Roasted Green Chilli Pepper Ice Cream – our recipe

Whilst preparing for Kerry and Gaz’s wedding last Saturday, I made a batch of Beetroot and Chocolate ice cream.
Sadly the weather on the day was a little too cold for ice cream.  So it stayed in the freezer.

However, we had a whole load of interesting ingredients left over after the wedding, including a big bag of mint, a few green chilli peppers.  So I duly made a batch of Fresh Mint Ice Cream using David Lebovitz‘s recipe from his wonderful book, “The Perfect Scoop”.

So I got to thinking…  Beetroot and chocolate go well together…  and chocolate goes wonderfully with mint.
What else goes well with both chocolate and mint?

Then it hit me.
Chillies.

You get chilli chocolate.  Why not chilli ice cream?

Trio of Ice creams: Beetroot and chocolate, Fresh mint, and Roasted green chilli pepper ice creams, served with mango purée

Trio of Ice creams: Beetroot and chocolate, Fresh mint, and Roasted green chilli pepper ice creams, served with mango purée

A quick internet search did not produce a recipe.  However, it show that a few other establishments have made one… including one for roasted green chillies….

Roasted chillies are wonderful..  The flavours are warm and rich and actually quite delicate, yet the bite of raw chilli is removed (the roasting process breaks down the Capsaicin).

So I formulated a plan.
I would infuse the cream with both Roasted green chilli peppers for the flavour, AND raw chilli to give it back its bite.

The resulting ice cream was, if I might be so bold, incredible!!  I LOVED IT!
In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is one of my favourite ice creams to date….

It has that coldness and richness of creamy ice cream, with the rich succulent flavour of roasted green chillies, then the aftertaste develops with a slight sting when the BITE of the raw chillies kicks in, but in a moderated fashion….  Yummy!

Try it!

Anyway, here is my recipe which makes about 1 litre.

Roasted Green Chilli Pepper Ice Cream

Ingredients

5 green chillies
100g Sugar
475ml Whole milk
475ml Cream
5 egg yolks
Olive oil
Green food colouring (optional)

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius (350F).

Cut the heads off the five chillies, then slice them lengthwise into halves, deseed, reserving the heads, seeds and pith.
Drip just a little olive oil into the palm of your hand, and lightly smear the green flesh of FOUR of the five chillies with the olive oil.  Be sure not to make it too greasy.  Place the green flesh into a small roasting tray and roast for approximately 15 minutes.

Once roasted, remove them from the oven, allow to cool slightly, and then chop the chillies finely.

Put the sugar, milk and cream, the roasted chillies, together with the remaining chilli, chilli heads and the seeds and pith into a saucepan.   Bring this mixture to a light simmer, then remove from the heat and cover.  Let it infuse for one hour minimum.

Once the mixture has been infused, strain it into another bowl with a fine sieve then discard all the solids.  Transfer the liquid back into the saucepan and rewarm it.   In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks.  Slowly pour the infused mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over a medium heat with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens to form custard, and it coats the back of the spoon.   Pour the custard through a sieve into a bowl, and continue to stir it until cool over an ice bath.

Although not normally a fan of artificial colorants, this custard mix is quite a bland, creamy colour, so you can pep it up with a few drops of green food dye.

Once cool, transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker and freeze it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Simple.

 

 

Preparations for the coming Winter ski season

On Sunday, we hosted a dinner party for friends.
What a wonderfully delightful opportunity to trial new recipes for Winter!!!

Helen spent the day in the kitchen preparing different foods, gutting pigeons and preparing two types of stock…
I spend the morning preparing the Pepper Ice cream for dessert…

Dinner was…

Salmon mi-cuit in vanilla and star anise oil with Parsnip purée…  The salmon was gorgeous.  We cook it in flavoured olive oil at 35-40°c for about 40 minutes..   When done right, the salmon almost looks uncooked as it comes out really pink and incredibly moist.  By cooking it at that temperature, none of the oils in the fish cook or congeal, so the fish retains its moisture and colour, and the texture – well, the fish falls apart.  Very succulent…  The parsnip purée was prepared by simmering parsnips in milk, then puréeing them with lots of cream and a dash of s&p.  Delicious, light and very tasty!

Roasted pigeon breasts with caramelised figs and pigeon jus, on a bed of spiced red cabbage with Swede sautéed with sage.   This took a lot of effort – hence Helen preparing two stocks from scratch, spending nearly an hour gutting fresh pigeons… However, once the stocks are prepped (and can be frozen for the future), the actual cooking of the pigeon is only 6 minutes!  It was simply delicious!!  Not sure what most people think about eating pigeon meat though??  What do you think?  Unfortunately, the swede was a little bit disappointing and not at all like normal.  The previous times that we have sautéed swede with sage, it was delicious – however this time, it was a little bitter.  I think it was because we used a frying pan instead of our deep heavy-based pot (which was full of stock at the time!).  This meant that some of the cubes of swede were not nicely covered in that layer of melted butter that helps brings out their sweetness, and they dry-fried instead…. Lesson learned.

Followed by…   Individual peach tatins with caramel sauce and Pepper ice cream.   Sweet.  The risk with the pepper ice cream is either adding too much pepper and having it too strong – or too little and it is a very plain ice cream.   When ice cream freezes, the flavour actually gets less intense.  It was good, but next time, I think I’ll up the quantities of pepper just a little….  It is the pepperiness of the ice cream that offsets the sweetness of the peaches which become sticky and gooey in the oven.  Also, I think we’ll up the glaze on the puff pastry for added sweetness.

If that gets you salivating, fantastic!
Sadly we were too busy with our guests to photo the food.  Sorry.

Preparations are well and truly underway for this coming ski season…
We are renovating the “green” room this autumn. The room has been completely stripped, skirting boards ripped off,  and Helen is upstairs right now busy painting it yellow and “cutting in”. I call this “doing the edges”!

Rough-cut wood was ordered from the mill yesterday for a rustic pine headboard, just like in the other two rooms on that floor. I’ll wizzy-brush that to bring out the texture of the wood and create it’s unique style.
New heavy-weight rich red curtains have been sewn in keeping with the alpine style and our other rooms.

We have a small issue though…
With three rooms now painted yellow, it seems a bit daft to keep calling them the blue, green and yellow rooms….
(and could be slightly confusing at first for Robert, our new chalet assistant, who will be joining us in December).

We were thinking about naming them after famous skiers….   Anselme Baud, Glen Plake, de Benedetti,  McConkey, and Vallençant…

Thoughts?

We are undertaking some modifications in some of the bathrooms too.
New custom-sized mirrors have been cut by the local glazier and we are planning some lovely, thick, distressed pine frames aged to fit in with that alpine chalet feel.  They should look good!

Roll on the snow and the start of the ski season!

Christmas Dinner 2011

As we had guests from Singapore and the United States this year, we celebrated our main Christmas Dinner on the 24th – Christmas Eve – like the French do. As usual, it was a seven course gala affair and a lot of fun…

 

The Lees' and Bretts' at Christmas

 

  • Pan-fried Foie Gras on toasted brioche, with miniature Amaretto jellies and a selection of homemade chutneys
  • Red Cabbage Gazpacho with Cucumber Brunoise and Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream
  • Tiger Prawns flambéed in Pastis with its herbed butter sauce
  • Homemade Rosé and Raspberry Sorbet refresher
  • Freerange Roast Turkey – served with Chestnut stuffing, Goose-fat roasted potatoes, Parmasan parsnips, Carrots sautéed in Honey and Ginger, Green beans wrapped in bacon, with Bread and Cranberry sauces and Gravy…
  • Cognac-laced Christmas Pudding served with homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream
  • Blue Stilon cheese served with Port
  • Coffee and homemade chocolate truffles

I personally love the look we get when people realise we are serving Mustard Ice Cream.  It is classic.

The idea of Mustard Ice Cream sounds very bizarre I know, but the flavour combination of the Red Cabbage soup with the ice cream is simply delicious.  Also, as it uses wholegrain mustard, the ice cream is not as strongly flavoured as you might imagine, but has a more subtle kick to it…  As savoury ice creams go, I think it is a winner!

I also love the richness of colour of the Rosé and Raspberry sorbet… which just coincidentally matched the red Christmas underplates brilliantly! No planning there… No, really! 😉

Homemade Rosé and Raspberry Sorbet

Everything was spot on.  Timings were good.  The free-range turkey was lovely – wonderfully flavoursome and moist.  I hate dried Turkey breast meat that many places serve, instead, this was simply gorgeous.  We actually cook the Turkey upside down to help maintain the moisture in the breast, and then turn it near the end to brown the meat.

We do not normally get to photograph our food as we are typically too busy concentrating on cooking and serving it – so we are very grateful to Yih San for all the photos that he took.  I feel they really capture the mood, vibrancy and colours!

 

Christmas Turkey dinner

I also love Helen’s table decorations.  It is all the multitude of little things that go to make up a truly wonderful experience…

 

New menu preparations going well…

One of the nicest things about running a Chamonix chalet is that in October and November, we get to try a whole load of new recipes when we design the menus for the coming Winter Ski season.  We are always after delicious, reliable recipes that are tasty, visually attractive and interesting.

Yesterday, we discovered a superb new starter.

Simple.
Elegant.
Delicious.

Helen found a great recipe that just simply works…
I present “Pan-fried Scallops served with  Spicy Chorizo and Rocket”.

Pan-fried scallops with spicy chorizo and rocket

Pan-fried scallops with spicy chorizo and rocket

This is wunderbar!  Succulent, tender scallops lightly caramelised in the juices of the fried Spanish chorizo.  Perfectly matched by the pepperiness of the rocket and a sweet balsamic reduction to give it that extra dimension….  Yummy!

Armagnac Snail Fricassé, served with Tomato and Fennel Ragoût in Fennel Seed pastry cases on a bed of Fennel Purée

Tonight, the finest ski in, ski out Chamonix chalet served as starter an Armagnac Snail Fricassé, with Tomato and Fennel Ragoût in Fennel Seed pastry cases on a bed of Fennel Purée…

Simply delicious…  (ed. note: assuming, of course, you love snails!!)

(ed. additional. note:  after this dish, you will LOVE snails!)…

With the snails, we put a fistful of finely chopped banana shallots and copious amounts of garlic… — we are in France, after all!! —  Added abundant brown sugar to sweeten the lovely creatures and then drowned them in silky smooth Armagnac!!   We added a 36E cup of lovely golden flaked almonds .. and slow-cooked the mix for 4 hours with a mug of sinful, melted butter…     Nigella would love this!

Are you salivating too, yet?

A fresh fine ragoût of fennel and tomato and onion was prepared with a dash or two of thyme and basil…

I also melted some finely chopped fennel with onion and garlic… then added star anise and thyme… before adding enough cream to make a small cheese and simmering it all softly until the fennel was perfectly soft… .. before blitzing the whole mix (less the star anise) in the food processor to a fine purée….

Homemade pastry cases with whole, aniseed-y fennel seeds …

Yummmy…..

Armagnac snail fricassé with tomato and fennel ragoût, fennel seed pastry and fennel purée

So… the snails are sweet and tender.. melt in your mouth… with the slightly crunchiness of the almonds which simply adore butter!!  This balances with the ever-so-slightly bitterness of the aniseed fennel seeds of the pastry cases which offset the freshness of the tomato-fennel ragoût..    Now… taste the fennel purée with its creamy sensuousness… with fine overtones of thyme and a hint of the aniseed from the star anise…  yummmmmmmmmmm!

Not Heston yet.  But the Albert Premiere 2* in Chamonix should watch it’s back!

ps. Expecting 15-30 cms of fresh powder at 1,500 metres tonight… The RETURN OF THE NEIGE!!

Who’s hungry?

Look what arrived in front of me tonight!!

While Helen has me “mostly” banned from the kitchen –  [note: I was allowed up to create a batch of our milk and honey ice cream – and some delicious rosé and raspberry sorbet ]  – I experience the luxury of having my evening meal delivered to me!   Perfect!   It’s like being a guest in your own home! 

Anyway, this is what arrived for dessert tonight…
Looks like Tim and Helen are doing an excellent job!  The lemon tart was…  well… really tart..  and the sweetness of the red berries in raspberry jus complemented it perfectly!!

Sadly, my current medication modifies the taste of the alcohol –  so I had to give the lemoncello a miss…

Still – bonus points for presentation!  [ed. note: guest portions are larger…]