Episode 56: Summer Essentials

We’ve had some hot days (by London standards) and the fruit and veg has changed… hence inspiring this episode!

Cold Brew

I’m a complete coffee fiend. I don’t mind drinking hot drinks in the summer (I drink English-style tea several times a day all-year-round). I’ve never quite gotten why some people are so against it – people in hot countries still drink hot drinks. But I do like to have a bottle of cold brew on the go alongside sometimes having my pour-overs. As well as being delicious, great black or with milk, cold brew is great for throwing in a cake batter without having to wait for the coffee to cool down. It’s the easiest type of coffee to make, so long as you can wait 24 hours. You need some sort of funnel (I just use my pour over thing), filter paper and a bottle.

50g coarsely ground coffee, 400-500ml/g cold water (I prefer still but by all means use sparkling if you like). Ice and/or milk of your choice to serve.

Use the funnel to put the coffee in a 1 litre/ 1 quart bottle. Add the water. Shake. Put in the fridge. Leave for 24 hours. Strain. It may take a while, so I tend to strain while I’m doing other jobs like washing up or cooking. That’s it! It’s good for about a week in the fridge I think.

It’s STRONG! So do water it down or add milk and ice, to your wish.

Banana Choc Ices

Errr. So this really couldn’t be any easier. You peel and halve some ripe bananas, stick a skewer or lolly stick in them and freeze them. If using skewers warn your guests so they don’t pierce the roofs of their mouths.

Once frozen, you dip them in melted chocolate – use a spoon to coat evenly. My chocolate preference is 50-50 dark and milk. Then you roll them in roasted nuts of your choice. My favourite is roasted pecans, broken up into small pieces. Hazelnuts and salted roasted peanuts are also good. That’s it!

You obviously have to like banana. These aren’t a good replacement for a normal chocolate ice lolly for people who don’t actually like banana. But they are wonderful!

No-Churn Ice Creams

These aren’t winning any awards for health but they are so easy and delicious. If you don’t have an ice cream churn they’re particularly fab.

The base is 300ml/ 10 fl oz heavy/ double cream and 397g/ 14 oz (sweetened) condensed milk.

Simply whisk these two up together to stiff peaks – perhaps with a pinch of salt, then gently stir or whisk in your mix-ins.

These work even better if you add a little alcohol for a softer serve, but this isn’t essential. Despite having lived in Scotland, I don’t really like whiskey of any kind (sorry). No Bourbon, single malt Scotch or anything else for me, thanks. But Nigella uses it. I like to use Grand Marnier (orange liqueur), Chambord (raspberry liqueur), Kahlua (fruit cream), Baileys (coffee cream), spiced rum and creme de cassis (blackberry liqueur).

Depending on what kind of ice cream you’re making, consider adding vanilla as well.

Another variation: use a tin of caramel/ dulce de leche instead of the condensed milk. It will be sweeter, so do balance with more salt and use smaller servings.

I just had this genius idea: you could steep a flavouring such as earl grey tea or chai spices or tarragon in hot cream, let the cream cool down fully again, refrigerate it, then treat it as before.

Blitz-and-Churn Fruit Sorbets

I covered this last summer, but The River Cafe’s strawberry sorbet is absolutely magnificent. It’s rightly on Food 52’s Genius Recipes. Honestly one of the best ices I’ve ever made or tried. Unless you have an enormous ice cream churner, halve the recipe. The balance between the sugar and the lemon pith catapults this into being so much more than a basic strawberry ice.

This summer I plan on trying out the peach and lemon sorbet as well (also on Food 52), using whatever stone fruit I can get my hands on that looks good. Please do let me know of any other blitz-and-churn recipes I should try out!

My Mother’s Chocolate Sauce

Ready in minutes, this goes sticky on ice cream but has a gloriously bitter edge from the cocoa. Someone I was seeing once jokingly proposed to me based on this sauce. Please do adjust the quantities to your liking, I don’t usually actually measure this sauce but I figured I have to give a rough guide! It tastes 1000 x better than anything you get in a bottle from the shop.

Serves 4 allegedly but I’ve been known to eat at least half of this in one sitting….

  • 50g butter or margarine (growing up in the 90s, my mum used marge but I now use butter). It does work with vegan blocks as well, but maybe use a little less. If you want a richer sauce that doesn’t go as sticky, use 75g butter.
  • 100g golden syrup – I’m informed that corn syrup is a reliable replacement
  • 25g cocoa

Stick all of them in a pan. Gently heat to melt the butter. Once combined, boil it furiously for about a minute or more gently for a couple of minutes – this reduces it to make it more sticky.

Serve with: vanilla ice cream and possibly some raspberries.

Topped Ice Cream and Sundae Ideas

My Slovenian recipe book suggests putting pumpkin seed oil on vanilla ice cream and finishing with a little crumbled flaky salt. I will and will report back. I may add a few toasted pumpkin seeds on top, too (IMO a highly underrated ingredient.) I quickly depleted the small bottle we brought back in salad dressings, but pumpkin seed oil is common across central Europe, I think. I have a couple of Hungarian shops near me so I’m hopeful.

People on TikTok (an app I’m definitely too old for) suggest putting soy sauce on vanilla ice cream. Apparently it has salted caramel vibes. I’ve also seen sesame oil on ice cream, with more mixed reviews.

Affogato. Summer is affogato season as far as I’m concerned. Not everyone in Britain knows what this is. It’s more common in London but not so common in sleepy seaside towns. So I’ve been known to order an espresso and a scoop of vanilla ice cream and then pouring the espresso over the ice cream to the bemusement of wait staff and mild embarrassment of my partner. Phenomenal.

My opinions on Sundaes.

Sundae is a wonderful vehicle for balance and texture, yet all-too-often we just get sweet on sweet on sweet and gloop on gloop on gloop.

For grown-up sundaes, we’re going to need the following.

  • More fruit compotes. Imagine vanilla ice cream, crumbled ginger biscuits/cookies, rhubarb compote . DIVINE.
  • Well balanced sauces. Steer away from the squeezy bottled trash in the supermarket and make your own. My mother’s chocolate sauce (above) is a good start. Make a ganache! Or use products that are actually good, like condensed milk, dulce de leche, honey or maple syrup. How about sweetening up some nut butter even?
  • Crispy and crunchy elements that actually taste of something. Bland wafers are out. Spiced biscuits, salty oaty biscuits (a good UK example is Hobnobs), dark chocolate digestives etc are in. Tuiles/ cat’s tongue biscuits are in. Stroopwaffles are in. Granola is in! Sesame seed brittle is in!
  • Consider adding nuts or seeds. Toasted flaked almonds. Roasted pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts. PISTACHIOS. Toasted pumpkin seeds. These will all add a slightly savoury note, roasty-toastiness and CRONCH.

Published by Kate

Home baker and now podcaster!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: