mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Category: Sorbet

Blood Orange Sorbet

Every suburb needs a fruit shop like Frank’s. In original condition, as the real estate agents would say, staffed by Frank and his relatives, festooned with boxes and sacks and handwritten signs. A chef I’m related to has seen Frank early in the morning at the markets, picking over the produce, haggling, looking for the best. You can trust the fruit from Franks. He even stocks produce from local gardens, don’t buy your tomatoes anywhere else. He’s just got in blood oranges.

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I haven’t seen them anywhere else. The kids have been eating iceblocks again and demanding new and more exotic flavours, so I thought I’d lay on them a blood orange sorbet. A quick google of recipes shows an astonishing consistency. You juice them, add a quarter of a cup of sugar to every four oranges, and then opinion diverges on treatment after that.

Of course a Thermomix allows you to use the whole fruit. I used twelve oranges, zesting them first because one is a frugal housewife. You just slice off the rind and pith (teehee, pith), cut them in half and poke out the seeds.

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Put those in the Thermomix jug, added three quarters of a cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of zest, just because YOLO as I’m trying to stop my kids saying. I zapped that on speed seven for about a minute. I tasted it and it was still a little fibrous, though the sugar had dissolved. Another minute made it better. Look at that colour.

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I poured it into a metal dish and into the freezer overnight.

This morning it was rock solid. And I learnt a lesson, dear reader. If you insert your favourite Wusthoff cooking knife that you got as a wedding present twenty years ago into a bowl of frozen blood orange juice and attempt to leverage out a chunk, you will snap off the tip.

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This will cause you to stand aghast for several minutes, wondering where all the air in the room went. My favourite knife. What I should have done, and subsequently did, was to run the knife under hot water, jam it in the ice and wiggle it to the bottom in several places until it starts breaking up. It wouldn’t have killed me to let it soften for a few minutes either.

I got the chunks back in the Thermomix and very cautiously turned it on at a slow speed. The idea is to break up the ice crystals. The smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the consistency. You can achieve small ice crystals by freezing the stuff really quickly like they did the last time I watched Mastchef some years ago with a flash freezer. Or you can churn it while frozen, like you do in an icecream maker. The Thermomix did a fair job (two minutes at speed four with a lot of poking with the spatula through the lid) but it might have been better if I’d let it soften some more. Or if I’d put a few egg whites in the initial mix. You could serve it at this point.

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I spooned it into iceblock moulds, the kids prefer to eat it that way.

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The Moose happened to be around, he had a late start due to having to be in town at 10.30 for a giant music rehearsal today. I gave him a taste. He pulled a face. “Ooh, it’s a bit sour,” he opined. “It isn’t strawberry, it’s blood orange.” “Oh, in that case it’s great. Can I have some more?”. It’s all in the marketing.

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The Kids’ Favourite Ice Block – So Far

It is mango season, but I’m finding the classic eating mango, the Kensington Pride, a little pricey at the moment, and I’m not willing to commit to a case of them. There are a lot more varieties of mango about than there used to be in the olden days, and the ones I’m buying are the giant ones that evoke Star Wars for us, the R2E2. The kids aren’t that keen to eat them straight, though will at a pinch, but there’s such a lot of flesh on them that they just groan with potential.

The first thing to do when you get the kids all hot and sweaty from school is to cut the cheeks off an R2E2 and scoop the flesh into the blender. Pour in a slug of the lime syrup we made a few blogs ago, add a cup of ice and press Smoothie on your fancy blender. Instant refreshment for three kids, if you use the small glasses. But the way they like them best is in iceblock form.

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My iceblock moulds are the rocket shaped Avanti ones that you can put a wooden paddle pop stick into. It makes them feel like a real iceblock. So take the flesh of one giant mango and insert it into your blender. Add the flesh of half a pineapple, cut that really hard core bit out. Add one lime, from which you have removed the peel and hopefully saved the zest for cola syrup. Add a third of a cup of coconut cream. You put the rest of the tin into a little Decor plastic container for the next batch that you will inevitably be making the next time Graham Creed talks about high pressure systems over central Australia. Press the Smoothie button on the aforementioned fancy blender. I get about twelve ice blocks out of this, which annoys me a little because the moulds are in sets of eight. The kids whinge a little about the fibrousness of the result, because I will insist on making the iceblocks with an actual pineapple rather than a chemical facsimile, but it’s still their favourite.

So far.

I am Boost Juice

One of the many advantages of getting older is an increased pragmatism around gift giving events. In our youth we imagine that those who love us can also read our minds and will occasionally buy us the perfect gift. If you are young and are feeling slightly disappointed once again, take my advice. Buy your own presents. Or at least have very tight specifications to minimize the risk of getting something from Aldi.

For those of you who follow my meanderings on Facebook, you’ll know that I chose for myself a blender. I decided on the Sunbeam Cafe after a great deal of research and deliberation. It arrived from Kitchenware Direct with days to spare and was very neatly wrapped for reasons I’ve yet to get to the bottom of by the Moose’s friend Charles. He also has lovely handwriting. The kids hustled me up to Broadway shopping centre today to spend their Christmas money and I promised them that if they didn’t nag me for any food or drink, I’d make them homemade Boost Juice as a reward. We even went to Harris Farm to pick ingredients.

Proportions of ingredients are different for smoothies than they are for ice blocks or sorbets or soda syrups. Some trial and error will be necessary, but here are two I’ve tried today.

Pina Colada. Place in blender a cup of crushed ice from the button on the freezer, half a chopped pineapple, half a cup of shaved coconut (this doesn’t disappear entirely, only include it if you’re prepared to chew your drink a little), the juice of three limes and a quarter of a cup of condensed milk. Why the condensed milk people haven’t given me money and a cookbook deal yet I just can’t fathom. It adds sweetness and creaminess which was otherwise a little lacking. The blender has a smoothie button, which you press and it goes through a couple of different speeds then stops by itself, having produced the perfect consistency. This makes two tall glasses of something really very delicious. The kids didn’t like the coconut bits in it, but I did. This group of ingredients would also make a terrific ice block.

Mango Apple. Actually, mango apple passionfruit. One cup of crushed ice, one large mango cheek, one peeled, chopped green apple and two passionfruit. You guessed it, kids didn’t like the crushed up bits of passionfruit seed. The blender made very short work of the chopped up green apple. This only made a bit over one large glass. The kids advised me that next time I should leave out the passionfruit and double the mango. This mixture didn’t need sweetening.

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I can see why Boost Juices are so expensive, it’s a really quick way to consume fruit. On the plus side, you’re getting the whole fruit, not just the juice, only without the trouble and expense of chewing it. I still have to try various berry combinations, but I’ve bought frozen berries for that, way cheaper than fresh. I’m thinking they’ll go nicely with yoghurt and possibly honey. I’m also eyeing off some lychees that are past their best and a bag of peaches that was on special.

I must go and wash out my new blender, I’m planning schnitzel for dinner and have some dried up bread rolls that are going to be pulverized in there shortly. It’s a far far more impressive unit than my poor old one hundred and forty watt Ronson and I can’t wait to turn all kinds of things into liquid or powder, according to original composition. I just need the weather to warm up. Or to have a cocktail. Anyone got tequila?

More sorbet

When your sister leaves a bag of elderly bananas hooked onto your front door handle, your first impulse is to make some banana bread. But I’ve had an idea fermenting in my head since my friend Kath suggested adding condensed milk to my strawberry sorbet recipe, and now was the time to try it out.

First, a passing mention of the strawberry sorbet. I have discovered, in my attempts to replicate the effects of a Thermomix with items I have lying around, that my blender can’t really crush ice. Nor can it cope with frozen strawberries. However, if you let the strawberries thaw out, then blend them with the white of an egg and fifty grams each of icing sugar and condensed milk, you get an even better sorbet than the one I had a go at a few weeks ago.

Here’s what I did yesterday. Place in a blender the remains of two bananas, the juice of a lemon, a teaspoon of cinnamon and about a third of a can of condensed milk (I realise this isn’t SI units, but I was on a roll and forgot to weigh it). Blend. Freeze.

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It’s amazingly creamy and has a very intense banana flavour, too much for the boys who will only eat banana in cake form. I don’t think you’d actually call it a sorbet, but it isn’t an ice cream either.
It will be up to the Muffet and I to finish this batch. I think it would be even better done in those plastic ice block forms you can get. The Muffet also suggests dipping them in chocolate, which is a very fine idea.

I did also have enough for banana bread, but that’s a whole other blog.