Saturday, March 24, 2012

Unpacking and pigging out

Cockatoos outside the house
Hello loyal blog-fans! Sorry for the long delay between posts - it's no good me making excuses so I won't. Since my last post, I've arrived home and am settling back in nicely. It took a while to readjust to life back here and to start truly thinking of it as 'life' rather than as a holiday. I got my last box that I'd posted myself from Korea yesterday, much to the disappointment of Greg the courier who has been having a lovely time making comission from my accumulated fluff. I'm still on the job-hunt too, although probably not as energetically as I should - I'm afraid the luxury of having saved a decent amount of money has robbed me of the burning incentive to find paid employment, so I've been ambling along, rather than doing a mad scramble like I probably should. Oh well, I expect that will happen soon enough when reality kicks in :)

 I've also been making very slow headway against unpacking all the stuff I've brought home - or rather, I've unpacked it all, I just haven't been able to find places to put it. I feel like there's not much point since I'll hopefully be moving out again soon, but as my long suffering parents put it, it's nice to be able to see the floor occasionally you know? Haha^^

Oh and also, it was brought to my attention that I have some underage readers, so I'm going to try and remember to keep my posts PG or warn you guys ahead of time if not :)

So apart from the job-hunting and nominal tidying, I haven't been up to much. This has been in part because I'm struggling through my third bout of bronchitis this year - it's nowhere near as bad as last time, when I was stupid enough to let my antibiotics run out for a day and then couldn't physically drag myself to a doctor to get more by the time my working day was over. This is of course because - no snow! Hurrah! ^_^ It's been a miserable summer, but still empteenth times better than Korea right now. At any rate, it's been making me a bit mopey, on top of other things and missing people in Korea (and let's face it, 맛있는 Korean food!) but another couple of weeks of drugs should see me right.

Jjim-dak feast
Helped in a large part by the yummy food I've been eating! I know everyone says this, but my mum is an awesome cook, and there are many out there who have left our house a great deal fatter than they entered it who would agree. My mum's Christmas cakes in particular are near legendary - even people who profess to hate fruit cake have changed their minds on tasting my mum's white Christmas cake or chocolate paneforte. It's no secret that we are a family of foodies, and my mum has been known to judge people by how well they eat and how picky they are with food. The more gusto you bring to our table, the better the impression you'll make. I have a few friends who have also accused me of being a 'feeder' and trying to fatten them up, and I'm sure my sister's would say the same, so yes, it's a bit of a family thing, haha^^ So understanding the foodie thing, you'll hopefully understand how happy I am to be home in a house with a real kitchen where I can bake and roast and do all sorts of things I couldn't in my tiny Korean flat. We actually had a Korean night and I made jjim-dak (braised chicken) and a bunch of side dishes, one of which I dropped my new smartphone into^^ But more importantly, one of those other things includes making ice-cream! A few years ago Fran and I bought mum and dad an ice-cream maker, but I seem to have done most of the ice-cream making in it so far. I've made quick vanilla, real vanilla, a luxurious and velvety strawberry, rich chocolate, stricciatella (chocolate-hazelnut), frozen yoghurt and lemon sorbet, and a couple of weeks ago had a whirl at coconut. It was delicious! My dad had been barracking for it for a while after having it in Vietnam, so it went down very well.

"Did someone say food?" Floss, cadging expert.
This weekend however, I thought I'd try something a bit different, seeing as it's Dad's birthday today. On the menu? A triple-layered caramel ice-cream cake. Now I've actually been a bit bad with photos lately - didn't even take a single one from my weekend in Canberra catching up with people - but I made sure to take some of this latest experiment. To make it, I used a basic recipe I found for a Caramel Toffee Ice-cream Pie, but changed it around a bit to include sugared almonds and make it even more decadent than the original. I don't know how big these chocolate graham crackers are (a kind of plain biscuit), but I used about 2/3 of a pack of Arnott's Chocolate Ripple biscuits (those plain chocolate ones) which gave me enough for decoration too. I also don't know how on earth that recipe-er rated this as 'healthy' but then.. it IS American... ㅋㅋㅋㅋ

So here's what I did:

Amy's Triple-layered Caramel Decadence Ice-cream Cake

2/3 pack of Arnott's Chocolate Ripple biscuits, crumbed in a food processor
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
Layering ingredients
1 egg white, beaten
8 or 9 mini Crunchie snack bars, crumbed in a food processor
500 ml caramel - I used Nestle's tart caramel but you might want to use something less rich and thick if you want something less decadent.
500mg blanched almonds (pour boiling water over the almonds, soak for a couple of minutes, then put them in cold water - the skin should come off easily when you rub them)
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp water (I actually had to use 4 because I used concentrated extract and it was too strong and thick)
2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Make the base (1 1/2c biscuit crumbs, butter, sugar, egg white; mixed, pressed into a greased 20cm springform tin and baked for about 8 mins at 180 C).

2. Make the almonds by chopping them, then baking them until golden brown (about 10 minutes at 220 C), then heating the sugar, extract and water until it bubbles and the sugar melts, then adding the almonds. Spread them out on greased paper until they cool, then crumble or pulverise in a food processor if you want it finer. FYI, this is also how you make praline!

3. Layer on some vanilla ice-cream. I was actually going to use a plain chocolate one but we got the wrong one and I decided it would be too rich anyway. Cover this layer with the Crunchie bits and a layer of caramel (about half the tin).

4. Add another layer of ice-cream, then cover this with the sugared almonds, and then the rest of the caramel.

5. Add the final layer and garnish like so with the Crunchie dust, biscuit crumbs and sugared almonds!

ta-dah! calorie-overload heaven^^
** If you have a problem getting the cake out, stick a butter knife in some boiling water, then run it around the inside of the tin to separate the sides.

We haven't tried it yet of course but I'll post up a picture of a slice when we start scoffing tonight!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Amy! It's Kiran. I forgot to gather email addresses of friends when I deleted my facebook so I'm writing here. I hope you check this blog from time to time to read this comment.

    I wanted tell you that I just finished reading Lords and Ladies and it was brilliant. I think Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, well more Nanny Ogg, are my new favorite characters. I'm going to read the rest of the witches books and then finish the Tiffany Aching series.

    I decided to move back to NY in March so I'm excited about that. I hope I can get a job, or at least a place to stay ><

    I hope everything is good with you and you're enjoying your new job! Talk to you soon... somehow. Cheers.