I promised Julie the recipe for the fig and cardamon ice cream that I made the other day. I'm afraid it's in metric measurements. The cardamon flavour doesn't come through much, but you wouldn't want it to dominate - one could experiment a bit, but with all the cream and figs in it, you wouldn't want to risk an expensive disaster. I think you'd only do it if you have access to cheap figs or grow them yourself, but it's very good for using up those that are ripe to the point of splitting. Very easy to make, I altered the given recipe slightly as it didn't mention cooling the figs before adding the cream, which I thought was odd.
20 fresh figs
165g caster sugar
1/4 teasp ground cardamon seeds
120 ml double cream (that's the sort that can be whipped)
120 ml single cream (which can't, still thicker than the sort you might put in coffee)
3 tablespoons blood orange juice (they're out of season here, but I used plain oj)
Remove the stalks from the figs, mash them with a fork. Cook in a saucepan with the sugar and water for 20-30 minutes, stirring from time to time. I then used a hand-held blender on the mixture as it was quite lumpy, but you could beat it with a whisk. Leave to cool and meantime whip the double cream until it's floppy. Add to the fig mixture with the cardamon, single cream and orange juice and stir thoroughly.
If you have an ice cream machine, churn according to the instructions. If not, put in a container in the freezer and take out when half-frozen to beat, to break up the ice crystals.
It is delicious and quite unusual - I don't know if I'd have recognised the fig flavour if I'd been given it, as one doesn't usually eat puréed fresh fig. The colour would probably depend on the variety of fig, mine is a rather attractive pinky-mauve.
Tonight, I made smoked haddock risotto, which was very good. Made in the usual way, using the haddock cooking water as stock.
Things are going on well at the shop and a lot of the painting has been done. A new floor will be laid tomorrow. Dear Tim came along after work to lend a hand. Everyone's being very kind and saying how glad they are that the shop will reopen next week. Dilly says that a lot of the parents at the village school have come up to say nice things to her - it's occurred to her that they are concerned for her. She's taken it all in her stride, however, and doesn't seem to be in the least put out by the speed of all the changes. She says it's typical of Al, she knew what he was like when she married him! She certainly is a wonderful girl - we're all so lucky to have her in the family.
I knew it was coming up in the next couple of weeks, but I realise I'll have to go to London next week to get some things sorted out at my flats. I've emailed the gas man to make an appointment and hope he can do it next Thursday. I usually try to fit in an exhibition or something at the same time, but I don't know if I'll have time. Does anyone know what's on?