Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Blackberry & Oats Muffins

There are flavours that remind me of home, of being a kid, of those long holidays, of my family.
I keep going back to those flavours.
When I eat rice pudding I think of the two summers my grandma and I spent on Sylt so I could breathe the sea air. There were sunny days as well, but most of my memories centre around the rainy days that we spent in this cafe overlooking the beach where they had rice pudding and Germknödel and milkshakes.
When I eat blackberries I think of sitting on my grandma's back-porch picking blackberries off the bush that extends all around the table as the heat radiates off the ground. The grown-ups are drinking instant coffee, the kids, drinking grain coffee, are feeling all grown-up. The cream for the coffee comes in one of those small plastic jugs you get at the supermarket. I think of how calm it always felt, how calm it always feels when I go there.
When I eat something with oats I think about these super fine oat flakes you can get in Germany and how my sister and I would eat those with milk and sprinkle (ok, it tended to be more than just a light sprinkling) sugar on top when our mum wasn't looking. I sometimes wake up at night remembering that flavour.
A few weeks ago I read Lisa's post on blueberry lime oatmeal muffins on Homesick Texan. And started thinking of all those things I just told you about. I thought about how I wanted to make muffins that would combine some of my favourite childhood flavours.
Shall we make some muffins?

Blackberry & Oats Muffins (makes 12)
100g Oat Flour (take porridge oats and whizz them in a blender or food processor)
200g Plain Flour
50g Almond Flour
100g Raw Cane Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Bicarb
1 tsp Salt
200g Blackberries, macerated in 1tbsp Sugar
125g Butter,  melted and slightly cooled
200ml Milk
100g Sour Cream
1 Egg

Preheat your oven to 175˚C and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl and set aside.
Whisk together the wet ingredients and then fold the wet mix into the dry mix until the two are just combined.
Scoop about a tablespoon of batter into each muffin case, then distribute the blackberries evenly across the muffins. Top with the remaining batter. I ended up with 12 fairly full muffin cases. If you would rather have smaller muffins, you could also use more muffin cases but I wanted domed muffins of awesomeness.
Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes until the tops are golden.
Allow the muffins to cool slightly before turning them out on a wire-rack.
Now, go and find some milk because it's gonna go really well with a muffin!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Very Dark Chocolate Loaf Cake

I have been meaning to post this recipe for ages. Because it is so amazing I made it two weeks in a row (once you see the quantities you will understand that eating one of those loafs in a week is quite a feat) and had it for breakfast most days. And then I had some for dinner a few of those days as well. Oh, and in case you are wondering, the cake freezes really well if you wrap it in tinfoil and then stick it into a freezer-bag.
The reason I am finally getting around to telling you about it is that I was desperate for a pick-me-up while I was icing my possibly slightly bruised cheek the other day (you know, I thought trying to catch a ball with my face would be a good idea...) and after I found a frozen slice sitting next to the ice-pack I was rifling through my freezer for things did look a lot better. You can microwave the frozen cake until it is warm and then eat it with some ice-cream :)
I found this loaf cake in Baked Explorations which, in case I have not told you before, is full of recipes you will try and then bake again and again. 
Anyhow, the original is lovely but I found using yoghurt and dark agave syrup gives it a somewhat more rounded flavour.
It works incredibly well on its own and is really lovely with some almond butter or some cream cheese but it truly shines when you spread some caramel sauce on a slice and have it with some ice cream as a dessert.

Very Dark Chocolate Loaf Cake (adapted from Baked Explorations)
110g Cocoa Powder
200g Flour
1 1/2 tsp Bicarb
3/4 tsp Baking Powder
150g Raw Cane Sugar
1 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
100ml Dark Agave Syrup
125ml Yoghurt
125ml Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Coconut Extract
100g Dark Chocolate (at least 75%)
100g Milk Chocolate (both types of chocolate broken into pieces)

Preheat your oven to 175˚C. Butter and flour a 13x23cm loaf tin (if you don't know your tin's dimensions - that's one for a large loaf)
In a bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, bicarb, baking powder, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar  until the mixture becomes lighter in colour and somewhat fluffy.
In a third bowl (I promise this one is the last one!) combine the yoghurt, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and coconut extract. Add the dry mix in three or four parts. Whisk about a third of the egg mixture into the batter. Once it is properly incorporated, fold in the remainder of the mixture taking care not to beat all the air out of the batter again. 
Fold in the chocolate and pour the batter into the prepared tin.
Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until no batter sticks to a cake tester when inserted in the middle of the cake.
Allow the cake to cool for a bit before taking it out of the tin and allowing it to cool completely.
As I said....caramel sauce is the way forward! Oh, and some good coffee doesn't hurt either :)
I hope you have a fantastic rest of your week!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday Salon: Of sports and gender equality.

Today, rather than giving you a new recipe, I continue what my friend Mick started us off with a fortnight ago with ramblings on something I care about. And since Mick told us something about himself I think it is only fair if I do the same. So here it goes  - three things you might not know about me :)
When I am not pretending to write a food-blog I keep myself busy by trying to get my head around how light things we look at appear and why, by going to lacrosse practice (my sister finally convinced me and now I'm hooked) and by complaining about how I don't really understand the articles I am reading, how my legs hurt, and how I am really not good at the whole sprinting for the ball thing. 
And this gets me to what I actually want to talk about - our perception of women who do sports (at all different levels).

Perhaps I never noticed before, perhaps the newspapers and blogs I read just picked up on it more than in the past, but I was shocked during this year's Olympics by the number of comments that people made that pretty much reduced female athletes to their looks.
I was shocked to see that apparently there is still a large enough number of people who think that it is acceptable to discuss an athlete's performance in a sporting event and focus either on their gender or their looks.

This in turn reminded me of how growing up I was always told that there was no difference between men and women. That I could become whatever I wanted to be, whether that was a nutritionist, a teacher, or an engineer. That it does not matter what you do as long as you give it your best. I think the only times I had a slight discussion with my parents about my career choices was when I decided to drop Management in University to focus on Psychology (where my dad told me about the bad employment statistics for Psychologist and asked me where I could see myself working) and then again when I decided to go to grad-school (where our discussion focused on whether I would still be able to find a job in industry if I decided against academia).

Watching athletes, who decided to turn the thing they are good at into a job, who work incredibly hard to be the best at what they do, who I am pretty sure had a lot more conversations with their families about their career choices (at least I hope so), who had to sacrifice time with friends or just time off in order to be where they are is simply amazing.

Watching female athletes who do the same thing being reduced to their bodies and even harassed for it makes me sad. While you might say that this is only a small proportion of people who behave like this on the internet, I fear the fact that this group of people thinks it is ok to do so means there is a much larger proportion of people who do not care about whether this happens or who even implicitly support ideas such as the one that female weight lifters might not be as womanly or feminine. Both options have somewhat scary implications.

This kind of behaviour makes me wonder about two things - what is feminine, who gets to decide? And, I think more importantly, what does this tell us about some of the deep-rooted beliefs we share as a society?
When I asked a completely non-representative group of friends about what sports they perceived as feminine gymnastics ranked quite high on everybody's list. I definitely agree that these athletes look incredibly graceful when they are doing but when I watch gymnastics I am actually more impressed with how they are able to make an intense and strenuous routine look easy. The same goes for cheerleading or ballet. These athletes work for hours to make things look easy that most of us will never be able to even do. Yet, a lot of the time they are not perceived as athletes.
Interestingly, the sports that women tend to be perceived as athletes in, such as soccer, or cycling, or swimming, or weight lifting are all sports that I have heard people mention words such as 'tough' and 'muscular' negatively.

Is it really the case, that when we practice a sport that emphasises 'making it look easy and graceful' we will not be perceived as athletic whereas when we practice a sport that does not we are perceived as less feminine?
I have never competed in a sport at a national or even international level, but thinking about the sports that I have and am practicing, when I dance in front of people and get off the stage I don't feel feminine, I feel strong and powerful and proud because I know how much work went into that performance and I know what kind of strength it takes to leap across a stage and make it look effortless. When I was kayaking I didn't feel any less feminine (because nobody cared about your gender, it was about whether you made that line or not...). I also think that some of my friends whom I consider extremely 'feminine' are though as nails when they are out there playing soccer, lacrosse, or volleyball.

So why am I going on about this today? Why does this concern me? Or you?
To me, it is a scary thought that nearly 40 years ago our mums and aunts were protesting and burning their bras and whatnot in order to achieve gender equality. On the one hand people are somewhat enraged that until 1977 women in Western Germany needed permission from their husband in order to get a job. Yet we are still holding on to archaic concepts of what it means to be a woman and what a woman should act like. We are also still expressing this by treating sports and jobs that are more feminine as somewhat less valuable than their male counterparts. It is perfectly acceptable to want to work in an office, but how often are parents who decide they want to be a stay-at-home mum or dad judged for that decision? How much are professional football players paid, and how much does a professional ballet dance make? I think the length you can expect your career to last is roughly the same and the injury potential should be similar as well.

Sometimes I feel like we stopped working towards gender equality (yes, it might be there on paper in most developed countries, but I mean real equality).We cannot change the world in one day, but acknowledging female athletes for what they do rather than discussing their performance in relation to their looks seems like a good place to start.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Triple Berry Cobbler

Today's recipe is one I made for my grandma's birthday dinner last weekend. We all got together and my mum and my aunt made stuffed veal breast (because that's what my grandma always made for big family-meals). We ate our own weight in cheese at the farmers market, and then we brought even more home. I baked a cake, or two. And then there was the berry cobbler.
When I was in high school I used to make this apple and berry cobbler whenever I had people over. The main reason was that you could bake it in advance, take it out of the oven slightly early and then just stick it back in when people were nearly done eating their pasta.
I like pasta. A lot. And if I'm having people over for dinner chances are fairly hight that  it's going to involve pasta. I don't know about you, but I don't see the point in slaving in the kitchen all day long when people come over for the company. So why not eat something that's simple and will allow everybody do focus on what's important - gossip :)
Anyhow, how did we end up with the pasta? Let's get back to dessert!
So, what can I tell you about the cobbler, other than that I tend to stop talking and focus on eating as much as I can when anything involving a cobbler or crumble or buckle or a crisp is sitting in front of me. Because somehow these dishes make a bad day seem much better and a good day (like this time I made it) just phenomenal.
This cobbler is a twist on the one I used to make in high school which was based on a recipe in one of the early Jamie Oliver cookbooks (before he went off to save the world and whatnot).

Triple Berry Cobbler
1kg Blueberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries (not each but that's the combined weight)
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
100g Sugar
2 tsp Cornflour
200g Flour
1 scant tsp Baking Powder
1 scant tsp Salt
200ml Milk
150g Butter
Juice of 1/2 Lime
Cinnamon & Nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 180˚C.
Combine the berries (half or quarter the strawberries), balsamic vinegar and 150g of the sugar in a saucepan and heat over a medium heat for a few minutes. The berries will begin to sweat. Add the cornflour, stir until everything is combined and transfer into a 23cm or so pie dish (one of those deep ones).
Mix the milk and lime and set aside (I  started doing this when I didn't have any buttermilk at home with some lemon juice, but the lime juice adds a lovely flavour you don't get when you're using buttermilk, hence the extra step).
Combine the flour, baking powder, dals and remaining 50g sugar in a bowl, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a generous pinch of nutmeg, then stir in the milk.
Drop pieces of the (fairly sticky) dough onto the berries. They don't have to be pretty or completely equal in size, I tend to aim for plum-sized blobs of dough.
Sprinkle with some cinnamon and perhaps another tablespoon or so of sugar and then it's off into the oven for 40-50 minutes until the biscuits are golden and the fruit is bubbling from between the biscuits.
This cobbler is lovely by itself, but ice-cream or whipped cream or even custard obviously don't hurt either.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Half-Baked Blueberry Pie

Are you enjoying the end of a lovely blueberry season as much as I am?
Two years ago this blueberry pie recipe was making it's way around the blogs I was reading. People were raving about how amazing it was. And the trick was that part of the blueberries were cooked (giving you the amazing depth of flavour you get in a baked blueberry pie) and then uncooked blueberries were folded into the cooked mix (giving you the tart, juicy, incredibly fresh flavour you get in those blueberry tartlets). To me that sounded like the best of both worlds. But by the time I had some time to give it a go all I found were super expensive blueberries from Namibia (or wherever they grow blueberries in the winter). And then I forgot about it. Until I was confronted with boxes upon boxes of blueberries. I tried to trace down the blog where I first read about the recipe but I was unsuccessful but I found the post things seem to have originated from (on Shockingly Delicious). And then I changed everything....
I used Elana's gluten-free tart crust recipe but if you don't like almonds, just make a standard one or buy one. For the filling I used ground chia seeds as a thickener because I read about that the other night and wanted to give it a go, but if you can't find any or if you don't like them, the original recipe uses cornflour so just follow that recipe. And lastly, I used agave syrup and stevia as my sweeteners but if you want to use sugar, again, have a look at the original recipe.

Half Baked Blueberry Pie
-Elana's Tart Crust (from Elana's Pantry)
200g Almond Flour
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Egg

-Blueberry filling
500g Blueberries
150 ml Water
3 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
Stevia (equivalent to 2 tsp sugar, I find when I use more it becomes too sweet)
1 tbsp Agave Syrup
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Lime Juice

To make the crust:
Preheat your oven to 165˚C.
Mix all ingredients together. Elana suggest pulsing them in a food processor. I ended up kneading the mix together with my hands because I only have one of those hand blender sticks and while they're amazing for lots of things - pulsing dry ingredients is not their forte.
Pat the dough into a 23cm/9inch flan dish and bake for 10-15 minutes (mine needed the whole 15 minutes).
Allow the pie crust to cool before you fill it.

To make the blueberry filling:
Mix the water, chia seeds, salt, and cinnamon in a saucepan  and bring to a boil. Add 250 g of the blueberries and and heat until the blueberries are heated through. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes. Next you need a hand blender stick or a blender that is ok with high temperatures. Blend the mixture until it is smooth. By doing this you not only get a really pretty filling for the pie but, in my opinion, more importantly the chia seeds end up broken down into little pieces and you are less likely to have chia seeds stuck to your teeth after eating the pie :)
Add the stevia, agave syrup, vanilla extract and lime juice, then fold in another 150 g of the blueberries.
Pour the blueberry mixture into the cold pie crust and distribute the blueberries evenly within the mix. Top with the remaining blueberries (100g), cover with cling film, and refrigerate for a few hours. This allows the filling to become slightly less liquid.

When you are ready to serve the pie, allow it to come back to room temperature and then serve it with sour cream, ice cream or whipped cream (can you detect a trend here?). We had it with sour cream at our lab lunch today and I was a big fan of that combination.

I hope you have a fantastic end of your week!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Sunday Salon: Feeding the Caveman

You have no idea how excited I am about today's post. My friend Mick has agreed to be the first one to post in this new series of posts that I decided to call Sunday Salon late one night after brainstorming with a friend and my other good friends gin & tonic. I've lined up some amazing people who either write blogs that I read myself or who do other cool things that I admire (like do really cool research, or have a hobby that I think is really impressive) to write about something they care about.
Mick (who writes a lovely blog about living in the States - Legal Nonresident Alien) is starting us off writing about the paleo diet and I am really happy he decided to write this post because it pretty much sums up my feelings about this 'diet' just more eloquently. Since I hope you will leave a comment if you have thoughts about this you want to share I'll add mine as the first comment myself.

Hello. I’d like to thank Katharina for giving me a whole new audience to rant at. My name’s Mick, and I’m a neuroscientist by day, and a drunken Glaswegian by night. Two of my favourite pass-times are ranting about things that annoy me, and food (cooking or eating, both bring me immense pleasure). So I’m going to combine my passions and rant about a food-related issue: fad diets. Well, one fad diet in particular, the paleo diet.

The paleo diet (or paleolithic diet, to use its Sunday name) is a fairly new food fad which recommends that we only eat foods which were available to paleolithic man: fruits, some vegetables, meat but (allegedly) no grains such as wheat. I’ll get into specifics later. The premise of the paleo diet is that modern humans evolved in the paleolithic time so we should only eat foods that were available at that time because evolution hasn’t equipped us to deal with many of the foods in the modern diet.

The argument is usually framed in two parts: firstly, that we have only evolved to digest and metabolise foods available 20,000 years ago. Secondly, that modern hunter-gatherer tribes do not suffer from the “diseases of civilisation” such as heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer, so the modern diet is obviously the cause of all our woes.

The sharper of you may already be starting to see the holes in the argument and be wondering who could be taken in by this diet. However, there have been quite a few scientific papers published espousing how good the paleo diet is. And I'm sure it is purely co-incidental that some academic researchers have also published books on things like how to eat the paleo diet. Science is the noble pursuit of truth in a messy world and academics write books all the time, so if they happen to do research that could influence book sales well, that’s just a lucky coincidence. 

Anyway, my arguments against paleo will vary from petulant ones which will be mostly petty point-scoring, to more detailed ones backed by scientific fact. Extra points for those who spot which ones are which. I’ll begin by discussing which foods are acceptable in the paleo diet, and which are verboten.

Foods allowed in the paleo diet are those which were available to a hunter-gatherer: fish, meat, eggs, insects, fruit, vegetables, nuts and mushrooms. Oh, plus herbs and spices. Foods not allowed in the paleo diet include grains (corn, barley, wheat, oats, rice, etc), dairy products, refined sugar, salt, processed oils, starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potato, cassava, etc) and, oddly enough, legumes (all beans, peas, lentils). The grain list also includes stuff made from grains, obviously, such as bread and pasta. Just think: a world without cheese, beer or bread?

Paleo flaw number one: the list of allowed and forbidden foods is based on our best guesses of what paleolithic man (and woman) ate. This list is based on a lot of assumptions that are not, really, testable. Inferences can be made from modern hunter-gatherer populations and also from archaeological evidence, and this is what paleo proponents do. Unfortunately for the archaeologists, evidence of diet is hard to come by (squishy stuff like vegetables and people don’t preserve very well) so concluding anything other than looking at gnawed bones and saying “we ate meat” is tricky at best. 

Paleo defenders will then tell you to look at modern hunter-gather tribes to see what they eat. They will generally cherry-pick the tribe that most suits the particular angle that they are trying to defend. In my field, we call cherry-picking your evidence Bad Science. Do you really think that the diet of modern Inuits, mostly fish- and meat-based because not much grows in the Arctic, will be similar to that of tribes living in the South American rain forests, sub-Saharan Africa or in the middle of a desert in the Australian outback? The truth is that humans are bloody resourceful animals and will always manage to survive with whatever is available, be that grubs, tubers or Big Macs.

Let's take a look at the foods that are forbidden in the paleo diet. How about grain? Paleolithic man didn't eat or process grains so modern man shouldn't eat them, right? Two years ago, an article published in PNAS demonstrated that processing of grains and perhaps even production of flour was being carried out 30,000 years ago, so caveman did actually eat grains. We can go even earlier: another PNAS article shows us that Neanderthals were also processing starchy grains, related to sorghum, as well as plants from that other class of foods forbidden on the paleo diet, namely legumes. Did I mention that our Neanderthal cousins were cooking these foods as well? The YOUNGEST Neanderthal remains found so far are around 32,000 years old, although DNA evidence suggests that some of their genome lives on in us. Further evidence of this can be seen in my home town of Glasgow: try Sauchiehall St around 2am on a Saturday morning and you'll see what I mean.

If one were to follow the spirit of paelo to its logical conclusion, other foods that should be avoided are anything that comes from the New World as none of these foods were available to paleolithic woman. So no tomatoes, bell peppers, chilies, blueberries, avocados, squash, or pumpkins, to name but a few. And domesticated animals are nothing like their wild ancestors, so paleo adherents should only eat wild-caught game, although I won't insist that they only eat game caught with stone-age weapons. Of course, paleo people don't take it this seriously.

Another of the paleo assumptions is that we evolved in the paleolithic era and not enough time has passed since for evolution to shape us in a way that is suited for the modern diet. This argument is, quite simply, wrong, and is based on a very weak understanding of biology. Alcohol dehydrogenases, the family of enzymes that metabolise alcohol, have been adapted and selected for recently in our evolutionary past. Dairy is also prohibited from the paleo diet because it wasn't around in hunter-gatherer times so we haven't evolved to handle it. Right? Wrong: Lactase persistence into adulthood is a recent evolutionary adaptation, having arisen in the last 5000 to 10,000 years, or after paleo man became neolithic man. These are just two examples from the top of my head, so I'm sure there are many others.

What annoys me most about paleo is that it tries to use science to justify some of the dafter elements of the diet, such as avoiding legumes. This argument is based on the concept of "anti nutrients", enzymes or proteins found in plants which inhibit absorption of other minerals or nutrients from food, or inhibit digestion. Examples include lectins and phytic acid, large amounts of which are found in grains, seeds, nuts and legumes.

Lectins break down via cooking, so the argument against them is just silly. Phytic acid is a bit more interesting - it forms complexes with metal ions, making them much harder to digest. While they are present in some non-paleo foods such as rice, oats and lentils, even higher levels are found in many nuts such as almonds, brazil nuts, hazel nuts and walnuts. Nuts are recommended paleo-snacks because they were available to the cave-man. I also came across this when gathering my references, which sums the argument up with more vitriol than even I can manage.

Basically, these so-called antinutrients are found in most plants because they serve various roles, such as natural insecticides. But this is also why we use that neat trick of cooking plant matter to increase the nutritional content. As I said before, even our Neanderthal cousins stumbled across that one. Pretty much every plant contains these compounds to some degree, which is why we evolved to eat a wide and varied diet.

As an aside, something that is generally over-looked in nutrition studies is the role that gut bacteria have in digesting our food and providing us with nutrients. It is well established that gut microbes are one of the main sources of vitamin K and some B vitamins in the human diet -
our gut flora mooches on our meals and, in return, they provide us with vital micronutrients.

Our symbiotic bacteria are also capable of breaking down phytates in our diet, thereby taming the evil antinutrients. What is REALLY cool is a paper from a couple of years ago showing that gut flora of Japanese people picks up genes from marine microbes which are eaten along with seaweed. This horizontal gene transfer gives the gut flora an ability to break down sugars in the seaweed which humans can't digest on their own. How amazing is that!?

So, to summarise, is the paleo diet actually bad? Not in itself - any diet which recommends avoiding processed food and eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is a good diet. However, paleo excludes so many foods which are both beneficial and necessary to feed the entire planet. If everyone tried to eat meat at every meal, we'd not have much of a planet left, yet this is what paleo people tell you to do. The fact that they use bad science in an attempt to justify their position really makes me angry.

I suppose a lot of food is not about nutrition, but is cultural and a way of identifying with a certain group. Paleo seems to me to be a diet which is even pickier than veganism, but for guys and girls who still want to eat lots of meat. By all means, pick a diet that makes you happy. But trying to emulate the diet that humans ate when most people died in their 20s, either of disease, during childbirth or by becoming food for something bigger, well, that seems a bit daft.

© Michael Craig

Friday, 3 August 2012

Boozy Grilled Peach & Sour Cream Ice Pops

Even though I'm complaining about the 'heat' at the lab or during practice in the evenings, I am actually really enjoying the summery temperatures we've been having.
Partly because that means I'll have a chance to wear my new text-marker-coloured shorts, but mostly because I have an excuse to eat ice-cream pretty much every day. Rather than making even more granita or ice-cream, I have switched to making my own ice pops. I made some amazing avocado ones after a recipe from Fany Gerson's Paletas but ate them before taking a decent picture. But then I also made some with grilled peaches, bourbon, and sour cream (inspired by Fany's sour cream, cherry, and tequila ones) and I thought we could make them together today.
If you don't have any popsicle molds, don's worry, I don't have any either (because I'm having this stupid argument with myself where the stubborn version of me refuses to buy molds that don't look like the ones I really want to have but I can't find them anywhere in Germany...) so I use shot glasses and this really cool ice-cube mold from the 50s I pinched from my mum.
All right, let's get cracking.

This recipe makes enough for 12 normal popsicle moulds or 6 shot glasses and said ice-cube mould.

Boozy Grilled Peach & Sour Cream Ice Pops
3 Peaches (about 450g after you take out the stones) 
3 tbsp Agave Syrup
2 tbsp Lemon Juice (freshly squeezed)
4 tbsp Bourbon
450gr Sour Cream
350ml Milk
1/4 tsp Salt
100g Raw Cane Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Half the peaches and grill them until the side near the heat is charred and the flesh is relatively soft. Allow them to cool slightly, then peel off the skin (you should be able to pretty much rub the skin off with your finger - hence the cooling).
Cut the peaches into small pieces - about 0.5 cm thick and 1.5 - 2 cm wide and cover them with the agave syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon in a smallish bowl. Allow the peaches to completely cool down, then refrigerate them until you are ready to continue.
Mix the milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Take the saucepan off the heat and whisk in the sour cream and the vanilla extract. As with the peaches, allow the mixture to completely cool down, then refrigerate it until you are ready to continue.
Take out whichever molds you are using and spoon in enough of the sour cream mixture to fill the bottom of the molds (about 1.5-2.5 cm deep depending on the shape of the mold). Freeze for about 30 minutes. This will stop the peaches sinking completely to the bottom.
While the mix is freezing away, drain the peaches and keep the liquid. You could probably make an amazing grilled peach old fashioned but if I'm perfectly honest with you, poured over some ice with some more bourbon this is very close to what I consider the perfect drink. 
Anyhow, back to the ice pops. Spoon the peaches into the molds, dividing them relatively evenly. If you have any left, have a party and eat them while the popsicles are freezing.
Spoon the sour cream mixture into the molds, leaving some room at the top.
Insert the sticks and freeze for at least 3 or 4 hours. Fany  suggests freezing them for an hour before inserting the sticks if you are using shot glasses but I didn't have the time to do that and I don't know about you - I'm not planning to sell these, I want to eat them - who cares whether the sticks are slightly wonky or not?!?

I hope you have a fab weekend with lots of ice-cream and I hope you are just as excited about Sunday as I am! After receiving lots of very positive feedback on the 'thoughts' posts I have decided to have a series of posts that will be called Sunday Salon. I have invited some of the amazing people I know who either blog themselves or who write amazing other stuff to write posts about something they care about. About something that makes them think. I hope you'll enjoy this project as much as I already have organising the first few posts. 
So now, you can be excited about Sunday as well :)
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