Treat me: Easy coffee sorbet

Once upon a time I had a flatmate called Justin who ate, drank, lived and breathed coffee. He worked at a coffee roastery, he installed a state-of-the-art coffee machine in our house and he happily spent hours teaching everyone how to extract the perfect espresso. He was a coffee god.

Easy Recipe For Coffee Sorbet, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Easy Coffee Sorbet Recipe/Image: Lucy Corry/The Kitchenmaid

Now, this would have been great, but coffee and I just don’t get on. I love the smell of it, the science of it, the taste of it – but one sip and I generally don’t feel so good.

In Wellington, where coffee is king, this is quite the social disability. Telling someone you’ll meet them for a cup of herbal tea or a glass of water just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But I’m happy to sit with them while they drink their coffee and share the nuggets of coffee know-how I picked up from Justin.

The thing I remember the most is about water quality. If your water isn’t pure and fresh, then your coffee will taste dirty and stale. That’s why it’s important to clean out your coffee machine and always use filtered water when you make it. Using a water filter means you’re reducing levels of chlorine and trace heavy metals, which can be detrimental to the taste.

How To Make Coffee Sorbet Without A Machine Recipe/Image: Lucy Corry/The Kitchenmaid

Easy Coffee Sorbet
If you can filter water and boil a kettle, you can make this simple sorbet. I’ve given instructions below for making it with plunger coffee grounds, but if you are a fan of instant (Justin would be appalled, but it was good enough for Elizabeth David, apparently), then by all means use it. If you’re a fan of filtered water, don’t forget to enter your recipe into the Better With BRITA competition – but hurry, entries close on June 30.
The best thing to do with this sorbet is to make it into a kind of reverse affogato – scoop the sorbet into little glasses or demi-tasse coffee cups, then pour over some cream. The cream starts to freeze in parts, making it seem very luxurious to eat.

6 Tbsp plunger grind coffee
750ml filtered water
250g raw sugar
2 egg whites

Put the coffee in a plunger. Bring the all the water to just before boiling in a kettle, then slowly pour 500ml of it over the coffee grounds. Stir briefly, then leave for four minutes to steep.
Put the sugar in a small saucepan and pour the remaining 250ml water over the top. Stir briskly to start dissolving the sugar, then put the pot over gentle heat and bring to a quiet simmer, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Plunge the coffee, then pour through a fine sieve into the sugar syrup (this makes sure the end sorbet isn’t gritty). Let cool, then pour into a plastic container with a lid and freeze overnight (or for at least eight hours).
Let it defrost slightly, then blend it in a food processor with the egg whites. The mixture will increase in volume and turn a lighter colour.
Pour it back into the plastic container and freeze again for a couple of hours.
Serve in scoops as directed above, add to an iced coffee or eat straight from the freezer on a hot day.

Have a great weekend, everyone x

How To Make Coffee Sorbet Recipe/Image: Lucy Corry/The Kitchenmaid

* This post was created with the assistance of BRITA, but all opinions (and the recipe) are my own. 

The ultimate chocolate cake

This month the We Should Cocoa challenge has been all about making a chocolate cake for less than £1 (NZ$1.97). I have to confess I didn’t even try.

Instead, I can share with you the way to make your favourite chocolate cake taste – and look – like a million dollars. It’s this – a cloud of chocolate meringue buttercream that will make people close their eyes in bliss as they eat it. It defies all current trends in that it is resolutely full of sugar, butter and eggs. And it is worth every single mouthful.

The ultimate chocolate meringue buttercream
If you find ordinary buttercream icing – the sort you make with icing sugar and butter – too sweet and somewhat gritty, then this is the icing for you. It’s still sweet and quite rich, but incredibly light. It’s stable enough to pipe, spreads like a dream and keeps well in the freezer if you don’t use it all in one go. I have to leave the house to stop myself eating it straight from the bowl before it reaches the cake. It’s THAT good.

320g caster sugar
170g water
4 egg yolks
2 eggs
350g butter, at room temperature, sliced into 2cm chunks
2 tsp pure vanilla
150g good quality dark chocolate, at least 60 per cent cocoa solids, melted and at room temperature

Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir well, then boil until the temperature reaches 118C. While the syrup is boiling, put the egg yolks and eggs in the bowl of a freestanding mixer and whisk until they are light and fluffy. When the syrup has reached 118C, carefully drizzle it into the egg mixture (beating all the time). Beat on high until the mixture is thick and pale, and the sides of the bowl are cool to touch. At this point, switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment and start adding the butter, a piece at a time, until it is all mixed in. Don’t fret if it starts to look a bit like mayonnaise, just keep beating it.
When the butter is all in, and the buttercream is very light and fluffy, add the vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat until well mixed in. You can use this straight away, or leave it at room temperature for a couple of hours (as long as it doesn’t get too hot or cold). It also keeps in the fridge for a week, though you’ll need to beat it again.

Best Chocolate Meringue Buttercream Cake Recipe: Lucy Corry/The Kitchenmaid

The Ultimate Chocolate Cake
If you want to make the ultimate chocolate cake, make two batches of this easy chocolate cake. When the cakes have completely cooled, chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes. Spread the surfaces of three of the cakes with good boysenberry jam, then a layer of chocolate meringue buttercream. Stack them on top of each other, then cover the lot with a thin ‘crumb coat’ of buttercream. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes to set, then cover in the remainder of the buttercream (you can go crazy here with a piping bag if you like). The cake can be left in the fridge overnight, but let it come to room temperature before serving.

Have a great weekend, everyone x

Treat me: Fairtrade choc banana cake

This week two extremely important women in the world of food visited Wellington. One attracted loads of attention while she filmed an advertisement for Whittakers chocolate; the other could have walked down Lambton Quay without attracting a second glance from anyone.

I’m not saying Nigella Lawson’s Wellington sojourn didn’t deserve all the fuss, but it’s a shame that the equally gorgeous Rose Boatemaa Mensah wasn’t as feted. Rose was in town as part of Fairtrade Fortnight – as well as being a teacher she is a cocoa farmer in Ghana. Some of the beans grown by Rose and her family end up at Whittakers, where they are turned into my favourite chocolate (and the husks even end up on our garden).

I didn’t get to catch up with Rose (or Nigella) this week, but to celebrate all things Fairtrade I’ve whipped up this utterly lovely cake. It combines the two Fairtrade things we eat most in this house – chocolate and All Good Bananas. It’s even inspired by a Nigella recipe – how circular is that?

Fairtrade Chocolate Banana Cake
If you can manage not to gobble this the minute it comes out of the oven, glistening with nuggets of melting chocolate, then it keeps really well. And I’m sure your mum would love it for Mother’s Day (that’s this Sunday, in case you’d forgotten).

400g ripe bananas (peeled weight) – about 3 large ones
250g ground almonds
250g caster sugar
6 eggs
grated zest of two lemons
1 tsp baking powder
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
Put the bananas in a food processor and whiz until pureed. Add all the other ingredients, except the chocolate and whiz again until well mixed. Pour into the prepared tin and scatter the chocolate on top.
Bake for 35-45 minutes – it will be damp and sticky but a toothpick plunged in should come out cleanly. Let cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out to cool on a rack.

Have a great weekend, everyone x

Treat me: Blueberry Orange Delicious

There are only two things happening in New Zealand this week. One, the royals are here (no, not the Royals immortalised by Lorde, the other ones). Two, it is raining. Incessantly. Torrentially. Mistily. Irritatingly. We are all trapped indoors, with nothing to do but assess Kate’s hair and worry about whether Prince George’s carseat is installed correctly. And think about what to have for pudding.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Orange Delicious Pudding Photo Credit: Lucy Corry

Blueberry Orange Delicious
This is the sort of pudding your Nana probably used to make, given a bit of a makeover. It’s all about the textural contrast – soft sponge on top, silky custard underneath. You can make them ahead of dinner – they’re fine to eat slightly warm.

1 cup frozen blueberries
50g very soft butter
½ cup caster sugar
Finely grated rind of 2 oranges, plus the juice of one of them
1 tsp orange blossom water (or vanilla extract)
3 Tbsp ground almonds
2 eggs, separated
200ml milk

Heat the oven to 170C. Grease four ramekins (about 200ml capacity) or cups and set them in a deep roasting dish.
Divide the blueberries between the ramekins.
Beat the butter and sugar together – it will be tricky, but persevere – then add the orange zest and orange blossom water or vanilla and mix well. Stir in the flour.
Add the egg yolks and milk and beat again to form a smooth batter.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, then gently fold them into the batter. Carefully pour the mixture over the blueberries.
Fill the roasting dish with hot water – it needs to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins – and put it in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes, until the sponge is risen and golden. Serve warm or hot (though they are pretty good cold the next day too).

Have a great weekend, everyone x

Treat me: Homemade Easter eggs

I’m not really that keen on sweets or lollies, but it takes a lot of willpower for me to resist a marshmallow. This has been a lifelong problem – when I was about five I discovered a stash of marshmallows in a high cupboard and secretly scoffed the lot. I still remember the speech I got about how it was bad to take the marshmallows, but even worse to lie and pretend I hadn’t. I’ve been a terrible liar ever since (and still feel guilty about indulging my marshmallow habit.)

How To Make Marshmallow Easter Eggs

Last weekend my friend Agnes came over and made a swag of beautiful Easter eggs while I found whatever kitchen tool she needed and kept our daughters out of the chocolate (one of those tasks was much easier than the other). Agnes and chocolate are like Picasso and paint – it’s amazing watching her work. I was too embarrassed to make these eggs – the way I remember doing them with my mother – in front of her, but my taste for nostalgia (and marshmallow) meant I’ve been dreaming about them all week.

So if you’ve ever wondered how to make marshmallow Easter eggs at home without any fancy kit, this is how to do it.

Homemade Marshmallow Easter Eggs
Don’t be alarmed – the flour and egg are only used in the shaping process. Both can be reused in the normal way. You need electric beaters, or preferably a stand mixer, to make the marshmallow. Don’t attempt it with a rotary beater, it will only end in tears. This is a bit of a process but the results, which taste like chocolate-covered clouds, make it all worth it.

2 kg flour (use gluten-free flour if you have gluten woes)
1 egg – at room temperature (or the flour sticks to it)
1 Tbsp powdered gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup hot water
1 cups sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp rosewater
1 tsp lemon juice
Pink food colouring, optional
180g good quality chocolate – I used Whittaker’s Fairtrade Creamy Milk
1 Tbsp coconut oil or other plain, flavourless oil

Spread the flour into two or three large, deep baking dishes. The flour needs to be about 5cm deep. Gently press the egg (in the shell) into the flour to make a half-egg shape to make 20 hollows. Carefully set aside.
Put the cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatine. Stir well, then let swell for five minutes.
Put the hot water and the sugar in a large saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the gelatine mixture, stirring all the time, until it has dissolved too.
Bring this mixture to the boil and boil gently for six minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool until lukewarm.
Transfer it to a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and add the vanilla, rosewater and lemon juice. Beat on high speed until thick and creamy (about five minutes, depending on your mixer). If you like, add a few drops of pink food colouring when the mixture is nearly done.
Carefully spoon the marshmallow mixture into the egg shapes, making sure it comes to the top.
Let set for 15 minutes, then carefully remove the halves from the flour by touching the top of each one with your finger and lifting it out. Join the halves together (the top stays sticky, so they ‘glue’ together nicely) and dust off the flour. A pastry brush is helpful here.
Cover a tray with plastic wrap and set aside.
Leave the marshmallow eggs in a cool place while you melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a double boiler over low heat. Let cool until lukewarm, then carefully dip the eggs in, using a fork or a dipping spoon, then put them on the plastic-covered tray. This is a messy job – just resign yourself to the fact that chocolate will go everywhere. When the eggs are covered (or as best as you can get them), put them in the fridge to set. Store them in a covered container in the fridge (wrap them in foil if you’re really fancy). Makes 8-10 eggs, depending on how much marshmallow you eat in the process…

Given that this is such a chocolate-filled time of the year (in our house, at least), it makes great sense to add this post to April’s We Should Cocoa challenge, where guest host Rachel Cotterill has chosen Easter as the theme.

Have a great weekend everyone x