am, August 30, 2014

In the summer last year, Tristan and I went to London with our friends Jem and Kate to see a gig at the Garage in Camden. Wandering around during the day, we had what I can only describe as a near-biblical experience with rich and creamy pistachio gelato from a place near Covent Garden called Gelatorino. Ever since then I’ve been on a mission to find something local to me that is blissfuly similar, but haven’t managed, searching high and low on the supermarket shelves. Sadly, it seems that the gelato you can buy in the shops is either fluorescent green because of additives or tastes like marzipan (as almonds are a lot cheaper than pistachios, so companies use almonds instead to save money on ingredients). Since then we’ve even been disappointed with ordering it in italian restaurants, which is why I thought I better have a crack at making some of my own. 

Looking online, I quickly found my way to David Lebovitz’s awesome blog, based in Paris. In many ways, I believe the mark of finding a holy grail recipe, is one where you’re not really tempted to start tinkering with it. I say that as the sort of person who tinkers with everything I make! I’m happy to say that I’ve only ever so slightly tweaked this recipe, so I’m more than happy to attribute all of it’s brilliance back to David. 

The original recipe calls for ‘bronte pistachio paste’, which I did look into but couldn’t find anywhere. I considered making my own, but finally decided, after yet more online research, that my nut grinding tools were not really up to the task of blitzing pistachios down into a spreadable paste, so I decided to buy a ready ground container from a fantastic catering website called Sous Chef. Their pistachio paste is 100% pistacho nuts, which is essential to good gelato. It’s a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t even bother with anything less than 100%. Go big or go home.  

Pistachio Gelato (adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 200 grams pistachio paste
  • a few drops of lemon or orange juice

Mix a few tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour, and whisk until you have a smooth paste. 

Heat the remaining milk on the stovetop, and then slowly stir in the sugar until it’s all combined. 

When the milk and sugar is simmering, add the cornflour paste and continue to cook over a gentle heat until the mixture starts to look unctuous and thick. 

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the contents to an airtight container. Allow to cool until room temperature, and then chill the mixture in the fridge (ideally overnight). 

When cold, stir in the pistachio paste and a few drops of lemon/orange juice and whisk until smooth and thick. 

Churn in an ice cream machine (or see my previous ice cream blog post if you don’t own a machine) for about 5-7 minutes, until the gelato has almost set, and is thick and glossy. Scrape the gelato back into the airtight container and place in the freezer to firm up before eating. 

pm, August 17, 2014

We’ve been eating a lot of homegrown veg lately, thanks to Tristan’s parents and their amazing allotmenting skills. These cute little patty pans (along with yellow courgettes) are my favourite of all the things they’ve grown because when roasted with other veggies, I just love all the colours together.

Roll on Autumn, I say. I’m super looking forward to cooking up loads more delicious squashes and pumpkins. 

pm, August 15, 2014
Herriott Grace are such a lovely company with a swoon-worthy story to match.
Based on different sides of Canada, Nikole Herriott and her father started to send each other care packages to keep in touch. His parcels included hand whittled spoons and other wooden products made from locally recycled wood, and from that an idea sparked and Nikole set up a shop online to sell them. 
This tea towel is from their summer refresh 2014 and I love it. I’m a sucker for a good tea towel, as the pile stacked high on top of my fridge will testify! It comes in white and black, but personally I think the white is fresher and more summery, plus the pastel shades are super pretty. 

Herriott Grace are such a lovely company with a swoon-worthy story to match.

Based on different sides of Canada, Nikole Herriott and her father started to send each other care packages to keep in touch. His parcels included hand whittled spoons and other wooden products made from locally recycled wood, and from that an idea sparked and Nikole set up a shop online to sell them.

This tea towel is from their summer refresh 2014 and I love it. I’m a sucker for a good tea towel, as the pile stacked high on top of my fridge will testify! It comes in white and black, but personally I think the white is fresher and more summery, plus the pastel shades are super pretty. 

pm, August 5, 2014

Paris part 2

Another foodie highlight on our final day in Paris was a visit to the boutique of Jacques Genin, a self taught, lemon tart obsessive who makes damn fine patisserie goods, crafts exquisite artisan chocolates and soft butter caramels, in a huge range of flavours, from classic vanilla to liquorice to juicy mango.

At his cafe in the Rue de Turenne I foolishly attempted to scoff an obscenely indulgent ‘Paris Brest’ pastry (pictured above), named oddly enough after a cycling race, which consists of choux pastry lavishly piped full of super-rich whipped creme mousseline praline and finished with a dusting of icing sugar. I definitely want to have a go at making my own version of these, as I think they might be what dreams are actually made of. Mine certainly are.

Whilst doing a bit of background reading about Jacques I learned that he is, as mentioned earlier, a self-educated pastry ‘rebel’ who is obsessed with doing things based on gut and experience rather than following strict recipes. I really respect that approach and I’ve been lucky enough to taste the goods, so I can testify that it’s a system that definitely works for him. For me, it’s always inspiring and validating to hear about those who do it on their own terms and are successful.

pm, August 4, 2014

Paris part 1

Yesterday I shared a few photos from my recent trip to Paris, but a couple of foodie places that we visited felt like they warranted whole posts to themselves and the first of those was La Chambre Aux Confitures in rue vieille du temple.

La Chambre is a super tiny artisan jam and chutney shop based around the premise of catering seasonally and with the best possible ingredients. Lovely paired-down packaging and an inventive approach to flavour combinations also made the shop very much up my street!

Visiting gave me lots of exciting ideas for future projects and I also afforded me the opportunity to bring home a couple of little treats in the form of some raspberry and champagne conserve (too decadent for a weekday breakfast?) and a small jar of praline beurre de sal sauce.

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