(The Majeka way. Gilt frames are the way to go if one must have a TV in the bedroom)
Max survived his first night without us. In fact I doubt he even knew we were gone, having been looked after by an oh-so-efficient combination of Mary Poppins and Mrs Doubtfire. In her typically no-nonsense fashion Mary told me to leave the puppy and stop being neurotic.
So upon arriving at Majeka House in Stellenbosch, I was sorely in need of decent bubbly and good company. Of which there was plenty. It's been a while ( 4 years to be exact) since I was invited to a media sleepover, and I'd forgotten how much fun it could be. Nothing like a 5* establishment to quickly get back into the swing of things. Staying at Majeka House (recommended and described by Conde Nast Traveller as 'a sleek , modern affordable boutique hotel' , and they should know) is like staying at the residence of fabulously wealthy friends. And having them spoil you rotten. Friends whose estate includes a spectacular health spa, indoor swimming pool, and hundreds of rose bushes. A home where a high thread count and lashings of Moyo bath products are taken for granted. A home with a private chef who finds her inspiration in France in the kitchen of a Michelin starred chef and who create the most fabulous dishes for you. Dinner on this particular Friday night was a 5-course tasting menu with specially selected wine, served at a long table narrow table under twinkling black chandeliers. Hosts Lloyd van der Merwe and Karine Dequeker-Van der Merwe are warm and entertaining hosts who know how to throw a good party. And having eaten way too well and too much, I admitted to being on a Non-Diet and Karine confessed to eating ice-cream every day. Well not even I would go that far. So she shared the secret and promised to send me the recipe.
Anyway, yesterday Karine sent me the ice-cream recipe, which I made this afternoon, having gone to the health shop to buy the Xylotol and Guar Gum. I've not told Jacques about the scary ingredients, but I'm hoping he'll not know the difference. I've tried it, and while I thought I'd still prefer Haagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry's, which I do, because ice-cream is meant to be sinful and decadent, I am rather surprised by this one. I just won't be eating that much of it. And that kind of freaks me out. Why does ice-cream lose it's appeal when it's not fattening? Or am I afraid of the Xylotol - which is only a Birch Bark extract after all? It's not even full of chemicals and according to Wikipedia it also has only marginally less calories than sugar... 9.6 calories per teaspoon as opposed to 15 for sugar. So why bother you might ask? Because this ice-cream is really good - a smooth custardy vanilla ice-cream. And because now that I've learned to make it, I'll do it again. Because I'm becoming quite the Kitchen Goddess...
Here is Karine's recipe for ' the magic diet ice cream' :
500ml low fat or fat free milk
3 vanilla pods / or essence
4 egg yolk
80g of Xylotol
Pinch of guar flour
Can find both Xylotol and Guar flour in pharmacies or health shops
Heat the milk & vanilla until close to boiling, meantime whisk until almost white the xylotol, egg yolk and guar flour.
Once the milk is about to boil, pour a little of it over the egg mixture and whisk to avoid the eggs to cook, pour this back onto the rest of the milk and leave on the heat whilst it thickens. Once it is thick like a “crème anglaise”, let it cool, then place it for ½ hour in the fridge, followed by ½ in the freezer and then in your ice cream machine for another ½ hour.
You can also add 80% chocolate to the milk to keep it healthy, or nuts, whole fruits, fruit compote at the end of the freezing process.