Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dermie's Best Buy: Murphy's Ice Cream

Sean and Kieran Murphy started Murphy's Ice Cream in Dingle, Co. Kerry in 2000, with a vision to make the world's best ice-cream. Although the business has out-grown their small Dingle kitchen, they still make ice-cream the same hard-crafted way by breaking eggs and using fresh Dingle cream, milk and pure cane sugar to make a delicious custard which is then flavoured with fresh, natural, real ingredients. Murphy's Ice Cream uses milk from the rare, indigenous breed of Kerry cow leaving you with a wonderful, soft, creamy scoop.

Whether it is blending the best, pure vanilla or collecting Dingle sea water to boil down to make their famous sea salt ice-cream or stripping real mint leaves for fresh mint, the two describe themselves as obsessive about bringing the customer the very best ice-cream.

Murphy's ice-cream is sold in their three independent shops located in Dingle and Kilarney, Co Kerry and Wicklow Street, Dublin City. In the three shops, you can choose two flavours in any size, allowing you to find your perfect combination that you feel works well. Say, for example, you can choose chocolate & whiskey, raspberry & Kerry cream, sea salt & caramel, or mint & chocolate chip. Aside from their three stores, Murphy's ice-cream is widely available in 500ml tubs sold across a number of artisan food stores in Ireland stocking the following range:

Fanaile - Kerry Cream Vanilla
Seacláid - Silky Smooth Chocolate
Caramal - Caramel Honeycomb 
Sú craobh - Raspberry Sorbet
Salann - Dingle Sea Salt (coming soon)
Aran donn - Irish Brown Bread (coming soon)  

A full list of Irish stockists can be found here.

Recipe: Murphy's White Chocolate and Lavender Ice Cream
(Serves 8 recipe compliments of Murphy's ice-cream)


- 2 tablespoons lavender flowers
- 500ml water
- 1 tablespoon liquid honey
- 130g sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 240 ml cream
- 200 ml milk
- 80 g white chocolate
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1. Cook the lavender flowers in the water over low heat until the water has reduced to 1/10th of the volume. Remove from the heat and strain. Stir in the honey.

2. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a microwave to about 40C. Beat sugar and egg yolks together until pale yellow. Bring the milk to a low simmer.

3. Remove from the heat and beat the milk into the egg and sugar mixture in a slow stream. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.

4. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!

5. Immediately remove from the heat, the chocolate and custard must both be warm when you mix them for a good emulsion. The chocolate will clump at first when you add the liquid, but keep adding liquid and stirring, and it will come smooth. Add the custard to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing thoroughly until smooth and velvety. Allow to cool, then mix in the vanilla and the strained lavender water.

6. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks - do not over-whip). Fold the cream and gently stir into the custard.

7. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer, stirring every few hours to break up the ice crystals.


- If you are using a domestic ice- cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes). Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.

- The boiler or container in which you melt the chocolate must be completely dry or the chocolate can clump.

- Vanilla essences vary greatly, so make sure you taste the custard and are happy with the flavour.

- To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and maintain that temperature for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer and keep stirring. If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble.

- Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.

Why not try this ice-cream with my delicious chocolate brownies recipe here 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Recipe: Rhubarb & Vanilla Jam

When it comes to making rhubarb jam remember that rhubarb has low levels of pectin (the substance in fruit which sets jam) which is why in this recipe contains the juice of a lemon to help in the extraction of pectin.

There is an argument as to whether jam sugar - which has higher levels of pectin - is better to use when making jam than standard granulated sugar. It really comes down to how well you like your jam set which is why I often use standard granulated sugar because it gives my jam that slight runny texture - so it really is up to you.

Important tip: Remember to sterilise your jars by washing them first; then placing them along with the lids in a low oven (50 degrees is enough) to warm the jars to avoid mold growing on your jam.

Ingredients (Makes 3 small jars)

- 900g Rhubarb
- 900g Jam Sugar (or standard sugar, see above)
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Vanilla Pod (split)


1. Wipe the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) pieces. In a heavy bottomed pan, place a layer of rhubarb on the bottom, cover with a layer of sugar and repeat until both the sugar and rhubarb are completely covered in the pan. Add in the juice of one lemon, cover the pan tightly with a lid and leave to rest overnight.

2. The following day, place two plates into a fridge. In the pot the sugar and lemon will have turned to a beautiful, delicious liquid, so now add in your vanilla. Bring this mixture to a very fast boil for about 12-15 minutes. While boiling, a layer of scum will have formed, which is fine as all you need to do is skim it off.

3. It is easy to test for a setting point for your jam, take the plate out of the fridge and place a teaspoon of jam on the cold plate. If the jam is set it will wrinkle, if not continue to boil for a little longer. Of course, you can be technical and use a jam thermometer reaching setting point of 105c but the old ways are always the best.

4. Using a jam funnel, pour the jam into your jam jars sealing tightly with a lid. The jam will keep for months in your larder and if you wish, freeze some rhubarb to use in winter to make more jam.