Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rose water and saffron ice cream

Apart from a couple of days we have not had much of a summer here in Britain this year. Lots of rain, mostly cloudy grey days and mild temperatures all round. Maybe I can persuade summer to come with this dessert. And if not then let's just pretend with flavours and colours inspired by a summer garden. I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream!
The flavour combination is classic Persian: saffron, rose and pistachio. As rosewater is not to everyones taste I am a bit vague in the recipe with the quantities as I leave it up to you to find the right intensity to suit your palette. Just start with a tablespoon, mix and taste and keep adding and tasting until its right. Same goes for the saffron. Just remember that flavours get less intense when frozen to ice cream. I also didn't use that much cream but yoghurt to make it slightly lighter but cream will make it more sumptuous so feel free to adjust the quantities. The recipe is for 4-8 people depending on portion size.


For the rosewater ice cream:
350ml yoghurt
150ml single cream
3-5 tbsp sugar
rose water to taste

For the saffron ice cream:
350ml yoghurt
150ml single cream
3-5 tbsp sugar
good pinch of ground saffron

handful of crushed pistachios

For both recipes mix the yoghurt and cream with the sugar until dissolved and add your flavouring. If you have saffron strands use just a pinch and try to grind with a sugar cube or mini pestle and mortar. Chill the mixture in the fridge, then place in the ice cream maker for about 10-15 minutes or according to instructions for your machine. You will have to do two batches so factor in an extra day if you plan to serve both together. You can make one the night before, freeze and do the second batch fresh on the day/night you want to serve it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

TURKEY: Istanbul interiors

Another post with impressions from Istanbul, this time of Topkapi palace and its beautiful blue and white tiles. Some designs combine traditional Ottoman arabesque patterns with Chinese elements.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

TURKEY: Istanbul (Street) food

If you have followed us on our trip through Asia last year you will have noticed our obsession with street food. In Istanbul we spotted lots of different vendors selling anything from freshly squeezed juice to sweets and tea and pastry. You'll maybe notice the little carts with the red and white stripy fabric first.

They are licensed to the respective borough and sell either one of the following three items or a combination:

Simit (tasty sesame bread ring) and other pastry/bread type snacks

Roasted chestnuts

Grilled corn and roasted chestnuts

There are also plenty of non-licensed carts with a variety of products and one that caught our eye was sahlep.

It's typically drunk in the colder months and goes back to the Ottoman Empire. It is creamy and based on a mix of different spices and served hot with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Another Turkish classic I need to mention is Boza Vefa and if you are in Istanbul you have to try it. The one we went to is a popular tourist attraction in it's won right: Vefa Bozacisi.

It's a cold drink made from a fermented bulgur and it is served with cinnamon and roasted chickpeas (Leblebi in Turkish, though you have to get yours from the shop over the road). It is rich in carbohydrates and vitamins.