We were without a kitchen for a total of three weeks. Or, I should say, we were without cooking facilities for three weeks as we still don’t have what I would consider a kitchen.
Either way, it’s not really very long in the grand scheme of things. Everyone has their own kitchen renovation story and will tell you with some great pleasure about the weeks/months/years (in the case of one of my colleagues) that they spent eating takeaways and doing the washing up in the bath.
We both come from a tradition of eating together as a family. When my father was offered an important new role at work, he made a deal with us that he would only accept it if he could get home by 8pm at least three nights a week. About a year ago, I asked my boyfriend how it was that he spent less time in the office now than when we first started dating. He told me that he had changed the way that he worked to allow him to be home in time for us to have dinner most nights. Our life together revolves around the act of eating. In some ways, the traditions and rituals of mealtimes are far more important than the food that we actually eat. The half hour that my boyfriend and I spend over dinner is sometimes the only time that we spend together all day.
We didn’t eat particularly badly without a kitchen – there were plenty of salads and fresh produce – but what I really missed were the routines of dinnertime. From our daily email exchanges about what to have for supper to the way we dance around each other as we load the dishwasher at the end of the evening. Rather than lay the table each night, we sat on the sofa, idly grazing as we watched television or flicked through our phones.
I don’t think it is unrelated that, at the same time, my reading of cookbooks, food writing and magazines reached a slightly obsessive level; reading about how other people ate was like an exquisite form of torture. This recipe was part of a feature about a gluten free summer feast, full of vibrancy and colour, in July’s delicious magazine.
The buckwheat is an intriguing flavour, one that I’m more used to having in the background than as the star. There’s that sweet nuttiness that you would expect but there’s also a sense of earthiness which works well with the slight spice of the alcohol. An informal twitter survey suggested whiskey would work best here; I had a bottle of dark rum open and used that. I’m sure either would be fine (or leave out the booze entirely for an alcohol-free version).
The cake pictured is the a slice of the chocolate and sour cream cake I posted last week. You can see the layers better here; the cake had been chilled for a day by the time these pictures were taken. The combination of the cake with the ice cream leads me to believe that a few chocolate chips stirred through the mixture before freezing would not go amiss.
Finally, a couple of small bits of housekeeping. If you use google reader to manager your blog reading, you’ll probably be aware that it will shortly be disappearing. I’ve switched to feedly but blog lovin’ also seems to be popular (you can follow me here). It goes without saying that you can also follow my posts on pinterest, twitter and facebook. You may also have seen that I’ve added a link to printable versions of the last couple of recipes. In time, I may add the rest of the archive (may being the operative word).
Toasted buckwheat and rum ice cream
Yield: Serves 3 – 4
Adapted from delicious magazine
I’m always slightly surprised by how many people seem to think that you need an ice cream maker to make ice cream at home. You really don’t. All you need is a box you can stick in the freezer and a fork. Every hour or so as the ice cream sets, you break up the crystals with your fork. After 4 or 5 hours, you have ice cream. It may not be as quick as throwing everything in a machine but it’s really not difficult at all. You could, obviously, make this in a machine but I think it’s rather fun to do it all by hand. I’ve halved the quantities from the original recipe (and added a few things, notably the booze) but as it apparently lasts three months, you might want to make a big batch. The alcohol is pretty faint, you could try upping the quantity a bit of you like that kick but I would be worried about the way it might interfere with the freezing process.
- 125g (1 cup) buckwheat groats
- 500ml (2 cups) whole milk
- A splash of rum or whiskey (optional)
- 100g (1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon) heavy/double cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 115g (1/2 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
Start by toasting the buckwheat in a dry frying pan until golden brown and fragrant – watch the pan to make sure that none of the groats burn and become bitter (I imagine you could probably do this in an oven too).
Heat the milk and toasted buckwheat in a large sauce pan until it is just about to boil. Take it off the heat and pour it into a large bowl. Add the rum and cover the surface with clingfilm. Allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours or, preferably, overnight.
When the milk has infused with the flavour of the buckwheat, transfer it back to a large pan and add the cream. Heat again until just about to boil and then turn off the heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until mixed well. Add a splash of the hot milk and beat well. Continue to add the milk mixture gradually, stirring all the time.
Pour the mixture back into the pan along with the vanilla and the salt and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture has thickened a little and will coat the back of the spoon.
Place a large mesh sieve over a heatproof bowl. When the ice cream mixture has thickened, pour it through the sieve into the bowl. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes to make sure you’ve extracted all the liquid.
Transfer to a freezer-proof container and allow to cool completely before putting it in the freezer. Every hour, take the mixture out of the freezer and mix it well with a fork or a whisk. Do this three or four times until you have something rich and smooth.