Easy Berry Ice Cream
This recipe was also cooked by our expert chef Cassian with some help from Jacob and Anna.
This ingenious family recipe comes from Annabel Karmel's "You Can Cook" recipe book. While we've found that quite a lot of the recipes in the book need too much adult help, this one is brilliant.
I like it because you don't need an ice cream machine, you don't have to keep opening the freezer every half an hour to scratch the ice crystals out and all that. You just make some berry flavoured ice, and some whipped cream, and mix the two together.
You do need access to a blender or food processor to make this recipe.
450g (1lb) strawberries
225g (7 1/2 oz) raspberries
225g (7 1/2 oz) blackberries
150g (5 1/2 oz) caster sugar
150ml (51/2 fl oz) double cream
1 to 3 tbsp. icing sugar, to taste
We couldn't get exactly the amounts it asked for in the recipe, so we just bought packs of berries in roughly the right proportions to make up to the total weight. In fact you could do this with any combination of berries or just one type of berry. If it's properly in season it would be a great recipe to do with those punnets of berries that they sell off at the end of the day on the market because they are a bit over-ripe, because you're going to cook them and blend them anyway.
First we had to wash the fruit and pick any mucky bits out. Then pop them in a pan on the stove with the caster sugar, cover with a lid, and cook on a low heat for about 5 or 10 minutes, until they are all soft and the juices are starting to bleed out.
When they do, you then turn the heat up to bring it to a simmer and let them simmer for 5 minutes. Cas put all the ingredients in a pan and we got him to stir them a few times, but we handled the hot pan.
When they have been simmering for five minutes, set them to one side and let them cool down before the next stage. If you have very impatient children or you want to do most of it in one session you could always do everything up to this stage in advance and they could join in here. We found it was nice to do a bit, go off and do something else, come back again and off again a few times. Concentrating on cooking for a long time can be a lot for wee ones.
Then the recipe asks you to blend the cooled fruity juices into a puree and push them through a sieve to get the pips out. Our blender is a heavy glass one, so Jacob held the jug to pour the sauce and Cas got busy with a spoon pushing the sauce through the sieve.
Next you are supposed to pour the sieved juice into ice cubes trays. We found it was a big gloopy and you'd need quite large ice cube dents for pouring to be really effective without a lot of waste (in fairness the ice cube tray they use in the recipe book DOES have really big square holes). So we went for spooning it in instead, which was a bit messy but it meant Cas could do it all and we didn't end up pouring gloopy sauce over everything (just dribbling it over everything instead!). Jacob helped when Cas started to get a bit bored.
Then you whack the ice cube tray into the freezer and let them freeze solid.
After a couple of hours we had kept checking the ice cubes and they were frozen through, we couldn't poke a finger or end of a spoon through into the middle. So we got on to the next stage. The book doesn't tell you until the next stage that you have to take the ice cubes out to thaw for just a few minutes before blending them, and you end up twiddling your thumbs while you wait, so take them out here before you whip the cream and they'll be ready when you've finished whipping.
You have to whip up the whipped cream until it is forming soft peaks. The book shows a child doing it with a manual hand whisk, but we used an electric hand whisk because it's quicker for tired little arms if you have one.
Then you have to blend the ice cubes to make, basically, a fruit sorbet.
The recipe book then says to add the cream to the blender and whizz it all up. But we found it was too much volume and too gloopy to do that, it wouldn't have fit in one go. So instead we added the fruit sorbet puree to the cream and folded it in. It only took a minute to stir it in and it actually turned out really nice because it wasn't uniform in texture and it made it taste more expensive. But you could do it in the blender in two batches. Anna held the bowl so Cas could stir really well.
You are supposed to taste it and see if it needs any sugar adding to it, if the fruit is a bit tart you can add a spoon or two of the icing sugar. Our fruit was pretty ripe and we found it was easily sweet enough without any additional sugar. You can eat the ice cream straight away as a soft set, or put it in the freezer for up to an hour to get it firmer. We ate it straight away which was perfect for kids as it wasn't too hard or cold to eat.
As usual we rated the food for taste.
9/10 Jacob - really tasty, love berry ice cream
8/10 Cas - yummy
7/10 Anna - I liked it loads at first but it I had a few creamy lumps in it which I didn't like.
9/10 Joanne (Jacob and Anna's mom) this was a near perfect ice cream for me. Really fruity and tastes quite expensive. You can't eat a lot in one go it's quite rich.
9/10 Holly (Cas's mom) Really tasty.
Taj Triangles - Oven Baked Vegetable Samosas
This family recipe test is taken from The Minichefs Cookbook by Claire McAvoy, which is a brilliant cookbook with lots of savoury recipes as well as sweet, and some great twists on everyday food.
This recipe Taj Triangles is a samosa using frozen mixed veg, filo pastry and oven baking for an easy and healthy alternative to the very spicy and greasy samosas you often end up with in shops.
Sweet and Sour Pork
This recipe is taken from Annabel Karmel's "You Can Cook" cookbook.
It's fairly representative of the main course meals in the book, in so far as it includes a significant amount of difficult chopping and hot hob work which are not suitable for a lot of young children, but also is a child friendly version of a more adult classic.
We have made this before in the chicken version from another of her books, and we were perplexed to find that the amount ...
This recipe was taken from the Dorling Kindersley's Children's Baking Book.
Anna picked it because she liked the way it was swirly in the photo.
And because there was some element of chocolate in there, obviously.
I thought it would be fun to learn to swirl the colours together.
Cool Berry Smoothie With Tofu
This recipe was taken from the box of Kids Kitchen recipes sent by Fi Bird, the same one that the tomato tarts came from.
The children picked this out straight away as they are berry fans and have been making smoothies at school and consider themselves aficionados!
I liked the look of it because it had the twist of being creamed by tofu rather than milk. Which intrigued me.