Becoming a Foodie Accidentally...

23 November 2005

This is the first recipe I’ve tried from my recent purchase The Accidental Foodie by Neale Whitaker. He has been the editor of Vogue Entertaining + Travel (my all time favourite magazine) for a while – but as he writes in his introduction, he never set out to be a foodie – he became one accidentally. My good friend Cheryl, who is an old friend of his, describes him as a passionate perfectionist and his careers in fashion and PR led to magazine editorships. Before he moved to Australia (he is actually English and grew up in the culinary wasteland that was 60s and 70s England), he edited the beautiful Food Illustrated (another of my all time favourites) magazine.

More than just a recipe book, this is about his journey to becoming the foodie that he is now – the book features recipes from his own food heroes, those who he has personally worked with, hence the absence of perhaps more obvious choices such as Nigella Lawson, Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein or Fergus Henderson.

It includes a few recipes from each of more than 20 people, preceded by interviews with them – his writing is witty, honest and entertaining. Among those featured are: Nigel Slater (I absolutely loved the picture of him and his beloved cat in his kitchen!), Bill Granger, Tamasin Day-Lewis, Terence Conran, Jill Dupleix, David Thompson, Donna Hay, Peter Gordon, Claudia Roden, Antonio Carluccio, Stephanie Alexander, Neil Perry, Alastair Hendy and Jamie Oliver – all of whose recipes are gorgeously photographed by Petrina TInslay. All the recipes are fairly straightforward and they are things you can cook for an everyday meal.

Sybil Kapoor is a food writer and has been contributing editor for, among others, Food Illustrated. I chose her lavender pear ice-cream recipe as there are so many pears around at the moment and couldn’t resist them – I got hold of some very ripe William pears and I was lucky enough to have fresh lavender flowers from our garden. In the recipe, she suggests just using caster sugar but I substituted some of it for lavender honey. The fragrant flavour from lavender gives the ice-cream a subtle freshness. I loved the balance of the fruitiness and creaminess – as you know when you don’t get this right, you just want fruit or cream! This is even more delicious with fresh raspberries.

Lavender Pear Ice-cream

Serves 6

Half pint (285ml) of double cream
3 sprigs lavender flowers (use less if using dried)
Juice of 1 lemon
3 ripe pears
4 egg yolks
140g caster sugar
1 tablespoon (preferably lavender) honey
1 tablespoon Poire Williams liqueur (optional)

Place the cream and lavender in a saucepan and bring to boil. Remove from heat and leave to infuse for about 30 minutes.

Squeeze the lemon juice in a non-corrosive pan. Peel, core and chop the pears, placing in the lemon juice as you go along (to stop discolouring) and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Puree and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and honey until thick and creamy. Gradually pour in the lavender cream and return to a low heat, stirring all the time until it thickens – it will take around 20 minutes but take out the lavender after the first 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the pear puree followed by the liqueur. Cool, chill and churn the custard in an ice-cream machine.

PS. This post will also be featured on Design Public‘s Delicious Design event.

Food - Sweet        13 comments    Permalink

  • Hi Keiko,

    Lavender pear ice cream sounds wonderful. I’m not sure that I can get those types of pears here, however, what do you think about hosui pears?

    Posted by Reid | 23 November 2005 #
  • Hi Keiko,

    BTW...congratulations on being featured at the Design Public blog. I see you’re in good company with Chubby Hubby and Santos.

    Posted by Reid | 23 November 2005 #
  • Keiko,

    Congratulations on being freatured on Design Publiv!!!

    those pears are really aromatic & sweet, can’t remember the name though. And of course Lavender is one of my favrouite flowers. loves their smoothing & relaxing fragrance. I have no doubt it will taste absolutely divine.

    I came across Sybil Kapoor becoz of her book called TASTE. It really an unconventional cookbook whereby she plays with different tastes, describing the outcome. Really interesting book to checkout!

    Posted by slurp! | 23 November 2005 #
  • hi keiko! congratulations, you totally deserve to be featured!!! and gosh, lavander ice cream... reminding me of provence yet once again *grin*

    Posted by Lil | 23 November 2005 #
  • That ice cream sounds heavenly keiko! And the book sounds fantastic...must go out and check if we have it here :)

    Congratulations on being featured! Very well deserved! :)

    Posted by joey | 23 November 2005 #
  • Congratulations!

    I hope that in the mass garage cleaning at the parent’s this weekend that I’m able to find the ice cream churner from my childhood. I can’t wait :)

    Posted by emi | 23 November 2005 #
  • Hi there, thanks so much for your kind notes!

    Reid - I’ve never used Japanese nashi for cooking, but I would say ’give it a go’ :) As you know, they have a much higher water content than normal pears so I think you need to add less liquid - let me know when you try it.

    Slurp - he talks about Taste in this book too - I’ve never read any of her books but from the recipes I’ve seen so far, I think I know what you mean by unconventional (or so-called modern British?) I must check the book, it sounds really intriguing - thanks for letting me know :)

    Lil - I think we should go back to provence again to get away from this cold, miserable winter! (but I heard that it can be quite cold in Provence too...)

    Joey - I enjoyed reading the book more than finding recipes, hope you’ll find it interesting too!

    Emi - keep fingers crossed... could you write a post about it if you find the machine? I’m really looking forward to seeing it :)

    Posted by keiko | 23 November 2005 #
  • From the way those pears look, I know exactly their flavour, precisely their texture, and just how juicy they are. I really wish I could be eating one right now, with their slighly grainy flesh and the juice dribbling down my chin...

    Posted by sam | 24 November 2005 #
  • Keiko, you make me want to go to Provence!!!! Lavender ANYTHING...don’t get me started. ;-)

    Posted by rowena | 24 November 2005 #
  • looks scrummmy, Keiko!

    How did you manage to get the ice cream to look so fresh and *white* - everytime I work with pear or apple or banana - they end up looking yellow-brownish! Yoru ice cream looks sooo good!


    Posted by Lisa | 24 November 2005 #
  • hi keiko, what a beautiful picture of perfect a still-life painting...i bought the book solely for the petrina tinslay pictures...your wonderful post has me thinking that i really should get round to actually trying the recipes!

    Posted by Joycelyn | 25 November 2005 #
  • nya-nya!?

    I love this bowl and the plate, the one containing ice cream!!!

    You bought these in Japan??

    I have one which looks like this. I use it for rice once in a while^^

    Posted by akane:rgb-nanairo-nianco | 27 November 2005 #
  • Hi there,

    Sam - I ate them exactly the same way as you described :)

    Rowena - you made me want to go there too!

    Lisa - thank you, I was worried too since my banana mousse turned out brown but these pears were OK. I think it’s important to put them into lemon juice as you chop them.

    Joycelyn - thank you for your kind words as always. I’m glad you’ve got the book too, look forward to seeing your beautiful creations from it.

    Akane-san - they are from Astier in Paris (I think they are very popular in Japan though), it looks good for serving rice, doesn’t it? I’m really looking forward to buying crockery next time I go back to Japan ;)

    Posted by keiko | 28 November 2005 #

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