Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Easter is over

I just dropped off the houseguests at the airport, and popped into Woollies on the way home for a couple of important items: catfood, washing up liquid and such. The place was totally packed. I've never seen the carpark so full. Everyone must have been busy doing other things than shopping over Easter, even though the shops were mostly open. I know I was: I was at the folk festival listening to some of the many non-trad-folk acts (gypsy, klezmer, honkytonk), shopping for hippy clothes, and drinking Guinness with friends.

As my friends and I like to cook, my fridge is utterly, chronically jam-packed right now. We have leftovers of:
* my raisin polenta cake
* my pumpkin pie
* my cured salmon and its herbed cream cheese partner
* my hot cross buns
* my cinnamon icecream
* HH's marvellous casseroled chicken: reduced to stock, a few scrappy chook & bacon bits, and the chicken-simmered spuds
* A's terrific Moroccan beef & lentil casserole, made with her own custom spice blend
* A's chocolate sauce

And as I was strolling through the crowd at Woollies I spied some marked down to clear turkey drumsticks, and free range chicken drumsticks & breast. I think they'll have to go in the freezer, with the two beef roasts I bought last week. Or perhaps I could poach up some of the new chook in the stock. I'm feeling a little spoiled for choice on the dinner options right now, and am determined not to waste any of these goodies. One salmon sandwich coming up for lunch, I think.

I can only count myself lucky that B1 took the remnant chocolate pudding home to feed to our guests-in-exile, and that my tricksy oven made a bit of a hash of A's gingerbread cake, otherwise I'd be hip deep in desserts. The icecream will keep for a few weeks, of course. It's a Delia Smith recipe, from her Christmas book, and I make it regularly (about once per year). I'll copy it out below as I've modified it slightly for metrics and Australian packet sizes - the small shifts do not cause any problems. It's a great accompaniment to any spicy or appley or chocolatey dessert, and makes a nice change from vanilla. Also, the recipe includes a nifty cheat which may be applicable to other icecreams.

Recipe: Delia's Cinnamon Icecream
6 medium egg yolks
100g caster sugar
600ml rich milk
300ml whipping cream
2 teaspoons custard powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick cinnamon

Whisk egg yolks, custard powder and sugar until pale and thickened.
Heat milk, cinnamon stick and cinnamon until just simmering.
Pour milk over the eggs, whisking continually as you pour.
Return mix to heat, and continue whisking until mixture has thickened to custard.
Pour into a bowl, cover with glad wrap directly on the custard surface, and chill overnight.
Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Stir the cream and custard together gently, discarding the cinnamon stick.
Churn in an icecream maker for 20 minutes, then freeze.
Remove from freezer 10-20 minutes before serving to soften. (Or nuke on defrost setting for 1 minute)

Notes: the nifty cheat is the custard powder. Using this means that even if you accidentally let the custard boil, it will still smooth out with a bit more whisking. Excellent!

If you have used cassia rather than true cinnamon, the stick can be rinsed well, and reused. I like to pop one of those in my chilli. Cassia does come in sticks, too, as I discovered when I accidentally bought some once. The bark is noticeably thicker and coarser than true cinnamon, which is paper thin. But now that cassia is the rage for its supposed health benefits, you're much less likely to find it sailing under false colours as cinnamon. If you're not entirely sure: cassia is the one that's got the more hot flavour. US cinnamon is nearly always cassia - all those "red hot" cinnamon candies are actually cassia.

Oh, and I also have 6 egg whites in the freezer. Hmmm...


Mummy/Crit said...

I did not know that about cassia. I think I have some in my cupboard, masquerading.

BJ said...

I found this:
and this:
on one of my fave sites. wondered if you were interested in publishing? I've never seen a recipe for chai before. I wonder, tho, if it's low-caffeine, being made with two black tea-bags. don't they have quite a bit of caffeine in them?

anyway, for interest.

Anita said...

Wow, that's a heap of left-overs! good luck getting through it all :) (sounds so nice, you shouldn't have much trouble)

Cath said...

I don't actually like chai much. Milk and tea with sugar, ew. I do use the occasional chai teabag black for a spiced tea; most inauthentic.

I have got through most of the leftovers, though some of the raisin cake and pumpkin pie went for possum feed down the coast.

The stock and chicken bits are in the freezer awaiting transformation to risotto.

I ate the salmon for lunches, except a bit that I took down the coast. I used up the chocolate sauce all by myself - 3 icecream desserts for me! The cinnamon icecream is still in the freezer, I must try to remember to finish it.