Dad can be so hard to gift sometimes, especially because your dad might just be the stoic type who tells everyone not to make a fuss. Well, Dad deserves some pampering too, and if you are stuck on ideas, here are some cute, thoughtful ones that I’ve come across, that I absolutely love.
In the spirit of Fathers’ Day being just round the corner, and in support of dude food, I decided to try Heston Blumenthal’s Bacon and Egg Ice Cream. This recipe is an absolute crackup – you should really watch the faces of people who first try this – and it’s so amazingly easy to carry out.
This smooth rich ice cream actually tastes intensely of bacon and egg, and the custard is actually more delicious than the ice cream. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
So let’s just get stuck into the recipe:
Heston’s Bacon and Egg Ice Cream:
500ml full cream milk
Good quality bacon
12 egg yolks
So first the bacon. Pop it under the grill till it’s all nice and golden and delicious – try not to eat it all! – and put it into a pot.
I gave it a quick chop, but you don’t really have to. Also, the amount of bacon used does affect how strong the bacon flavour is. I used about 2 rashers because I figured that it would be infusing overnight, so I could afford to use a little less.
Add your milk to your bacon, then bring to the boil
This just helps to get those flavours mingling. At this point, your milk will start to look a little pink. Then pour it all into a container and leave it in the fridge overnight.
Now you don’t want anyone to drink or throw away your funky concoction, so LABEL THE DANG THING!!
Bring your milk back up to the boil, then strain it. In a separate bowl, whisk together 12 egg yolks with 60g of sugar.
Why so many egg yolks? Well, while the custard would still work with less egg yolks, you want the eggy-ness to come across. It is a bacon and egg ice cream after all. So you achieve that by adding more egg yolks. And the whites don’t have to go to waste either! Simply give them a good whisk and use them to flavour some nuts!
Then stream your hot milk into the egg yolks while whisking, then return the mixture to a clean pan. Cook, cover low heat, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. For the nerdy cooks, you can take this custard to about 80C before it starts curdling. If you do intend to take it to 80C, then prepare a bowl set over another bowl with ice to stop the cooking process. Otherwise, take it to a little less and pour it into another bowl.
Then chill the whole mixture – this helps it freeze faster and prevents large ice crystals which can make your ice cream ‘crunchy’ – and then churn according to your ice cream manufacturer’s instructions.
A rich creamy ice cream that tastes of exactly what it’s meant to be – bacon and eggs. Personally, I thought the custard tasted wayyy more intense than the ice cream, so before you start dialling down on the flavour, try the finished product first.
To serve, Heston does this funky thing with using dry ice and a mixer, where the ice cream turns out look like scrambled eggs. You can totally do that too, but I’m short one mixer at the moment. I just topped my ice cream with toasted bread crumbs and some crispy bacon on the side.
Bet dad will get a kick out of this!
With Father’s Day just round the corner, I’m sure everyone’s racking their brains to figure out just how to spoil dad. Well, if your dad loves flavoured nuts, I’ve got a really simple recipe here for you.
When I first had this idea, I went trawling through the net for spiced nuts recipes, but all of them seem to just dust roasted nuts with spices. But what about that gnarly crispy coating that you get with store bought nuts?
Well, the secret? Egg whites.
I learnt a recipe for almond biscuits that use just lightly whipped egg whites with icing sugar and slivered almonds, and it gave the exact texture that I wanted for my nuts.
Cayenne Spiced Nuts:
1 large egg white
350g raw cashews (or any nuts you like)
3 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of paprika
2 tsp salt (or smoked salt if you can get your hands on it)
2 tsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C. Simply whip up the egg whites to soft peaks, then stir in all the seasoning. Coat the nuts in the mixture, then spread onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake till golden brown, then let cool. Break up the nuts – it would have baked into one single sheet – and if things aren’t as crispy, you can dry it out a little in a low (150C) oven.
Then simply pop into a jar/airtight container/cellophane bags and serve it up to Dad with his favourite whisky on the rocks/beer/beverage of choice!
I love how Lindt always comes up with new things! This time, it’s a cracker of a dessert that they’ve called the Lindt Dome of Decadence.
According to Marketing Director of Lindt Andrew Curran, there is a very deep seated psychology that has to do with people and eating chocolate. Apparently, chocolate enjoyers are divided into two categories: Controllers, and Indulgers. The controllers love to enjoy and savour their chocolate in small amounts, and the indulgers just love to dive head first into abundant amounts of the stuff.
But, before we get into the nitty gritty of the dome, Lindt prove themselves to be gracious hosts by greeting us with chocolate martinis and other, equally decadent food.
And so we begin.
The dome is made of tempered Lindt Chocolate set into a mould.
A chocolate base gets a scattering of roasted hazelnuts, and then beautiful vanilla bean and white chocolate ice cream.
More hazelnuts, then the dome gets carefully placed onto the top.
Now, the fun bit. When you order a dome of decadence, you get a little pot of warm molten chocolate to yourself.
What happens next?
Eastwood is home to a plethora of different cafes and bakeries, and I LOVE IT. So one morning, before doing the groceries, a leisurely brunch seemed to be in order.
This quaint little cafe has an adorable decor, with wood grain tracing all over the walls of the cafe. It had a great ambience to kick back and have a chat with friends.
The big breakfast was a little pricey – it was about $15 – but the fare was decent. Everything that was meant to be hot, was hot, and everything that was meant to be crispy, was crispy.
We also had the Eggs Benedict.
This wasn’t the best breakfast by a long shot. I had asked for the eggs to be underdone, and the eggs were clearly overdone. The ham and muffin wasn’t actually toasted, and was left cold, and the wilted spinach was stringy and not silky like I expected. The hollandaise sauce was thick and creamy, but not actually buttery like it should be.
In all, the food was average, although a bit pricey, and the service was very dicey. A few of the staff members were quite friendly, but the person that was actually standing behind the counter was disinterested, dismissive, and looked like he really didn’t want to be there.
I wouldn’t mind taking away a coffee there again at some point, but I’m not that inspired to have another meal there any time soon.
We ate at:
Caffe Cherry Beans, Eastwood
Eastside Shopping Centre
Shop 201, 62-80 Rowe St.
Eastwood NSW 2122
I always thought that Japan City was a gift shop. Really, I did. I used to walk by the one at the Westfield’s in Hornsby and stare at amazement at the utterly cute things in the window. Well, little did I know that it also had a sushi bar! Would the food be as adorable as the random gifts?
Well they were. The sushi was dainty and a comfortable mouthful, and packed full of flavour. The seafood was fresh and well balanced, and the service was polite and attentive. There wasn’t table service, but they were lovely and polite in seating the group before informing us that we need to order at the counter, and the food will be brought out to us.
We also ordered some gyoza and Japanese marinated eggplant, which were also quite delish. The food came out all at once, which was nice especially we were sharing, and the interior had a lovely bright atmosphere, filled with beautiful Japanese goodies.
In all, a pleasant experience, and one that I wouldn’t mind repeating again. I also loved the extra perk – they provided free wifi and let us sit and chat for as long as we wanted without trying to reclaim the table for other customers. Lovely, fresh and light.
We ate at:
Japan City Top Ryde Pty Ltd
(02) 9809 3001
Shop L1/ 109-129 Blaxland Rd
Ryde NSW 2112, Australia