It feels like an age since I last posted, and I was planning on putting this post up last week but life (and my seven month old niece who I was babysitting for the week – how does anyone get anything done while looking after a baby?!) got in the way so it’s taken me an awfully long time to get this done! I’m also going to Bloodstock festival (heavy metal) tomorrow so will be away until next week; I’m hoping for a warm, sunny weekend but doubt I’m going to get it so I’ve got my (black, naturally) wellies packed just in case; I say packed, but currently I just have piles of stuff to take dotted around the house and haven’t actually packed anything yet…I am not very prepared!
Anyway, on to the ice cream which I made so long ago now that it is sadly all gone… I had some cherries leftover in the freezer after making black forest meringue nests just begging to be turned into ice cream, and I can’t say no to ice cream. When making fruit flavoured ice cream I always prefer to roast the fruit as it intensifies the flavour and removes some of the extra liquid so you don’t end up with icy ice cream (yes that is a bad thing). I roasted the cherries with a dash of balsamic vinegar, it doesn’t make the ice cream taste vinegary, just deepens the flavour of the fruit. You can use either frozen cherries as I did (so much cheaper and you don’t have to faff about with pitting them) or fresh ones, just bear in mind that frozen ones will need to roast for longer than fresh, and the weight I have given in the recipe is the pitted weight – if using fresh you will need to buy extra to account for the pits.
I couldn’t resist adding a generous amount of chocolate chunks because what goes better with cherry than chocolate? You could also melt the chocolate and drizzle it into the ice cream when it has almost finished churning to make stracciatella. The ice cream is smooth, creamy and has a complex yet utterly delicious and addictive flavour and I couldn’t get over the beautiful deep pink colour of it – no food colouring here!
Balsamic Roasted Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
- 350 g (12.5 oz) cherries pitted weight, fresh or frozen
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 350 ml (1 + 1/2 cups) full fat milk
- 150 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 6 large egg yolks
- 350 ml (1 + 1/2 cups) double (heavy) cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar or more to taste
- 125 g (4.5 oz) dark chocolate chopped into chunks
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Spread the cherries out in a roasting tin and drizzle over the tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Roast for 30-50 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cherries are soft and the juices syrupy.
Remove the cherries from the oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes then tip the cherries and their juices into a blender. Blitz until pureed, add the milk and blend again until smooth. Tip into a saucepan and add the sugar.
Heat the cherry milk mixture until almost boiling, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks in a large, heatproof bowl. Gradually pour the hot cherry mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the pan.
Place the pan over a medium-low heat and stir constantly until the mixture has thickened a little, it is already fairly thick so it wont get much thicker; do not let it boil.
Pour the cream and vanilla extract into a large bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top. Pour the cherry custard through the sieve into the cream then whisk until smooth, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Cover and chill until completely cold, overnight is best.
Churn the custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers directions. About a minute before it has finished churning add the chocolate chunks then transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze for a couple of hours until firm before serving.
Welcome to my review of the July 2016 Degustabox. If you’re not familiar with the Degustabox then in brief it’s a subscription service whereby each month you’re sent a box full of goodies to try; most are either new brands or products and it works out far cheaper than buying everything individually in the shops. It is a bit of a lottery however as you have no idea what you will be sent, some products you may love, and others you might not be so keen on; the surprise element is quite fun though, and it encourages you to try products that you wouldn’t normally think to buy. If you fancy giving a box a try yourself then simply enter the discount code BLDEG15 at the checkout and you’ll get £7 off your first order!
My favourite products included were:
Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuits: These were already a firm favourite in our household so we were very pleased at their addition in the box. They came in individual packs of two biscuits which is good for portion control if not satisfaction.
Brookside Chocolates Açai and Blueberry Flavour: Soft fruit flavoured centres coated in dark chocolate, these are very good indeed.
Seabrooks Crisps Chicken Jalfrezi Flavour: Contrary to the name, these do not contain any chicken and are suitable for vegetarians (like me); instead what they are is curry spiced lattice crisps, and very addictive ones at that.
Also included were:
Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins: Seasoned strips of seaweed – they are quite tasty and very good for you but given that there are only 3 grams worth in a packet they aren’t exactly going to fill you up!
Sarson’s Balsamic Vinegar: This is a fairly standard balsamic vinegar, not as nice as some of the high end ones I’ve tried but fine for everyday use; I used it in the balsamic roasted cherry chocolate chunk ice cream above.
Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles Infusions: Chewy sweets in some interesting new flavours – orange and grapefruit, raspberry and pomegranate and apple and elderflower. I’m not much of a sweet eater but these were ok, though not something I would buy, but then I never buy sweets.
ALO Drink Aloe Vera Drink: This tastes ok but has a weird texture with slimy lumps that I just can’t quite deal with.
Jordans Swiss Style Muesli: A fairly standard no added sugar muesli – tasty, but no different to any other brand.
Felix Gerkhins: Sweet pickled crunchy gerkhins; again these are nice but pretty standard.
Rejuvenation Water Spanish Orange Flavour: This was quite frankly awful, it had a really medicinal, slightly chalky flavour and got thrown away after a couple of sips; don’t subject yourself to it, just take a damn vitamin tablet instead.
Cracker Drinks Pineapple Coconut And Lime Juice: Contrary to the name, this is composed mainly of apple juice. It’s alright but the lime overpowers and tastes like the stuff out of a bottle rather than fresh lime.
Berrywhite Lemon and Ginger and Cranberry and Guava Drinks: Refreshing sparkling fruit drinks, I think they would make quite good mixers.