Category Archives: Birthdays

How to make your own salted caramel wagon wheels

What I want to know is, when did this blog become almost exclusively about food? I used to write about coffee machines, and fridges ‘n’ stuff. I think it’s partly to do with laziness, greed and also that as I get more serious in my day job, I want to write about things that comfort and soothe.

This is my excuse for writing about Wagon Wheels a week before Christmas when I have at least twenty-three other things to be doing.

I never liked original Wagon Wheels. So this wasn’t about trying to recreate something I loved, but in more, ahem, nutritious format. This is entirely about being seduced by a picture in a Donna Hay magazine in which she makes them. I hesitated before posting the recipe. These are, by no stretch of the imagination, good for you. They use Fluff – jarred, spreadable marshmallow – which contains corn syrup which is really really bad for you. So you must ASSURE me that you will only make these once a year.

These biscuits are, however, really fun. They are not difficult to make, and can be made in stages. The trickiest bit, I found, was the dipping them in chocolate. There is no easy way to do this and you end up making a great big mess. I made the biscuits differently to how Donna recommended – she uses three tiers and smaller biscuits. In an attempt to recreate a more authentic WW look I went for two tiers and larger.

Big mistake. They end up being quite a biscuit. I’d say probably 500 calories a piece. Which isn’t good. I definitely wouldn’t serve these if Gwyneth were coming round to tea. When I first made them I stored them in the fridge which was a mistake as they go kinda crispy and I didn’t like them so much (so perhaps not a mistake after all). After a few hours out of the fridge and stored in a biscuit jar, they were just perfect. Strangely addictive. People I gave them to started making weird, primal noises. They started telling me they loved me.

Be warned.

Don’t go fooling yourself you will only take one bite of these and not eat the whole thing. So make them small. And make them when you have lots of people coming round so you’re not left alone with them. I made a few changes: I substituted salted caramel for jam as I had a jar of caramel that my friend Helen had made for me and everyone preferred them to the jam version (I made a few with jam to try).

And I used about 2/3rds 34% cocoa chocolate and to 1/3rd 70% cocoa chocolate to coat them instead of doing half of them with white chocolate and half with plain as Donna Hay suggested. I actually think I’d slip into a diabetic coma if I made these with white chocolate.

Anyway, enough chat, here is the recipe as I did them, and the low down.

170g unsalted, softened butter

160g icing sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 teaspoons of honey

1 egg

335g plain flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

A jar of Fluff – marshmallow spread in a jar

Either a jar of blackberry jam/jelly or salted caramel (I say jelly as that’s all I could fine, not because I’ve gone American)

About 200g high cocoa content milk chocolate (I used Green and Blacks, which is 34%)

100g 70% cocoa chocolate (I always use Waitrose Continental)

Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in an electric mixer (I used the whisk attachment) and beat for 5-7 minutes. Imagine doing this by hand?! Scrape down the sides and then add the honey and egg and beat again for a bit until combined.

Now add the flour, bicarb and baking powder and beat on a low speed until combined – just a minute or so. Flatten the dough into a disc. It will be very soft. Put in cling film and put it in the fridge for about an hour (longer is fine). It should be firm before you start to roll it out.

Now, preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking parchment. Roll the dough out bit by bit between two pieces of baking parchment until about 5mm thick. This is a very soft dough so after a few rollings out it will be hard to handle so put it back in the fridge if need be.

Cut circles of 5cm. I did larger but as I said, I think that was a mistake as I ended up with a really calorific biscuit!

Place on baking trays – they don’t spread out much so you can go quite close together but not too close. About 1cm is fine.

Bake for just a scant 4-5 minutes, until the edges are just tinged with a golden brownness. Take out of the oven and leave to cool completely. You will need to cook these in batches.

When the biscuits are completely cool it’s just a case of assembling them, then dipping. So, spread one biscuit with the salted caramel, one with fluff and sandwich together. Don’t be too mean with the filling but don’t go mad either. When they are all sandwiched together put in the fridge to firm up for a bit whilst you melt the chocolate in a bowl, atop a saucepan of boiling water.

When melted, dip the biscuits in the chocolate. If there’s an easy, non-messy way to do this, I haven’t discovered it yet. I tried painting the biscuits with chocolate and that worked but left brush marks. After several goes I discovered the best thing to do was coat the edges then dip quickly one side then another. If you end up with bald patches where your fingers were then you can remedy by just spreading a bit over with the back of a spoon. Leave to drip for a few seconds over the chocolate bowl, then leave to set on a rack. Be careful though. If you do like I did one time and put it straight in the fridge, the chocolate will set around the bars of the cooling rack and you will end up with half a wagon wheel when you prise it off.

This is no bad thing in a way, as you immediately lower the calorific value, but it makes a mess. So be aware this can happen.

Do leave them to set in the fridge at some point, then you can store them in a biscuit jar in a cool place, preferably at someone else’s house.

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How to make your own jaffa cakes

Inside. Luscious. The perspective makes these look giant, they are in fact the same size as regular jaffa cakes. And that’s a three year old holding one.

I bake, not only because I love cakes ‘n’ stuff and I prefer home made, but I bake when I need to feel safe. I find baking immensely therapeutic. The fact that I’m quite skilled at it is helpful because when I’m, say, grappling with a difficult deadline, as if it were a salt water crocodile (and we know how slippy they can be)  I have a need to achieve.  I have an almost pathological need to achieve. Something. Anything.

And when that something happens to result in baking a good biscuit, just baked into a chewy crispness, with hidden little bullets of chocolate. Or a fluffy, jolly cake, heavy with a mascarpone frosting stained red with raspberries, so large that you have to dislocate your jaw to get a slice in…well where’s the fucking harm in that.

When the news makes me feel like the world is too big, baking reminds me that the gentle stirring (or sometimes, vigorous whisking) of a few fine ingredients, can come together to make something good.

This is how I found myself making jaffa cakes.

Jaffa cakes. I don’t even really like jaffa cakes. But they seemed tricky enough to take my mind off all the bad news.

This recipe is from Jamie magazine. They weren’t tricky at all, but they did result in something so excellent and delicious and authentic (similar enough to shop bought ones to not alienate fans, different enough from to entice the not so keen) I had to keep eating them to make sure.

You need:

1 egg
50g caster sugar
65g self raising (I never sift flour but I guess you should)
butter for greasing
250g marmalade
100g 70% cocoa chocolate, chopped
Finely grated zest of half an orange
2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
 (the original recipe also asks for a tablespoon of water to use when melting the chocolate) but I didn’t use it and never use water in when melting chocolate).

You need a jam tart tin or shallow ‘bun’ tin with 12 holes. Grease this well, I also dusted it with flour (not from the 65g!)

Oven to 200C.

You do:

Okay so whisk the egg and sugar together, using an electric mixer if you have one (don’t sweat if you haven’t, you think sponge cakes were never made before the advent of the electric mixer?) if not by hand. Get those biceps and triceps working. Beat until the colour has lightened and the mixture has thickened. I’ll admit this is a a hell of a lot easier with an electric mixer.

Now stir in the flour by hand.

This is so easy isn’t it?

Now dollop about a tablespoon of the mixture into each hole, evenly. So if you get it wrong you’ll need to go round and nick a bit from the moulds that have too much.

Bake in the oven for 8-10 mins. Be careful: you want them lightly golden.

When done turn out and let cool. When cool slice in half horizontally. Are you seeing these jaffas taking shape?

Hopefully you’re the sort of person who reads recipes through before embarking on making something. And therefore you’ll know that whilst the cakes are cooling, put the marmalade in a pan, on the stove. I didn’t use the whole 250g but if you have any left over, once cool, you can put it back in the jar.

The sponge cakes fresh out of the oven.

So, heat the marmalade until it’s melted and stirrable and all one big thing and not little clumps of marmalade skulking round the pan, like nervous teenagers circling each other at a party, and then take off the heat and leave to cool. You can leave it for a good 20-30 mins, perhaps more and in fact it’s easier to use when it’s cooler. You could sieve out the peel in the marmalade but come on! Butch up and leave it in. I did and it was delicious.

Note the bit with a slice off? I ate it. Couldn’t wait.

Now. Take a teaspoon of the marmalade and dollop it in the centre of each sponge.

Melt the chocolate, with the orange zest and oil (oil not essential but gives a nice gloss), in a bowl over a pan of water. When melted, spoon over each marmalade covered sponge. What I did was put the cooling rack over a baking tray to catch any drips (ahem, I took it away for the photo below for better contrast), and then pick up each sponge and spoon the chocolate over, spreading it delicatedly with the back of the spoon – you don’t want to compromise the blobs of marmalade – then putting each back on the rack over the tray to catch any drips. And there were hardly any drips. I guess you could be more slap happy and just spoon the chocolate over each sponge whilst they’re sat on the rack and let the chocolate drip gaily.

Just one left to do.

But I think that’s more wasteful.

I ate at least six of these waiting for the chocolate to set. My youngest went potty for them. My eldest doesn’t like jaffa cakes and wasn’t convinced by these.

Make them and tell me what you think.

Home made bourbon biscuits

Although I make almost all the biscuits and cakes we eat, I do think there are some things that are just better shop bought. Shop bought custard creams are just what they are and impossible to replicate at home. (This doesn’t mean I won’t try but I won’t expect to get them to compete with shop bought and compete is the right word here.)

But a few weeks ago, I was out for brunch and gossip a very important business meeting with my friend Fiona Hughes and we went to the Orchard Cafe in London’s Holborn.  On the way out, after we’d devoured extremely good scrambled eggs with home made bread and smoked tomato ketchup, I spotted a giant bourbon biscuit, filled with salted caramel goo.

Now. I don’t eat biscuits and cakes ‘n’ stuff like that, during the week, only at the weekend. And as this was a Tuesday, I couldn’t justify it.

However, because I am a greedy thing at heart, the memory of these biscuits scratched away at me, like a sticky out label on a T-shirt, and eventually I decided to try to make my own.

I finally found a mention of an edition of Jamie Magazine that had a recipe for home made bourbon biscuits and so determined was I, I tracked a back issue down, paid for it and waited for it to arrive.

These biscuits are great. Really, really good. I do of course want to get a specialist rectangular cutter and maybe a Barbieri stamp. [Update: believe it or not, I now have both of these.]  But until then, I just cut a line of these, and then cut the rectangles by hand. It made for a very artisan finish but no less impressive.

You need:

For the biscuits:

50g soft butter, unsalted
50g soft brown sugar (I used dark)
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
110g plain flour
20g good cocoa powder (don’t go using any of that ‘bad’ stuff)
half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
a bit of caster sugar for sprinkling

For the filling:

75g icing sugar
50g soft butter
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder
1 teaspoon of cold, strong coffee (use milk if you don’t like coffee, but the coffee really, really adds something)

Put the oven on to gas 150C. You need a baking tray lined with baking parchment.

Either cream the butter and sugar for the biscuits by hand, or use an electric whisk (the recipe calls for latter, I did former). Do this until pale and fluffy. I love the word fluffy.

Then beat in the golden syrup using a wooden spoon (even if you’ve used an electric whisker you’re now instructed to STOP and use a wooden spoon and put your arms to work). Then sift in the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate and beat into an even dough. You may need a few drops of milk. Try not to use it but if you do, literally put the milk in half a teaspoon at a time, you want a fairly dry, low hydration dough not something really sticky.

Turn it out onto a piece of baking parchment and top it with more baking parchment so you roll it out between two sheets of baking parchment. Roll until about 3mm thick. Because you want the biscuit to be crisp, don’t make it too thick, although you can’t make it too thin either. Get the ruler out, this is biscuits for goodness sake. It’s important to get it right.

Cut the dough, however works for you, into about 24 fingers of about 5cm x 3cm. I cut long rectangles and then cut into smaller rectangles. Place on parchment lined baking tray, with about 1cm gap in between (they do rise a bit but not much). I prick with a fork for a birruva pretty pattern.

Sprinkle with caster sugar and cook for 8-10 minutes. Make sure they are cooked, not soft as they won’t harden up much and you really do want these to be crispy not cakey. But of course, don’t overcook (am I being too bossy? I want you to get these right you see).

When done, wipe the sweat from your brown, transfer to a wire rack etc. Cool.

For the filling mix the sugar and butter together, add the cocoa powder. At this point it will look pale and unpromising and you may start to panic. Have faith! When you add the milk (a scant teaspoon, just to bring everything together), it will go dark and glossy and glorious and you will be SO pleased with yourself.

Spread on one biscuit, sandwich with another. Daintily arrange. Eat and be amazed.

A white chocolate lolly ‘cake’

I don’t even like white chocolate, but let me tell you, these were so good I almost ate them all in ‘quality control’ before the actual day.

Yesterday was my eldest daughter’s first holy communion. I made her a cake made entirely of white chocolate lollies. Since first experimenting with chocolate lollies last year, I’ve really moved on with them and by investing in a few things: proper moulds, sticks and a stand, you can really make something quite simple and easy to make (but ssssh, don’t tell anyone) into something that looks spectacular.

I made these the day before, and just assembled them on the day (i.e. slotted them into the holes in the stand). Once I’ve had an alcoholic drink, my guests have to pretty much fend for themselves so anything that can be pre-made plays to my great organisational skills and my weakness for being a dreadful, drunk, host.

I usually make chocolate lollies in 70% cocoa chocolate. But a few months ago, my friend Lucy (who is the only person in the whole of East Anglia who possibly has more baking gadgets/biscuit cutters than I) mentioned that she had made some lollies in white chocolate using crystallized violets. I stored this bit of information away in my brain, thinking white lollies would be lovely for a holy communion, instead of a cake, say. We had some crystallized violets that my partner and the girls had made for mother’s day (every aspect of that sentence sounds smug, but I don’t mean it to), I used Green and  Black’s white chocolate (which is, I have to say, absolutely superb). And this is what I did.

Melted the white chocolate.
Poured it into the moulds.
Put in lolly sticks.
Scattered on some crystallized violets or freeze dried strawberries (from Waitrose, they come in a tube, in the baking aisle).
Put in fridge to set.
Removed from moulds after a couple of hours.
Tasted one for quality control purposes.
Decided they were so amazingly good I had to have more.
Cycle to Waitrose to buy more white chocolate.
Repeat process.
And then, when time comes, slot the lollies into the holes in the stand and da-dar.

A note about the stand. I bought mine from Amazon. It doesn’t appear to be sold anymore, but I’m looking out for other stockists as it’s really lovely and minimalist and classy.

Pate de fruit

Fruit pastilles or pate de fruit. Not chewy, just soft set jellied sweets. Mmmm.
Each Christmas my eldest and I make Christmas cards that you can eat, or use. You know the sort of thing: gingerbread men, bath bombs etc. To give out to her school friends. I get an inordinate amount of pleasure from making cards with my daughter. And it’s very useful deadline-avoiding fodder. Please don’t let this make you tense, it’s not everyone’s idea of fun, but it is mine. (Even as a child Id make cakes to avoid doing homework. Then I’d flog them to my dad who had a café.) 
So anyway. This year I had the fanciful idea of making a sheet of fruit pastilles, then cutting them into Christmas tree shapes and putting them in clear front photo bags (I got them in bulk some years ago, which was in part what started this Christmas card project thing as I was determined to find a use for them). 
This was the idea anyway, making Christmas tree shaped red fruit jellies. In the end, I realised that you’d need an enormous amount of fruit to make the number of fruity Christmas trees we’d need, to enable her to give one to each of her school friends. I’m keen, but not that keen. 
But I made the fruit pastilles anyway and cut them into cubes. If you fancy whiling away half an hour, these make a pretty present (although they don’t really last long) and are intensely fruity (don’t expect Haribo chewiness, these are like fruit jellies, or pate de fruits). I haven’t yet experimented with other fruit but I know people who make them with all sorts: rhubarb, apple, blackberry, mango etc. The only thing I will suggest is that you think of the final colour and use the fruit accordingly. You want something that looks appealing so if you use a wishy washy coloured fruit (apple, say) don’t let it dominate. Personally I think berries are ideal as the main ingredient.
This is what you need:
Some fruit – you really need to start with about 300g of it to make this worth your while. I used raspberries and apple for the ones here. About 90% raspberries to 10% apple.
Preserving or jam sugar (the one with pectin in it)
Put the fruit into a saucepan – chop up if necessary. Obviously that doesn’t apply to berries and if you’re interested I used frozen berries.  Squeeze some lemon on them, I squeezed a wedge on my 300g of fruit. It doesn’t have to be precise, as you can probably tell.
Cook over a gentle heat until sludgy. If you’re using a mixture of fruit (say, like I did apple and raspberry) you may want to start the harder fruit off first. Cook until mushed up. Towards the end, I help break everything up with a stick blender.
Now, take off the heat and sieve into a bowl or other saucepan. Be aware you’ll need to weigh the resulting puree. If you have chickens, you can feed them the sludge left in the sieve.
Whatever you’re left with, weigh it and add the same amount of sugar. I think I was left with about 150g of fruit puree so I added 150g of the preserving sugar.
Put the puree and sugar in a saucepan, and heat gently. Stir until al the sugar is dissolved, then keep heating gently for about 30mins. Stir occasionally. You know it’s done when it’s thickened and if you take a spoonful out it will dangle off the spoon as you drip it off (this will make sense when you do it) instead of just falling off. You want it to be glutinous.
Line a suitable tin/tray with baking parchment. I used the bottom of a loaf tin. It’s easier if you have nice straight sides as they’ll be less to cut off and straighten up later.
Put in the fridge and let it cool. Mine were done after about three hours. You can leave it overnight.
Turn out onto a chopping board. It should be one solid mass. Tidy up the sides but cutting (I use them as fruit snakes), and cut into cubes or whatever damn hell shape you want. Roll in caster sugar and let them air dry for about an hour to set. Personally I store them in the fridge as they can go a bit sludgy (gosh, I’ve overused that word today).

Lovely little cakes for a celebration

The perfect, je pense, small celebration cake.

I first came up against the possibility of making a ‘celebration cake’ when my eldest was baptised at eleven months. I’d seen (and heard) of heroic cake making efforts by other mothers. It usually involved icing. And I’m no good at icing. Not that fancy pants icing that is all super smooth and then you  make little characters to stick on the top.

This isn’t me being coy. I’m pretty fucking fantastic at cooking (look, I’ve long said: there is no immodesty in the truth), and baking in particular. But I know my limits, and mine don’t reach to the royal icing aisle (I don’t really even know what royal icing is, please don’t try to tell me either, I’m not listening).

I knew that I could make some pretty good cakes but they weren’t really up to ‘celebration standard’. So I decided to make lots of little cakes instead, figuring that if a few got spoiled, it wouldn’t really matter. I guess the same thought goes behind laying carpet tiles, the wretched things. So, for the baptism, I made some fairy cakes with fondant icing and iced my daughter’s initial atop each one. And, for extra flourish, put a silver ball – those tiny things that break your teeth- on top. I say this, contained in a cuppla sentences, but the reality of it involved several packets of icing sugar, a neighbour’s flat (thanks Sarah) and lots of beads of sweat on the forehead. Fairy cakes tend to cook to a peak – no good for a smooth finish. So each fairy cake had to be beheaded. This involved lots of eating of the remnants. Anyway, the important thing – of course! – is that they looked spectacular all piled up. People could eat one or two or FOUR (that was my brother in law).

They were an enormous, runaway, apron-lifting-in-triumph success.

Ever since then, for big gatherings, I’ve made lots of little cakes. As my eldest got older, and I acquired cake stands, I started buying things to go atop the cakes, like little roses. By the time my second was born, and baptised, I was on a roll. For that, I made the same cakes you see  here, but with a brown paper cases, which worked really well – not least you can’t see the drips of icing, not that you get many with this glorious icing.

This is a Nigella recipe, hidden in the depths of one of her books, there is no picture to accompany it so you may have missed it. Now is its moment.

Chocolate cupcakes

Nigella says this makes 12. I say it makes 14 and it’s better to make 14 as you don’t want them too high up in their cases (see later). However, because most bun trays come in 12s, this means you have to make the last two separately. You decide if you can be bothered…


The little cakes

110g unsalted butter
155g dark muscovado sugar (the original asks for 225g)
1 large egg, preferably from your own chicken (arf arf)
half a teaspoon of vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), melted and cooled
100g plain flour
half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
125ml boiling water

The ganache

175g dark chocolate
75g milk chocolate
200ml double cream
half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

Note: in my experience of making these cakes, which is extensive…this makes far too much ganache.

But that’s okay because you can chill the extra and use it to make Chocolate Ganache Hot Chocolate.

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line your (deep) bun case with 12 muffin cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla, Fold in the melted/cooled chocolate, alternate flour and bicarb with water. By that I mean, put the bicarb in the flour, then put a spoon of that into the cake mixture, stir, then add water, then more flour etc. Do not over beat them. I don’t know why, I’ve never dared trying to overbeat them.

This is the ideal height for the cooled cake, so that you can slap on a good layer of chocolate ganache.

This is a fluid mixture, like a batter. Carefully spoon mixture into the cases. I’ve found that it’s best to fill to about 2/3 full which is why you might find you could easily make 14. It’s up to you. If you make 14, you fill them up less, and this leaves more room for the icing. However it’s a faff to leave some mixture and then have to put in 2 extra. So up to you. The icing still works beautifully with a fuller cupcake.

Cook for 30 mins, leave to cool.

You make the icing by shoving all the ingredients into a bowl atop a saucepan of simmering water, melt then whisk til thick (it’s pretty thick anyway, so the whisking is almost unncessary). When the cupcakes are quite, quite cold, take one in a quivering hand and take a spoon, dip it into the icing and spread over the top as thick as you can get away with. Leave to cool, but don’t put in the fridge.

Eat as soon as possible, and that’s an order..

Here they are all lined up, ready to perform.

Mint choc chip ice cream

 Mint choc chip ice cream. I know this isn’t the best picture in the world but it was hard to get a six year old to keep still. It’s presented in a mini cone. 

Here’s the gelato in a bowl. See how delicate the colour is? You can also see I have a LOT of stainless steel in my kitchen!

This is my current favourite ice cream. I would never buy mint choc chip ice cream, because it’s just not my thing, but this home made version is, I promise you, delicious. Unless you really hate the taste of mint, but even then I’d urge you to give it a try.

You can easily leave the chocolate out, but together this makes for a near perfect ice cream in my blog. Which this is.

I tend to make my ice cream in small quantities as the fresher it is, the nicer it is. By all means double or treble the amounts, it’s easy to do. This makes about half a litre, which I find is ample for four greedy people.

375ml of cream and milk. You need cream AND milk. Don’t be tempted to use one or t’other because to make ice cream you need both (i.e. not just this flavour). This has something to do with the way the fats mix up and interact. Don’t ask me cos I never listen properly when my dad tries to explain it to me in the same way that I still don’t really understand about what that white powder is he’s given me to put into sorbets. Because I never have whole milk in the house, but I nearly always have double cream, I tend to use 250ml of double cream and 125ml of semi skimmed milk. If you have more or less of one or t’other don’t worry. I’ve also done it with 300ml double cream and 75ml semi-skimmed milk. You get the idea.
15g mint leaves. Don’t be tempted to use anything else, such as mint flavour. Urgh, forget it.
70g caster sugar
1 egg
50g 70% cocoa chocolate if using

In a blender or food processor (I use the little chopper attachment on my Braun MultiStick thing), blend together the milk, cream and mint leaves. The mint leaves should go down to tiny pieces, but don’t over do it or the cream will curdle (however, you’d have to be really stupid to go this far). Pour the whole lot into a sauce pan, and bring to just below boiling point. Turn down the heat and simmer for 5-10 mins. Don’t let it boil, stir it a bit. You’ll see the cream/milk mixture become infused with the mint colour and it will go to a lovely green colour. However, it won’t be that lurid dark green pretend-mint-colour you get in shop bought ice cream. Think Farrow and Ball hues instead.

Turn off the heat and let it cool for a bit. Now you can either strain it so that the leafy minty bits stay out or leave them in. Try both and see how you prefer it. Obviously one will give you ice cream speckled with tiny green bits, one won’t. Perhaps if you’re adding the chocolate then having the mint in as well might be overkill.

Whilst that’s cooling, get a heat-proof bowl (important) that will fit over the sauce pan (important) and take the whole egg (not just the yolk, which is usual in custard-base ice cream) and whisk up with the sugar until it’s light and thick. Then slowly mix in the (sieved if you’re going to) milk/cream/mint mixture into the egg/sugar mixture. Pour some water into the pan which just had the milk/cream/mint mixture in (doesn’t matter that it’s dirty you’re not drinking it) and place the bowl containing the ice cream mixture on top. The idea is to make custard, so stir as the water underneath boils, and keep stirring until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, which it will do pretty quickly really. Whole process should take about 5-10 mins. Now you’re done, so take the bowl off the sauce pan, let it cool for a few minutes then cover the actual surface with cling film/baking parchment. The reason you need it to touch the actual surface is so a skin doesn’t form.

Let it cool for about an hour, then put it in the fridge. You can keep it for up to 24 hours before making ice cream but once it’s cooled right down in the fridge (say a few hours) then you can whack it in the ice cream maker.

Once that’s churning, chop the chocolate really small. I sort of semi shave it. When the ice cream has finished, you can just stir through the chocolate. The ice cream will be pretty soft still as all ice cream out of an ice cream maker is soft-ish. Either eat it now or put it in a freezer container and let it harden up more for later.

If you want to read about ice cream makers you can do so here.