variety of leaf that is being added to bags of salad leaves (Steve’s Leaves have just launched fennel fronds, which have been added to baby spinach, green batavia and red chard which are now available from Waitrose). The young fennel tops have an aniseed flavour and fennel itself is a classic partnership with fish. However there is a lovely plant that is native to Britain that I think is far superior: Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata). The whole plant is edible: its leaves, seeds and roots taste a little like anise or subtle sweet liquorice and it has been used for centuries as a sweetener in cooking.

Sweet Cicely is an old cottage garden favourite and was traditionally grown near to the kitchen door. Bees love the flowers which open in early Spring and Sweet Cicely in flower looks a little like Cow Parsley or Queen Anne's Lace but is much prettier. The bright green, soft fern-like leaves are used to sweeten jams, desserts and cakes (they are particularly good with rhubarb, red currants and gooseberries); they are also good in salads, pasta, soups, omelettes, quiches, custards, ice creams and with fish. 
I usually stuff the belly of sea bass, trout or mackerel with the leaves of Sweet Cicely and it gives the fish a lovely flavour.

The un-ripe seeds can be used in salads and in salad dressings, when ripened they can be ground into a spice or used like cloves in apple pies and the roots can be roasted like parsnips or boiled and sliced into stir fries or salads.

Charlie Lee-Potter has a great recipe for Crab Salad with Sweet Cicely, Wild Flowers and Avocado as well as Sweet Cicely and Cucumber Cocktail with a Lovage Straw over on her blog
Eggs On The Roof.

Years ago the seeds were pounded into a paste and used to make a fragrant furniture polish in the north of England and children used to suck the ripe black / dark brown seeds as sweets. Apparently chewing the un-ripe seeds aids digestion.

You can make wine from Sweet Cicely, though I have never tried it, and it is famously used to make the liqueur,
Chartreuse. Chartreuse is made by Carthusian monks to a recipe that was given to them in 1605. The recipe for the liqueur was a gift from the Marshal of Artillery for King Henri IV and was an ancient manuscript titled "An Elixir of Long Life".

Today only two monks have been entrusted by the Order with the secret of producing the liqueur. Only these two know the recipe and how the ingredients are prepared!