If one day, you hooked me up to some brain monitoring equipment. You could be forgiven at first for thinking the equipment was broken. Surveying the absence of any activity on the screen, you’d unplug and re-check every connection again and again, mystified as to what could possibly be wrong. You may eventually, patience stretched to snapping point; exasperated; punch the equipment violently. Meanwhile, I’d look on with a docile expression, serene, with not an actual thought in my head to register a blip, for herein lies the problem. Suddenly, without warning, the screen explodes into a frenzy of activity, you’d glance around at me excitedly to see my countenance, fraught and positively terrified as neurons and synapses frantically engage. I may even howl in distress as a crescendo of activity is reached. And then, as suddenly as it began, a silence that seems to draw out…forever….
Every now and again, dull mediocrity is punctuated by genius. That genius is celery ice cream and hot Stilton fritters.
*Needle skids across record*
Ok, not Stilton fritters. I tried making them, I thought they’d partner the ice cream perfectly, they didn’t. At all... So lets just forget I even mentioned that idea.
But celery ice cream standing alone, strong and proud, worked. It was beautiful, creamy, vegetal, and slightly peppery. And, the only recipe I could find for it online was an incredibly cheffy type one, for which you’d need a centrifuge, a team of bespectacled scientists and a chemistry set. Staring at these instructions uncomprehending, I gradually went boss eyed and gave up. Deciding instead to make up my own recipe.
Celery Ice Cream
(Makes about 1 litre)
You’ll Need: -
1 Bunch Celery, washed, trimmed and cut roughly into chunks
250ml Whole Milk
500ml Double Cream
3 Egg Yolks
In a saucepan, add the celery to the milk and double cream. Bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to infuse for 1 hour.
Strain into a bowl, discarding the celery but giving it a good squeeze to get all the flavour out.
In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar.
Add the celery milk and mix. Return to the pan and over a low heat; stir constantly until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t allow it to boil, or you’ll end up with scrambled celery eggs.
Remove from the heat, and cool (I use the sink full of cold water and some ice cubes). Continue stirring until its cooled right down.
Put the cool custard into the fridge, with Clingfilm directly covering the surface to stop a skin forming. Leave to rest overnight (I left it for a good day and a half before churning).
Churn in an ice cream maker, until firm, smooth and creamy. Transfer to a plastic tub and freeze until needed. Voila – Celery Ice Cream.
Now, to my mind, the only question is, what goes well with it? Believe me, Stilton fritters definitely don’t. I’ve canvassed opinion amongst friends and colleagues, and suggestions have included a Bloody Mary sorbet, chocolate, more celery in the form of a granita, and a Stilton ice cream.
What do you think?