So, it would seem, according to Dr Alternative’s colleague, who phoned me this afternoon to discuss my blood test results, that I should see if I can ferret a prescription for Metformin out of my usual GP. Because my cells are taking one look at the insulin slooshing their way and slamming their little stoma (wait, isn’t it leaves that have stoma?) tight shut. So the pancreas sighs and makes even more huge slooshing tidal-waves of insulin in an attempt to batter the cells open and deliver sugary goodness. And one day my pancreas will get tired of this nonsense and lie down instead, and then I shall have diabetes. How cool is that? Oh, and did you know that insulin triggers the production of growth hormones, so high levels of insulin basically fatten you up like a future hamburger? So I am not a delusional lardy who hallucinates that she eats no more than her slenderer sisters. I really do eat no more than anyone else of normal size. Apparantly I’d have to eat a whole day’s-worth of food a week LESS than a normal person to maintain a normal weight. Dr Alternative’s colleague agrees that this sucks. Hence need to apply Metformin to person.
Or never eat cake again.
On which note, here is my recipe for home-made Cake Day chocolate ice-cream, which I ate instead of photographing, because I was a little flustered – sorry Mel. And an empty green bowl covered in brown smears was… not photogenic.
- 100g bar of dark cooking chocolate. I use an organic brand, and am also fussy that it should be about 70% cocoa.
- 2 oz sugar. I tend to use organic sugar, because I tend to use organic everything, fat lot of good it has done me. What type of sugar? I’ve used just about every type except molasses, which tastes too strong. It’s going to dissolve anyway, so who cares?
- 1 pint of milk mixedx with cream. I usually use anywhere between 6 and 8 fluid ounces (half a cup to a cup?) of actual cream, depending on amount of cream left in fridge, and then add milk until I have a generous pint. I use goats’ milk and cream, as I am allergic to cows, and worried about the estrogenic effects of big dollops of soy (also, soy tastes like ground up beans in water, for some unfathomable reason). Some brands of goats’ milk taste foul. But some taste mild and sweet and very pleasant. Ignore this bit if you can eat normal milk.
- 3 medium eggs, fresh as possible, and free-range and organic. I’d quite honestly sooner drop the ice-cream churn on my own bare foot than eat a battery-farmed egg. I grew up on an organic chicken farm. I have certain principles burnt into my DNA. Sorry.
- Flavouring. Sometimes I use vanilla sugar for the 2 ozs of sugar. Sometimes I heat the milk and cream with a cinnamon stick, or a table-spoon of lightly crushed cardamom pods, or replace some of the sugar with the syrup from preserved ginger. This time I went with cardamom.
You will also need a bowl, a heat-proof bowl, a sauce-pan, a whisk, a set of scales or cups or a measuring jug with cups/ pints/ fluid ounces marked on them/ it, a sieve, preferably metal and/or heat-resistant, a carton or tub you are happy to put in the freezer, a freezer to put the tub in. A metal spoon, a blender (jug or hand-held, either is fine), and an ice-cream churn are useful, but not necessary.
Put the milk, cream and flavouring agent (unless it’s the sugar or syrup) in a pan. Heat until it starts to foam and threatens to boil (don’t actually let it boil, scalded cream is a pain to clean off a stove-top). Then put the lid on and leave the milk to cool down slightly.
Put the chocolate, broken up, into a heat-proof bowl big enough to take all the rest of the icecream when it comes to that. Heat your oven to its very lowest setting. Put the chocolate in, and let it melt. Leave it in there until you need it again. This is so much less fuss than using a bain marie that I feel cheated I only found out about this method a few months ago.
Whisk the whole eggs in a heat-proof bowl. I’ve never bothered separating out the yolks, and anyway, those ice-cream recipes suggesting six yolks and no whites make my arteries clench at the sheer wastefulness. Whisk the sugar (and syrup, if used) in until it all seems to be dissolving away nicely.
If the milk has gone completely cold, reheat it. You want it hot to the touch, but not burning. Pour a little milk at a time into the eggs, whisking it completely in before adding the next splash. If you put the milk in all at once, the egg curdles. If you put cold milk in, and try and heat it up from there, the egg curdles. If you say a naughty sweary word, the egg curdles. This is the seriously annoying part of the process. Ignore the cinnamon bits or cardamom pods or whatever, let them spill into the egg too. You’ll be sieveing them out later anyway, and the longer they stay in, the better the flavour.
Once all the egg and milk is happily mixed together, pour it all back into the saucepan, put it over a low heat, and then KEEP WHISKING. Your wrist will hate you if, like me, you use a dinky hand-whisk or a fork. But the only time I used an electric whisk I covered the ceiling with hot custard. Suddenly, a tired wrist seems not so bad. After some interminable whisking and just about when despair and apathy are setting in, the mixture will become very slightly thicker, thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon (rather than run straight off). If you let it get thicker, you will be unable to get your ice-cream churn to churn, as it thickens immensely as it cools. Also, it may well curdle. Take it off the heat.
Fetch the hot bowl of glossy melted chocolate out. Now, if you have bits in your custard, place a fine sieve over the hot bowl and pour the custard into the chocolate through that. Bang sieve vigorously over dustbin to get bits out, and put it to soak right now, or you’ll never get the cooked egg out of the mesh.
Now, if the Goddess of Custard has been smiling on you, all you need to do now is stir the mixture thoroughly, and leave it to cool. If she hasn’t, and it all looks slightly (note, I said slightly) grainy, stick it in the blender. I am not kidding. Giving slightly curdled custard (and melted chocolate) a goodly whizz in or with a blending implement with blades will return it to angelic smoothness. If, however, it looks like scrambled egg, I think you may have killed it, sorry. Did I mention you should whisk like a maniac the whole time the custard is cooking?
When it is cool, either pour it into an ice-cream churn (and note how thick it is getting!) or straight into the carton and resign yourself to taking it out of the freezer every half-hour to give it all a good stir. But as this is a custard rather than a water ice, you may well find you can simply leave it to freeze without worrying about formation of grainy ice-crystals at all.
Eat. Try not to eat vast portion. Nausea may result. In correct quantities, nirvana is more likely,