Recipe: Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake Loaf

image

A cake loaf with the flavour of fancy ice cream – what more could you want?

I first saw the idea for this on Quora, and it fits firmly into the ‘cooking hacks’ notion of recipes, what with having three / four ingredients, and taking about 3 minutes to prepare. The result was a pretty successful, though very crumbly cake – but the short cut doesn’t deliver what you might hope for from a fancier recipe.

“A cake loaf with the flavour of fancy ice cream – what more could you want?”

I’ll probably try it again, with another flavour of ice cream – probably one with more solid ‘chunks’ that will add some interesting variety. Oh, and probably a flavour with a chocolatey bent.

I didn’t add any salt to my cake, and that was a mistake, since it was a little blander than I’d hoped for. Obviously if you go for a saltier ice cream (I’m thinking e.g. cookie dough) you might want to hold off, but I’ll be adding some next time.

Quora suggested that you could mix the flour with half the ice cream, and then fold in the rest of the ice cream to create ‘streaks’ of flavour veined through the cake. I found that half the ice cream produced a very dry dough that you wouldn’t be able to fold anything into, so I didn’t bother in the end. Your mileage may vary.

So here’s the recipe – simple as:

Recipe: Haagen-Dazs Strawberry Cheesecake Loaf
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A moist, super-simple loaf cake that takes about 3 minutes to prepare. You can (probably) use any ice cream flavour. The cake should rise, crack and brown a bit, producing a light but slightly moist, doughy cake. Obviously stating the flour by volume rather than weight is a cardinal sin of baking, but since the whole idea is to be super quick and simple (and scale easily) this is the way to do it!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake
Serves: 4-10
Ingredients
  • 1x 500ml pot Strawberry Cheesecake Haagen Dazs
  • 400ml self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp salt - optional, but advised for all but saltiest ice creams
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil, or butter, to grease
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 175C (450F).
  2. Allow the ice cream to pretty much melt. (I used the 40 minute trip home from the supermarket to achieve this.)
  3. Pour ice cream into a mixing bowl.
  4. Fill the now-empty pot four-fifths full with flour, stir in salt, and mix into ice cream with a metal spoon until mostly non-lumpy.
  5. Oil / butter loaf tin until well-greased.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cocktail stick stuck into the centre comes out clean.

 

(My version of) Ottolenghi’s Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango

In his (vegetarian) cookbook Plenty, Yotam Ottolenghi mentions that this is the meal he cooks to impress people, and I do too – especially if I’m heading to a picnic. That said, unlike many of his dishes, it’s actually surprisingly easy, with no very unusual ingredients. You can find rice vinegar (and soba noodles) in Sainsbury’s ‘special selection’ area, but I’m sure any light, low-flavoured vinegar will do if you can’t put your hands on it (especially since it’s a little expensive). Ditto other noodles, but soba does have a deliciously nutty buckwheat tang.

“Delicious salad, with the freshness of mango, sumptuousness of fried aubergine and oriental bite of lime and chilli dressing”

Basically you just fry the aubergine, mix the dressing, and combine the rest of the ingredients. Easy!

This is based on his recipe, in the fantastic bible of fresh and delicious veggie food that is Plenty. You can see a (slightly different) version on Guardian Food.

I have made a couple of changes, for my preference:

Firstly, don’t use 300ml of oil. That would be COMPLETELY disgusting. The recipe in the book actually says 220ml (and 250g noodles rather than 300g, which is handy, since they tend to be sold in 250g bundles), but I used about 100ml, doing it in three batches (which is only moderately disgusting). The most important thing to realise about the step of frying the aubergine is that it will immediately suck up all the oil in the pan. But just keep stirring when it’s on the heat, and slowly but surely most of the oil will leak back out into the pan. Each batch will take about 5-8 minutes.

Don’t peel and chop a mango: life’s too short. Buy it pre-diced (though you might want to chop it a bit smaller).

(My version of) Ottolenghi's Soba Noodles with Aubergine and Mango
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious salad, with the freshness of mango, sumptuousness of fried aubergine and oriental bite of lime and chilli dressing
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian Main / Salad
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 4-8
Ingredients
  • 120ml rice vinegar
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt (plus 1 tbsp to dust aubergine when draining)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 300ml sunflower oil
  • 2 aubergines, cut into 2cm dice
  • 250g soba noodles
  • ½ red onion, sliced as thinly as you can
  • 1 large pack chopped mango, cut into 1cm dice
  • 40g basil, chopped
  • 40g coriander, chopped
Instructions
  1. Heat a third of the sunflower oil in a large pan (I use a wide-based wok-like pan with a flat centre), and heat on a really hot hob. Carefully fry a third of the aubergine for 5 to 8 minutes until golden-browned. Be patient, and you'll see that whilst the aubergine soaks up all the oil initially, after a while quite a bit will leak back out. Remove and drain in a colander, sprinkled with a tsp of fine salt. Add some more oil and repeat with another two batches.
  2. Cook the noodles according to packet - 5-8 minutes. Rinse with cold water, and pat dry.
  3. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in small pan, and heat for a minute to dissolve sugar. Add garlic, chilli and sesame oil, cool, then add the lime zest and juice and stir together.
  4. If you're eating straight away, mix all the ingredients and serve. Otherwise, reserve half the herb and the dressing while combining everything else, and mix in just before serving.