Lamb Meatballs


lamb meatballs

Where would I be without Jamie Oliver? This month I struck lucky for Random Recipes when the book I ended up with was Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals.  I definitely haven’t cooked from this book enough.  There are some lovely recipes in it and although they generally (always) take a little longer than 15 minutes, they are still pretty quick to prepare and then get out on the table.

One of the good things about this recipe was that most of the ingredients are things that are in the store cupboard anyway.   I love fresh coriander leaf and I often have that at home too so the only thing I needed to make an effort to buy was the lamb mince.

Normally I am not a big fan of lamb.  I love it in a curry but generally I only like it if it is served with lots of other strong flavours so it doesn’t taste too much of lamb.  Yes, I’m afraid I disguise it!

It has to be said that I was a bit disappointed at first to have picked this recipe.    I considered picking another, but then decided I’d better stick to the rules.   After all,  I love all the other ingredients and there was at least a little spice in the recipe to rescue it.  I was pleased I made it in the end.   It was very easy and quick to do and the meatballs were really tasty.   I could even have eaten more.   Why didn’t I made double and freeze some?   Next time.

Ingredients – Serves 2

200g lamb mince

1 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 red chilli pepper

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

400g tin chickpeas

300g passata

2 spring onions, sliced

How to Make Lamb Meatballs

1. Using your hands, mix the garam masala and turmeric into the mince and then make into small meatballs, about the size of large grapes. Put the meatballs in a frying pan with a little oil.

2. In a saucepan heat a little oil then add the garlic, spring onion, chilli pepper, the spices and half of the coriander.   Stir fry for 30 seconds then add the passata and chickpeas.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes.

3. Add the meat balls to the saucepan and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.

4. Serve with yoghurt, flatbreads and salad.  Scatter the remaining coriander on top of the meatballs when serving.

I am linking this to Random Recipes hosted by Belleau Kitchen.

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Mary Berry’s Austrian Chocolate Cake

Mary Berry's Austrian Chocolate Cake

Last week we were on holiday and I didn’t manage to do any baking along with the Bake Off but this week things are back to normal and with European Cake Week it’s just as well.   I love cake.   I could eat cake every day.   I could even eat it for breakfast, and although that may be normal in some places, it is not a typical breakfast in the UK.

There were so many things I could have made this week.  I used to live in Germany and Poland and both countries have some delicious cakes.  I have also had some very nice almond and orange cakes in Spain so that was another possibility, but at the end of the day, how could I turn down this chocolate cake?  The recipe is from Mary Berry’s Desserts and I’d had my eye on it for a while.

It’s a rich chocolaty moist brownie-like cake and although it is a cake, it’s the type of cake you could serve for dessert with some cream on the side, which we did, or some custard, which we did the next day, or some ice cream, which we eventually managed with our final slice.  Yes, it took me three days to turn the cream from cream into custard and then into ice cream, but that’s another story.

Today, it’s all about cake, and this is indeed a wonderful cake.   You won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients – Serves 8

250g dark chocolate

175g unsalted butter

6 eggs, separated

200g caster sugar(60g for step 2, 140g for step 3)

30g self-raising flour

1 tbsp icing sugar

How to Make Mary Berry’s Austrian Chocolate Cake

1. Put the chocolate and butter in a saucepan and melt over a low heat.  Keep giving it a stir but don’t let it boil.  Take it off the heat as soon as everything has melted.

2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whisk until they form soft peaks.  Then slowly add the caster sugar as you whisk until mixture forms stiff peaks.

3. Put the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks in another large bowl and whisk until they go very pale and thick.

4. Continue to whisk and add the chocolate and butter mixture. Then whisk in the flour.

5. Finally fold in the egg white mixture a third at a time.

6. Spoon the mixture into a greased loose bottomed or springform cake tin before putting into the oven at 170C.   I used a 20cm tin and baked it for 40 minutes.  The recipe said a 23cm tin and bake for 30-35 minutes.

7. Test the centre of the cake is done with a skewer.   It should be moist and sticky but not runny.

8. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack.   It will have risen in the oven but it will fall back down and crack a little as it cools.

9. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top when you are ready to serve it.

Mary Berry's Austrian Chocolate Cake

I am linking this to the Great Blogger’s Bake Off, hosted by Mummy Mishaps as well as My Great #GBBO Bake Along, hosted by Super Golden Bakes.  It is also my Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.


Spanish Rice Stuffed Marrow

stuffed marrow 2

I don’t think I’d ever eaten a marrow before until now.   It’s one of those vegetables that everyone has heard of but you just don’t see for sale anywhere, or at least not in supermarkets these days.   I imagine it was different in the past.   Marrows were probably one of those vegetables people lived off.   Also, why pick them as courgettes when you could wait a couple of weeks and have 6 times the amount of food?  Maybe that’s why they have somehow fallen out of favour in recent years.

The only reason I ended up with this marrow was that I was looking for courgettes to pick at Garsons pick-your-own but it seemed everyone else had got there first.   There were almost no courgettes but quite a lot of marrows.   It seems that even when you can pick them yourself they suffer in the popularity stakes.  I decided I should get one to try, but I have to admit to keeping it in the fridge for almost a week before I could decide what to do with it.

I was thinking of doing some kind of spicy minced beef and rice stuffing but then I forgot to buy the mince when I was shopping.   I looked in my cupboard for inspiration and came across a couple of almost empty packets or rice, one basmati and one Spanish rice.  I also had a half-used ring of chorizo sausage in the fridge and that’s how this turned into a more Spanish flavoured dish.

I was expecting to like the stuffing but I wasn’t sure if I’d like the marrow.  I expected it to be a bit watery and bland.   Well, it wasn’t watery and it absorbed the flavours of the rice so it was actually really really tasty.  I loved it.  It would make a perfect base for any strong flavoured stuffing, although I imagine that it would be very bland if not cooked well.

I thought I’d be eating up the marrow for days as my husband doesn’t like courgettes or squashes so I expected him not to like this either.  Well, it might not have been his favourite dish ever but he was quite happy to eat it for two days in a row.  I’m now hoping to go back and pick a couple more marrows if I can before the season ends.  I am most definitely a marrow convert now.

Ingredients – serves 6

1 marrow

200g chorizo, sliced into chunky slices

1 large onion, chopped

1 chilli pepper, sliced

2 green peppers, sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/3 aubergine, cubed

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp turmeric or use a thread of saffron if you have it

150g rice

500ml chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken)


Black pepper

Olive oil

How to Make Spanish Rice Stuffed Marrow

1. Cut the marrow in half lengthways, remove the soft middle by scraping it out with a spoon and then put the marrow on a baking tray.  Season it and drizzle with olive oil then place in the oven at 180C for an hour.

2. Cook the chorizo in a saucepan until it releases it’s oil and begins to go a little crispy. Add the onions and chilli pepper.   When the onions are soft, add the garlic.  Cook for a minute and then add the rest of the vegetables, the herbs and spices, and the rice.  Stir in.

3. Add about 3/4 of the stock.  Cover and leave to simmer gently.   After 15 minutes check it and stir in the rest of the stock if necessary.

4. Spoon the filling into the marrow.  You might not be able to fit all the stuffing in.  Return the stuffed marrows to the oven and cook for another 20 minutes.   The extra stuffing can be served alongside the marrows or for anyone who doesn’t like marrow and just wants the stuffing.

Suffed marrow 1

I am linking this to Shop Local, hosted by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary.


Coconut Marinated Chicken with Chilli Glaze for the SRC

coconut chicken with chilli glaze

This has been the summer of marinades.  If not on the blog, then at least off the blog. Almost every week I’ve made a different one and this is the first one with coconut milk.  I love coconut milk and usually use it in curries but after this,  I will definitely be experimenting with some more coconut milk based marinades too.

I can’t claim that it’s my own invention, as it is from a recipe I found on On the Move – In the Galley, which was my Secret Recipe Club assignment this month.  There is an extensive recipe collection on this blog and I was impressed that all the recipes appear to be ones the blogger has made on a boat.

Luckily, I didn’t need to jump on a boat to make this, which is just as well as I am not a keen sailor!  The marinade for the chicken was absolutely delicious and it is one I will certainly make again and probably use on fish too.   I also made a chilli glaze to put on the chicken aftewards but it called for sweetened rice vinegar and as I only had normal rice vinegar, I used that and a little sugar.   I’m not sure I got it quite right as the vinegar taste was very very strong so possibly the glaze is only one to try if you can get the right ingredients.   Even if you don’t make the glaze, the marinade makes the chicken so full of flavour I don’t think you’ll feel anything is lacking.

Ingredients for the Coconut Marinated Chicken

2 chicken breasts

100ml coconut milk

Small knob fresh ginger

1 tbsp lemongrass paste

Juice of half a lime

black pepper

1 tsp chilli flakes or hot sauce

2 spring onions

Chilli glaze – See the original recipe here

How to Make Coconut Marinated Chicken

1. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, except the spring onions and the chilli glaze.   Put the marinade in a bowl or bag with the chicken and leave for at least an hour.

2. Cook the chicken.   I used a griddle pan but you could grill, barbecue or fry.

3. If you want to use the chilli glaze then make it while the chicken is cooking. Serve the chicken with the chopped spring onions and and topped with a little of the chilli glaze.

To see what other SRC participants have made, click on the link below:


Raspberry Blondies

raspberry blondies 2

I had to do some baking this week.   The last cake I made was a fruit cake and my husband doesn’t like fruit cakes.   Unfortunately we have different taste in cakes and desserts and he feels he gets his favourites made far less often than I make desserts using my favourite flavours.   Well that’s understandable isn’t it?

But this week I had to make something for him.   You see, it was his birthday and I promised him I would make something he wanted.   He requested blondies.  He was specifically thinking of the blondies I have made for him in the past. These blondies.

Well, what’s the fun in making something you have made before, even something as delicious as a blondie.   I just couldn’t stop myself, I just had to do a little experimenting and vary the recipe.   In fact, I found a whole new recipe that was just crying out to me to be made.   It was a blondie recipe but for blondies with freeze-dried raspberries in them too.   Now white chocolate and raspberry is a fantastic combination.   I ran the idea past him.

How could he refuse?   I made them quickly before he changed his mind.

I liked them.  I would even have liked a few more raspberry bits in them.  He thought there was enough raspberry flavour.   I loved the soft moist cakiness of them.  He loved the caramelised bits on the bottom where all the white chocolate chips had sunk to.   I love cake and I would say these are my favourite ones.   He still prefers the denser fudginess of my other blondies.

We were never going to agree over cake.  I should have known you just can’t please everyone with one blondie.

Ingredients – Makes 16 Recipe adapted from Bake Then Eat

200g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g melted butter

150g plain flour

200g white chocolate chips

6g freeze-dried raspberries

How to Make Raspberry Blondies

1. Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin.   Preheat the oven to 180C.

2. Put the eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale.   Pour in the melted butter slowly while whisking.

3. Fold in the flour gently until it is fully combined and there are no dry bits.

4.Fold in the chocolate chips and freeze dried raspberry pieces.

5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes.

6. Let the mixture cool in the tin for a while before taking the blondies out and cooling on a wire rack.

I am linking these to Treat Petit, hosted by Cakeyboi and on alternate months by The Baking Explorer.  The theme is Anything Goes.  I am also linking to The Biscuit Barrel Challenge, hosted by I’d Much Rather Bake Than… And linking to Bake of the Week at Casa Costello.

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Five Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day Biscuits

5 little ducks biscuits

One of the things I love about cooking and baking is the creativity of making something you’ve never made before.  That’s especially true when any sort of decorating is involved. It’s something I love at the moment and would really like to do some classes in it and get better at it.

Anyway, these biscuits were inspired by the Great British Bake Off.  For the showstopper challenge in biscuit week the contestants had to create a 3d scene out of biscuits.  There were some impressive creations and I knew immediately that I wanted to have a go too. My little girl is currently obsessed by ducks and loves the song, 5 Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day so there was absolutely no question about what I was going to make.

The biscuits are all basically shortbread.  I made the base, the pond, by adding some blue food colour to some of the biscuit dough and then just rolling it out and baking it.  To make the ducks I cut a template out of paper, placed it on the dough and then cut around it as I wanted each of the little ducks to be the same size and shape.  I also made little wings to stick on the sides of the ducks.  I then forgot one of the cardinal rules of baking – small things bake faster.  Unfortunately the wings for the little ducks were all over-baked so only the mummy duck has wings. I planned to draw little wings on the side with the icing but I forgot that too until we’d eaten half of it and it was too late.  As usual with baking, my daughter helped me make the biscuits but I iced them and stood them up on the pond while she was in bed.  She had a lovely surprise in the morning but it did mean we had to have biscuits for breakfast that day!

I am linking these biscuits to Our Growing Edge.  Our Growing Edge is a fantastic event that encourages you to push yourself and try something a little out of your comfort zone.   It could be a new technique, a new ingredient or something you’ve always wanted to make but have never quite got around to.   This month I will be hosting the event.  Have a look at Bunny Eats Design for the rules and to link up your recipes.   I will then be publishing the roundup at the beginning of October.   I can’t wait to see what everyone creates and hopefully be inspired to make something else new.

5 little ducks biscuits 2

Ingredients – Recipe from BBC Good Food

300g butter, at room temperature

140g caster sugar

300g plain flour

140g rice flour

Pinch of salt

Extra Ingredients if making a duck pond and decorating the ducks

Blue food colour

Yellow icing in a tube

Black writing icing

Orange writing icing

How to Make Shortbread Biscuits

1. If you are making ducks or another shape that you don’t have a cutter for, draw the shape first on some clean paper and cut it out.   You can then use this to cut around.

2. Put the butter and sugar in the food processor and blitz until they are combined.   Add the flours and the salt and process again until a dough begins to form.

3. If you are making a duck pond, take about two thirds of the mixture out of the food processor and set it aside.  Form it into a ball and wrap in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for an hour or more.

4. To the mixture still in the food processor, add a little blue food colour.   Blitz it again to combine.

5. Take the mixture out and press it down flat to make a pond shape on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Prick it with a fork and put the tray in the fridge to rest for an hour.

6. Line three more baking trays with baking paper.   Take the dough out of the fridge.   Roll it out to about a centimetre thick.   Cut out the shapes you want and put them on the baking trays.

7. Bake in the oven at 180C/160Cfan  for about 20 minutes.   If some of the shapes are very small they will cook more quickly though so be careful.

8. Cool the biscuits on wire racks.

9. Decorate the biscuits when they are cold.  To make them stand up I squeezed a line of the yellow icing along the bottom edge of the ducks and then used that to stick them to the pond.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

sticky toffee pudding

I love my puddings.  If you’re feeling a bit down, sad, tired, hungry, cold or even on top of the world already, there is nothing better than a steaming bowl of freshly baked pudding and custard.  Usually my pudding of choice would be a fruit crumble whereas my husband’s would definitely be THIS sticky toffee pudding.

Many people will tell you that sticky toffee pudding needs to have dates in it.  My husband would tell you that there is nothing worse than ordering a sticky toffee pudding for dessert and finding it full of dates.  As I have never ordered a sticky toffee pudding for myself before, it’s an argument I’m not going to take sides on.

I decided to make this one without dates as putting dates in it would just have been cruel. However, as I love fruit in puddings, cakes, scones and anything else you can think of, I suspect that I would also love a sticky toffee pudding with a few dates in.

Of course this recipe is my tribute to this week’s Great British Bake Off.   The theme was puddings and I am also itching to try some more inventive fondants now.  I regularly make a chocolate fondant and as it is so so good I have never felt the need to make any variations to it, until now.   I’m not quite sure what I’ll come up with and when it will get made but at least it has made me want to break out of my traditional chocolate fondant comfort zone!

The recipe for sticky toffee pudding is adapted from All Recipes.

Ingredients for the Sticky Toffee Sponge Pudding

190g plain flour

1.5 tsp baking powder

A pinch of salt

120g soft brown sugar

2 eggs

120ml milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

80g melted butter

Ingredients for the Toffee Sauce

150ml double cream

70g butter

120g soft brown sugar

How to Make Sticky Toffee Pudding

1. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.  Mix together.

2. In another bowl put the eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter.   Whisk together until the top goes frothy.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix together until well combined and there are no dry bits.

4. Grease a baking dish and pour the mixture in.   Bake in the oven at 170C for 20-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes and estimate how much longer it needs.   It will depend on how wide and deep your dish is.

5. Make the sticky toffee sauce by putting all the ingredients in a saucepan.   Heat up and keep giving a stir.  Take off the heat when the sauce is the colour you want.  Let it stand for a few minutes before serving.

6. The pudding and sauce are lovely together but you could also serve with a little ice cream.

I am linking this to the Great Bloggers Bake Off, hosted by Mummy Mishaps.


Cheddar and Leek Muffins

leek and cheddar muffins


I’d never made savoury muffins before, but I had actually been planning to make them for a different challenge each month for the last three months.   Typically, it’s only now, third time lucky, that I’ve managed to get around to it.

I love muffins, although normally the sweet kind.   I have a particular fondness for blueberry ones and I would never say no to a chocolate one either.  You could say that I am a bit of a novice where savoury muffins are concerned, as I have to admit to not being able to remember ever even eating a savoury one before making and eating these.  Of course, that means I have nothing to compare these to.   I wasn’t completely sure if they had turned out exactly as they should.   That doesn’t mean they are not good.   Oh no, they are very tasty indeed, but just how much should a savoury muffin rise?   You see, they didn’t rise much at all, yet they weren’t heavy.   They still tasted light and moist, cheesy and leeky.

So what was I to do?  A search for pictures of savoury muffins of course and after trawling through Pinterest I am happy to conclude that savoury muffins are supposed to look a bit messy and unrisen.   Feeling reassured, I think these muffins have turned out as muffins should after all.   They are adaped from a recipe at the Cheese Warehouse.

Ingredients – Makes 18 small muffins

225g self-raising flour

1 leek, diced

1/2 tsp paprika


Black pepper

1/2 tsp mustard

120g mature cheddar

180ml milk

60ml olive oil

1 egg

How to Make Cheddar and Leek Muffins

1. In a large bowl add the chopped leek, grated cheese, paprika, flour, salt and pepper.  Stir so all the ingredients are coated in the flour and mixed evenly together.

2. In a measuring jug add the olive oil and milk, mustard and egg.   Beat together.

3. Pour the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.   Mix together until just combined.

4. Spoon the mixture into a muffin tin, lined with muffin cases.   Place in a preheated oven at 200c for about 20 minutes.

5. Best served when warm and freshly baked

leek and cheddar muffin open

I am linking these to Love Cake, hosted by JibberJabberUk.   The theme this month is savoury.  As savoury muffins are a great way of using up vegetables that might otherwise go to waste (the leek was beginning to go a little bendy), I am also linking these to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary’s No Waste Food Challenge, hosted this month by I’d Much Rather Bake Than…

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Tomato and Nigella Seed Bread Rolls

tomato nigella seed rolls 2

I used to make bread in my breadmaker all the time, at least every two or three days and that meant I almost never bought a loaf of bread.    That was before I had children.   Now I find that homemade bread disappears so quickly that I’d be making it every day if I had kept that up.   Instead, I started buying bread and before long I was hardly using my poor old breadmaker at all.

Well, with bread week on the Great British Bake Off I decided it was time I made some bread again.  I chose to make tomato and nigella seed rolls as I’d never made tomato bread before but I had been thinking of trying it at some point.   And the nigella seeds?   Well, I just love nigella seeds in bread and I often used to add them to my everyday bread.

A tomato bread could have a mediterranean feel but the nigella seeds give this one more of an Indian flavour and also make it a little bit different to any bread rolls you can buy, or at least any that I’ve seen – you’ll just have to make them yourself!   The finished rolls were a lovely orange colour, soft and very tasty, great for sandwiches and burgers so perfect for any picnics or barbecues at the moment.  The recipe made 12 and they didn’t last long at all, but of course you could freeze some.

Ingredients – Makes 12

500g strong white bread flour

7g sachet of fast action dried yeast

10g salt

1 tsp nigella seeds (black onion seeds)

3 tbsp tomato puree

Just under 350ml milk

15g olive oil

How to Make Tomato and Nigella Seed Bread Rolls

1. Put the yeast in the bottom of the bread maker.   Add the flour,  salt and nigella seeds.

2. Put the tomato puree in a measuring jug and fill it up to 350ml with the milk.   Pour it into the breadmaker and add the oil.   Set the breadmaker to the dough setting and leave it to work.

3. Take the dough out and cut it into 12 pieces by cutting the dough in half and then each piece in half again. Cut each of those pieces into 3.   Take each piece and roll it under your hand to get a round roll and put the rolls on a baking tray with a gap between each one.   Cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise for 30 minutes.

4. Put the rolls in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes.   When they are done they should sound hollow when tapped underneath.

I am linking this to The Great Bloggers Bake Off at Mummy Mishaps, The Spice Trail at Bangers and Mash and Tea Time Treats at Lavender and Lovage, hosted on alternate months by The Hedgecombers.

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Chocolate Ice Cream Mousse

Chocolate ice cream mousse

This was not meant to be a mousse.  This is in fact just an unfrozen ice cream that has actually become the most delicious rich chocolatey almost ganache-like mousse you could possibly imagine.  I would have put it in my ice cream maker and turned it into ice cream but it was far too thick.   I have learnt from experience that if the custard is too thick the paddle jams and you just get a slightly cold custard.  Of course I could have just put it in the freezer and made it into ice cream the old-fashioned way but I’m afraid I never got that far.  In fact, it didn’t occur to me until just now.   Maybe because once I’d tasted it I just wanted to eat it as a mousse.  Maybe that’s because I’m greedy.  Or maybe it’s because I’m not really a chocolate ice cream kind of girl.  Give me fruit any day for my ice cream.

So why did I set out to make chocolate ice cream in the first place?  Well this month Random Recipes teamed up with Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream for a joint challenge. We had to pick an ice cream recipe and I ended up with the chocolate ice cream recipe from Michel Roux’ Eggs.   Unfortunately, as I haven’t ended up with ice cream, I’m not sure if that eliminates this from the challenge or not.  Of course, I could have remade the ice-cream and not let the custard get so thick, but I’d have had to wait until we’d eaten all the mousse, and buy more cream, and fit it in between all the other sweet things I want to make at the moment.  It was definitely good enough to get remade, but not this month.


150ml double cream

150ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)

80g caster sugar

3 egg yolks

100g plain chocolate

How to Make Chocolate Ice-Cream Mousse

1. Put the double cream, milk and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil gently.   Stir to dissolve the sugar.

2. Put the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until the mixture has turned a pale yellowy colour and forms light ribbons.

3. Pour the cream mixture onto the sugar and egg mixture, whisking as you pour.   Then pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

4. Stir the custard mixture over a low heat to thicken it.   When it begins to thicken, take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate.  I think my mistake was to let the custard get too thick at this stage.

5. Pour the custard into a measuring jug and stand the jug in a bowl of ice cubes to cool.   If you are going to make ice cream, it is easier to pour the mixture from a measuring jug. If you are planning to leave it at chocolate mousse then any container is fine.

6. Eat the mousse. OR put it in an ice cream maker and good luck turning it into ice cream!