For Imelda Marcos it was shoes. For me it is kitchen gadgets.
I love 'em: deep fat fryer, panini press, pasta maker, food processor, pressure cooker, wok, slow cooker, coffee maker, blender, blow torch, potato ricer- they all live happily in my kitchen and (apart from the fondue set which I haven't used since 1982) they all get used.
I've never made ice cream before - but I reckoned it would be a good weapon in my war against waste- using up leftover fruit, eggs and bits and bobs.
I decided to try the easiest recipe in the 'Ice Cream Made Easy' book. It was also the cheapest.
I made a simple custard ice cream- using a tin and a half of ready made custard (but you could make your own if you are an egg custard afficionado), made up to 700 ml with some double cream, the scrapings of a vanilla pod, a teaspoon of vanilla extract and 3 tbsp of icing sugar.It all churned away nicely (when I remembered to put the inner bowl inside!) and after a very short time ( about 20 minutes) it was thick enough to spoon into a container and freeze.
I decided to serve it in a twist on a classic ile flottante (my all time favourite French dessert). Usually, the poached meringue floats on a sea of creme anglaise and is garnished with almonds and caramel sauce. So it was with my Shipwrecked Islands- except the meringues were marooned high and dry on the custard ice cream. Reader, let me tell you they were delicious!
You can follow Raymond Blanc's classic recipehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/7159063/Raymond-Blanc-recipe-Iles-flottante-facon-Maman-Blanc.html
I usually recommend this when people ask me for the recipe. (With my tongue firmly planted in my cheek).
You can watch a video of someone making these here:
What I actually do is, whenever I'm in France (or whenever French visitors come to the UK bearing gifts) I buy a block of oeufs a la neige at a wonderful supermarket chain called Carnivor. http://www.carnivor.fr/
Carnivor (unsurprisingly given its name) specializes in butchery for the catering trade- but also has a good range of catering packs of desserts.
These blocks of poached meringue freeze really well- you just scoop off what you need each time and put them back in the freezer. Voila!
As penance for my cheating, I am going to make these meringues from scratch- just to prove to all my dinner party guests who have gone away clutching a photocopy of Raymond Blanc's recipe - and who now know the truth-that I can actually do it.
I'll let you know how it goes.