Fresh Cherry Ice Cream Recipe

cherry-ice-creamAt the moment it is cherry season in Canberra and the cherries are plump and ever so juicy.  So because there is an abundance of cherries I needed to come up with a way of using up some of the excess.

Well I have found one way to use them that is absolutely yummy – cherry ice cream.

Back in August I brought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker and I love it.  In fact I look for any opportunity to make ice cream. And over that time we have sorted out some favourites. Up until now my favourites have been chocolate with added bits and pieces such as hazel nuts or crushed up crunchy bars and my other favourite was fresh strawberry,  Paula’s favourite is toasted pecan ice cream.  So I make each one as the mood takes me.

But now my favourite is definitely fresh cherry.

I use the recipe that came with the Cuisinart for the Fresh Strawberry ice cream and just adapt it with various fruits such as mango, passionfruit, frozen mixed berries, whatever is in season.

  • Fresh Cherry Ice Cream
  • This ice cream is best made with fresh fruit when its in season. You can use any fruit, I have made it the mango and passionfruit, frozen mixed berries and Strawberries. It makes about 5 1/2 cups
Servings
111/2 cup serves

Ingredients

Servings: 1/2 cup serves

Instructions

  1. Place the cherries in the food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Pulse cherries until roughly or finely chopped depending on your preference. I like a mix. Reserve cherries in bowl till needed.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the milk, sugar and salt and using a hand mixer on low speed or a whisk, mix until sugar is dissolved.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  4. Stir in the chopped cherries with all the juices.
  5. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.
  6. Fit the ice cream paddle to the machine.
  7. Remove the ice cream from the fridge and whisk the mixture before pouring into the ice cream maker.
  8. Follow the instructions for your brand of ice cream maker. I am using a Cuisinart compressor ice cream maker.
  9. Turn the unit on, set the timer for 40 minutes and press start.

Recipe notes

This ice cream has a smooth creamy texture. If you want a firmer consistency transfer the ice cream to an airtight container (I use a Tupperware Rock n Serve as it is just the right size) and place in the freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from the freezer 15 mins before serving.
 

How to Make Marinated Feta Cheese

We recently purchased a Mad Millie’s home cheese making kit and finally got around to making some Marinated Feta. The kit comes complete with the following items:-

  • a ceramic cheese pot with ceramic pressing plate and lid
  • cheese mould
  • plastic colander
  • a piece of cheesecloth,
  • thermometer
  • vegetarian rennet tablets
  • citric acid
  • cheese salt
  • recipe card.

So you have everything you need to get started. The contents are packed inside a French artisan themed box which makes this kit an attractive gift.  But this one is for me and I love it. Everything is kept nice and neat inside the box so I don’t have to go hunting for things the next time I want to make cheese. We decided to start with the Marinated Feta recipe.

And remember you don’t have to have a kit, you can use items you have in the home, but the kit makes it soooooo much easier, especially if you are just starting out.

So lets go through the steps that we took to make the cheese – the recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

The first thing to do is heat the milk to 95°F  (35°C). Make sure you stir the milk while it is heating.

Cheese Making

testing-the-milk-temperature

After sprinkling the citric acid over the top of the milk we added the diluted rennet. To dissolve the rennet tablet we crumbled it into 1 Tbsp of non-chlorinated water 

rennet

dissolve-rennet

After stirring  in the rennet we had to wait for 30 mins to allow the curd to form.  Once the curd was formed I cut it with a long knife.

cut-the-curd

 There is a fair bit of hurry up and wait when making cheese so it has to rest undisturbed for 5 mins once you cut it into cubes.  Then you stir it gently for 1 min and leave it to sit again for another 5 mins.

stirring-the-curd

During the resting time I lined the colander with the cheese cloth and then carefully poured the curd into the colander.

pouring-the-curd

pouring-the-curd-1

curd-in-colander

Once all the curd was poured into the colander its time to pull up the corners of the cheesecloth in preparation for hanging from the tap. This allows the excess liquid to drain nicely from the curd.

bringing-the-cheesecloth-ends-up

the-curd-hanging

Once the liquid has drained for around 30 mins or more, place the cheesecloth with the curd into the plastic cheese mold and place it in the ceramic cheese pot.

curd-in-cheese-pot

Open up the cheese cloth and place the pressing plate directly on top of the curd. Bring up the ends of the cheesecloth and place on top of pressing plate.

add-pressing-plate

ends-on-top

Now its time to apply some pressure to squeeze out the last drops of liquid and to do this we add 8lbs (3.5kgs) of weight.   I couldn’t find anything on hand so resorted to filling up two Tupperware containers to equal that weight. And they worked just fine.

weighting-the-curd

After the cheese has been pressed for a couple of hours – until it is firm – remove the the chess mold from the  cheese pot and rinse out the pot.  Now it’s time to add the salt brine to the cheese pot.

brine

Remove the cheese from the mold and the cheesecloth and cut it into 1/2 in (2.5 cm) cubes. Put the cubes back into the mold (without the cheesecloth) and place the mold into the salt brine that is  in the cheese pot.

Leave the cheese for 30 minutes until it becomes noticeably firmer and salty in taste. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat it dry with a wet towel.  I forgot to do this important step and couldn’t make out why the cheese was a bit wet and crumbly. So do remember to do this before adding the cheese to the jar. You can see in the picture that my cubes aren’t as nicely cubed as they should be as they are a bit damp.

curd-in-jar

Sprinkle all of the herbs over top of the cheese and then cover it in oil and seal.

add-herbs

add-oil

oil-added

Leave for a week before sampling. Well the is what the recipe says but we kept some aside to have with crackers and it was really tasty and delicious just as it was. a However, I am looking forward to the end of the week when we can open the jar and sample the oil and herb soaked cheese.

cheese-and-crackers

It really isn’t complicated if you just follow the steps in the recipe.  And I think its well worth it. You know exactly what has gone into your cheese and that’s a plus in my book.  Bon Appetit.

 

  • Mad Millie's Marinated Fetta Cheese
  • How to Make Marinates Feta Cheese

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk to 95°F (35° C) while stirring. Then remove the pot from the heat.
  2. Sprinkle in the citric acid and then the diluted rennet. Stir for 1 min.
  3. Allow to set for 30 min.
  4. Cut the curd with a long knife into 1 inch cubes (2,5 cm) and leave to sit undisturbed for 5 mins.
  5. Stir gently for 1 min then leave to sit undisturbed for another 5 mins
  6. Line a colander with cheese cloth and slowly pour the curds and whey into the cheese cloth lined colander.
  7. Tie the corners of the cloth together and hang on a tap over the sink. Leave to drain for 30 mins.
  8. Transfer the cheese cloth holding the curds into the cheese mold and place the mold into the ceramic cheese pot to drain.
  9. Place the pressing plate on top of the cheese curd and place the cloth corners on top of the plate
  10. Fill a suitable sized jar or bowl with water to use as a weight ( need apprize alb weight (3.5 kg). Place this on top of the pressing plate and press the chess for 1-2 hrs, until firm.
  11. After pressing, remove the cheese mold from the cheese pot. Rinse the cheese pot and use it to prepare the salt brine by dissolving 3.5 oz (100 g) of cheese salt in 2 cups of cool water.
  12. Remove the cheese from the chess mold and cut into 1.2 inch (2.5 cm) cubes.
  13. Transfer the cubes back into the mold and place the mold inside the cheese pot with the salt brine.
  14. Leave the cheese in the brine for 30 mins until the cheese becomes firmer and salty in taste.
  15. Remove the cheese from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel before putting the cheese into the jar
  16. Add all the herbs to the jar then cover with oil and seal the jar.
  17. Marinate the chess for at least 1 week in the fridge.
  18. Store the marinated cheese in the fridge and eat within one month.

Sugar Free – Paleo – Blondies Recipe

blondiesQuite some time ago we embarked on the Paleo diet. I have to say that I feel really great since starting this way of eating which is based on the diet of our ancestors from the Paleolithic era.

When we first started I wondered how we would go with sweet treats but I have been pleasantly surprised at the wide range of tasty treat recipes that are available.

I have been busy over the time making almond chocolate which I love and have just had a go at making ‘Blondies”. this recipe has been adapted from the Paleo Meal Plan Recipe Book. I say adapted because we had to substitute some of the ingredients.

BLONDIES

Ingredients:

  • 1 16oz jar almond butter  – we used peanut butter
  • ½ cup Honey
  • ½ maple syrup – here we had to cheat as I only had about ¼ cup so we topped it up with  golden syrup.
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond butter with honey, maple syrup and eggs. Mix well
  3. Mix in salt and baking soda, followed by ½ cup of the chocolate chips
  4. Pour batter into a well greased 9×13 baking dish and spread the batter oout evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the batter with the remaining chocolate chips
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.

These are very tasty and an ideal healthy treat for adults and kids alike.

For this and many other tasty Paleo meals and sweet treats you cant go past the Quick and Simple Paleo Meals recipe book and the 8 week meal plan

blondies-paleo

 

The Breville Automatic Tea Maker & Kettle Review

Breville-one-touch-tea-makerI have fallen in love – with my new Breville Automatic tea maker.

Paula and I went out to our favourite tea store ‘Adore’ in Federation Square. We had run out of our favourite herbal teas -  French Earl Grey Tea and Evening Mist, both very nice blends with a floral hint.

On the counter was this great looking The Breville One-Touch Tea Maker
priced at $299.00. I kept being drawn to the tea maker, just as intended by the shop owner of course. I could certainly see a use for this item in my household.

We finished making our tea purchases and headed to the cafe nearby for a milkshake and to discuss whether or not we should buy the tea maker, keeping in mind we would have to buy two, one for each household.  Paula went online and found the same item at David Jones, a local department store, for $249.99. So we  headed off to DJ’s.

The Breville Tea Maker can also be found for $249.99 on Amazon.

We couldn’t wait to get home to try it out. And we were not disappointed.

Getting Started

As with any new appliance – read the directions first. There is a quick start guide included and we simply followed the instructions on that.

So we set the power base onto a flat surface then performed a cleaning cycle with just plain water – no tea.

You do not add the tea basket for this initial clean.

Fill the jug with water up to the 1500ml mark, replace the lid and insert the power cord into the power.

The tea maker has a short power cord that I find ideal as I don’t have to wind up long lengths of cord which has to be tucked out of the way.  The cord also has a unique assist plug, which has a convenient finger hole which makes it easy to remove from the power socket.  If you require a longer cord, these are available from Breville.

The LCD lights on the power base will light up.

  • Press the up arrow to select 100°C (212°F)
  • Press the ‘Hot Water’ button to start.

Once the first lot of water has boiled simply discard it and your tea maker is now ready for use.

Making the tea

Okay, so far so good. Now for the next step – Making the tea.

At this point we hadn’t added the basket but once you start making tea you simply lift the basket out of the glass carafe, by the sides.

Pop off the basket lid and add tea leaves.  There is a plastic measuring spoon included and as I like very weak tea I only add a ½ a teaspoon. But you can make your teas as weak or as strong as you like.

Fill the jug with the amount of water you need. It’s generally only Paula and I having a cuppa so I fill the jug to the 750ml water line, 1200ml is the max recommended fill line.

Slip the tea basket onto the post in the jug and pop on the jug lid.

Now simply select the tea type which helps your tea maker to determine the brew temperature.

Select the tea strength – there are 4 modes:

  • Strong
  • Medium
  • Mild
  • Custom

Whichever one you choose determines the brew time.

Now press the ‘Tea/Cancel’ button to start the tea making process.

Now this is the really groovy part. Once the water reaches the correct temperature, the tea basket will automatically lower down into the water. Then as soon as the brew time has elapsed the tea basket will automatically rise out of the water and the machine will beep to let you know that your tea is ready.

Then you simply pour and enjoy.

How simple is that?

There is also a Keep Warm button the will keep the brewed tea or the heated water warm for up to 60 mins. Ideal if you are doing something you want to finish before sitting down to have your cup of tea. And because the tea basket isn’t sitting in the brew, it wont become bitter as with a normal teapot.

Do we think it is a worthwhile purchase – yes we do.

So what do you get in the box

  • One Power Base
  • One short Power Cord
  • One German Made Schott stain resistant glass kettle
  • One jug lid with stainless steel scale filter
  • One tea scoop
  • One stainless steel tea basket and lid

The Power Base

The power base has all the function controls to make the perfect cup of tea.

  • Auto Start
  • Keep warm
  • basket

Tea Type Selection Button for the following tea types

  • Green
  • Black
  • White
  • Herbal
  • Oolong
  • Custom

There are buttons that allow you to override both  the preset brew temperatures and the preset brew times.

The back-lit LCD displays both the brew temperature and brew time.

The Tea Strength Button has preset times for:

  • Strong
  • Medium
  • Mild
  • Custom

There is a Hot Water/Cancel button

  • This allows you to use the tea maker as a variable temperature kettle.

The Tea/Cancel

  • This button activates the tea brewing cycle

You can purchase this great appliance from Amazon and take advantage of their Free super Saver Shipping.

Need to see it in action?  Here are a couple of videos to help you see how great this appliance is.

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Popcorn Butterscotch Squares

popcorn-butterscotch-squaresNow that the kids are back at school its time to start thinking about lunchbox fillers. Mind you that isn’t as hard as you think if you have the Australian Women’s Weekly Little Squares & Slices cookbook on hand

My friend Tammy makes amazing slices for her family of 5 children to pop into their lunch boxes and for after school snacks and this is one I am sure you will all love.

 


 Popcorn Butterscotch Squares

Prep + cook time 30 minutes (+ refrigeration)
Makes 24
Store squares in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Ingredients:-

• 250g (8 ounces) butternut snap biscuits
• 125g (4 ounces) butter, melted
• 395g (12 ½ ounces) canned sweetened condensed milk
• 30g (1 ounce) butter, extra
• 4 cups (40g) air-popped salted popcorn
• ½ cup (40g) toasted shredded coconut
• 185g (6 ounces) milk eating chocolate, melted

Method:
1. Grease 20cm x 30cm (8-inch x 12-inch) rectangular pan; line base and long sides with baking paper, extending paper 5 cm (2 inches) over sides.

2. Process biscuits until fine. Add butter; process until combined. Press mixture firmly over base of pan. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until firm.

3. Meanwhile, combine condensed milk and extra butter in a medium heavy-based saucepan; cook, stirring, over medium heat, about 10 minutes or until mixture is a caramel colour. Remove from heat; quickly stir in the popcorn and coconut.

4. Working quickly with wet hands, spread and firmly press popcorn mixture over base. Spread chocolate over slice. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set before cutting.

the-australian-womens-weekly-little-squares-&-slicesThe recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘little squares & slices’ cookbook.

I doubt there is a household in Australia that doesn’t have a copy of at least one of the Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks.

They have an amazing range of cookbooks that cover every type of cooking that you can think of. The recipes are always easy to follow.

Each recipe is clearly photographed so that you can see what the finished dish should look like. The recipes aren’t complicated and  because they are all tested before publication, they work – every time.