New Years Day is always a dilemma for me because I’m tired, sometimes hung over and always always hot. If I am at home in Sydney then I have family over. I try to make something that is easy to eat and looks like I haven’t done any cooking because my family always complain that I shouldn’t cook on my birthday. Hello….where else can we go but my house? New Years day and restaurants are not a good combination. I would bore you with riotous stories of the times we have attempted to go- but suffice to say it is just a short cut back to where I started this story. I certainly didn’t want to make myself a cake- that would be cooking, but this dessert..? this is not cooking.
This year began for me quite early, in fact I didn’t get much sleep on New Years Eve. I slept beside a fellow I found on the road in Marrickville. We had the lights on because he was scared of the dark. I promised to drive him home in the morning, even though I really had no idea where he actually lived, he had no identification on him. I managed to find where he came from and I am hoping this small good deed I performed gives me good Karma for the whole year. Meet Benji….
He is now home with his relieved Mum after a very sleepless night for her too. The moral of the story folks… put all cherished ones inside when there are fireworks.
Back to the food. … and cooking things that look like you have done no cooking.
I came across some wholewheat Israeli couscous the other day. It feels almost wrong to be suggesting you actually eat something made of wheat… like I am swimming against the tide. So, if you don’t have anything against wheat then this makes a pretty good salad. I’m not going to give you a recipe for this salad nor the next one because this is a post about Very Simple Ice Cream, no cooking and no churning, but I will give you some very basic directions in case you want some inspiration. This is what we ate .
Cook a cup of Israeli couscous. Drain and rinse, put into a bowl with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 3 tablespoons balsamic and 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper mix and leave. It will soak up the dressing and this will be extra good. Sit aside while you prepare roasted pumpkin, cooked beetroot, blanched green beans, slices of tiny cucumbers and some creamy feta. Mix everything together except the feta and serve with extra dressing. Crumble the feta on top. Simple.
I was taken with a beautiful salad at Great Aunty Three in Newtown last week. A fresh crispy, chilli, garlic noodle delight and that’s what I wanted to eat. I took a shortcut and bought some Roast Pork Belly from a butcher. This slab of splinteringly perfect crackling and soft meat is perfect to make salad with.
For my copy of this Vietnamese salad I started with a jar and added two rough chopped cloves of garlic, the roots and stems of a well washed bunch of coriander, juice of 3 lemons or 4-5 limes, 1/2 cup of coconut water ( or plain water), 1-2 tablespoons of fish sauce, 2 slithers of ginger and 2-3 Tablespoons of palm sugar. Put the lid on and shake this till the sugar is dissolved ( you can dissolve the sugar in a tiny bit of boiling water.). Always make the dressing first. You will need to add fish sauce and sugar till it tastes just how you like it- then add chopped chilli if you like. Make the salad by finely slicing a 1/4 cabbage, 2 cups of very fresh bean shoots, sliced Spanish onion- I use chives because I hate raw onion, a bunch of mint leaves, coriander leaves, and a small packet of soaked (dried) rice noodles. Toss the salad with sliced pork reserving the chopped crackling for the top along with chopped nuts. Dress the salad ( keeping a little back). put onto plates or a platter. Top with crackling and nuts and a bit of extra dressing. This is also great with fried shallots that you get at the Asian store. Simple. Good.
But back to the Ice Cream Cake………..
** Just a note . It usually comes out of the mould smooth and firm but when I turned out this ice cream it was over 35 C (above 95 F). So the sides melted a bit faster than usual.