So, this week I have been experimenting with some desserts - my favourite! Having spent the first week getting my head around an abundance of tomatoes, courgettes and aubergines, I have now moved on to expand my dessert repertoire. The first experiment involved making some chocolate and beetroot brownies, which didn't quite turn out how I had anticipated. In fact, the end result was pretty awful. There was absolutely no taste of beetroot whatsoever and the whole mixture emerged from the oven looking like it had died. I think I went overboard on the sugar free, cocoa powder, which is extremely intense in flavour. But rather than waste the entire tray - even though I desperately wanted to dispose of it immediately - I decided to crumble it up and make it into chocolate icecream. Using the blender, I added some yoghurt, a little more honey to mask the bitterness of the chocolate and whizzed it up into a delicious creamy mix which I put in the freezer overnight. The next day, out came a beautiful chocolatey icecream, which was definitely the highlight dessert of the week!!
Following the chocolate-beetroot extravaganza, I decided to stay away from the cocoa powder and instead make use of some of the delicious fruits from the garden. Its a really beautiful time of year here, as the apple trees are beginning to blossom, the figs are emerging and i'm just about catching the end of the elderberries. Using these fruits, I was able to make a wonderful fruit crumble using apples, elderberries and mint. To make the crumble mix, I simply used some oats, a little rye flour, some honey and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds. This combination makes for a lovely light, crisp topping, which is not full of sugar and butter. The mint is a great addition here as it combines so well with the elderberries and apples. I also made one of my all time favourite puddings - a good old, traditional English summer pudding! I'm not sure the Austrians had ever seen such a creation and to begin with they were a little skeptical. But once they tried it with a little dollop of cardammom infused yoghurt, they were sold. So, the English do in fact know a thing or two about puddings!! And last but not least, with a whole bag of basil from the garden, I flung it in the blender with some yoghurt and honey to make a delectable homemade basil ice-cream!
Next in are the yogi sivanandas, who have requested little or no onion and garlic in the food. Garlic is a natural aphrodisiac and along with onions is considered to be a stimulant in Ayurvedic medicine. Therefore, neither are ideal when there's lots of meditation to be done! I shall have to keep this in mind when cooking this week to avoid any restlessness or inappropriate yogi behaviour!
1kg mixed berries
Honey - just enough to make the berries taste sweet
1 pint water
bread, sponge cake or brioche (enough to fill a 3 pint pudding bowl)
Place berries in a pan with water, honey and chopped mint and allow to simmer gently for a couple of minutes
Line the pudding bowl with bread or sponge making sure there are no gaps
Place the berries in the bowl until about half full and then add more bread. Continue filling with berries and a little more bread finishing with a layer of bread. Pour over any remaining liquid. Place a plate with a weight on the bowl and place in fridge over night. The next day turn out onto a place and if possible cover with some extra berries.