Thursday, 25 January 2007


I mentioned in my review of Tandoori Times in Melbourne that I'd had a superb pistachio icecream. At the time it tasted familiar, and ever since I'd been trying to figure out why. And then it hit me - the flavour was extremely similar to Charmaine Solomon's Love Cake, a Sri Lankan recipe which I tried a few months ago when I found it in a book by Bill Tikos called Mum's Favourite Recipes. I must say, the cake itself was way too rich for me, but since the taste was so similar to the pistachio icecream I loved, I thought it might be worth trying to fuse the two.

So I mixed together the flavour elements from the cake - cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, rosewater, brandy and honey - and worked them into some vanilla icecream along with some crushed pistachios. Of course, mixing so thoroughly meant that I ended up with flavoured mush (note to self: get cold rock) rather than icecream. After tasting the undiluted spice mix, I couldn't really tell whether the mush was good or not, so I sought a second opionion, which was not favourable. Then again, to get an accurate reading, perhaps I should've guinea-pigged someone who actually likes South Asian cuisine. And preferably someone who's had the icecream from Tandoori Times... but they're all in Melbourne.

Once the mush had frozen I tried it again, this time with fresh tastebuds. I think it's on the way, but needs some serious tweaking. I left the lime zest out from the flavour base, because I didn't have any, but I think it would really lighten the dish. I also used 'medicinal' Manuka honey which tastes way stronger than regular honey (and will actually clear up your vericose ulcers with topical application), so perhaps regular honey, or a reduced quantity might be a better option. I had no real method for the ratio of adding the flavour base to the icecream - I just added until I thought it was enough, so I might try and work out the optimum ratio, and I might try using a better quality vanilla icecream (or even make my own!). Also, the Love Cake used cashews (hence the name - it being a labour of love to grind them all), which I think I might try including along with the pistachios. The pistachios add a beautiful colour to the icecream, but I'm not convinced they add much flavour. Cashews have a much stronger flavour, and I think their creamy nuttiness would add something to the dish.

Maybe I will also order some Indian takeaway, so I can get a true representation of whether the dish works in the context of of an entire meal... mmmm....Beyond India....

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