Monthly Archives: November 2011

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ices are all types of frozen desserts enjoyed all over the globe. Versatile and popular these frozen treats have many flavour combinations to choose from, each of us having our own personal favourites. Long before mass production, ice cream was traditionally made with a few simple ingredients… milk, cream, sugar, eggs (not always) and natural flavourings. However, over the years and due to its growing popularity and demand, ice cream is now mass-produced.  As a result, the ingredients list of this has grown too…but not always in a good way!

what’s the real scoop?

Is it worth making your own ice cream when so much is available to buy? I believe it is…try reading (the print is so small) the ingredients list on some ice cream cartons.  For example, you may see words like polydextrose, aspartame, lactitiol, maltitol and many E numbers. Do most of us know what they are? Now scroll down and read the ingredients list of this simple home-made ice cream recipe…

I watched these interesting videos regarding ice cream and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and thought I would share… it really is food for thought!  Jamie Oliver on the David Letterman’s show did mention something about beavers anal glands.

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Home-Made Ice Cream

No ice cream machine needed for this very easy smooth and creamy recipe. As it is all cream based… go easy on the servings size.  Serves four but you can easily double the recipe to make more. I like to make small amounts of ice cream at a time, keeping everything as fresh tasting as possible. This ice cream is best served on the day of making.


  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dried rose petals
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 50g  powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose-water
  • 25g good quality white chocolate

How to make:

Place a metal or plastic container into the freezer to chill.

Add the dried rose petals into a mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and add the powdered sugar. Mix everything together and place the mixing bowl into the fridge for about 10 minutes, the cream will be lightly perfumed by the dried rose petals. Meanwhile finely chop the white chocolate and set aside.

finely chop the rose petals using scissors

Take the mixing bowl from the fridge and whisk the cream until soft peaks form using an electric whisk.  Add the rose-water and white chocolate and fold into the cream using a spatula. Scoop the contents of the mixing bowl into the chilled container from the freezer and smooth over the top of the cream with the spatula. Cover and place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until firm before serving.

whisk the cream into soft peaks 

Tip: Making the ice cream hours ahead of serving you will find the ice cream will have frozen solid and impossible to scoop from the container. Usually what I do is take the container of ice cream from the freezer and place it into the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This softens the ice cream, making it easier to scoop into balls with an ice cream scoop.

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream: Omit the dried rose petals. Replace the rose-water and white chocolate with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 25g of finely chopped dark or milk chocolate.

Middle Eastern Ground Rice Pudding

Muhallabia is the arabic name of this delicate middle eastern dessert, made from ground rice and flavoured with rose-water. In Bahrain this is a very popular dessert and one of our family favourites. As Eid Al Adha is almost upon us, I thought I would also post a little information about an old tradition Hiya-Biya, which is very popular among the children of Bahrain around this time.



  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons ground rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons of rose-water (or more to taste)
  • to garnish, a handful of toasted silvered almonds

How to make: In a small bowl mix the ground rice and corn flour into a paste using a little of the milk. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the rice paste and stir continuously using a whisk or wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens, taking care that the mixture does not burn at the bottom of the saucepan and spoil its flavour.

Add the sugar and ground almonds and cook for a further minute, stirring continuously. Remove for the heat and stir in the rose-water (use more if liked), cool slightly before pouring into a serving bowl or individual serving dishes. When cool cover and store in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to chill. Garnish with toasted almonds before serving.

 Hiya-Biya an Old Tradition 

Seeing all the traditional Hiya-Biya baskets hanging outside the shops in Bahrain brings back memories of when my children were young and enjoyed this old tradition, celebrating the beginning of Eid Al Adha. Long before the festivity, the children would fill an empty basket with sand and plant some grass seeds. Each day the children would water the seeds and watch with great excitement as the grass grew in their little baskets.

On the eve of Eid Al Adha the children would dress up in traditional dress and gather by the sea-side. While swinging and singing a song about the Hiya-Biya (now that I have taken care of you, watered you, don’t forget to bring me joy over Eid and for the safe return of the Haj pilgrims), the children would then throw the Hiya-Biya into the sea, watching them drift away.

what’s the scoop!

four scoops

Pulling four ice cream scoops from my kitchen drawer…straight away it was obvious which ones were “dishwasher safe”.  It is something that I usually check before washing but I guess we are all guilty of throwing utensils into the dishwasher only to discover on emptying… “oh hell” did I really put that in there! The photograph speaks for itself.


Making that perfect scoop of ice cream requires a spoon- shaped metal head with a handle that can be held comfortably with a firm grip…that is if you want the perfect scoop! Many a dessert spoon I am sure will have been bent trying to dig scoops of hard ice cream out of it’s container. Each of the four ice cream scoops being different, two mechanical scoops (half-globe shape) with a leaver, one simple ice cream scoop and one that has a handle which can be filled with warm water.

do I really need an ice-cream scoop?

Well, I like having a utensil made specifically for the job and yes sometimes I do want that perfect scoop of ice cream.

scoop number one: The mechanical scoop (half-globe) has a leaver at the side which moves a blade across the scoop’s  interior that helps eject the ice cream ball successfully. Actually I never bought this scoop with ice cream in mind…it was potatoes! Great for serving up nice creamy mounds of mashed potato.

great for serving mounds of mashed potato

scoop number two: The leaver is positioned on top of the handle and when pressed pushes up a metal leaver on the scoops interior, which helps to eject the ball of ice cream. This scoop was not very successful when used on a soft ice cream because the leaver got stuck in the ice-cream itself and you ended up trying to shake it off instead. Works better with a firmer ice cream. Even though it was dishwasher safe, I had to wash it manually because the metal leaver inside the scoop had to be pressed up to wash underneath it properly.

can be used to portion out even sized fish cakes

scoop number three: A plain metal scoop, no leaver and no filling of water. To use this scoop I would  dip it into a mug full of warm water, giving it a wipe with kitchen paper before dragging the warmed scoop over the surface of the ice cream, it worked… but then along came scoop number 4!

the interior of the ice cream scoop with red handle is very pitted…into the bin it goes!

scoop number four:  This has a handle covered with a rubber grip which can be filled with hot water (no more dipping and wiping) which transfers heat to the top of the scoop, this aids in forming nice rolls or balls of ice cream when dragged along the surface. The ice cream does not stick to the warm scoop.

my favourite ice cream scoop is number four and one that I use all the time… but there is an ice cream scoop which has an anti-freeze liquid sealed inside and is non stick which is supposed to be really good. Maybe I need to up-grade!

before that perfect scoop!

In my experience when dealing with any frozen hard ice cream it requires some softening first and this should be done slowly in the refrigerator, anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes, depending on size of ice cream container. The aim is to soften it enough to scoop and serve.


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