Honey, date and brandy ice cream

Definitely an adults only indulgence with a hint of Christmas about it from the brandy…

  • 100 g dates, sliced to a thickness depending on preference
  • scant half cup of boiling water
  • 200 mL of cream
  • 600 mL of vanilla custard
  • 1 heaped (or heaping depending on your country of origin) dessert spoon of honey
  • 3 dessert spoons of brandy
  • 1 ice cream machine ūüôā
  1. Place your dates in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over them.  Stir and mash a bit with a spoon.  Once they have cooled to luke warm place them in the fridge to cool down completely.
  2. In a larger bowl, mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes for everything to become very cold.
  4. Place in your ice cream maker and run according to the manufacturers instructions.  On mine it is 40 minutes.
  5. Eat immediately if you like your ice cream semifreddo  or freeze for another 1-3 hours depending on preference.

I must admit that I was intrigued by a Delia Smith ice cream recipe that used store-bought custard so I tried that out for this recipe as I didn’t have time to wait for home-made custard to cool completely. ¬†It tasted just as good as if the custard had been home-made so seems to be a very good cheat’s trick. ¬†You can however make your custard from scratch as I will probably do most times.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, don’t despair. ¬†You could either buy a good quality vanilla ice cream, leave it on the bench for 15 minutes, stir through the flavouring ingredients and refreeze. ¬†Or, make the full ice cream recipe and just take it out of the freezer about every hour, give it a stir and replace, until the ice cream is frozen. Not quite as good as a machine but much better than no home-made ice cream!

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Seasonal and local

Tonight’s dinner was so yummy I had to share it. ¬†Plus, it just happened to come together as a completely local (Victorian) ¬†and seasonal main course (except for the condiments). ¬†I’m always quite impressed when we manage to pull off local meals without specifically trying to. ¬†It means it’s just becoming part of how we live rather than something we’re specifically trying to achieve.

And for dessert, the latest ice cream: brandy, honey and date. ¬†It’s not local ingredients but it was locally made. ¬†It’s ¬†the first time I haven’t followed a recipe religiously and instead made it up myself. ¬†I’ll post the recipe later in the week, but for now here’s a taste…

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My new toy

We bought an ice cream maker.

The first batch was chocolate and I was far too concerned with enjoying it to even think about taking a photo.  It was quite possibly the best chocolate ice cream I have ever eaten.  Do not ask me how much cream was in it.

I have slowed down just enough with the second batch to take a quick snap shot to share….

Strawberry ice cream with little chunks of strawberries……Mmmmmm

Details: Cuisinart ICE-100, with an internal compressor and the outside coloured in go-faster red.

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Look what my darling Mr Bee made for me last weekend:

It is Sheila’s Pudding from Jamie Oliver’s Return of the Naked Chef made with Queensland winter-grown strawberries and frozen Victorian organic blueberries. ¬†Heaven!

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We would just like to tell you that we do not use permeate

A couple of months back I had a little rant¬†about permeate in milk. ¬†It was in response to a story that had broken in the Australian press about how a lot of Australian milk has permeate added to it secretly. ¬†Permeate is just a fancy name for whey which is what’s left of the milk when they make cheese. ¬†It’s healthy and safe but when I, and from the ensuing furore most people, buy milk we want whole milk not bits left over from cheese processing.

And it seems the media ¬†and the all the resulting shouting have had an impact. ¬†I went to the supermarket last weekend and this is what I saw at the milk fridge….

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Carrot, fennel and chickpea soup

Baby it’s cold outside and this soup would have to be the leading contender for the 2012 “Go to soup”. You can see the 2010 ¬†“Go to soup” via the¬†link here.


  • 1 large or 2 small leaks, clean and slice
  • 1 fennel bulb, chop in 0.5-1 cm thick slices, include the leaves if you have them
  • 2 medium carrots, chop in 0.5-1 cm thick slices
  • 1 cup of chickpeas, cooked or a 440 g tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp of fennel seeds ‚Äď roughly ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
  • 3 anchovies
  • ¬Ĺ wine glass of brandy or a full wine glass of white wine
  • Water to cover plus a good quality stock cube or stock to cover
  • 1 tbsp soya sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Chop your vegies.  Add the oil and butter to a large saucepan and melt the butter over medium heat.  Sauté the leaks until soft.  Add the fennel seeds and sauté until fragrant.  Add the anchovies and remaining vegetables and chickpeas. Sauté, stirring until the anchovies have broken down and disappeared.  Add the alcohol and sauté until the alcohol has mainly evaporated.  Generously cover with stock, add the soya sauce.  Simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until the vegies are soft.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!  It has the most delightful hint of fennel with a background of umami from the anchovies and soya sauce.

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Quick Pick: Urban Organic

Have you heard of the new internet TV show Urban Organic?

Each episode is a ¬†3 to 5 minute, professionally produced, interesting snapshot of what’s happening in the urban agriculture scene.

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