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August 14, 2011


There have been two desserts made in this house which have acheived Booyah status. Please see below for details.


25 g bunch of basil
350 ml double cream
30 g white sugar
1 vanilla pods, split lengthways
2 leaves gelatine [the one in the picture I only used one leaf. It was really creamy and thick, but it was a bit runny still. So I'm suggesting 2 untrialled but it should be good.]

Blanch the basil leaves [bin the stalks] in boiling water for 30 seconds – until it wilts. Then drain it an whizz in a hand blender till it is smooth.
Put all the other ingredients into a saucepan – scrape the seeds out of the vanilla and put in with the pods as well -  and warm it gently to dissolve the gelatin. Do not boil it.
Take off the heat and stir in the basil.
Strain through a fine sieve to get all the bits out into your glasses / teacups / bowls / whatever.
Refridgerate until set.
Put on chopped strawberries, with or without icing sugar.
Eat and die.

Weirdos could substitute the cream for soy cream and gelatine for agar agar.
Gluttons could melt in 50g white chocolate along with the gelatine.
If you dont like basil, you could just whizz any fruit puree [except pineapple or kiwi - the gelatine wont set] or other herb but give the basil a go first.


Thanks to The Cardinal I learnt about that Thomasina “Tommi” Meirs co-founder of Wahaca who I since discovered I can’t stand, but think her Mexican Food Made Simple are pretty banging and not the “made simple” El Paso sauce recipes you might think.

Following her recipes the other night, Anthony and I had guacamole, roast tomato salsa and roast pumpkin & sweet potato, thai sticky rice tortillas and for dessert, we polished off some rather scampi looking churros as well. The worst part about churros is the end :(

Anyway here is her recipe:

Makes 16 long sticks (me – or a gazillion wiggly ones or heart shaped ones or figures of 8 or monsterones round the whole pan. pretty fun)
Cooking time: about 1 hour

You will need a piping bag fitted with a large star-shaped nozzle. (me -if you dont have a piping bag, i would suggest a heavy plastic bag with a corner cut off so you have about a 1.5cm diametre hole.)

For the churros
90g caster sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
125g plain flour
125g self-raising flour
a good pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 litre sunflower oil, for frying

For the chocolate sauce
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), roughly chopped
50g milk chocolate, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons golden syrup
300ml double cream


  1. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.
  2. Make the chocolate sauce. Put all the chocolate in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the golden syrup and cream. Heat over a low heat, stirring continuously to melt the chocolate, being careful not to let it boil or burn.
  3. Sift both types of flour with a good pinch of salt into a metal or heatproof bowl and make a well in the centre.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the olive oil and 450ml boiling water together, then pour into the well, beating it well with a fork to get rid of any lumps. The dough should be slightly soft and sticky to touch. Let it rest for 10 minutes. (me – I found this a tiny bit gooey and suspected that I should have added about 20g more flour. I didnt and they worked ok, but anyway just FYI.)
  5. Fill a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan with the sunflower oil – it should be about one-third full. Heat the oil to 170°C or until a small piece of bread browns in less than 30 seconds.
  6. Add the dough to a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and squeeze out churros directly into the hot oil, cutting them with a pair of scissors to the length you want. Be careful not to cook more than 3 at any one time, or they will all stick together. Fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until crispy and golden. (me – this part with the scissors – not possible with the state of the dough we made. But the little churro dog turds we made were still good.)
  7. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
  8. Reheat the chocolate sauce and pour into little cups for dipping with the churros.

Anyway I am not that keen on chocolate, I think I would like white chocolate and vanilla sauce instead – so make everything the same but with white chocolate instead of the other chocolate and scrape some vanilla seeds in it while it is warming through. Equally if you wanted to freak everyone out, make the basil panacotta above, skip the gelatine and def put in the white chocolate. YGM bruv. Just a free little kitchen freestyle for you.


Oh and here is a link to the rest of the Mexican recipes.

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