Some times a hug isn’t enough

Through the summer having the grandchildren to stay and this has meant I have been doing overtime in the kitchen! On Sundays our roast dinners have been enjoyed by up to 10 guests and although very hard work it has been worthwhile due to the comments from the grandchildren (and some adults too !) We have also had one little person to stay with us for 2 months and being a surrogate parent has meant this blog has taken a break. But now normal service has resumed!

Apart from the normal cooking of meals I have also been making other goodies to keep the little ones happy. So here are some great child pleasers for you to try.

First is ice cream and second is marshmallow. There is a link between them in that when making the ice cream I had left over egg whites and I remembered seeing a River Cottage recipe that uses them to make marshmallows.



Chocolate Orange Ice Cream


  • 100 g 50% (or higher percentage) cocoa dark chocolate , broken into pieces
  • 300 ml full-fat milk
  • 85 g sugar
  • 5 free-range egg yolks
  • 300 ml whipping cream
  • Orange essence
  • Grated zest if 1 orange

What to do with all those bits….

  1. Put the chocolate pieces and milk in a heavy-based saucepan. Add a few drops of orange essence to taste and also pop the orange zest into this. Heat gently whilst stirring until smooth, then remove from the heat to cool.
  2. Beat the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until pale and thick. Stir in the cooled chocolate milk mixture onto the egg and sugar mix (this is now called a custard). Cook the custard in the bowl over a pan of simmering water (cheffy term is a bain marie), stirring all the time, until it thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Don’t allow the mixture boil or it will curdle. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
  3. Whip the cream into soft peaks, and then fold into the cooled chocolate mixture. Churn in an ice-cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 20-25 mins), until it’s frozen.

But then……..

If you are lucky enough to own a sous vide machine I found the ultimate fail proof method that gives you the most smooth ice cream with very little effort. So here we go! ….

Heat the machine to 80°C to start the process. Carry out the instructions above up to the end of number 2. Next add the cream but do not whip the cream but simply stir it gently into the chocolate mixture. Pour this mixture into a sous vide pouch. Remove as much air as possible and seal. Place the pouch into the machine and allow to cook for 1 hour. Occasionally give the pouch a small massage to give the mix. After an hour remove the pouch and immediately  place into a bowl of iced water (or place it under a tap of running cold water). When cooled pour into ice cream machine and churn for about twenty minutes.  Put into a container and place in your freezer. Remove half an hour before serving. Enjoy!


  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2tbsp icing sugar
  • 2tbsp cornflour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 450g of caster sugar
  • 200ml of water
  • Vanilla essence to taste
  • 2 sachets of powdered glucose 


Oil a 20cm x  20cm baking tray. Mix together the icing sugar and cornflour together and use to dust the tray and tip out the excess but save for later use.

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside. Put the sugar and water into a heavy based sauce pan and

Over a pan of simmering water place a bowl with 125ml of water and dissolve the gelatine in it.

.Place the sugar and water to a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to the boil. Keep cooking until the mixture hits 125°C,  add the gelatine (be careful as it may splutter a bit!)  and pour into a heatproof jug.

Turn the mixer back on and gently pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites whilst whisking continuously. Add a few drops of vanilla essence. Continue to whisk to allow the mixture to cool.

Pour the marshmallow into the tray and allow the mixture to level. Set aside in a cool place to set, BUT NOT IN THE FRIDGE !

Once set, dust a cutting board with the the icing and cornflour mix and cut with a knife into squares. You may need more sugar/flour mix to coat the cut edges. Put into an airtight container. Enjoy !!