Appliances just fall apart and die in my home, mostly from neglect.
When it comes to cooking, I am determinedly low-tech. Frying pans, saucepans, spatulas, knives - those are my tools of choice.
My friends have noodle- and bread-making machines which they use often.
One of them is trying to get me to buy a sous vide machine, and the vacuum-sealing machine which I also have to get, to seal whatever it is I am cooking so it can go into the waterbath.
But no, I will not succumb.
About three years ago, while looking at proofs, which are basically the pages of the newspaper before they go to print, a colleague saw a great deal on an ice-cream machine in an advertisement on one of the pages.
It was not a fancy one and a vital part of it would have to be frozen before using.
We were enchanted with the idea of making ice cream at home and each bought one. I took it out of the box and stashed it in one of my cupboards. A year later, it was still sitting there, unused.
While clearing the cupboard out, I noticed that the refrigerant had leaked. The machine was ruined and I had to chuck it.
My dreams of making artisanal ice cream at home disappeared. I always thought that to make proper ice cream, you needed to make a custard, cool it down, then pour it into an ice-cream machine to churn and, after a while, it would all come together into scoops of joy.
But then I stumbled on no-churn ice-cream recipes on the Internet and they are gloriously low-tech, which suits me just fine.
With just a few ingredients, and a whisk and strong arms to whip cream, it is possible to make ice cream. If whipping by hand is too much, use a hand-held or stand mixer.
My KitchenAid mixer is one of three appliances I use regularly in the kitchen.
The other two are my 20-year-old Braun food processor and two-year-old slow cooker, which I bought because I knew I would never get up early enough in the morning to cook my breakfast oats.
The recipe today comes from my frustration at not being able to find a matcha ice cream that is properly intense, and is inspired by British cookbook author and television cook Nigella Lawson, who makes a coffee version.
I get really irritated with insipid matcha ice cream. What a waste of calories.
Making my own means I can add as much green tea powder as I want.
I have given a range - from 20 to 30g. With 20g of matcha, you get a little sweetness from the condensed milk. With 30g, you get a big hit of matcha, which makes me a happy camper.
But I leave it to you to decide how much you want to add. Just be sure to sift the powder first to ensure it mixes well with the other ingredients.
I have used whipping cream for this recipe and it needs to be whipped to soft peaks.
To make a thicker, creamier ice cream, use the same amount of double cream. Gippsland Dairy's Pure Double Cream from Australia is excellent and I get it from Cold Storage in Great World City.
All it takes is a little whisking by hand to get it to soft peaks and the resulting ice cream is dense and delicious.
Do not leave out the vodka because it does not freeze and keeps the ice cream soft enough to scoop.
I have used paper ice-cream tubs but these are not ideal for making perfect scoops. They just look good in photos.
Use round containers or a loaf pan. This way, you can drag the ice cream scoop down the pan or run it along the circumference of the round container.
So, with hardly any work or machinery, I get thick, creamy and intense matcha ice cream.
Just because it is also quite easy and does not require special equipment, I make sesame brittle to go with it.
I could eat the brittle on its own, but it is very good with the ice cream. Sweet azuki beans in cans from Japanese supermarkets add a bit of sweetness and you can make a parfait by layering the ice cream with the beans and sticking a shard of brittle on top.
It is the perfect finishing touch for a low-tech ice cream.
For the ice cream
- 175g condensed milk
- 20 to 30g matcha powder
- 2 Tbs vodka
- 300ml cold whipping cream
For the sesame brittle
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 Tbs water
- 2 Tbs toasted white sesame seeds
- 2 Tbs toasted black sesame seeds
- Sweet canned azuki beans for serving
1. Make the ice cream: Pour the condensed milk into a medium mixing bowl. Sift the matcha powder into the bowl. Add the vodka. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
2. Whip the cream with a hand-held or stand mixer until it holds soft peaks.
3. Give the matcha mixture another thorough whisk and fold in the cream, making sure it is well mixed into the matcha.
4. Pour into an air-tight plastic container or a loaf pan that will hold at least 500ml, cover and place in the freezer for at least eight hours.
5. Make the sesame brittle: About 30 minutes before serving the ice cream, line a baking pan with baking paper. Have a silicone spatula handy.
6. Pour the sugar into a small stainless-steel saucepan. Add the water. Bring to the boil over medium heat without stirring. There will be large bubbles, which will get progressively smaller. Give the pan a swirl every now and then. When the bubbles subside and the mixture turns a light golden brown, switch off the heat and take the pan off the burner. Working quickly, pour in the white and black sesame seeds, stir them quickly into the caramel.
7. Pour the mixture onto the paper-lined baking tray, using the spatula to scrape the mixture out. Tilt the tray to spread the brittle thinly.
8. Let cool about 20 minutes. Break into large pieces.
9. Scoop ice cream into bowls, serve with azuki beans and sesame brittle.
Makes about 480g of ice cream
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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