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Yorkshire Day with Le Creuset: Yorkshire Tea Ice Cream with Rhubarb Pickle

Le Creuset Yorkshire Day Yorkshire Tea and Rhubarb Pickle

Welcome to the weekend, everyone! I’m back with the final instalment of my Le Creuset Yorkshire Day menu, and it’s the perfect thing for you to rustle up while you’ve got a few days off: the devilish combo of a sweet Yorkshire Tea ice cream topped with a tart rhubarb pickle to cut through all that creaminess.

There are two local elements to this dish. Number one, that old faithful, Yorkshire Tea. Without a doubt, the best cuppa in the world. When I was brainstorming ideas for this menu and it came to the dessert course, it was really the only thing that kept popping into my head. But I wasn’t sure how to use it. I thought about cakes, biscuits, even panna cottas, but it wasn’t until I went down to the Le Creuset store to talk through my menu that the manager, Nick, suggested ice cream. “Wahey!” I said, “I’ve just bought a new ice cream maker!” and that was that.

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The other ingredient I wanted to include was rhubarb, because up here in West Yorkshire we’ve got the Yorkshire Triangle, a 9 mile space between WakefieldMorley and Rothwell which once produced 90% of the world’s rhubarb through winter forcing sheds. Err… or something like that anyway, you can read more about that over on Wikipedia. Basically, there’s a lot of rhubarb around up here. Matt and I mess around with pickles quite a lot at home. They’re surprisingly easy to make and they add a different flavour dimension to a dish. Usually it’s cucumber or carrots for Vietnamese sandwiches, or red onions for cold meats. I wanted to do a pickle for this recipe because at the time of my demo we were right in the midst of the summer, it was warm and a hot, steaming pudding straight from the oven wasn’t really appealing to me. Something sharp and zingy to cut through all the richness of the ice cream is something that can split opinion, but I figured it was my last dish – go big or go home.

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I want to post more about pickling and preserving here on Whip Until Fluffy. It’s something I’ve been slowly getting into since around last Christmas, after my husband bought me a crate of quilted Ball jars and an instruction manual called Canning for a New Generation. But the basics are: the longer you leave things to steep, the better, and if you’re intending to keep stuff longer than a day or two, sterilise your jars. I do this but putting the jar (and the lid) in a hot dishwasher cycle just before I plan to use them, but you can do it with boiling water or even a microwave.

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This ice cream is a standard custard base which you need to cook through on the hob before churning and freezing. When it comes to ice cream, personally I don’t think you can’t really get by without a maker. You can make sorbets and granitas, anything with an icier consistency, but a machine is 100% necessary to achieve the velvety smooth texture you want from an ice cream. I recently bought a KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment, which is a little pricey and makes two quarts instead of the standard one, but I survived for a few years with this Kenwood £24.99 jobby.

Ready to roll? Let’s go!

Yorkshire Tea Ice Cream with Rhubarb Pickle (makes 6-8 portions)

nb. the reason I use golden caster sugar instead of regular is simply because I prefer the flavour – especially in the ice cream. It adds a deeper, caramelised flavour to the final product, but this recipe will work just as well with normal caster or even granulated sugar.

For the Pickle:

1 Stem of Rhubarb, chopped into rough cubes
½ Cup of Water
½ Cup of White Wine Vinegar
½ Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
½ Cup of Golden Caster Sugar
1 tsp Black Pepper Corns
½ tsp Whole Cloves

For the Ice Cream:

1 Cup of Whole Milk
2 Cups of Double Cream
⅔ Cup of Golden Caster Sugar
6 Yorkshire Gold Tea Bags
5 Egg Yolks
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1. In a medium sized pan, heat the water for the pickle over a low heat. When it’s steaming but not quite boiling, add the vinegars and then dump in the sugar. Whisk it a little to distribute the sugar into to the water and help it dissolve. Throw in the peppercorns and cloves and bring to the boil. Let the mix boil for around a minute, then take the pan off the heat.

2. Throw in the chopped rhubarb and let sit for 30 seconds. Use a spoon to transfer the rhubarb to a sterilised jar, then top up with the pickling liquid. Seal and set aside for later.

3. Clean your medium pan and put it back on the hob, add the milk and cream for the ice cream. Next, whisk in the sugar. Use a low heat and keep an eye on it, never letting it boil. When the milk is steaming, take the pan off the heat and add the teabags to the milk. Leave to steep for 20 minutes.

4. When the milk mix is strong enough (it’ll be a light caramel colour), remove the teabags and place it back over a low heat to warm. Separate your eggs and whisk the yolks together in the bowl with the vanilla extract. When the milk is steaming again, add two tbsp of the milk to your egg mix, whisking quickly to incorporate. Add a little more of the milk mix, a few spoonfuls at a time until about half is mixed through. Add the rest and give it a good whisk.

5. Transfer to the pan and place back on the heat. You need to stay with it, stirring constantly over a medium heat, scraping the sides of the pan, until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the back of a spoon – if in doubt, stick with it, it may take 10-15 minutes, but you’ll know when it starts to thicken properly.

nb. If you taste your custard at this point, it’s going to be very sweet, very creamy and very eggy. Don’t let this worry you. The freezer dulls its flavour, so think about how sweet you want it to be as a finished product, and turn it up by half again.

6. Strain the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps and place in the fridge to cool. It needs at least 4-6 hours to get to the right temperature.

7. Churn and freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions – I churned once and transferred to a clip top tupperware container. Place it back into the freezer for 2-3 hours to firm up. At this point, take your rhubarb pickle and taste it. Adjust with a little more sugar, vinegar or spice to suit.

8. Remove from the fridge 10-15 minutes before serving for the perfect consistency. Serve a single scoop of Yorkshire Tea ice cream in a small bowl with a tbsp of rhubarb pickle drizzled over the top.

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I served single scoops of this stuff in Le Creuset Ramekins. I have some myself at home and they’re a good size for individual dessert portions, and anything like dips or sauces – a little deeper than your standard ramekin. They’re completely oven proof up to 260ºc so they’re perfect for little chocolate fondants, bread and butter puddings and baked cheesecakes. You can buy them in sets of two for £16.

So that concludes my Yorkshire Day menu. Thanks for sticking with me! I was so pleased with how the cookery demo went, and I’ve had news since that they may be having me back around Christmas time. If so, I’ll be sure to let you guys know so you can get on the guest list. On a bit of a self-reflective note, I really surprised myself with my organisational and public speaking skills and I learned a lot about what I’m capable of. I’d love to do more of this kind of thing in the future. I just want to say a quick thank you to Le Creuset themselves, especially Nick, Mark and Sam from the Leeds store, the Victoria Quarter who helped set up this lovely event, as well as all the ladies who attended and the wonderful Jen for taking my photos for me. Please click through to some of the posts below to see what other people thought!

Lorna: Yorkshire Day with Le Creuset
Kathryn: Cooking with Le Creuset
Amy Liz: Yorkshire Day with Le Creuset

Disclaimer: I’m working as Le Creuset Leeds’ blogger ambassador. As laid out in this post, I adore the brand and have plunged much of my hard earned cash into building my collection, long before Whip Until Fluffy was even a twinkle in my eye. In exchange for cooking for some bloggers on Yorkshire Day, the brand offered me a handsome discount on future purchases (and a fantastic experience!) – but no gifts or payments were exchanged for this, or any other, post.

RARE, Leeds

Rare3

Uncommon Excellence is what RARE is all about. I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what that means. My guess is that Rare think they’re something special, a little something out of the ordinary, if you will. They class themselves as refined, but not fine dining. They want to offer the people of Leeds something we can’t get elsewhere in the city. Apparently that includes comfortable surroundings, value for money, generous portions and knowledgable, enthusiastic staff.

The dinner menu is simple. A whole chicken for two, pork belly, lamb sausages, game pie and a burger. The crowning glory is one mammoth porterhouse steak to share between two. For £60. That’s £60, folks. I’ll come back to that later.

I was invited down to RARE for the second of its two preview nights. Between the three of us, we ended up ordering one steak and one burger. On top of that we shared the full range of starters (three of them) and a lot of sides. Oh and we finished off with both puddings. Why not, eh? All in the name of research. Let me run you through it.

Rare4Spicy Tamworth Pork Belly Ribs £7.50 served with red cabbage and beetroot pickle
Rare6Potted Smoked Duck £6 served with grilled sour dough toasts and date, fig and apple chutney
Rare5Yorkshire Pudding £4 served with beef, onion and porter gravy

My favourite of the starter line up was the Potted Duck. I’m a sucker for any meat-based spread and this was good, with a thick layer of duck fat sealing in the meat, crisp sourdough and spicy chutney. As always with paté there wasn’t enough bread, so I opted to fork the rest of the stuff straight out of the jar into my mouth. The duck itself could have been chunkier, the consistency was straddling rough and smooth a bit uncomfortably, committing to neither, but the flavour was good and I would definitely go back for more. The Yorkshires were crispy and fluffy, just as they should be. We opted for gravy and as we were sharing we ended up ripping and dunking. The gravy itself was a touch on the bitter side for me and went cold pretty quickly in its little ramekin. I wish we’d opted for the “warm Yorkshire blue cheese sauce” instead. Finally, I’m ashamed to say that the pork ribs were none of my business. I’m not the biggest fan of fatty pork cuts (sacrilege, I know!) but they smelled great, glistened with meaty juices and I’m informed by my friend Nicola (a self-confessed pork fanatic), they were very satisfying with the red cabbage and beetroot pickle providing a sharp, tangy accompaniment to cut through the fat.

Rare1010 oz Longhorn Beef Burger £13.50 minced in house and served with baby gem lettuce, heritage tomatoes, dill pickle, red onion rings, swaledale cheese, beetroot and horseradish relish, triple cooked chips, wholegrain mustard and celeriac coleslaw

My perfect beef burger consists of a big, juicy patty, the kind that’s pink in the middle and oozes clear juices all down your chin when you bite into it. I like toppings. Cheese is always good. A bit of lettuce is a must. I like something a bit different, a sauce or a relish, but the right quantities are very important. The RARE burger ticks a lot of these boxes. The textures are near perfect. The bun was of a crusty, chewy persuasion that some burger snobs may look down on for taking up valuable stomach space, but I loved it. My only complaint was that the beetroot and horseradish relish, though it was nicely sweet and crunchy, overpowered the rest of the flavours so that the layers of tomatoes, pickles, onions and cheese were just textures in my mouth instead of distinct tastes. Having said that, I’d probably order it again.

Rare91Kg Longhorn Porterhouse Steak £60 seasoned with oak smoked sea salt, to share

The steak arrived a little more on the medium side than the medium rare we’d asked for but the meat was still tender. Porterhouse is a notoriously difficult cut to grill evenly, made up of the strip steak and the fillet which cook at different speeds. If you ask me, that’s quite a big risk to take for £60 of your hard earned cash. Considering the rest of the mains are reasonably priced (the next expensive dish on the menu is the chicken to share for £24) it seems strange for RARE to position themselves side by side price-wise with some of Britain’s best steak restaurants. At Hawksmoor in London, for example, the porterhouse comes in at £7 per 100g and foodies go to great lengths to get there. With Crafthouse just around the corner offering cuts from renowned butcher Ginger Pig at similar prices, even in Leeds the bar is set high. And whilst purists might sniff at anything more than a bit of salt and pepper with their slab, at £60 I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a few sauces to choose from. By the time you order a couple of sides, you’re talking £35 a head before drinks even come into it. The restaurant claims to offer both “uncommon excellence” and “rare value”, but as a showpiece main course the steak provides neither.

Let’s talk sides. DELICIOUS CHIPS. These chips are really good. They’re just the right thickness, neither chunky nor skinny. They’re like chip shop chips and they’re triple fried too. Swooooon. I could eat them all day, forever. They’re crispy and fluffy because as I understand it, this is what the triple frying method is all about. I’m into it. They’re £3.50, order lots. Root veg and onions rings were nice extras but offered nothing different of note. Honestly, it’s all about the chips.

Rare12Sticky Cinder Toffee Pudding £6 with Cox ice cream and toffee sauce

Rare11Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding £6 served with vanilla custard

The two puddings on offer are exactly the choices you’d expect to find accompanying the traditional English comfort food at RARE. While both the sticky toffee and bread & butter puddings went down a treat, I can’t help but feel that they were somewhat of an after thought. The cinder toffee leant a lovely burnt flavour, a good match for this time of year and I respect the decision to go with an apple icecream when a vanilla would have done just fine. It’s icy tartness cut through the stickiness of the pudding excellently. The bread and butter came with a gloriously frothy custard that came slathered over the pudding rather messily – I’d have preferred a little jug, but I guess that’s nitpicking. Overall the sweets were good, definitely nothing to turn your nose up at, but I can’t help but think of several other eateries within walking distance who could serve you a more satisfying version.

The wine we had to accompany our meal was a Syrah which cost £17.95. It was good, clearly high quality and a great match for the big meaty dishes on offer, but with the next choice for red at over £20, it would have been nice to see a few more affordable options. Other restaurants I’ve been to around Leeds (Dish & Shears Yard, for example) certainly have a wider choice under the £20 mark, so I was a little disappointed with the selection.

Let’s not forget, this place is a bar too. You’re led downstairs to eat,  into a den-like room with exposed brickwork, rope lighting and a massive stuffed cow called Sue. It’s a lovely atmosphere to eat in, and that means that upstairs is dedicated purely to drinks. The bar menu looks pretty damn promising. Sticking to wine on the night, I didn’t try any of the bar’s cocktails but just a quick skim of the menu made me promise myself I’d go back soon. I’m very much looking forward to this place as an addition to the nightlife scene, somewhere a little different to go to avoid the scrum (RARE have promised to limit standing room which should make for a more comfortable Saturday night atmosphere than the usual Call Lane haunts) and maybe grab a late bite from the Supper Menu.

If you live in Leeds, this place is a reliable shout for indulgent food cooked well. Whilst the quality is high, excitement isn’t. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, RARE isn’t it. Nothing about this place screams uncommon excellence to me, but that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. You’ll no doubt leave rubbing your belly and feeling satisfied, just the way I did. Choose well and it can be good value for money. It’s just a shame about their mission statement.

RARE Lamberts Yard 163 Lower Briggate Leeds LS1 6LY | 0113 246 7013 | @eatdrinkrare

Disclaimer: RARE invited me down to try their food menu free of charge.