Friday, 26 September 2014

Mint Ice Cream and Gluten-Free Chocolate Brownies

Following on from last week's WKWE post which featured my visit to Frankie & Benny's and my dessert of chocolate brownies and mint ice cream, I promised a post with recipes inspired by this.  The chocolate brownie recipe that I'm going to include here is the second of many I hope to share, and is a flourless brownie that I found in Nigella Express, which makes it good for those who have gluten-free diets.  The mint ice cream recipe is from The IceCreamists by Matt O'Connor.

Flourless Brownies

Ingredients (to make 16 squares)

225g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
225g butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g ground almonds (optional)
100g chopped walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius or gas mark 3.  Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
  2. Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
  3. Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts.  Turn into a 24cm square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.
  4. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey.  Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squares.

Mint Ice Cream


250ml (8 fl oz) full-fat milk
125ml (4 fl oz) double cream
2 egg yolks
88g (3 1/4 oz) caster sugar
120g (3 3/4 oz) dark chocolate fondant mints, such as After Eight Mints, roughly chopped


  1. Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth.  Add the sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy.  Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Do not allow to boil.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature.  For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes.  Never put the hot mixture into the fridge.  Meanwhile, melt the fondant mints in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  4. Once the ice cream mixture is cooled, add the melted chocolate mints to the bowl, along with the mixture, blend with a stick blender and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4 degrees Celsius).  Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, or by hand.
  5. When the churning is completed, fold in the After Eight mints with a spoon or spatula, and scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid.  Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).
  6. Decorate each portion with fresh mint leaves before serving.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

What Katie Wants to Eat - week ending 19/09/14

For me, this week has been Freshers Week at uni, and for Freshers Fayre, I was going in circles around the student union building for the majority of Wednesday and Thursday, trying to recruit people to join the uni's musical theatre society, BUSOM, until we realised that a couple of people were stopping at our stall to sing along to songs from Frozen with us, so then we sang through the whole Little Shop of Horrors soundtrack (which we did for our main show earlier this year) together until Freshers Fayre finished.  I've also eaten a lot of sweets from the stalls at Freshers Fayre because they were free, so there was a lot of sugar involved.  On Thursday evening, I caught up with a couple of old school friends to go bowling (I was 2nd with 96 points, only one point behind the leader) and for dinner at Frankie & Benny's.  Anyway, although there are a lot fewer photo links this week, here's what food goodness has been tickling my tastebuds or made me hungry this week:
  1. Chocolate brownies with mint ice cream - this is what I had for dessert at Frankie & Benny's on Thursday evening.  The brownie was soft and gooey, while the ice cream was cool and smooth in comparison to the whipped cream that the dish was also served with.  I might post a recipe I found for gluten-free chocolate brownies and mint ice cream in the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that.
  2. Candyfloss - unfortunately, my society's Freshers Fayre stall was around the corner from a free popcorn and candyfloss stall that had been set up by an external business, so every few minutes, we would see people coming past with either bags of popcorn or sticks holding a giant cloud of pink candyfloss.  Having not really had candyfloss myself for a few years, I took the opportunity to get myself a stick of free candyfloss on both days after lunch.  Although it was slightly inconvenient as I was having to keep the sticky candyfloss in one hand away from the society info cards in the other hand as I walked around to recruit people, I'd like more of this pink, fluffy cloud of sweet awesomeness!
  3. Raw soft-serve ice cream at The Rawtarian - this recipe is super-easy and only needs frozen bananas, a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract and a blender.  I think I'll use it to create a vegan-friendly version of the affogato recipe I posted a few weeks ago.
  4. Ally's watermelon fruit-bowl is making me jealous.  Like strawberries and blueberries, I don't think watermelon will be sticking around here much longer this year in the UK, and will be flying south (to Australia, in fact) to wish Ally a very happy summer indeed.  Also, do we have Finn Cold Press juices here?  They look tasty.

So that's all for this week.  I'll be back next week with more food and possible post-Freshers Fayre news!

Friday, 19 September 2014

New York Cheesecake

This is the cheesecake that I made for my birthday earlier this year.  The recipe is from Delicious 5 of the Best by Valli Little, and has a very creamy filling and a sprinkling of cocoa powder on the top surface of the cake.

Ingredients (to serve 10-12)

200g nice biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
800g cream cheese
190g caster sugar
4 eggs
3 egg yolks
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
30ml lemon juice
300ml sour cream
good-quality cocoa powder, to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit / gas mark 4.
  2. Grease a 23cm round springform pan.  Place 2 layers of aluminium foil on the outside of the pan (this prevents water seeping into the pan while cooking in the water bath).
  3. Crush the biscuits in a food processor.  Combine the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs and press into the base of the pan.
  4. Put the cream cheese, 170g of the caster sugar, eggs, egg yolks, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and the lemon juice in a food processor.  Process until smooth, then pour over the biscuit base.  Place the cheesecake in a large roasting pan and pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Beat together the sour cream, the remaining sugar and vanilla and pour over the cake.  Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside in the pan to cool, then refrigerate for 4 hours.  Serve dusted with cocoa powder.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Chickpea Hummus

Recently, I went to Cyrus Mediterranean Restaurant in Bradford (a street or two away from Great Horton Road) with some friends for a party. For my main course, I had a rice dish with lamb and vegetables (that I can’t remember the name of), but the best part for me was the starter that three of us had chickpea hummus! I spent most of the meal, dipping slices of cucumber and pieces of naan bread into the very delicious-tasting plate of hummus, and over 3 weeks later, I have found myself craving the taste of that hummus. It’s very easy, of course, to go and find pots of hummus in a supermarket, but why not try making it at home from scratch? I found this recipe in the Food section of, and it has been given as an option for making hummus without tahini dressing.



1 can (approximately 200g-250g) chickpeas
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin


  1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Serve immediately.  Ideal with pita bread, celery sticks, carrot sticks or slices of cucumber.
  3. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


What Katie Wants to Eat - week ending 12/09/2014

Here's an idea: why don't I, in addition to the weekly recipe, share a few links to dishes that I've seen each week on my rounds of the Internet.  These dishes all look delicious from the pictures shown, and I'm sure they'd taste even better.  I might make one or two of these myself soon.
  1. This raw chocolate cake recipe from The Rawtarian looks so easy to make, is fruity and nutty as well as chocolatey, takes virtually no time at all to prepare, and doesn't need to be cooked! - I think I'll make this in a few weeks when I have some time after a lecture.
  2. One of many raw chocolate slices that I've seen on the Instagram of the Coco Bliss Superfood Bar in Australia.  These delicious-looking treats are secretly good for you - I'm so jealous that Coco Bliss is currently only in Australia.  I would love to have one really close to me, so that I can visit it all the time and try all the things that I've seen on their Instagram.  Can somebody please get on that really soon for me?  Thank you.
  3. Vegan dumplings from the Instagram of Australian sisters Alyssa and Taylan at veganopia.  This recipe is a fine example of something savoury and vegan-friendly to eat, and seems reasonably easy to make.  It would probably make a fine contribution to a Chinese-themed food table, and shows that there needn't be just stir-fried veggies and rice or noodles!
  4. Ally's big bowl of her homemade version of Cold Rock ice cream also looks rather inviting, especially when alongside Finn Cold Press veggie juice.

More of what deliciousness I've seen and want to try next week!

Friday, 5 September 2014


An affogato (meaning "drowned" in Italian) is a coffee-based pudding in which a shot of hot espresso is poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato.  The espresso gives the ice cream a slightly bitter flavour, but I felt that the heat of the espresso was mainly drowned out by the cold ice cream.  This recipe for affogato and the vanilla ice cream used to make it are from Coffee and Bites by Susie Theodorou, but shop-bought vanilla ice cream could be used instead (as I did), which would be a lot faster when being made in a hurry.


300ml (10fl oz / 1.25 cups) milk
300ml (10fl oz / 1.25 cups) double (thick) cream
1 vanilla pod (bean)
6 egg yolks
150g (5oz / 2 thirds cup) caster (superfine) sugar
A shot (approximately 25-30ml) of espresso


  1. Ensure the bowl of the ice cream machine is well chilled for the required time in the freezer before you start (follow manufacturer's instructions).
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan.  Split the vanilla pod (bean) lengthways and add to the pan, then heat the mixture to just below boiling point.  Simultaneously, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.  Set the vanilla pod to one side, then pour the warm milk and cream onto the eggs and stir.
  3. Clean the pan and return custard mixture to the pan, straining it first through a sieve.  Return the vanilla pod to the custard mixture and cook over a gentle heat for 5-8 minutes, stirring constantly.  At no time should the custard boil - it is thick enough when it coats the back of a large metal spoon.  Immediately pour the custard into a large clean bowl so that it does not continue to cook in the pan.  Remove the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds into the custard, then discard the pod.  Allow the custard to cool, then chill for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pour the custard into the ice cream machine and churn for about 10-15 minutes (the time varies between machines).  Transfer to a freezer-proof container and freeze.
  5. Put single scoops of ice cream into espresso coffee cups or bowls and pour a shot of espresso coffee over the ice cream.  It may be useful to remove the ice cream from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving to soften the ice cream slightly.  Serve immediately.