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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Re-Inventing the Lamington 2010

You'd be forgiven for taking us Australians as a bunch of tightarses. Our favourite biscuit is basically oats stuck together with butter and sugar, our favourite spread is something we need never fear of having to share with others when living overseas, we fry up a few onions, tomatoes and other basic staples and try and pass it off as chicken (albeit with a nomenclatural disclaimer), and one of our most beloved desserts is a way to use up old cake.

Yes, lamingtons. They're an Australian institution, along with the good old fashioned Lamington Drive. At least once a year my primary school would give out a Lamington Drive form to take home and bug (twist the rubber arms of) my parents and extended family members  for money to order lamingtons (and apple pies, for some reason) from some mysterious lamington and apple pie factory. We would then send in the form and money and patiently wait for that special delivery day when we would go home from school laden with piles of boxes filled with lashings of lamingtons, happy in the knowledge that our lamington greed was benefiting the P&F Association of the school to do... something... hopefully they weren't using the proceeds to purchase lamingtons for their meetings.

According to Wikipedia, lamingtons are named after Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington, who served as the Governor of Queensland from 1896 to 1901.
Lord Lamington later referred to these cakey treats as "those bloody poofy woolly biscuits". His other claim to fame is shooting dead a sleeping koala whilst travelling through a proposed national park. Clearly not a fan of woolly things, nor a particularly top bloke. 

Unpleasant etymology aside, I echo the sentiments of my brother who, when very young, wrote "lamintons are yum" on one of the blank notes pages in the back of my Mum's CWA Cookery Book. They are yum, even if somewhat difficult to spell, but I have a confession to make -. I really mainly enjoy eating the outside bits and then suffer through eating the inner cake because I don't want to be wasteful. So, when Mr. P of Delicious Delicious Delicious put out a call for any interested parties to take part in an exercise in reinventing the lamington, with the lure of winning a Welsh dragon shaped cookie cutter for your troubles, I saw this as my opportunity to take the dry cake out of the equation and replace it with something much more fitting at this time of year - homemade ice cream.

I will also pounce on any opportunity to Cherry-Ripe-ify any recipe I can. This wasn't too much of a stretch, as lamingtons involve chocolate and coconut, so we just need to add cherries to the mix and we've got some Cherry Ripe action going on. Also, Cherry Ripe is Australia's oldest chocolate bar, so it adds even more Aus to the creation. I can only hope that it wasn't named after the Duke of Cherry Ripe who was known to slaughter bilbies for sport.

So, lamington ice cream is was to be, with some cherries thrown in for good measure. I decided to make a cherry chocolate ice cream, form it into cubes and then coat them in chocolate and coconut. Luckily I didn't put too much thought into the logistics of this prior to getting stuck into the task, otherwise I don't think I would have taken it on.

You see, it is one of life's cruel ironies that it is pretty much impossible to make ice cream in the middle of a Perth heatwave. The day when I absolutely had to make the ice cream was the first of two days over 42 degrees C (108 F) and my poor little ice cream maker just wasn't up to the task. This was also my first attempt at ever making ice cream (thanks Panamahat for my exciting ice cream maker Christmas pressie!), so when my mixture failed to turn into thick, creamy ice cream I was unsure about what to do. The instruction manual informed me "if after 40 minutes the mixture is not yet solid or has thawed again, do not continue" but failed to say what to do apart from not continuing. So, I just stuck the mixture in the freezer, crossed my fingers it would not go too icy, and went to bed. As it turns out, it was a little icy, but you could distract yourself from this with the cherries and chocolate overload of the finished dessert.

Cherry Chocolate Ice Cream

1 1/3 cups full cream milk
2 cups thickened cream
1 vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
4 egg yolks

 Freeze your egg whites for later use or until you run out of freezer space and crayfish take precedence

110 g caster sugar
100 g roughly chopped dark chocolate
12 cherries, pitted and roughly chopped

Rest assured this was thoroughly and repeatedly tested for poison

1. Heat the milk, cream, vanilla bean and seeds in a saucepan until almost boiling.
2. In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined.

3. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture until well combined.
4. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and cook over a low heat, without allowing to boil, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
5. Either fish out the vanilla bean or strain the mixture into a bowl if you have any random chunks of the pod floating around.
6. Allow to cool at room temperature for 10 minutes until placing the bowl in the fridge to chill for several hours.
7. Place mixture, chocolate and cherries in ice cream maker and follow the instructions for your machine.

 After 40 minutes of fighting the good fight against the heat of my kitchen

Once the ice cream had finally solidified, I took it out of the freezer and mushed it up a bit to ensure that the chocolate and cherries were well distributed (they had sunk to the bottom while the ice cream was freezing) and then placed it in a square container so that I would end up with four somewhat cubic shapes. After refreezing it, I cut it into fourths and began the chocolate and coconut coating process. I tend to swear perhaps a little too much at the best of times, and this really stretched my vocabulary. Who'd have thought it would be somewhat of a challenge to coat frozen/melting ice cream in chocolate and then coat it in coconut before the cool of the icecream hardens the chocolate, all whilst making it look pretty and not getting too much melted chocolate and coconut all over the kitchen? Sadly I have no photos at all of this process as I only have two hands, both of which were busy and messy, but I wish I'd thought to take a photo of my kitchen table after all was said and done. It was a work of art.

Oy vey! Enough with the complaining already! Was the finished product worth it? Oh yes, it was. Before the grand unveiling however, I primed my friends' stomachs with some salad and a little homemade pizza..

 Pre-lamington pizzas - pesto chicken, sweet potato, caramelised onion and goat cheese (also with rocket but not shown); zucchini, roasted red capsicum, portobello mushroom, kalamata, caramelised onion and bocconcini

Finally, it was time. May I present to you.... my contestant in the 2010 Lamington Reinvention Stakes.... Cherry Ripe Lamington Ice Cream!

These babies are pretty massive, and we could only get through half each before admitting total defeat (perhaps the pizza priming was a mistake). My friend S suggested that they would be great in bite-sized portions that I could make using large ice cube trays, which I think is an excellent idea.

Thanks for instigating this challenge Mr. P! I declare you to be an honourary Australian. From this day forward please look upon Fosters with scorn, randomly shorten the names of things (why don't we call them lamos? We should be eating lamos in the arvo for our smoko), use the phrase "yeah nah" at least once in every conversation, lay claim to people and things that you have only the most tenuous of links to (no, Aussie media, just because she had the misfortune of once being engaged to Lleyton Hewitt, she is not "Aussie Kim Clijsters") and most importantly, choose which team you belong to - yob or wanker.

Mr. P is actually in the midst of a 10 day lamington reinvention marathon, and so far he's come up with some impressive goods - check out his creations (and naked Kewpie, ooh!) at Delicious Delicious Delicious, where he'll also be posting a lamington reinvention roundup on the big day - Australia Day, 26 January.

Speaking of Australia Day, I'll be spending mine playing spot-the-Southern-Cross-tattoo at the Australian Open. Woot! I'm heading east to Melbourne on Monday, and doubt I'll get any more posts out before then, so Happy Australia Day to you all!!


Iron Chef Shellie January 21, 2010 at 4:13 PM  

1 please!!
This reminds me to get my lamington on on tuesday!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 21, 2010 at 6:39 PM  

I just ate one half of the Cherry Ripe you sent me last night so am pleased to see more of the stuff here! LOVE LOVE LOVE your reinvention and glad to see someone else if thinking outside the box also. Mine (if they work) might offend traditional "lamo lovers". I think the idea of bitesized ones is lovely!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 21, 2010 at 7:01 PM  

This is brilliant Conor! Haha I was wondering where the ice cream came into it when I saw the first pic. We both have lamingtons on the mind I think ;)

penny aka jeroxie January 21, 2010 at 7:44 PM  

Bring some down? heh
Hope to see you next Thursday..
btw, check this out - http://peaslovecarrots.blogspot.com/2010/01/reinventing-lamington-cake-lambington_15.html

isabelle January 21, 2010 at 9:38 PM  

These look delicious, especially with the cherry ice cream! I love lamington!

NikiTheo January 21, 2010 at 9:53 PM  

I have been seeing Lamington's everywhere for the last week or so and I had never seen them bfore now! I'm so intrigued and can't wait to try one. And I def think that chocolate cherry chopped up mix needed trying for poison, and I would have been more than happy to been a tester!!!!
And the pizza looked delicious!

Simply Life January 21, 2010 at 9:54 PM  

wow what a beautiful presentation! looks sooo good!

Anonymous January 21, 2010 at 11:00 PM  

A fabulous creation! Chocolate and cherry is my favorite dessert combo, yum!

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz January 21, 2010 at 11:29 PM  

I know of Lamingtons but not sure I ever ate a proper one, not a Quebec thing. but your recipe look awesome. I got an ice cream machine too a year ago and LOVE IT, you will go nuts. yep just pop it in the freezer after 40 min. Oh and too funny about Baron Lamington's comment hehe

Pam January 22, 2010 at 12:47 AM  

I've never had a lamington before but this looks so fabulous. I love the huge chunks of chocolate and cherries in the ice cream. The pizza looks mighty tasty too.

Anonymous January 22, 2010 at 1:50 AM  

What a great idea! I love chocolate and cherries together-what a perfect combination!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 22, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

Iron Chef Shellie - Well, there IS one left in the freezer. I suspect I may be feeling a little peckish after work tonight though..

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite - heh, good to hear you're eking them out :) Thank you!!! I used to be offended by the ones with cream in them, but I think those days are behind me now. Looking forward to seeing yours!!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - Thank you! The ice cream is lying dormant in the first pic, waiting for a particularly strong person to smash through the particularly firm chocolate. There are worse things to have on the mind :)

penny aka jeroxie - hmmmm, may be possible with dry ice ;) Looking forward to seeing you! And that lamBington is totally freakin awesome.

isabelle - Thank you! They were quite tasty :)

NikiTheo - Oh good I'm glad you approve of my poison checking - you can never be too safe you know. Thank you :)

Simply Life - thanks so much!

5 Star Foodie - Thank you! Me too :)

Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz - thanks :) Yes I can see a future of ice cream and sorbet madness stretching before me.......

Pam - thank you! Yes I think it's important to be generous with chunks in ice cream. Perhaps I shouldn't have tested quite so much of the cherry/choc mix...

Megan - Thanks! It's a hard combination to beat :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 22, 2010 at 8:17 AM  

Ah but Conor you are CLEARLY too young to remember when there used to be dark AND milk chocolate CRs. Wrapped in foil and with a paper wrapping - light blue for milk and red for dark choc. See, I am showing my age now. PS: Neil is VVVVV jealous of your Aussie Open-going...

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 22, 2010 at 8:27 AM  

I'd love to smarmily retort that of course I remember such things, but ermm... I don't. Did you know that they reintroduced the milk chocolate version, and a "double dipped" version not very long ago? Not sure if they're still available. And tell Neil I'll have some extra fun for him, and maybe an extra overpriced beer too :)

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 22, 2010 at 8:29 AM  

Sigh. I am such a grandma.

Chef Fresco January 22, 2010 at 9:43 AM  

Haha at least you guys have lots of nutella! And these things look super tasty!

Belle@Ooh, Look January 22, 2010 at 9:46 AM  

Haha, I couldn't stop laughing when reading this, it's brilliant! Did you know that Lord Lamington's chef (who invented the lamington) was French? Wonder if milord thought he was poofy as well?

Jo January 22, 2010 at 2:42 PM  

Wow, that looks awesome!

My friends and I play "spot-the-Southern-Cross-tattoo" at all the big Summer festivals (Summadayze etc.)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM  

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite - a melodramatic one at that ;)

Chef Fresco - oh god don't make me think of Nutella at afternoon-tea-o'clock! Thanks!

Belle@Ooh, Look - cheers mate! Ahh, no I was not aware of that. I'm sure he was a particularly Aussie Frenchie though, right? ;) I bet milord did indeed think such things. I suspect milord was ermm... repressed in some way.

Jo - Thanks! It's a game that is getting easier and easier to play. (and totally not worth playing in Bali.. it's like shooting fish in a barrel)

Agnes January 22, 2010 at 2:54 PM  

Conor, this is fantastic! You could kick start a whole new lamington craze.

I'm thinking TV ads - No lamo ice cream on Australia day? That's un-Australian!

mademoiselle délicieuse January 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM  

This is great stuff! Best of luck in the competition with the slightly unusual prize and have a great time in Melbourne!! =)

Ange January 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM  

These look sensational, I want one NOW but afraid I am too lazy to attempt them myself - good luck in the competition

Trissa January 22, 2010 at 4:10 PM  

I thought - why would you want to re-invent the lamington?!?! then I read the rest of your post and you proved me wrong. It looks delicious - love the combination.

A cupcake or two January 22, 2010 at 6:42 PM  

What a great way to jazz up the good ol lamington. Its cherry season, they are so plump and gorgeous. I want a slice of this please.

Karine January 22, 2010 at 9:04 PM  

I first learned about lamington a while ago while reading a blog... I definitively need to go to Australia to have one! :)

Kitchen Butterfly January 23, 2010 at 6:21 AM  

Oh Conor, what a terrific idea.
I have decided that no birthday party will be complete without lamingtons and so....it will be! Since I discovered the Lamington.....like , ehmmmm , ehmmm, a week and a bit ago (what planet have I been on, and I claim to want to emigrate to Oz...hmmmm), we've had them...OFTEN. My daughters have become addicted and we've had fresh strawberry lamingtons, Marshmallow lamingtons and the traditional cake ones. Tomorrow, I'm making some cupcakes again, for lamingtons!!!! Results next week.

Mr. P January 23, 2010 at 7:19 AM  


Spoiler - I did frozen ones too. Day 9 I think. But yours are better! :)

Can't wait for the round up! thanks for getting involved. I am honoured to be honourary! :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef January 23, 2010 at 8:33 AM  

Agnes - Thank you! Oh yes, excellent, perhaps we could get Slammin' Sam Kekovich involved. I'll remember you when I'm famous, I swear!

mademoiselle délicieuse - Thanks!! I really think I have no chance, given Mae's incredible lamBingtons, but it was fun and tasty. Thanks! I'm so excited about the jaunt :D

Ange - Cheers!! Oh god no, don't make them now if you're hanging out for one, you'll go crazy with frustration. Still, I am sure you could go a quick version with readymade ice cream, melted chocolate and coconut. Thank you!

Trissa - I know, I used to be a staunch 'lamingtons must adhere to certain guidelines' person but after seeing the cool creations coming out of this little contest I think I'm a changed girl. Thank you :)

A cupcake or two - Thanks! Yes cherries are beautiful and juicy and messy right now. Coming right up!

Karine - Yes, it must really be enjoyed in Australia to be fully appreciated, start packing now. It's hot, just bring your swimmers and a towel :)

Kitchen Butterfly - thanks! Oh wow, this is so cool! You've turned into a bunch of lamington fiends :D I think you and your daughters also deserve honorary Aussie status. Cupcake lamingtons? I can't wait!

Mr. P - Oooh I can't wait to see the frozen ones. Are you going to do a Welsh version? With leeks? :D Oh and my pleasure! Thanks so much for doing this, it's been fantastic to see what people are coming up with, and you've inspired so much international lamington love! Woo!

Ladybird January 23, 2010 at 5:41 PM  

That looks AWESOME! Very Aussie and perfect on a hot day :)

Andrea@WellnessNotes January 24, 2010 at 7:31 AM  

I learned so much from reading this post! Your ice cream looks AMAZING! And now I really want dessert! :)

Arwen from Hoglet K January 24, 2010 at 2:40 PM  

You know my mum calls her baking tins "large lamo" and "small lamo" which is supposed to be short for lamington pan. Your lamingon icecream looks fantastic, even if the guy it's named after isn't a top bloke.

pierre January 24, 2010 at 4:43 PM  

these guys down under they are crazy but have good taste !!! I adopt the Lamingtons !! Cheers from Paris Pierre

Hannah January 24, 2010 at 11:12 PM  

I think I am in love. Thank you for sharing this most delicious invention, Conor.

H :)

Mr. P January 25, 2010 at 6:15 AM  

'Freeze your egg whites for later use or until you run out of freezer space and crayfish take precedence'

Kitchen wisdom indeed.

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge January 25, 2010 at 7:05 AM  

Hey they look so impressive!!! Never would have thought to replace the cake with ice-cream, let alone cherry ripe inspired ice cream....too delicious. Now you must turn you powers of cherry-ripening onto brussel sprouts!!

Velva January 25, 2010 at 10:04 AM  

Wow! At first you had me smiling as I read your post about the Austrailians being 'tight arses' and spread that you would never have to share with people overseas...might you be talking about Veggie Mite?
Suddenly, the lamingtons made with ice cream-just beautiful. I loved it.

Great blog post.

Trisha January 25, 2010 at 10:32 AM  

This is awesome! This is awesome awesome awesome!!! First time I've been here Conor but I'm falling off my chair already.... what a great way of reinventing the lamington!!!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail January 25, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

Wow, that lamington looks bloody fantastic! :)

I hear you about struggling to take photos of the process, especially when it involves two hands!

Hope you enjoy the tennis!

SilverMoon Dragon January 25, 2010 at 2:31 PM  

As someone who has tried making chocolate coated ice cream balls, I feel your pain. And yeah, cherry ripe ice cream is teh awesomeness.

I made some once with some of those Shake 'n' Drink Cadbury Supashakes in Cherry Ripe flavour, and it was soo good. Then Cadbury took the drinks off the market. I hate when that happens.

Great lamos mate ;)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 25, 2010 at 5:11 PM  

LOL I watched the youtube video you sent me Conor-hilarious! Love it! :D

Karen Harris January 26, 2010 at 10:38 AM  

What a fun post. Your Lamingtons look delicious.

Mae January 27, 2010 at 5:57 AM  

Conor, I love this!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite January 30, 2010 at 2:16 AM  

Here are mine - I think you missed them in your Australian Open daze!


Conor @ HoldtheBeef February 1, 2010 at 11:40 PM  

Ladybird - Thank you! I try to be a good little Aussie :)

Andrew@WellnessNotes - Excellent :) Thanks very much! Go have some! :D

Arwen from Hoglet K - ahhh, your mother sounds like a wise lady indeed. Thanks mate :)

pierre - hehe, perhaps we are Pierre, perhaps we are.

Hannah - Oooh, and just in time for Valentine's Day too! I think they're still single :D thank you!

Mr. P - crayfish always wins. The end. Although, I guess you could do the two birds thing and make crayfish egg white omelettes? Or something?

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge - Thanks!! Errrmmmm.... yes, yes, shall get onto that post haste. In winter, perhaps. Hrmmm.

Velva - Ahh yes you recognised our lovely spread correctly, Vegemite is our magical delicious little toy we like to scare non-Aussies with ;) Thanks so much! :)

Trisha - Oh wow, thank you! Triple awesome? I'm stoked!

Rilsta @ My Food Trail - cheers!! There's an untapped genetic engineering business for third hands for food bloggers. Tennis was awesome, totally missing it now. Bring on 2011!

SilverMoon Dragon - oooooh, chocolate coated ice cream balls. Anything is better in balls :D Can you still get the Cherry Ripe ice cream sauce? That stuff was brilliant. I swear there are so many things that I seem to be the only person to buy, and they disappear never to be seen again. Cheers :D

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella - HAHA! So glad you liked it! I think it's hilarious! Tee hee :D

Karen Harris - thank you!!

Mae - oh thanks! Still loving your lambies!

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite - cheers mate! Just catching up on reading now, back in Perth and trying to pretend I'm still on holidays, somehow...sigh... love the macingtons :D

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My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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