Jonathan came to pick up Frankie the dog; Frankie has been staying with me while his family has been in Italy for a couple of weeks. I thought lunch, therefore, should have an Italian feel to it in order to provide decompression for Jonathan on his return to Cambridge.
The greenhouse is providing lots of tomatoes on a daily basis, there is also basil, chilli and garlic in the garden and the chickens are laying so what better than home made pappardelle with a simple sauce of tomatoes, garlic, chilli and basil and to finish some of my chocolate sorbet with an almond biscuit or two.
This sorbet has a rich texture with an intense chocolate flavour and unlike the chocolate ice cream I make which uses cocoa powder, this actually contains chocolate. It's particularly good with the little almond biscuits and a cup of espresso, best of all it's Gluten Free!
350g of sugar
400g of good quality dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids
2 teaspoons of Xantham gum (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
500ml of freshly brewed Darjeeling tea made with 2 teaspoons of tea leaves
Brew the tea, meanwhile break up the chocolate and place in a blender along with the remaining ingredients. When the tea has brewed for 3 minutes, pour onto the contents in the blender and switch on for 1 minute. This should be sufficient time for the chocolate to melt and the ingredients to become thoroughly combined.
Pour the mixture into a jug and leave to cool completely before churning in an ice cream maker. this mixture makes a litre of sorbet and I churn it in two batches.
When the sorbet has been churned, transfer it to a litre sized container and place in the freezer.
The xantham gum ensures the sorbet doesn't become too liquid as it melts but I find the sorbet doesn't stay uneaten long enough for this to happen, so it isn't essential.
You can try using different teas in order to alter the flavour, I sometimes use a tea by the French company Thé Mariage called Pleine Lune, it has a subtle almond flavour which works very well with the chocolate, a ginger tea would work equally well.
For the Almond Biscuits you will need:
200g of ground almonds
200g of icing sugar plus extra for dusting.
1 medium egg
2 pieces of candied lemon peel (optional)
Heat the oven to 200degrees C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
If using the lemon peel which imparts a subtle lemon flavour to the finished biscuit, place the peel in a food processor and process for 20 seconds, or finely chop. Add remaining ingredients and blend to form a cohesive soft mass. Tip the mass out onto a work surface dusted very liberally with icing sugar. Divide the mix in two and roll each portion out into a sausage shape roughly 30c long. Cut pieces on the diagonal roughly 2c wide and transfer to a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Bake the biscuits for 10-11 minutes until golden brown.
The lemon peel can be replaced with 3 pieces of stem ginger in syrup, simply drain off the syrup and pat the ginger dry on a kitchen towel. You can also use candied orange peel or simply make the almond biscuits with no extra flavouring.
Be liberal with the dusting of icing sugar, it not only makes rolling this rather sticky mixture in a sausage shape easier, but adds to the look of the biscuits once they are baked.