I have a pretty dismal habit of never quite following a recipe properly. I’ll swap ingredients if I don’t have the right one, or get a bit careless with measurements. This gem of a recipe is one that I love, and I have followed its instructions to a T. Mainly because it gives quantities and basic guidelines and then finishes off with ‘Do what you will with it’. And I have, to some pretty wonderful results.

Jamie Oliver, bless his cotton socks, published this recipe in one of his earliest cookbooks. It’s a recipe for semifreddo (which means semi-frozen, in Italian) and it’s basically an ice cream recipe, which requires no ice cream machine. He makes a praline to add to the semifreddo – this recipe is called Praline semifreddo – but I’ve only made it with the praline once, and after that, all kinds of different flavours. You can make it just equipped with 3 bowls and a whisk, although much prefer my electric beaters. It means the whole thing is done in less that 15 minutes.

Basically, all you do is beat some cream, beat some eggwhites, and beat the yolks with sugar and vanilla, in 3 separate bowls, then combine it all together and freeze (I’ll give the recipe below). It’s really difficult to go wrong! I remember reading that this all needs to be done as quickly as possible, because all the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs and cream creates a light and fluffy texture. So it’s important to do beat well, mix with a light hand and freeze immediately.

 Mixing beaten eggs and cream to create…

  A soft, fluffy cloud of vanilla scented cream.

The possibilities for flavourings are endless. Mind you, I have a friend who loves the plain vanilla one. But here are some that I can remember making – I just stir the flavouring through at the very end, just before freezing:

Rum ‘n raisin – I soaked some raisins in rum overnight, and stirred it through the semifreddo before freezing

Choc mint – I chopped up a bar of family sized chocolate mint and added it

Strawberry and Grand Marnier – macerated chopped strawberries in the liqueur – this one can be quite lethal and definitely adults only! The semifreddo turns into a lovely pink colour

Peanut M n Ms – bashed these up and threw them in. Gorgeous flecks of brightly coloured bits made this quite pretty

Ginger – chopped up pieces of crystalised ginger. This was an attempt to copy an ice cream that I had somewhere, and it turned out nicely

Cookies n cream – I’ve probably made this one more than any other flavour, it’s so good! Grab a packet of Oreos, bash it up, leaving a few chunky bits, stir it all through.

Liquorice – I have 2 family members who LOVE liquorice ice cream, and so I’ve made this for them. I’ve since found an easier way of making liquorice ice cream, I’ll post that up another day

So-as you can see, you can pretty much do what you like with this recipe! Have fun and enjoy, it’s really quite delish.

Now-while we’re on the subject of making ice cream without a machine, here are some interesting posts that you might enjoy:

How to make ice cream with just ONE ingredient, plus it’s dairy free with no added sugar?? Yes way – http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/stay-cool/how-to-make-creamy-ice-cream-with-just-one-ingredient-093414 

 Here’s a recipe for lemon ice cream, which I’m going to make – http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2010/12/2-simple-secrets-to-making-luscious-ice-cream-without-a-machine-5-ingredients/

Oh my goodness, the pics in this post! You’ll be having ice cream of dinner tonight! Consider yourself warned! – http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-a-machine.html

Another of Jamie’s semifreddo recipes – http://www.jamieoliver.com/magazine/recipes-view.php?title=torrone-aamp-chocolate-semifreddo-and-rh

A variation on the praline semifreddo recipe. This is an amazing blog that I will be returning t0 – http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2010/01/praline-semifreddo.html

And to finish, this little quirky gem – http://japaneseicecream.blogspot.com/2011/01/japanese-octopus-and-squid-ice-cream.html

Jamie Oliver’s Semifreddo

Serves 12

1 vanilla pod (I use vanilla paste)
55g sugar
4 large fresh free-range eggs, separated
500ml double cream (I often use 600ml cream or thickened cream, because that’s the standard size carton in Australia)
salt

Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod by scoring down the length and scraping the seeds out of each half. (Don’t throw the empty pod away, pop it in with some sugar – see page 200). Whisk the vanilla seeds and sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl until pale. In a second bowl whisk the cream until soft peaks form. (Important! Please don’t over-whip it.) Then in a third bowl whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form very firm peaks (this is when you can pull the egg whites in any direction and they will stay like it). At this point add the flavouring you have chosen (see the variations to follow, or choose one of your own), the cream and egg whites, to the egg yolk mixture. Gently fold in. Immediately scoop the contents into your chosen container. Cover with clingfilm and freeze until you’re ready to eat it.

Praline

310g peeled hazelnuts
200g sugar
4 tablespoons water

Roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 225C/425F/gas 7 until golden (about 4 minutes). Really watch them, because if you over-roast them they go bitter and you can’t use them. Put the sugar and water in a thick-bottomed pan and place on a medium to high heat. The mixture will start to bubble and then turn into a clear syrup. To begin with, it will gradually start to bubble and then turn into a clear syrup. To begin with, it will gradually start to colour in parts or from the sides. Gently and carefully shake the pan, just moving it to mix the patches of colour. When it’s all golden brown, carefully tip it away from you and gently add the nuts. Turn the head down to a simmer and gently stir to coat the nuts in caramel. When the caramel is dark golden brown, turn it out on to a clean, lightly oiled tray, or on to greaseproof paper on a surface that won’t burn. It will cool to a flattish solid sheet.

When completely cooled (which takes about 20 minutes), smash it up roughly and pulse it in the food processor until the pieces are still quite chunky (very approximate size about 1/2cm/1/4 inch). Remove about half the praline, then pulse the rest to a powder (or put it in a tea-towel and bash with a rolling-pin), and add both lots of praline to the semifreddo mixture.

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