Test kitchen

I think this is only my second cooking post. Probably because by the time I think to photograph something, I’ve eaten half of it.

So, I said I’d post the recipe when I made the plum pudding vodka and brandy butter ice cream. The vodka I made on Saturday. Recipe can be found here, but it’s very easy: put brown sugar, dried fruit and spices in a bowl and pour a bottle of vodka over it:

Plum pudding vodka

Plum pudding vodka

Leave it for a week, then strain it into a bottle. The dark brown liquid doesn’t look very good, but is very tasty. You can stir the vodka-y fruit into ice cream, although I’ve been known to have spoonfuls of it for breakfast. Functioning alcoholic, moi?

We’ll have the vodka as a shot over brandy butter ice cream, because, really, who actually likes Christmas pudding? The only reason people have it is because a bowl of brandy butter for dessert looks bad. And since brandy butter on ice cream is good (almost as good as my childhood favourite, yoghurt on ice cream), why not combine the two?

I started with this recipe. It’s egg-less, so that makes it an American-style ice cream and not a French-style ice cream, or something. But this recipe has one major flaw: it’s backwards. Beating softened butter into whipped cream doesn’t work – you end up with over-beaten cream with lumps of butter in it. Then, of course, once you put the mixture into the frozen ice cream machine to churn, the lumps of butter just harden. I say “of course”, but this didn’t occur to me until it had been churning for a while.

So, ignore the order in the recipe. Whip the cream and milk and set aside. Cream the butter and icing sugar, then add the brandy and vanilla, then fold in a bit of the cream mixture, and then the rest:

Ice cream mixture in the mixer

Ice cream mixture in the mixer

I know that this photo is unnecessary because combining eggs, sugar, milk and cream ain’t rocket surgery. And it’s possibly also of the first, lumpy, effort. But I noticed – from the container in the background – that I always cook in the same spot on the bench. That’s not very interesting either. Sorry.

So, put the mixture in the ice cream machine. Then make a cup of tea. Perhaps your machine is better than ours, but I always have to put it in the freezer to finish the job. But not in the machine – that will make it freeze solid.

This is just the test batch. I reckon it could use more brandy and more sugar. But that could be because my taste buds are a little off, since I burned them on my magic soup for lunch.

I haven’t included a photo of the frozen ice cream because you know what ice cream looks like. So here’s a photo of our oven mitt, because I was in the kitchen with the camera:

oven mitt

Silicone oven mitt. Also good for getting ManFriend's bottom.

Cooking soundtrack: Wide Open Road (the best of The Triffids), followed by In bocca al lupo, by Murder by Death.

Update: DO NOT MAKE THIS ICE CREAM RECIPE. When it freezes, little lumps form in it. A bit of internet research reveals that this is because the fat content is too high. I’m going back to the normal custard-style ice cream.

36 responses to “Test kitchen

  1. Sorry to stray off topic but I am quite taken with the little white/blue/green/timber canister in the first pic. Is it west german?

  2. Reading this I wonder if you have been testing the vodka.

  3. Well with me it was the yummy benches I spied first.

  4. Came up beautifully, oil or varnish?

  5. It’s funny what catches different people’s eyes: with me it was the yellow KitchenAid.

  6. I love Christmas Pudding! But I have made it with my Grandma every year since I was three, so it may be a nostalgia thing. Or a whole bottle of brandy in the pudding, whole bottle of brandy over the pudding to set alight thing. either way – our puds are mint.

    But I do like the idea of putting brandy butter ice cream on the pudding, with Grandma’s brandy custard and pudding vodka. Then I’d probably need a good lie down.

    also – I love the word pudding. What a lovely word.

    • Pudding is a great word. And it seems a little rude and always makes me think of “sweet jelly roll”.

      I can see why you’d like Christmas pudding. For me, it’s like turkey – it’s dry and I just don’t get why people like it. Mind you, one year ManFriend and I made a great turkey, I think it was a Jamie Oliver recipe: cut the legs off so it cooks quickly and evenly, rub loads of butter under the skin, wrap it in prosciutto and pour a bottle of red wine over it. I’m seeing a theme here…

      • Doing a ham again this year which is apparently the only thing I cook well. On that note merry christmas NWN et al

        • It’s a good thing to be able to cook well. Merry Christmas to you, too.

          • We did goose one year, when visiting friends in London (Islington. Where you can watch a squirrel spend the morning trying to hide a pain au chocolat in the garden). No trouble with dryness there. I invented a fig and chestnut stuffing to go in it. I regret having no time to cook this year so it is your duty to consume enough brandy butter for both of us. Merry Christmas.

            • Your comment about the squirrel sounds like a euphemism! Watching a squirrel hide a pain au chocolat in the garden, nudge nudge, wink wink.

              Today I’m making brandy butter ice cream, pavlova, and an almond tart (uses up the yolks). But I’m a bit pooped – I worked 12 hours on Wednesday, 17 hours on Thursday and 13 hours yesterday. On a concrete floor. Carrying boxes of turkey and ham and other delicious meats and things. I’ve never worked so hard for my money in all my life.

      • I cooked, without a doubt the absolute best freakin’ turkey I have ever eaten or cooked. Totally moist and tender – thighs cooked without the breast being dry – and without that peculiar sausagey taste that pre-tenderised ones have. Also – totally awesomely good gravy.
        I brined the turkey for 24 hours and then shoved heaps of herb butter under the breast skin and rubbed butter all over the outside, stuffed it with couscous mixed with boiling water, olive oil, parsley, lemon zest, garlic, chopped onion, spring onion, diced capsicum, moroccan spices, and butter.
        It was superb though I says it as shouldn’t. Juicy! Delicious! And I had some on toast this morning for breakfast!
        Today I am making meatloaf – pork and veal mince seasoned with Moroccan spices, and gremolata, studded with half fresh cherries and toasted pistachios, and formed around thick strips of chicken breast, and then I will cover the top with thin slices of orange before I bake it. I do hope it works out. AND I am serving it with braised fennel, and potato salad (with bacon and mustard and chives and dill).

        • Oh, that all sounds delicious!

        • This is enough for me to decide brine my turkey next year (hmm .. that sounds a little weird to me even as I type it, sorry about that). I’d actually given up on cooking turkey ever again after two pretty average attempts (and I don’t deal with failure in the kitchen at all well), but someone else mentioned brining was key and now your fab sounding results have sealed the deal. Plus, as it’s Christmas, I’m not adverse to getting a bit Nigella on the butter action either. Thanks for tip!

    • I love pudding too. My mum makes the best damn pudding ever.

  7. We bought that oven mitt’s sibling in Malaysia, last month.

    Your food sounds delicious. The sort of thing you want to slather on and swim in (no?Just me?…okay, I’ll take my foodie-ness over here..)

  8. Happy Christmas, festivus, Solstice, Season. Day, Whatevs to NWN, Manfriend, Pirra, and everyone else here!

  9. Hey NWN – I was wondering if it was you that was getting ‘inoculated’ for your allergies or was that someone else? And if so how does it work? My brother is highly allergic to soy, hazelnuts and peanuts and it is making his life totally miserable as almost all commercially prepared food has soy products in it!

    • Yes, that is me. I get an injection once a month to deal with my dust mite allergy. I don’t say this often – at all – but it’s changed my life. I don’t need anti-wusstamines anymore, don’t need to take tissues with me anywhere and no longer spend my life as a snot factory. There are several treatment options available, so tell him to get a referral to an allergy specialist. I highly recommend it.

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