Freestyling with a Nigella Lawson ice cream

TV chef Nigella Lawson in a still from one of her shows

I was lucky enough to receive the latest Nigella Lawson cookbook, Cook, Eat, Repeat, for Christmas this year. After all, I did drop enough hints to my long-suffering husband. And I was delighted to read that she fully expects people to put their own stamp on her recipes, particularly as I am incapable of leaving any recipe alone. I am pretty diligent about following directions for quantities, especially with cakes as these are a more exact science than stews or pasta sauces, but usually I will add something extra or try a few cheeky substitutions, especially if the weather is awful and I can’t be bothered to go to the shops.

On Christmas Eve, I tweeted that I’d made a variation on a Nigella recipe, transforming her cheesecake ice cream recipe into brandy cheesecake ice cream, to go with my pudding. I am not going to plagiarise the great Nigella Lawson so do click here for a link to her recipe. All I did was leave out the crumbled digestive biscuits and add a generous splash of brandy to proceedings. Oh, and I halved the ingredient quantities as I was only cooking for two this year.

It is with great pleasure that I can report the Christmas pudding and the brandy cheesecake ice cream were both tremendous Christmas Day successes. There is still a little of each lingering in the fridge and freezer, although probably not for much longer. Click here for the Christmas pudding recipe – there’s no reason why you have to wait for December 25 to eat it.

For my next trick, I plan to once again pounce on Nigella’s cheesecake ice cream recipe – I still have leftover cream cheese and full fat milk from my brandy variation. And again, I refuse to leave the recipe alone. This time, I am going to make a mocha martini version – I was given some particularly special hot chocolate cocoa in a festive hamper from work and I have a bottle of surprisingly good premixed espresso martini lurking in a dark cupboard. It was originally purchased for a tiramisu in summer and I have been using it to make a rather decadent (and embarrassingly easy) espresso martini raspberry sauce ever since.

So, thank you, Nigella for your fabulous recipes and understanding of all of us who like to use recipes as a guide rather than a gospel. Stay tuned for the outcome of the mocha martini cheesecake ice cream…

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