Saturday, November 21, 2009


Strawberries were about $5 a kilo yesterday at Victoria Market. We do try to buy what's cheap and in season, but a bad habit inherited from my mother has found that I will get these things but not do anything with them and they will rot in the fridge for a week or so. She often does that with tomatoes. Perhaps in being Chinese it doesn't naturally occur to us to make tomato sauce.
I haven't had that much initiative as a home cook until I actually moved out, and now that thriftiness and creativity are much valued and a greater sign of wealth in life than a pantry stocked with store bought goods, I've been trying my hand at making everything we eat at home. Our daily breakfast is home made muesli, I never buy mayonnaise if I can help it (except the egg-less awful crap when I was pregnant), lunches and dinners come off my stove unless we go out or occasionally have pizza with friends. During the colder months I tried to bake as much as possible too, unwilling to eat any biscuits that didn't come out of my own oven. But now Summer has come early, and baking is out of the question. So I thought I'd try my hand at frozen desserts, something I only ever made at the patisserie and a few classes at William Angliss. I could have made jam with our abundant strawberries, but we never eat anything with jam unless I make scones, and that just goes back to the baking issue. I saw an old episode of the Naked Chef where Jamie Oliver made a Praline Semifreddo, so I thought I'd try my hand at Strawberry one.

Strawberry Semifreddo 
Serves about six people, or a greedy couple over three nights

600g Strawberries, the riper the better
110g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
Pinch salt
2 egg whites
1 cup pure cream

1. Hull and halve strawberries and macerate in a bowl with 60g caster sugar and lemon juice. Leave for at least 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, salt and 50g caster sugar in a bowl till pale yellow in colour
3. Bright milk gently to the boil, then pour into egg mixture slowly while whisking
4. Pour custard back into pot and cook on low heat while stirring continuously with wooden spoon. Best way to test of your anglaise is ready, is to wipe your finger across the back of the spoon. If you leave a clear trail through the residue, it is cooked.
5. Remove custard from pot into a large bowl. Leave to cool.
6. Blend strawberries to a puree. Combine puree with custard.
7. Allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes in the fridge.
8. Whisk egg whites to medium peaks. I don't know why everyone uses mixer bowls for this, when it takes a couple of minutes by hand for such a small amount.
9. Whisk cream to soft peak. Same goes for cream, takes only a couple of minutes hand whisking and is an awesome work out.
10. Gently fold egg whites into cooled strawberry mixture, taking care not to knock too much air out of the whites.
11. When whites are nearly combined, start folding in whipped cream. When mixture looks more or less consistent in colour, pour into a lightly oiled mould, tray or shallow bowl. Cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 5 hours.
12. To serve, upturn the parfait onto a plate and surround with berries.
But we couldn't be bothered doing that, seeing it was just us, so we just scooped it out like ice cream and ate it from a bowl.

We also blended a mango so ripe you could scoop the flesh from skin with your hand, with a couple of cups of milk and a generous scoop of Greek yoghurt to make a nice smoothie. Treats all round.

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