Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ice Cream
Baby blue skies, cotton wool clouds, trees green and lush, birds singing as they fly by… it is summer.  All 28°C of it.  And, as most people here in Holland say with a big smile : heerlijk! (delightful!)

It is ice cream time.

Pass by any ice cream parlor and you can see them – young, old, brown, black, white, yellow, male, female – happily licking their ice cream cones, spooning away into their ice cream cups or tall parfait glasses. Chocolate, vanilla, pistacho, melon, lemon or a hundred other flavors.  With cream, drenched in chocolate syrup, studded with nuts or plain. There are no sad faces here.

 Ice cream.  Its velvety smoothness slides down slowly, gently all the way to a welcoming tummy.  Soothing frayed nerves, uncrinkling those lines etched in your forehead, turning the drooping mouth into an upward smile. Heerlijk!

I have often been amused by those comedy sketches on tv where the actress after being dumped by a beau heads straight for the fridge, takes out a giant tub of ice cream, sits down and shoves spoonful after spoonful into her mouth as the tears fall from her face. A cliché perhaps, but there is some truth here. 

 I know that ice cream can’t heal a broken heart, solve the Greek crisis or cure cancer.  But sometimes, that little bit of reprieve makes a world of difference.  Maybe, it is that 90 second break from reality that gives one the time to see something from a different perspective or to realize that it really isn’t as dire as it seems.   

But, it isn’t just ice cream.  It takes so little to break that mood of despair or apathy.  A quick drink with a colleague after a grueling day at work.  A mint offered by a stranger in a packed train.  A comforting glance from a friend.  A kind word from a  supervisor.  A phone call from one of your children, for no particular reason but hello mom, just thought of you today.  An  unexpected I’m sorry as someone accidentally rolls over your toes in a crowded supermarket.

Sometimes we forget how little it takes to make someone else happy. Even our selves.

I tasted this for the first time in a friend's house.  I was amazed at how easy it was to make and how good it tastes!! 

 Meringue Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients : 

  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 90-120 gm dark chocolate bar, coarsely grated (70 % chocolate is great but a normal dark, milk chocolate or even white chocolate bar will do as well!)
  • 1 tablespoon coffee liqueur or rum (optional)
  • 50 gm, unsalted almond slivers or chopped cashew or pistacho nuts
  • store bought meringue, crumbled roughly to make 2 cups

Procedure : 

  1. Line a loaf tin or round baking mold with cling film, making sure you have enough overhang to cover the top later.
  2. Whip the cream until thick but still soft. Add the liqueur.
  3. Fold in the chopped chocolate.  Then the nuts. 
  4. Fold in the crumbled meringue.
  5. Pack this mixture into the prepared loaf tin, pressing it down with a rubber spatula. Carefully pull the cling foil hanging on the side to the top of the tin to seal it. Just to be sure, rewrap the entire tin with more cling film.  Freeze overnight.

To Serve : 

 Peel off the cling foil.  Unmold into a plate and slice as you would a loaf cake.
You can top each slice with fresh fruit like strawberries  or blueberries or canned fruit like peaches or mandarins. 

For an even richer dessert, pour
a strawberry sauce over it (blend 1cup fresh or frozen strawberries with 1/2 cup orange juice.  Sweeten with a bit of powdered sugar).   
or store bought chocolate syrup.


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