Guilt Free Ginger Ice-cream

This lent I have chosen to follow a daniel fast. I am so far really relishing the opportunity to try out new foods and recipes and have discovered the date which has made life so much better (despite its humble appearance). However what I have really missed has been the sweet after dinner treats.

A few weeks ago, me and my friend won an eight hour poker tournament. Given our mutual love of food we decided to blow our winnings on a delicious Thai meal. In a moment of student extravagance we treated ourselves to pudding and a green tea and it was there that we discovered the joy that is ginger ice-cream. So hauntingly delicious was it that a few weeks later when I had my friends round for a daniel fast friendly meal, we decided to attempt to recreate this wondrous frozen dessert. DSC03375

Now if you didn’t know, the daniel fast basically consists of fruit, vegetables and seasonings (for a more extensive description see here ) which proves to be a challenge when attempting to make ice-cream. Luckily, thanks to the internet   I have discovered a healthy alternative to that delectable dairy dish, replacing the dairy with non other than the humble banana.

 

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It is so easy to do and has all the creamy yumminess of ice-cream without any animal products. Simply chop up your banana, freeze it and then when you would like some ice-cream, chuck it in a blender with a tiny bit of boiling water until it is creamy.

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You can literally add anything to this banana base. So far I have had cocoa and honey, coconut and ginger but I am going to try it with berries and maybe vanilla and also perhaps with frozen mango – the possibilities are endless.

For the ginger version simply add ground ginger and/or fresh ginger into the frozen banana mix and blend with the banana until it is a creamy consistency. This has been the perfect after dinner sweet and is completely guilt free. Also a great way of using up slightly riper bananas as the riper the banana, the sweeter it tastes.

Enjoy!

 

 

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Orangettes

Oranges are an overlooked and under appreciated delicious fruit. They have travelled in arduous conditions across hundreds of miles in order to be peeled and eaten. And in this process half of this wonderful fruit is discarded, thrown away to end up rotting in amongst mouldy remnants of yesterdays dinner.

Since finding this recipe in my lovely new book Sweet Things I have found it very difficult not to horde all my orange peels in a jam jar in order to turn them all into Orangettes but unfortunately, as I am supposed to be studying for my final year essays, I have restricted myself to only making Orangettes 3 times this week.

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As you may know there is a lot of vitamin C to be found in the skin of the orange which is great for fighting off winter colds. So not only are you thriftily using up all your fruit you are also fighting off illness. So far this seems to be a win-win situation.

To make Orangettes, either for yourself or as a very kind gift to give to someone else, you will need:

– an Orange (more than one is preferable but I normally only eat one orange at a time)

– 120g caster sugar

– a cinnamon stick ( I think a teaspoon of ground cinnamon would also work)

– 80g Dark chocolate

In my book the recipe also specifies 1/2 a vanilla pod, 6 cardamom pods, 1/2 teaspoon of pink peppercorns, 1 star anise and finely chopped pistachios/edible gold leaf but seeing as I am just a humble student and not Delia Smith I have made do without. Instead I added a bit of vanilla essence and a tiny bit of Amaretto.

1. Having cut the orange into segments, with a sharp knife peel off the skin from each of your segments. Slice the skin into strips. Eat the flesh.

2. Place the sliced peels into a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then drain. Repeat this process twice more – the blanching removes any lingering bitterness and softens the skins. Drain once more and set aside.

3. To make the syrup tip the sugar into a heavy based pan and add 120ml of water. This is the point where you would add your pot pourri of spices. Place on medium heat to slowly dissolve the sugar, stirring occasionally. Once the syrup has formed add the orange peels and leave to boil very slowly for about 40 minutes until the peels become soft and translucent and almost all the syrup has been absorbed. During the last 10 minutes the syrup gets very thick so be careful it doesn’t burn.

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4. Remove the peels from the pan one at a time and place on a piece of baking parchment. Leave on the paper overnight to dry, after which they should be candied and not sticky. At this point they should be stored in an airtight box.

5. Once your Orangettes are candied they are ready to be dipped in chocolate. Melt your dark chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water.

melting chocolate

Stir until all the chocolate has melted and it is lovely and smooth. Then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before dipping the orangettes into the melted chocolate. My recipe says dip one end but I think the more chocolate the better so I went all out and covered them completely.

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   Leave to dry on the baking parchment until the chocolate has set.

At this point I also sprinkled a tiny bit of salt onto the dark chocolate because it makes the chocolate taste better but this isn’t crucial so feel free to omit it if you would rather.

chocolate covered orangette

Unfortunately at the moment I am completely out of edible gold leaf, I do however have some edible gold paint so I painted my Orangettes with this instead. Who doesn’t love gold food?

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These were surprisingly easy to make and tasted really yummy so I would definitely recommend making them. They make a nice gift and although they are covered in chocolate they are still essentially oranges so actually not too unhealthy if you think about it..

And they’re gold.

These will last for about 2 or 3 weeks (probably longer) and are appreciated by both male and female recipients.

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round round I wrap around. Tulip Skirt.

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I wanted a tulip skirt. I had material, I had google. I made a tulip skirt.

This was my starting point: http://www.cottonandcurls.com/2012/10/tulip-wrap-skirt-tutorial/

My method was a bit more tailored to me, I cut the material, I pinned the material on, I cut the material some more etcetera etcetera, until it was about the right shape.

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Then I pinned a few pleats in to shape the skirt

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I hemmed the edges going around the curve, along the straight and up the curve.

I sewed the satin waist band in much the same way as in the tutorial online but I don’t have any photos of the process so probably best to follow that version.

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Once the skirt was whole, I worked out where I wanted the poppers and sewed them on in the corresponding places. You can do buttons and button holes but my opinion is that once you start cutting holes in the skirt, if you gain or loose a lot of weight then it is very difficult to re-jig the skirt so it fits you, with poppers you can just cut them off and resew them in a better position.

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And this is the finished product on, sorry about the dusty mirror, shabby chic.

tralala.

Simple soup

Tomatoes

Christmas tis the season for good food, family and friends. It is the time for the drinks to flow and the uninhibited carefree consumption of stollen, mince pies and yorkshire puddings.

January is not. And if your post-christmas step has changed from a skip to a plod you are not alone.

However after the bounty of delicious food which dominated throughout December, a diet consisting purely of wilted lettuce and carrots and water is hard to swallow.

I have instead converted from yummy stodge to yummy soup. very easy to make and very easy to swallow. Dispatched with a bread roll, I find tomato and basil soup a happy antidote to my food bother.

Ingredients:

  1. Tomatoes
  2. half an onion
  3.  a clove or two of garlic
  4. any sprigs of herbs (Rosemary, thyme or Basil) this is optional
  5. olive oil
  6. balsamic vinegar
  7. seasoning salt and pepper

Chop everything up into slices and segments (except basil if you are adding it) and place on tray

Drizzle with olive oil and a smidgen of balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper

shake the tray and contents gently to coat everything in oil

place in preheated oven at about 190C and allow to roast gently for 10-20 minutes until everything is soft

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Pour all smooshed tray backed goods into a saucepan and add just enough water to cover, not too much or this will become flavoured hot water. You can also add half a stock cube at this point if you are partial to stock in soup. This is where you would add your basil if you had it.

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Allow to simmer gently for another 10 minutes, remove from heat and blend.

Reheat if desired, pour into bowl and eat with bread and butter. (apparently a bit of fat is good for you)

Tomatoe and Basil soup

This is my basic formula for all soup recipes, I either pre roast and then simmer or just simmer but the process stays generally the same and the tomato can be substituted for carrots, potatoes, butternut squash, anything you feel like really.

Perfect because it is warm, easy and filling and also very cheap – I would guestimate at this costing about 60p to make.

yumyumyum.

Silk Flower Garland

Christmas is expensive. And unnecessarily stressful.

Make presents.

Save money, tailor them to your friends and family and do something productive in front of terrible christmas films.

I made my lovely friend a silk flower garland for her secret santa present. I tried and tested various techniques which the internet gave me:

DIY Fabric Flower Garland

http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/226604/silk-flower-ring-pillow?czone=f&center=352451&gallery=231155&slide=226604

http://rhonnadesigns.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/one-more-diy-fabric-flower-tutorial.html

and eventually came up with this. Its very easy to do (I made one on a train) and all you need is some scraps of fabric and a needle and thread.

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1. Cut the fabricinto squares

2. Fold the fabric into thirds

3. Sew the bottom with a tacking stitch

4. Sew petals together to make flower

silk flower

This is the one I made for my friend for secret santa, she’s not a fan of pink so I went for dark blue and black gauze and sewed the flowers onto black lace. The flower garland can be strung across the back of a bed or wrapped around fairy lights or worn to a festival woven around your hair.

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Sloe Apothecary

Damson Vodka

As a child I made complicated potions in the bath with tooth paste and soap and a precise combination of hot and cold water which if correctly stirred and shaken promised all manner of exciting results. I am happy to say that my potion making days are not behind me and on drinking my new potions, the results promise to be equally thrilling.

This Autumn, as I ventured out into the hedgerows of sussex I encountered sloes, crab apples and blackberries. My local veg man was selling lovely damsons and Sainsburys was flogging off the last of their home reared strawberries. And so the apothecary within set about making various infusions of these fruits with vodka’s and gins. The general recipe is as follows

– One large necked jar or bottle

– A quantity of fruit

– Sugar (granulated or caster)

– Alchohol

Clean and sterilise the container of choice. Slice or prick the fruit  so that the skin is broken (popular methods include freezing or jabbing with a fork)  and pour into jar or bottle until it is about half filled. Pour the sugar over the fruit until it fills all the gaps and is about level with the line of fruit and then pour over chosen alcohol. Seal jar or bottle, shake and place in a dark place, shaking it regularly for the first couple of weeks and sporadically following until all the sugar has been dissolved.

Leave to infuse in dry dark place for 3 – 6 months after which time you may strain out the fruit and decant into suitable bottles.

Damson Vodka

People have various theories surrounding pretty much every stage of this method which apparently make or break the brew but I find that this basic method makes a lovely potion and a lovely gift.

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Serve the final concoction over ice, in a hot toddy in winter or on warm summers day with lemonade and a squeeze of lime. Strawberry Vodka

Christmas greenery

 

When your a student living in lovely artistic Brighton it is difficult not to spend thousands of pounds in the spirit of christmas. While a trip to pound land normally provides a quick fix to your deflated christmas cheer it is by no means a long term alternative to the open fire and mountain of mince pies. Instead I find the best remedy to fulfilling your christmassy fix is a walk followed by wreathing session.

 

Wreath

 

Holly and Ivy and other christmassy foliage are not only free but they smell lovely and fresh and make timeless christmas decor to don your slightly less than christmassy door.

Foliage

 

 

Jamming

I am making christmas presents this year – a combination of wanting to get out of the overly commercialised christmas rat race and wanting to give something I could afford and which had some meaning or personality in it.

And so I have been jamming.

First of all I went foraging. So. Much. Fun. and so calming, if you are stressed and need some time out go on a long walk and pick things and put them in bags and carry them around with you and you will feel such a sense of fulfilment and calm.

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These are my blackberries picked and washed. I froze and defrosted them so I wasn’t against the clock trying to make them into jam but I would probably say fresh is best.

so 500g of these:

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Windfall apples. Loads of these around, quite a lot of people put them in bags in front of their house for you to help yourself to. Peel and core 500g of them

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Put all together in a big heavy based pan with approx 100ml of water ( I added more but this might have been my jammy downfall)

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simmer on a medium heat until everything is mush and then add your sugar (1kg) and mix it in until its dissolved

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Bring this to the boil and boil rapidly for 5 minutes and then test on a cold saucer. Put a splodge on, wait a minute for it to cool and then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles it has set.

I always have trouble with the set because I don’t it to be too runny so my jam comes out a bit over done but still yummy and still spreadable.

spoon into pre sterilised jam jars and leave to cool

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Not the most studenty gift but with a few other bits – maybe some scones and clotted cream in a tin – its a lovely present.

Kite Tail.

This summer I had wonderful adventures and saw beautiful things.

One of the things I loved about Cairo was its alleys and side streets.

Hanging across them from building to building were vines of bunting made out of small scraps of material in all different colours, fluttering amongst the dust of the city.

 

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Back at home I want to make my own raggedy vines

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I tied odds and ends and strips of lace onto brown twine and strung it across the kitchen but I think this bunting is happiest with sun shining through it.

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This is it all wrapped up until another windy day.