Blackcurrant sorbet


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

It is a shame that redcurrants and blackcurrants come to fruition at the same time! This weekend has been a frantic cooking time.
The blackcurrants are difficult to pick. They hide away beneath the leaves but we got two huge bowls full. There are various methods for making sorbet but this is mine.
Blackcurrants 1 large bowl
1 pint water
12 oz castor sugar
Lemon juice and zest.

I wash the berries first. To release the juices, I put them – berries and stalks in the preserving pan with a little water and heat. This helps get some of the juices going but there is nothing for it. You have to put the lot through the sieve and mash the juices out. This is hard work and you have to be careful otherwise the kitchen looks like a chain-saw masacre. The juices can get everywhere! Just do a little at a time.
I make up a syrup with 1 pint of water and 12 oz castor sugar, add the lemon juice and zest and boil for a few minutes. Cool.
Mix the blackcurrant juice and syrup. I use half and half and then taste. It is a fine balance between having the sorbet too tart or too sugary.
Put in the fridge to cool and then pour into the ice -cream maker for about 15 minutes until slushy. If you haven’t got an ice-cream maker then put in a container into the freezer and stir the mixture up every 1/2 hour or so to stop ice crystals forming.

The effort is worth it. This is one of the best sorbets with an intense flavour.




Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

A day for some recipes. What does the Ravenous Rambler have for breakfast when in France?
First a bowl of fruit, yoghurt and honey. In this region of the Pyrenees, there are many fresh apricots that are in seasons and these chopped up with some white peaches make a good mixture with yoghurt and local honey.
The tourist information in Axar has a food of the region annexe and there are about twenty different honey to choose from. They have thoughtfully laid out a tasting table where with the use of disposable spatulas you can taste many of the honeys from the mild to the very strong. There was my favourtite, acacia and lavender, then chestnut honey which was far too strong for my liking.
Earlier in the morning I went to the boulangerie to collect our daily order of baguette and croissants and we usually polish off the croissant and apricot jam with a pot of coffee to complete the perfect rambling breakfast.
Apricot pudding

Apricots and plums
Lemon juice
I found this recipe in a French magazine and have adapted it for my own pleasure.
Marinade the fruit in the lemon juice, sugar and rum ( I had to substitute this with white wine) for about 30 minutes. I boiled up the mixture for a minute or two. Put the fruit on skewers and place them on the barbecue for a minute or two to char slightly and decorate with the pistachios.
I served with with yoghurt of course and I must say it was rather delicious.

Baked Rhubarb with honey


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Forcing rhubarb is a barbaric practice carried out by primitive tribes in the north of England. This cruel torture is performed to create early sweeter rhubarb stalks. They do this in darkened sheds operating only by candlelight. It’s time to bring it out in the open. Stand up for rhubarb freedom!

I love eating rhubarb but I have been looking for an alternative from cooking in water which makes the Rhubarb mushy. When I saw Hugh Fernley-Wittingstall baking them with honey I couldn’t wait to try it out and it worked brilliantly.
Sticks of rhubarb
Generous helpings of honey
Ice- cream to serve

Chop up the rhubarb is chunks and put in a baking tray. Pour the honey over the top and bake at about 100C for thirty minutes until the rhuarb is soft. Serve with ice-cream or yoghurt.

Raspberry sorbet


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Now the raspberries are coming to fruition I reach for the recipe books. The raspberry cage has become a little overgrown so one has the joy of pushing the nettles aside to reach those ripe fruits. They are delicious to eat fresh or maybe on the Ravenous Rambler Breakfast. My favourite though is raspberry sorbet and I think I have found an excellent quick way of making it.
Before I tell you the recipe though, I have been reading Christopher Lloyd on the Gardener Cook. He reminded me that if you plant a mixture of canes in the same cage they sucker off each other and you end up with the same type of raspberry. They need a rich soil and it worth giving them a good mulch of garden compost each year. When you pick them – they hide away under the leaves and you have to look carefully to find them.
Most of the recipe books say that you should cook up a sugar syrup but I just wanted to make a sorbet in a short time so used the following rough recipe.

2 large soup containers full of raspberries.
4 tablespoons of icing sugar
1 lemon juice
About 1/2 pint of water

The amounts were rather rough. I just chucked the raspberries into the blender with the icing sugar and lemon juice. Blitzed them up with some of the water in a couple of goes and pressed the result through a sieve to catch the pips. Add the rest of the water to help wash through the juice.
Put the result in an ice cream blender and blend for about 10 minutes until it turns into a lovely smooth icy sorbet. Eat and freeze. If you don’t have an ice cream churner. Put in a container in the freezer and take it out every 15 minutes to stir so that it doesn’t crystallize.
This is a yummy sorbet and is good with some fresh raspberries as well. Enjoy and let me know how you get on.

Banana splits


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

On the boat back from the Farne Islands I sat opposite a chap fiddling around in his rucksack, sorting out his camera and kit. Then he took a banana out and I can’t believe how aggressively he peeled and ate it. He stripped the skin down with a flick of his wrist that really told the banana who was boss. When I peel a banana I do it gently. It’s travelled a long way to give me pleasure and I want to enjoy every moment. I want to savour that taste and prolong the experience as long as possible. If I am at a table I will cut the banana into mouth like chunks and eat it with a fork. Eating it out the skin is rather vulgar unless you are on a pic-nic. Even then you can peel it and break off chunks to put in your mouth or even better feed chunks to a partner…
I have decided that banana peeling is a good test of a person’s character. If they are into banana rape and pull off the skin in aggression – maybe they are just an aggressive, show -off with limited personality. (This guy was trying to impress his girlfriend. I think she was falling for it as well – the slag!). Maybe I am reading too much into a simple action – I will have to consult Freud over this one.

Meanwhile, it puts me in mind of a wonderful banana dish that I had on camp. I was in charge of the pudding, so I made slits in the banana skins with a knife and pushed in chunks of chocolate. Wrapped up the bananas in foil and put them in the camp fire for ten minutes or so. Serve with yoghurt or cream. Ice-cream would be good as well but difficult on camp. The question is – what sort of chocolate would be best …

Apple crumble


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Apple crumble
Nick and Alison dropped round for tea on a Saturday afternoon and as we had a large piece of pork for dinner it was great to ask them to dinner as well. The only thing was – what could we have for a nice pudding. I looked in the freezer and found some apple that I had cooked in the summer and decided to make an apple crumble,

For the filling.
Cooking apples,
Raisins / sultanas.

8oz flour
4 oz butter or the equicalent olice oil
2 oz brown sugar
walnuts and some breakfast crunchy mix

Boil the apples with a little water. I cut them up first and add some sugar. I never weigh this out but just judge it but I think a couple of tablespoons of sugar for 4 apples is about right.
Add some raisins or sultanas.

Rub the oil or butter into the flour as though making pastry. Add the sugar and then you can be creative. Add some nuts, crushed walnuts work well and I like to add a little oats or breakfast mix.

Put together in a dish and put a few knobs of butter on top.

Bake at about 150C for 20 mins and then turn up to 180C for a few minutes to brown the top.

Serve with lashings of yoghurt – yummy.

Ice cream

We had a delicious Polish Christmas eve dinner with some friends and had this served with apple streudel that was delicious and exotic all at the same time. So I decided to make it for our New Year’s Eve feast along with the Marmalade and whiskey bread and butter pudding and I must say that it was delicious. The ice cream was wonderfully smooth bu be careful not to over churn it! I made it with the cinnamon option.

First make an anglaise sauce.
8 egg yolks
3oz castor sugar
10 fl oz milk
10 fl oz double cream
1 van pod or 2 cinnamon sticks.
1. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together.
2. Split and scrape the vanilla pod into the milk and cream and bring to the boil in a heavy saucepan.
3. Sit the bowl over a pan of hot water and whisk the cream into the egg mix. as the eggs yolks warm, the cream thickens to create a custard. keep stirring until it coats the spoon. remove the bowl from the heat.
cool quickly over ice
pour into an icr cream maker and churn until thick. This was rather nice as cinnamon ice cream so jusy let the cinnamon sticks flavour the milk as it heats up.