“Unlike Justice, hospitality should not be seen to be done!”
So begins ‘Dining In And Dining Out In New Zealand’, an absolute treasure in my cookbook library. This book, gifted by a friend with a strong sense of the absurd, has survived many cookbook culls and house moves. Written in 1973, it has stayed a strong favourite. I’m unsure if the author, Patricia Harris, is still alive, but I’d love to meet her. I imagine her as one part Margot Leadbetter, one part Fanny Craddock and two parts Delia Smith.
Like the title suggests, the book is part-dedicated to catering at home and part-dedicated to New Zealand’s 1970s restaurant scene. While none of the restaurants she recommends are still in existence, many of her recipes remain in vogue. I’m not sure I agree with her dictum that vichyssoise (first take your homemade chicken stock) is the answer to the busy hostess’s woes, but the intention is well meant.
My fondness for Mrs Harris’ means her book has never been relegated to my office (the staging post for cookbooks that need new homes), so it’s getting a moment in the sun this month for Belleau Kitchen’s June Random Recipe challenge. We were supposed to pick the recipe on page 40, but since I couldn’t see myself acquiring ‘five dozen rock oysters or four dozen Stewart Island monsters’ for the seafood starter, I went for page 41 instead.
Brown Bread Icecream
This comes from the ‘Dinner At Home’ chapter, which is full of helpful suggestions. My favourite refers to the carving of the loin of lamb: “persuade your husband to carve it as neatly as possible (if your husband is one of those “joint wreckers” I advise you to invite an experienced surgeon among your guests)”. Mrs Harris suggests serving this unusual, but delectable, icecream with caramel sauce and praline, but I reckon it’s fine by itself or served between two very thin slices of toasted baguette in a kind of literal icecream sandwich. No husband or surgeon required.
170g brown sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups wholemeal bread crumbs, lightly toasted
Put the egg yolks in a bowl that will fit over a medium saucepan in a double-boiler arrangement. Put a couple of cms of water in the saucepan and set over medium heat.
Put the sugar, butter and water in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until it reaches boiling point.
Pour this syrup over the eggs and beat well, then add the milk. Set the egg mixture bowl over the water in the saucepan and stir well until it thickens (about five minutes).
Remove the bowl from the saucepan and put in the freezer to chill (about 20 minutes should do it).
When the egg mixture is cold, whip the cream and vanilla together until it is just before the soft peak stage. Fold in the egg mixture and the toasted breadcrumbs, then scrape into a plastic container. Cover and freeze for at least four hours.
Let ripen at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving. Makes about 1.3 litres.
Have a great weekend, everyone x