Gianduja (Hazelnut & Milk Chocolate) Ice Cream

The combination of hazelnuts and milk chocolate is absolutely divine – so I was excited to find the recipe for gianduja gelato in David Lebovitz’s ice cream bible, The Perfect Scoop. Gianduja is an Italian chocolate that was created in the Piedmont region when cocoa was in short supply, so hazelnuts were added to the chocolate to give it more substance! Gianduja should be incredibly smooth, like a praline but using hazelnuts instead of almonds.

I know what you’re thinking – isn’t this basically Nutella? In fact, Nutella started off as a gianduja paste, which was then developed into the spread which has become so popular today (click here for an interesting blog post on the full history). While it’d be much easier to use a jar of the moreish chocolate-hazelnut spread to make my recipe, I didn’t want to risk my ice cream becoming too sweet, and I like a bit of a challenge! Apparently the best gianduja will contain up to 50% hazelnut, so I made sure to be generous with the nuts and to try to extract as much flavour from them as possible.

 

Making the hazelnut ice cream base involved: (1) toasting the hazelnuts to a delicious golden brown; (2) blitzing up the nuts into a fine crumb-paste; (3) mixing the paste into the milk and cream base; (4) resting the entire mixture for an hour or so to let the hazelnut flavour infuse into the milk and cream. The hazelnut paste is then sieved out and you’re left with an rich and aromatic ice cream base that is ready for the custard and milk chocolate.

 

This is a seriously tasty ice cream with a fantastic balance of flavours between the hazelnuts and the milk chocolate – neither ingredient overpowering the other. It does take more effort to make but I promise you it’s worth it!

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Eating the World: Mallorca

Holidays give you a dangerous taste of what life is like away from work… and our week in Mallorca was delicious. I don’t quite want to accept that I’ve come back to reality, so I’m writing this post to wallow reminisce.

We visited so many beautiful places – the dramatic Tramuntana mountain range and the little towns tucked away in the valleys, the hidden calas with the most turquoise waters I’ve ever seen, and the incredible Es Pontas, a gigantic natural rock arch with one of the most difficult deep water solo routes.

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Being on holiday was no doubt another excuse to eat as much as we physically could. We had so much tasty seafood paella, tapas and most importantly… ice cream! These were my three favourite flavours from the trip!

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1. Crema catalana

I found out that this is a popular Spanish dessert, kind of like a creme brûlée. The ice cream was wonderfully creamy and custard-y, but what made it special was the flecks of caramelised sugar throughout the ice cream – so good

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2. Tiramisu

We came across this brightly decked out gelateria in Valldemossa. This was our first stop along our mini road trip through Serra de Tramuntana and I absolutely loved this small town in the mountains! I had a lovely time browsing the shops selling Spanish wares (though admittedly it was all very touristy) and marvelling over the amazing views. 

This gelato was the perfect treat on this hot day, and I particularly liked the swirl of coffee / chocolate sauce. 

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3. Kinder bueno

This was a sweet after-dinner treat along the Pollença seaside (and I’m pretty sure this was our second ice cream of the day so we conservatively shared a scoop). 

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All in all, this was an wonderful getaway and I can’t wait to visit again. For now, I’m feeling semi-rejuvenated and will have to go back to exploring London for new and tasty ice creams! 

Ginger Barley & Rye Biscuits

When I was a kid, ‘baking’ meant using some kind of cake or cookie mix, mostly because it was convenient when my parents were busy, the instructions were easy to follow, and the results were still tasty. But using these mixes didn’t leave much room for creativity, and some of the ingredients were pretty questionable. I was so excited to move out into my own place (with a fully functioning oven) since this meant I could finally start making some of my favourite baked goods from scratch!

You can imagine I was a little sceptical when we received a biscuit mix as part of our goody bag after the British 10K… but I finally got around to making it today and ended up pleasantly surprised. Sweetpea Pantry has a whole range of baking mixes (for biscuits, cakes, pancakes, etc) that are based on wholegrains and contain no refined sugars (unlike the mixes I used to rely on).

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I received their Ginger Giggles Biscuit Mix, which includes the following ingredients: stone ground wholemeal plain flour, rye flour, wholegrain barley flour, unrefined dark muscavado sugar, flaxseed, ground ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon and sodium bicarbonate. All I had to add was butter, honey and an egg white.

The instructions were straightforward, and it was fun cutting out different shapes for the biscuits – I had to freestyle most of this, as I didn’t have any cookie cutters (but the rustic look is in trend… right?).

 

The biscuits turned out crisp around the edges and slightly moist and chewy in the centre. They’re not overly sweet, and have a lovely spiced flavour.

 

All in all, I’d recommend this to busy bakers, or even if you want to make a healthier version of your favourite baked good!

Dark Chocolate Sorbet – Part 1

Inspiration

Not going to lie, I was a bit sceptical when I heard about this dairy-free dessert. I couldn’t imagine how a sorbet could have the rich texture of an ice cream!

Essentially, sorbet has a base of water / fruit and sugar; whereas ice cream has a base of milk, cream or a combination of both. Given the obvious difference between these ingredients – I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these dark chocolate sorbets from two great spots in London recently.

1. La Gelatiera (Stratford) – Extra dark chocolate with Calabrian chilli

IMG_8237I visited La Gelatiera’s lovely cafe in East Village with my sister and boyfriend after our 10K race at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The race was great fun, though exhausting, so seeing the signs pointing to GELATO drew me in instantly. I needed an energy boost and this sorbet did just that!

This was a velvety and luxurious dark chocolate sorbet which had the same richness as an ice cream. I was impressed by the deep flavour of the chocolate, and really liked the kick of chilli at the end of each bite (or lick). As a bonus, it’s also vegan.

The only issue I had with this was that I felt it left a slight residue on my tongue afterwards, but it could just have been the particular batch, as I’ve not had this issue with any of their other flavours in the past!

2. Udderlicious (Covent Garden) – Dark chocolate and sea salt

img_8294.jpgAs a complete coincidence, I also had this delicious duo of sorbets after a 10K race (the British 10K around Central London!). I feel like the run completely justifies having dessert before lunchtime!

I had a dark chocolate and sea salt sorbet and also a peach and raspberry daiquiri sorbet. Two contrasting flavours – the chocolate was very creamy while the peach and raspberry was light and fresh – but both were fantastic.

I’d highly recommend a trip to Udderlicious if you haven’t been before as they have some of the most delicious flavours London has ever seen (I really like their matcha & chocolate chip ice cream too).

I was so impressed by these two experiences that I had to give it a go myself – you won’t believe how easy it is to make as well!

Check out Part 2 of this post to see how my own dark chocolate sorbet turned out…!