This article originally appeared in the May 4th edition of the Nottingham Evening Post and can be found online here
Hot sunny days cannot be beaten. I have never been anywhere in the world that I consider to be too hot and I will always be the first one out in the sun and the last one in when the weather gets above 20c.
Despite this, I am the palest man known to have ever lived. It has been known for people to orient their solar panels towards my general direction due to the beams of light emanating from my skin. I can be used in place of the North Star in emergencies.
Now the awful hail snow of a few weeks past has been replaced with the glorious sunshine of spring I find myself outside more and more for we have now reached food festival season.
Having already appeared at an event in Leicester in April, next weekend will find me at Nottingham Castle as I attempt bake something alongside my fellow Great British Bake Off contestant, Nadiya Hussain, the winner of 2015’s season.
These food festivals are wonderful events where great local producers and chefs get a chance to show off their skills. As much as I adore hopping from BBQ joint to Hog Carvery though, I can never fully indulge in the delights offered for I am a vegetarian.
I know my massive shoulders and huge muscles could fool you otherwise but I haven’t eaten any foul or beast for nearly 23 years now. This is always problematic at predominantly meat based events be it theses fantastic food festivals or my friend’s backyard BBQ’s.
I am the guy stood at the back of the line, gingerly asking if there is a space for my Haloumi on the grill. I don’t even like Haloumi. I am the guest who arrives with the suspicious looking lentil dish & eats all your potato salad when your back is turned.
Johnny Pusztai, the happiest butcher that ever did live, has repeatedly asked me to come up to his shop on Mansfield Road to try to cure me (his words, not mine) of my food fad. As much as I love my food, I’m not sure I can stand to see a rabbit be turned inside out though. The Watership Down dreams would haunt me for weeks.
I do make darn good BBQ buns though and all gatherings with friends and family should be accompanied with something sweet. That’s the only reason they keep inviting me back.
These Ice Cream Sandwiches are the perfect bake for BBQ’s or days lounging around in the garden in the sun. Quick to make and easy to store so you can present them when needed with minimum of faffing around. Try to keep the cookies as soft as possible when baking as this will result in them still being gooey out the freezer. No one likes a hard cookie!
120g butter, softened
100g brown sugar
100g white sugar
1 large free range egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
180g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp corn starch
100g milk chocolate chips
36 mini marshmallows, plus a more for decorating
100g milk chocolate, melted
1 litre ice-cream of your choosing
- Cream the butters, vanilla and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat thoroughly to combine.
- Sieve the salt, baking soda, salt and corn-starch together before folding into the wet ingredients. Make sure you have no flour pockets remaining but try not to overwork the mixture or you will end up with tough cookies!
- Fold in the chocolate chips before bringing the mixture together into a ball with your fingers. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Pre-heat the oven to 175c. Take small balls of dough and flatten with your hand. Place three marshmallows into the centre before folding the cookie round to envelop them completely. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. The mix should make 12 cookies.
- Bake the cookies for 15mins or until just turning golden. Leave the cookies slightly underdone for a gooey texture. Squash more marshmallows into each cookie while still hot before placing onto a rack to cool completely.
- Take a ramekin or cup the similar size to your cookies and line with clingfilm. Spoon ice cream into this to create a puck of ice cream. Wrap completely and place into the freezer to set. Do this for all six sandwiches.
- Once frozen take a puck of ice cream and sandwich between two cookies. Roll each in some cake sprinkles before serving immediately or placing into the freezer until needed. These will keep for a couple of days as long as they don’t melt or get eaten first!