ice cream

Sun Days

As winter gives way to spring, a part of me laments the end of our cold weather and dreads the coming heat. But over the years I have begun to make peace with Apollo, mainly due to a severe vitamin D deficiency. So, much as it pains me, I have allowed the sun to touch my skin! Dracula was out in the sun in the novel, so I guess it’s OK for me too 🙂

One of the things I love most about warm weather is eating ice cream. As a child, I loved ice cream sundaes – especially the maraschino cherries!! I thought I would pay tribute to the sunniest day of the week – Sunday – with a sundae that combines my love of cold, dark winters and my new appreciation of the sun and summer. So I’ve combined a classic winter sticky toffee pudding with a summery banana split.

Sticky Toffee Banana Sundae

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Ingredients
for the date ice cream
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
125g dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 litre vanilla ice cream

for the toffee sauce
120g unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup double cream

for serving
2 bananas, thinly sliced
400ml double cream, whipped
maraschino cherries

Method
Bring the sugar, water and butter to a boil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Turn heat down to medium. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the dates.
Stirring occasionally, continue to simmer until the dates are mushy and combined. Allow to cool.
Once the dates are cool, remove the ice cream from the freezer and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to soften. Fold the cooled dates into the ice cream and return to the freezer to set.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the butter has melted turn the heat to medium and add the sugar, salt and cream. Stir continually with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved, being careful not to burn the caramel. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
To serve, line four serving bowls with banana slices. Pour 1/2 of the caramel sauce evenly over the bananas. Top with 3 scoops of ice cream each. Pour the remaining toffee sauce over the ice cream.
Top with whipped cream and a cherry or three!

Try swirling the date mixture through different types of ice cream flavours.

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Drinks To Drive For

Gemelli, a great new food place, recently opened up near us. We’ve been there a few times trying out the menu. They have some great food but the standout favourites have to be their milkshakes. Four flavours range from Berry Cheesecake, Cara-Malt Popcorn, Chocolate – Chocolate – Chocolate to Vanilla Brulee. It took a while, but I tried them all 🙂 Choosing a favourite is difficult, as each has something unusual and delicious to tempt you.

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the wobbly jelly pieces in the Berry Cheesecake

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the caramel popcorn floating crunchily in the Cara-Malt Popcorn

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the chocolate filled wafers poking out of the Chocolate – Chocolate – Chocolate

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the bruleed marshmallow sitting in a mini ice cream cone, poking out of the Vanilla Brulee

I did not think there was a drink to match these in beauty and flavour but I was wrong. After conquering the milkshake challenge I turned to one of my favourite drinks – the Affogato.

What is not to love about cold ice cream served with a shot of hot coffee to pour over it? Affogato means “drowned” in Italian and refers to the ice cream being drowned by the coffee. When the hot coffee meets the cold ice cream a battle begins between the two. Will the heat of the coffee melt the ice cream or will the cold ice cream cool down the coffee? Both things actually happen. What you are left with is a warm, creamy, melting coffee flavoured ice cream which you both drink and eat with a spoon!

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Can it get any better? Yes! By the additional of alcohol. Affogato can be served with a shot of Amaretto, a sweet, almond flavoured liqueur. But the affogato here is served with Frangelico, a sublime hazelnut flavoured liqueur. It was a very pleasant surprise. While you are meant to pour both the coffee and the liqueur over the ice cream, I kept some Frangelico back for the end. Finishing my affogato with a final sip of warming Frangelico was the perfect end to a perfect drink.

I loved the affogato so much I decided to make my own version with vanilla and raspberry ice cream, served with a shot of hot coffee and a shot of Turkish Delight liqueur. The raspberry ice cream almost overpowered the coffee, but the coffee bravely fought back. The raspberry and Turkish Delight liqueur complemented each other beautifully and I was left with an intriguing mix of flavours which I liked.

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If you are happy to stray from the traditional flavours of an affogato, you can have heaps of fun experimenting. I’m wondering what coconut ice cream and coffee would taste like and what liqueur to pair them with and … I could go on but it’s time to have a coffee – without ice cream! 🙂