Oh, would this rain just stop. I've had enough. I'd had enough last Summer. June is supposed to be all sunny and lovely. Not damp and grotty. I hate not knowing what to wear. It is warm but it is wet. Add to this the fact that I have a two hour commute to work and you'll understand that I am frequently ridiculously and inappropriately clothed. When I leave London at 7am it can be a bright and sunny day, yet when I arrive at Stevenage station it is frequently wet and cold. I get some funny looks in my summery dress and strappy sandals.
Last week in fit of Summer excitement, I decided to get out the ice cream maker. I was lucky enough to receive one last August for my birthday. Summer (or what there was of it) was coming to an end and I only got to try it out a few times. I'm not really a winter ice cream person, you see.
So, I was excited to give it a burst last week. Those of you who read my previous post will not be surprised to hear that when entertaining I am not content to produce just one rather lovely pudding but feel the need to provide two. Just in case someone doesn't like the first offering. I couldn't bear for them to go without. Of course, usually, everyone wants a little of both. So much the better in my book.
I am more than a little obsessed with rhubarb. Really, I prefer the earliest forced rhubarb. A streak of pink during an otherwise bland winter season. But I'm prepared to give the later variety a whirl too. As long as it still has a bit of pink about it. Rhubarb (or rude-barb as I often feel the urge to call it) is just wonderful with ginger. I augmented my ice cream with syrup from a jar of stem ginger and added bashed up ginger nuts for added interest. The experiment was (modesty aside) a successful one.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can still make the stuff. You just have to have a little patience and keep whisking the stuff whilst it is freezing. For more tips, see this advice from the master of ice-cream, David Lebovitz.
Rhubarb and ginger ice cream
500g rhubarb (weight prior to trimming and chopping)
7 oz golden caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
15 fluid oz (425 ml) whipping cream
1 - 2 tbsp syrup from jar of stem ginger in syrup
8 ginger nuts ( or thereabouts!)
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Trim rhubarb (be sure to get rid of any poisonous leaves). Cut into 2 cm pieces and put into roasting tin. Sprinkle over sugar and lemon juice and give a good shake to coat. Pop into the oven to roast for 30 minutes.
N.B. It will seem like an awful lot of sugar, but remember that rhubarb is very tart. If you want, add less and taste later - you can always add a little more. Once you remove it from the oven, it should be tender and sitting in lots of lovely juice...
2. Pop the rhubarb in a blender and blitz, or use a stab mixer to blend to a fine pureé. Stir in the ginger syrup, cover with clingfilm and then chill in the fridge for at least half and hour.
3. Bash the ginger nuts into smallish pieces. Not so small that you have crumbs - you want the bits to be noticeable in the ice-cream. About the size of a pea is perfect. Easiest way to do this - pop in a plastic freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin.
4. When rhubarb mixture is cool, stir the cream in thoroughly and pour into the prepared ice-cream maker. Churn until you have a spoonable consistency (around 20 minutes) and then scrape into a container. Stir in the bits of ginger nut at this stage. Pop in the freezer until ready to serve.
Delicious with strawberries and crisp little biscuits. Or why not make a lovely strawberry purée to drizzle over the top. Delicious!
Other fruity ice creams I've made over the past year...