INSTA Ice Cream

Insta Ice Cream 13 arrInstantly made for “insta” yum, no-churn ice cream is the answer to all things delicious and frozen.  Essentially, the dessert for summer time.

Truly no fuss and easy to make, anyone can whip up their very own batch of homemade frozen confection. For the start of your own, all you need are three ingredients – heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla essence.

To prepare humble vanilla ice cream – also the base to future flavourful variations – first pour the ‘necessities’ into a mixing bowl, whip the combined trio until soft peaks form and then set contents into the ice box to fully solidify. Et voilà! You’ve mastered no-churn ice cream.

From here, the possibilies are endless. You can create a menu of delectable dairy rich frozen treats. To start, mix-in palatable additions of choice whether via fruit compote, crushed cookies or biscuits, chocolate chunks, chopped almonds or walnuts, and even broken pieces of your preferred candy bar.

Insta Ice Cream 2 arrHaving fun with the making of several ice creams, I couldn’t stop at one or two. Essentially setting up my own ice cream parlour – if only for a day – going for gold is the aim. And so, when a couple flavours just don’t cut it, I set my eyes on building a dream team of flavour pairings to include mine, yours, and everyone’s favourites: mint chip, mocha almond fudge, cherry cheesecake, caramel macchiato crunch, Oreos ‘n’ cream, and a peachy-esque spin resulting in ‘nouveau’ nectarines and cream. Likewise, candy coated cones with sprinkles and the works are a must – a match-made winning combo for the otherwise already beautified real cream scoops.

Made in an instant and ‘flash’ frozen, personalizing your ice cream to create a range of tastes is a cinch. To do so, simply remember the magic of three: three items and three steps – combine, whip and freeze. Word to the wise: for mint chip, I omit vanilla essence and replace it with pure mint extract. Alternatively, deconstructed banana split ice cream can made by using banana flavouring as well. Once again, the sky’s the limit when creating your very own plain or fusion ice cream, especially when starting with the original no-churn base. Rocky road or what ever route you take your ice cream, there’s one ultimate certainty: no-churn ice cream is an “insta” success.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

Mom Knows Best!

Persian Ice Cream 5 arrMy mom has taught me everything I know – from Persian culture to family values, and the importance of ongoing learning. A gem in her own right, my mother has and persists to display multifaceted talents. Crafty yet studious, successful in business ventures as much as a leading parental figure, she’s – without a doubt – the person to whom I look up and admire, and fortunately, my personal ‘go-to’ when presented with life’s question however big or recipe-related.

 

On this Mother’s Day, my mind easily trails to an endless memory bank of times I shared with my mom. Moments for which I’m grateful, and instances that are now family stories in great thanks to my mother who selflessly took every spare moment she had to spend with her children. Always giving of herself, she put ‘quality’ in every minute, hour and all times that are now made eternal.

Persian Ice Cream 3 arrIn celebration of my mom and all mother figures, I like to dedicate this post to past memories and some made new. Regardless of the month or season, every year has been touched by my mom. From devouring a plateful of homemade Christmas cookies, to custom-made birthday cakes, my mom started traditions that were made to last. Effortlessly working to make every occasion special, she continues to approach holiday dinners with the same level of attentive care and happily creates festive menus and table spreads that are thematic and attune with hand-selected patterned dishes, flatware, drinking glasses and centrepiece arrangements. Again taking time, she not only ‘makes things happen’ but, too, adds an element of magic to transform otherwise ordinary events into something beautiful.

In recollection of one of my fondest childhood memories, every trip to the mall included a stop at the ice cream parlour – my favourite scoop in a cone, mint chip for my sister, and French vanilla for my mom. Clearly, this family loves ice cream. And for the creation of more sweet memories, my mother has passed on the tradition of making and appreciating Persian food, including traditional desserts.

Persian Ice Cream 8 arrGladly following in my mother’s footsteps, I hope to have honoured both her teachings and our heritage with the making of a delectable recipe fully-loaded with nostalgia. Hoping you, too, will share something sweet with your mother-figure, here’s what I learnt from the ‘wise’ one: a popular Persian Ice Cream commonly known as ‘bastani Akbar Mashti’ and ‘faloodeh’.

Having the fortune to savour my mother’s cooking, I need no formal introduction to the distinct floral tastes identified with these icy desserts. Inclusive of saffron, rosewater, pistachios and frozen pieces of whipping cream, this vanilla-based ice cream dessert was first invented by ‘the man,’ Akbar Mashti. Rightfully named, then, ‘bastani’ simply refers to ice cream in Farsi.

As easy to make as reading the ingredient list, anyone can share and delight in their very own homemade batch of Persian Ice Cream. Starting with pure vanilla bean ice cream – homemade or already-made, preferably premium grade – allow the ice cream contents to slightly soften, and then mix-in the following: 1 cup of pistachios, 1/4 cup of rosewater, 1/16 teaspoon ground saffron, and 500 mL of whipping cream for ultra richness – freeze cream separately, and break into pieces prior to incorporating – and when well-combined, place the container back into the freezer to solidify the jewelled ice cream prior to serving. In case it helps, here’s some pearls of wisdom passed from mum: a little goes a long way with saffron so – however tempted to intensify colour of your ice cream – be careful not to overpower the dairy contents or otherwise risk gaining an adversely medicinal tasting dessert. Also, I first bloomed the portioned saffron into the measured rosewater, and later incorporated the perfumed liquid gold to the ice cream.

Persian Ice Cream 10 arrHighly satisfying as-is, ‘bastani’ can even be sandwiched between two wafers or enjoyed alongside ‘faloodeh’. Perhaps unfamiliar to some, ‘faloodeh’ is essentially cooked rice noodles that have been frozen with rosewater infused simple syrup. Short on ingredients and steps, less is definitely more with this fragrant dessert. Once prepared and semi-frozen, be sure to comb it over with a fork – like a granita – as it does not share the same consistency as ice cream. Finally ready to serve, you can enjoy ‘faloodeh’ in all its rosy glory for an extra hint of tart and sweet tastes top it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice or sour black cherry syrup – and, that’s all she wrote!

From my mother’s kitchen to yours, these Persian desserts are family favourites and simply worth having any time of year. Using these recipes or alternate expressions of thanks, I hope you have the opportunity to treat the parental figure who has left a lasting imprint on your life with daily tokens of gratitude. And on that note, this one’s for you – Love you, Mum!!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

The Latest Scoop

No-Churn Ice Cream 2 arrAsk any ice cream fan, and I bet they have their ‘favourite.’ While mint chip and rocky road are popular flavours, mocha almond fudge tops my list.  Whatever your preference, most would agree that quality ─ real dairy ─ ice cream can’t be beat.  And much to my delight, “no-churn” recipes are no-fuss and all things decadent, rich, creamy, and simply divine.

Too irresistible not to try, I put a three ingredient “no-churn” ice cream recipe to the test. Happily evading use of an ice cream maker, I only need an electric mixer and these “must-haves”:  2 cups of heavy cream, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and a couple dashes of vanilla essence.  Once the aforementioned ‘magic three’ are whipped and form soft peaks, I pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, cover it with a lid, and set it into the icebox for at least five hours.

No-Churn Ice Cream 3 arrThat’s it! Truly, your work is done ─ “no-churn” vanilla ice cream 101.  But why stop there, right? ─ Right on!  Getting creative, I double the ‘basic’ vanilla recipe, and divide the ‘very good’ vanilla bean ice cream into four separate loaf pans.  Creating a blank canvas of sorts, you can stick with vanilla-infused ice cream and later incorporate added texture and taste via your imagination.  For instance, consider the following:  chocolate chips, caramel sauce, fresh berries or fruit preserve, nuts, crumbled cookies, liqueurs or even mint extract for a more refreshing taste.

No-Churn Ice Cream 4 arrGoing for delicious scoops of ‘breige,’ my ice cream cloud is made of plentiful shades of wonderful: vanilla bean, espresso, double chocolate and mocha almond fudge.  For the already mastered classic, use of pure vanilla extract is a given.  Catering to purists, I also recommend following suit by integrating the scraped black seeds of an authentic vanilla pod for an elevated flavour profile.  As for a chocolaty spin, whip a few tablespoons of cocoa into the basic mixture until it appears homogenous, and then stir in shavings of dark chocolate.  In similar fashion, treating the basic vanilla mixture to an “afternoon pick me up” is as easy as blending it with chilled brewed espresso or with a few tablespoons of the ‘instant’ alternative.

No-Churn Ice Cream 1 arrReserved for last, but certainly not least, my favourite ─ mocha almond fudge ─ tastes like the real-deal. Best part is:  the only place I need to ‘bask in’ for the making of this confection is the kitchen.  Kid you not, this take on mocha almond fudge is ‘that’ good!  And, here’s how to make your own:  blend the basic vanilla mixture with cocoa powder, espresso powder ‘et voilà,’ you got the mocha part ready.  Half-way done, freeze the mocha ice cream for about an hour while you prepare the fudgy addition.  No-Churn Ice Cream 6 arrFor my interpretation of a DIY nutty ganache filling, I take a dark chocolate almond bar ─ the family-size variety, about 300 grams ─ save some with which to later decorate, and then melt the rest with some heavy cream over a double-boiler.  Once the contents have melted and the ganache has cooled, remove the mocha ice cream from the icebox and spoon in the filling, trying to create chocolaty almond ribbons.  Finally, top off the mocha almond fudge ice cream with a crunchy combo of toasted sliced almonds and chopped chocolate chunks, and really freeze it this time ─ a solid five hours should suffice.  Wait time ‘somehow’ endured, appeasing to one’s appetite for homemade “no-churn” frozen dessert is undeniably a cinch.  As for the question of brain freeze, “no-churn” is still a no-brainer ─ happy ‘paced’ consumption!

© DISHFUL, 2016.  All Rights Reserved.

What’s The Story, Crowning Glory?

Dole Farm 1 arrWhat stands tall, wears a crown, and is internally sweet? ─ Pineapples! Forever my favourite, pineapples rank among my top preferred fruits. Both delicious and elegant in structure, this beautiful natural creation is ─ simply put ─ my kind of wonderful. “Have I told you, lately, how much I love…” pineapples? ─ Just checking! So you can only imagine my excitement upon learning that my recent travel destination is also home to a pineapple farm. Ideally situated in the historic town of Wahiawa, my trip to O’ahu has been made extra special with a very worthwhile visit to ─ you guessed it ─ the Dole Plantation.

Dole Farm 2 arrNothing ventured, nothing gained? ─ Precisely! Somewhat off the beaten path, the Dole Plantation is outside the heart of Honolulu City, but certainly not to be missed. For a ‘field’ day in of itself, merely take a drive along the Kamehameha Highway and you’ll be happier for it. And once you arrive, guiltlessly reward yourself with a self-indulgent treat ─ ‘ananas’ of course!

Between fresh and ‘freshly’ preserved airtight goods ─ macadamia nut cookies, praline candied nuts, Kona coffee or dried mangoes/papaya/pineapple chunks ─ I have my eyes set on one thing only: “Dole Whip.” Saving my appetite for this momentous treat, my unique pineapple cup of Dole’s very best ─ homegrown golden delicious ─ does not disappoint. Dole Farm 3 arrConsider this: tangy yet sweet and smooth soft-serve pineapple ice cream that is topped with succulent dices of ripened pineapple fruit. Undeniably irresistible, Dole Whip is simply divine ─ spoonful’s of heaven. Befitting of venue and warm climate, this chilled refresher is exactly what this pineapple-lover ordered. In essence, the chance to taste Dole Whip is an authentic experience not to be missed ─ the edible souvenir of choice!

To my heart’s content, this pineapple adventure similarly fed my mind as much as my appetite. Catching up on some thematic Dole Q&A, I learn a memorable “Fact of Life” for a pineapple. Did you know, the pineapple plant takes its ‘sweet’ time ─ approx. 1 year and 8 months ─ to yield its first fruit? It’s no wonder this glorious fruit earns and rightfully wears a crown. Dole Farm 4 arrWhile I won’t trifle with Mother Nature’s timing, it’s times like these I’m grateful for the produce aisle, and waiting ─ ever so slightly ─ at the “Plantation Grille” for dessert.   Catering to all, other activities include: a tour of the grounds via the Pineapple Express train, discovery of flora in the botanical gardens or getting lost/found along a maze course. Whether in memorabilia or snack formation, this massive stretch of cultivated pineapple devotion is truly worth the journey ─ and it didn’t take 20 months!

© DISHFUL, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

Froyo Inferno

Banana ChocoFro arrHot and hazy days call for an ice-box favourite ─ say it is so, “ICE CREAM!”  Sweet, creamy and undoubtedly refreshing, who wouldn’t want to indulge in this summertime favourite?  I know I do, but with another ‘seasonal must’ beckoning ─ teenie weenie swimsuits ─ dreaded bouts of foreseeable guilt supersede advanced signs of temptation.  Fortunately, sunny days remain bright with an evasion of processed “sugar-free” and “fat-free” alternatives in exchange for homemade batches of fruit-flavoured frozen treats.

Banana Fro arrRecipes abound, there’s no shortage of instructions that call upon the usual suspects ─ sugar, cream, eggs, vanilla ─ and use of an ice-cream maker.  Having both the ingredients and the machinery ‘chez-moi,’ the common necessities aren’t an issue.  What it really comes down to, however, is the “s” word ─ SUGAR!  And so, I continue to scour the net and happily find an effortless frozen recipe that calls for two things:  bananas, and a food processor.  Ultimately working with a blank canvas, be brave and personalize your soon-to-be congealed treat with tasty additions ─ dash of cinnamon, a handful of nuts for added crunch, and even a tablespoon or two of either peanut butter or Nutella.

Blueberry FroYo arrStarting with the basics, follow these steps:  first peel and slice ripened bananas, then place cut pieces into a freezer-proof container, and freeze for a few hours or overnight.  How many bananas?  Good question!  As a rule of thumb, you can start with three but, just remember:  if you use more, you’ll get more.  So, it really depends on how large a batch you seek.  Once frozen, place the banana slices into a food processor and keep pulsing ─ about three to five minutes ─ until you yield a smooth consistency likened to soft-serve.  Finally, enjoy this naturally sweet delight immediately or store it in the freezer ─ once again ─ for a more solidified confection.  Requiring minimal ingredients but resulting in superior taste, it truly doesn’t get any easier than this.  So easy, in fact, I couldn’t resist dividing my potassium-rich batch into two and by proceeding to blend it with some cocoa powder ─ ‘et voilà,’ my very own chocolaty banana ice-cream.

Strawberry FroYo arrHooked on something wonderful, why stop now?  Equally achievable, making homemade strawberry and blueberry frozen yogurt is next on my list.  Courtesy of Just A Taste, I adhere to directions that call for three ingredients:  four cups of berries, ½ cup of yogurt, and three tablespoons of honey.  Like the banana recipe, begin with your choice of frozen berries and pulse the fruit using a food processor.  Catering to my taste, I combine the frozen fruit purée with ½ cup of thick and creamy Balkan-style yogurt, in addition to Manuka honey.  So far so good, I pour the vibrant batch of semi-frozen yogurt into a temperature-safe container and leave it in the freezer to solidify.  That’s it ─ done and done!

FroYo Palette arrAs for overall impressions, taste is not an issue so much as texture.  Clean and refreshing to the palette, both berry-inspired frozen yogurts are light and far from saturated ─ no cream, no refined sugar, no problem?  Not quite!  As any ice-cream maker well knows, sugar helps reduce the formation of ice crystals.  Honey, on that note, has purposefully been incorporated into this somewhat health-conscious recipe.  Making a valiant appearance, however slight, the ‘sweet stuff’ ─ agave nectar or other sweetener ─ does not share similar proportions as one would typically find in the rich custard original.  That said, the absence of fat and white sugar in this recipe indicates a less than creamy outcome that fares closer to a ‘granita.’  Needless to say, this fro-yo recipe may cater to some but not all.  On the plus side, there’s no denying this:  bright authentic taste of hand-picked strawberries trump any artificially-packed tub load.  So is fro-yo a go go?  I’d say so!  It’s definitely good as-is, and worth repeating using an ice-cream maker, at least for curiosity’s sake ─ churn baby churn!

© DISHFUL, 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Once You Go Stack, You Never Go Back

“What would you do…?”  For a Klondike Bar, to buy and eat it – both – are plausible answers.  As for me, I’d get inspired and make my own – only proportionally mountainous!  Requiring no arduous trek, venturing unexplored territory – in baking – is simply too irresistible to ignore.  In response to the delectably infamous ice cream cookie sandwich, why not add a ‘well-rounded’ hit to an existing ‘discography’ – cookie repertoire – with the creation of my very own ice-box-worthy treat?ICS 2 arr

Since I can, I will – end of story!  The concept first started upon a midsummer’s craved dream.  Taking a cookie ‘n’ cream sandwich to higher elevations, my interpretation – like the original – still embodies crumbed goodness and frozen dairy contents.  For an even better spin-off, I present an overhaul of chocolaty bliss – the Big Stack Cookie Monster Sandwich.

Just imagine:  triple decker, mammoth-size homemade chocolate chip cookies – times three – embedded with a trifecta of palatably dense vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  Inexcusably decadent, this oversized ‘wide load’ knows no limits.  And to a sweet tooth’s delight, this colossal frozen dessert’s exterior is further enrobed with all that appeases one’s taste – dark chocolate shavings, chopped toasted almonds, and rainbow sprinkles.

ICS 3 arrWasting no time, then, the order of priority follows in three steps:  bake, make and decorate – Scout’s honour!  First thing’s first, take your preferred cookie dough recipe – any kind – and whip up three batches.  A childhood favourite – for most – I use Martha Stewart’s reliable “Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies.”  While this speckled dough is normally arranged by the tablespoon, hand-held treats are not what I’m after – essentially, “Go big or go home!”  This time, I prepare and refrigerate three separate batches of big and beautiful.  Time-elapsed, the chilled ‘discs’ are easier to handle with which I evenly spread out onto a parchment-lined pizza dish; and when bake-ready, the trays are placed into a preheated oven.  Word of caution:  this cookie dough will rise and expand, so avoid thin crust styled ‘pies’ as they will burn; definitely not – for this hefty layered confection – a “good thing.”  Advisory noted, attentive watch yields triple a dreamy outcome – three ‘fortunate’ cookies – that evidently, is revealing of a crisp circumference and a chewy middle center.  Almost famous, cooling ‘hot stuff’ is a must prior to assemblage of a three-tier towered masterpiece.

ICS 1 arrMelting over double chocolate and mint chip, instead?  Aside from obvious compatible ‘couplings,’ anyone can actualize their own match-made pairing of tempting cookie and ice cream flavours.  Options abound, just think fast and brainstorm your way to a successful baking session.  Once complete, finish stacking those sugared ‘plates’ with your choice of frozen dairy or alternative filling, and – for fun – a final touch of textured ‘extras.’  Hands down, this rocky road novelty is not only sky-high, but a sandwich that measures up in pure taste and sliced portability.  And while best enjoyed immediately, you can always tightly seal this ‘deal’ – quantified quality dessert – with plastic wrap, and save it in the freezer.  Bottom line:  a Klondike-esque sugar rush validates that dreams, however sizeable, can be realized.

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

No Baked Alaska!

Frozen – in time – shaved iced is clearly nothing new.  Pleasantly evolved,  Häagen-Dazs bars and the unfailing Baskin Robin’s Mocha Almond Fudge – preferably, two scoops in a cup – are among some frozen desserts that persist to amaze.  Tried and true to taste, real cream dairy favourites, yoghurt alternatives, and even gelato are a must in anyone’s freezer.

As young and old scurry to stockpile their icebox, the pursuit of a happy summer leads me to another hot craze.  It’s no Baked Alaska, but comes close – no-melt ice cream cones.

Welcome to mess-free country!  Napkins saved, this melt-free edible table fixture is the ultimate must-have treat to top off any backyard b.b.q.  To make, you’ll need:  ice cream cones, cake batter, frosting, sprinkles and your choice of toppings. Cone Cake arr

“I’ve got the power”… to decide?  Exactly, and so do you!  This versatile recipe leaves you with endless options.  Chocolate, vanilla, red velvet or any other batter you can think of, decisions are truly yours to make.  Still holding the reigns, choose between homemade batter or some help from a boxed Betty for a guilt-free – cake mix approved – treat.

For my not-so-dirty dozen, I whip up two separate batches of batter and frosting – chocolate and vanilla.  Oven preheated, I proceed to line up and leave – flat bottom – cones standing in a muffin tray.   Simply pour the batter into the cones – three-fourths full – and proceed to bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Next, allow the plain Janes to cool.  This stage is critical, as even slightly warm cone-cakes will – in fact – melt the frosting.  So, to ensure a ‘no-melt’ appeal, calmly dress the cooled and collected bunch using a filled piping bag.  Different tips will undoubtedly reveal distinct designs – again, you decide.  Tearing a page out of good-old fashioned value toppings, my retrolicious cone-cakes are made complete with a dash of rainbow sprinkles and maraschino cherries – of course!Cone Cake Plain arr

Time well spent?  I’d say so!  Hands-free – of dripping liquefied sugar – in addition to a cleared dessert plate, no-melt ice cream cones are a definite crowd pleaser.  Caring to share, transport of these ‘sundaes’ is made easy.  How?  Follow suit by using paper ice-cream trays – got mine at Mickie D’s – and, carefully set these ‘beauties’ into place for convenient carriage to its anticipated destination.  Long story short, “no” means “no!”  In this case, averting disastrous situations – brain-freeze, melt-downs and hot messes – are affirmative indicators of one triumphant summer afternoon get-together.  In continuum of happy snacking, then, cone-cakes are the ideal addition to any sweet’s bar – with a cherry on top!

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

‘Healing’ Waters

Poppins – who?  Before Mary came into the scene, traditionalists have long used sweet sugar to ease ‘troubles.’  Also requiring no sing-along, my Persian mom – like others before her – already knew the soluble response to minor stomach ailments.  Hunger pangs or over-indulgence, the known ‘treatment’ remains unchanged and in following ‘the method’ – the old-fashioned way.

MintWater arrThanks to the former housewives of Persianville, trusted homemade solutions are safely locked into memory and made using a touch of age-old necessity – ‘healing’ waters.  Diverse in application as in scent, find these ‘waters’ in tall translucent bottles – possibly – along the “international aisle,” and definitely available on the shelf of local Persian grocers.  To name a few, popular varieties of floral-infused waters – also stored in my fridge – include:  rosewater, orange blossom water and mint water.  While the number of distilled ‘waters’ are endless, aromatics via fruits, herbs and flowers are commonly used to create these wonderfully fragrant liquid elixirs.

Ancient in existence, but perhaps recent to some, perfumed waters have been around for centuries – talking about past generations!  With yesterday’s ‘news’ – now recycled – daily appearances of these ‘waters’ are more common than one may think.  Gently washed onto one’s face or incorporated into food, rosewater can be identified with beauty regimens or among Middle-eastern baking staples and fusion cuisine.  Still confused?  Just think about the last time you ate simple syrup-laden baklava – that mystery component was most likely rosewater.  Clearly a multi-purpose item, some even resort to these ‘waters’ for its medicinal purposes.   And, if you’re like my mom, mint water is the remedy to realign your ‘center.’  Equally appealing to my preference for all that’s effective, reliable and natural, this digestive aid works – all the proof I need.RoseOBlossomWaters arr

Previously tried, I can attest to mint water’s restorative ‘powers.’  But, people are people – we’re different!  As such, unique tastes will undeniably carry diverging reactions.  So if you don’t like mint, are allergic or – heaven forbid – are suffering from appendicitis, please don’t try this at home.  Seriously, in case of emergency – needless to say – you know what to do!  In the meantime, this agreeable recipe stands as my sure-fit non-prescription for refreshing alleviation.  Non-accidently made aware of this ‘medicinal’ drink, it comes highly recommended – even directly made – by my Persian matriarch line of ‘naturally’ instinctive doctors.  For your own glass of settling comfort, simply blend these ingredients:  a generous pouring – tablespoon or two – of mint water; then dilute with actual water – H2O; and to complete, mix the ‘remedy’ with a stick of crystalized sugar rocks or the famed alternative – “spoonful of sugar” – until ‘caster’ is dissolved.  Easily prepared and fitting of fast relief, this pleasant beverage need not be limited to a minty ‘curative.’  So go ahead, if you wish, and drink your ‘greens’ – anytime!

Appetite redeemed, satisfying cravings for more ‘aromatics’ is another flavourful bottle away.  As your bonus instruction, simply scoop and combine into a bowl:  premium quality real-cream vanilla ice cream, dash of rosewater or orange blossom water, and – though optional – top with a hint of ground saffron and crushed pistachios.  Sweet tooth or sore throat, whatever the ‘suffering,’ being under the weather is immediately corrected with ‘rosier’ alternatives – Persian food and drink!

© DISHFUL, 2014.  All Rights Reserved.

O-re-o

Traditionalists will tell you to:  twist it, dunk it, and then bite it.  But, if I give you an Oreo cookie, you can crush and slice it.  Yes, I did mess with a good thing.  Even better, in doing so, I found there are plenty of delicious ways to consume an Oreo cookie.

Oreo IceBox Cake arrThanks to an online bank of recipes, locating the necessary steps and ingredients for a personal production of newly transformed filled cookie indulgences was fast and reliable.  My particular use of Oreo cookies resulted in triumphant truffles and a no-bake, no-fuss Oreo ice-box cake that your friends and family will adore.

Baking with Oreos is as easy as:  shop, unpack and assemble.  Truly!  Well, almost – truly worth some elbow grease.  Calling for an overload of the famed versatile cookie sandwich, both recipes – though transformed in structure – remain true in taste.  All you need for the ice-box cake are the cream-filled cookies – the real deal – and ice cream of your choice.  If you want to get fancy, just layer the ice cream onto a chocolate pie shell, then top with more cookies – intact, pieces or crumbs – and take it one step further by decorating your frozen dessert with more candy toppings, though optional.

Oreo Truffles arrAs for the truffles, create a smooth sweet and savoury mixture by combining crushed cookies with plain cream cheese.  And, chill.  Wait – the truffle or me?  Accurate, twice!  Patience remains a virtue, and this recipe demands that you refrigerate the mixture, and take a time out.  Once chilled, the firmed mixture is more manageable to scoop, shape into hand-rolled balls, and dip into melted chocolate.  Remember ‘patience’?  Yes, after a second cooling off period – of course – the end result is worth acquiescing to:  rich and scrumptious two-bite pieces of chocolate coated decadent joy.

Something good can be told of eating of Oreos the old-fashioned way – no additions, no adaptations, and no wait time.  Equally satisfying, however, remains revamping a store-shelf favourite into a batch of edible luxury – an irresistible change, I’m sure Oreo-conformists will welcome.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.

La Dolce Vita!

“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Mercury rising, I quickly learned to combat summer heat like the locals with ‘gelato’ (Italian ice cream).

Setting off route, I found an authentic ice cream parlour, dating back to the 1900s – Gelateria Giolitti. This genuine Italian creamery is enchanting for its vintage décor, and blend of natural ingredients used to produce the epitome of handmade gelato. Craving both the ‘la dolce vita’ and ‘la bella vita,’ I managed to find both in frozen batches of happiness. Equally striking, is the quality of service. It’s all about you! Hailing to your inner-Caesar, hospitable servers abide to your every inclination by preparing the ultimate icy treat.

Dagnino Cakes 2 arrScream not for ice cream here! Following the leader – a.k.a. you – ask for one to three helpings of highly dense lusciousness. Select among dozens of recipes varying from melon to coffee or opt for a range of full-bodied taste in pistachio, zabaglione, tiramisu and yes, even the famed chocolate hazelnut spread, Nutella. The scoop’s the limit! Served in a cup or cone, once determined, complete your creation with a dollop of freshly whipped cream – the real stuff – or other toppings for a tastier ‘finale.’ Armoured with a tiny plastic utensil, holding a chilled dessert never felt so rewarding. I, unequivocally, defeated the scorching sun. Every spoonful of this slowly-churned soft-serve gelato felt as refreshing as being fanned by palm leaves – a Cleopatra moment, almost.

Dagnino Cookies 3 arrContinuing with my epicurean escapade, I adopted a Roman custom of my own – to close the evening with a scrumptious night cap. To Dagnino I go! Makers of traditional Sicilian desserts, this bakery and coffee bar is for lovers of sweet-everything. To be shared over a sit down chat or boxed for a dinner party, the selection of crumbly butter cookies looked tempting. In another refrigerator, in epic proportion, vivid fruit jelly tarts and moist dome-shaped cakes were attractively displayed; a suitable match for a gladiator-worthy appetite.

Dagnino Purchase arrVictory prevailed! The best of both worlds, in texture and measure, presented itself in something I had yet to try – ‘cassatina siciliana.’ Typical of Palermo, a southern region of Italy, this dessert is soft and sweet; it contains a cake base – soaked with liqueur – covered with a mixture of ricotta cheese and candied fruit, then enrobed in a pale green marzipan shell similar to icing. Needless to say, personal history had been made! Also adding to my cannoli-eating repertoire, I had now tried the pistachio variation; a crispy pastry containing a creamy pistachio-infused ricotta filling that’s reliably divine. Goodbyes are normally bittersweet. Fortunately, my Roman holiday concluded with a sweet ending. To good sights and eats, “cin, cin!”

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.