tomato, eschalot and basil salad,rum babas with rum and raisin ice cream

tomato, eschalot and  basil salad

Serves 8
1/3 cup (80ml)extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs sherry vinegar
1/4  tsp caster sugar
3 large ox-heart tomatoes* orvine-ripened tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 eschalot, thinly sliced
6-8 basil leaves, shredded

Whisk together oil, sherry vinegar and sugar. Season to taste and set aside. Arrange tomato, eschalot and basil on a plate, sprinkle over dressing and serve. * From selected greengrocers and farmers markets.
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rum babas with rum and  raisin ice cream
Makes 8
Begin the ice cream a day ahead.
125g plain flour
1 1/4 tsp dried instant yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
70 ml milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
35g softened unsalted butter Icing sugar, to dust

Rum syrup
250 g caster sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/3  cup (80ml) dark rum
Rum and raisin ice cream
[makes about 1L)
100g raisins
1/3cup (80ml) dark rum
600ml milk
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped
6 egg yolks
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
600ml thickened cream
1 tsp good quality vanilla extract

For the ice cream, place raisins and rum in a small bowl, cover and soak at room temperature overnight. Meanwhile, place the milk and vanilla pods in a saucepan and bring to just below boiling point. Remove from heat and stand for 30 minutes to infuse. Place egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds in an electric mixer and beat for 3 minutes or until thick and pale. Bring the infused milk back to just below boiling point, then strain into egg yolk mixture and beat until well combined. Strain the egg yolk mixture into a clean saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 3-4minutes until the mixture lightly coats the back of a wooden spoon - do not let the mixture boil or it will scramble. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla extract.

Cover and chill overnight. The next day, stir soaked raisins and any soaking rum into the custard, then churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions. Alternatively, pour into a shallow container and freeze for 2 hours or until frozen at the edges. Remove from freezer, beat with electric beaters, then return to the freezer fora further 2 hours. Repeat 2-3 times until smooth. Transfer ice cream to a container, cover and freeze until firm. Meanwhile, sift the flour, yeast, caster sugar and his tsp salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Gently warm milk over low heat, then pour into the well and beat with a wooden spoon until combined. Beat in the egg to make a smooth, sticky dough.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Melt 25g butter, then use half to brush 8 holes of a muffin pan. Chill until set. Brush pan again with the remaining melted butter and chill again until set. Uncover dough, then add remaining 10g butter and beat well for 1 minute or until smooth, yet sticky. Divide mixture into 8 portions, then roll into balls using lightly greased hands. Place in the greased muffin holes and stand in a warm place for 15 minutes until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Bake the babas for 8-10 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slightlyin the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

 Meanwhile, for the rum syrup, combine sugar and 'I cup (250ml) water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3 minutes or until the syrup thickens slightly. Pour into a bowl and stir in lemon juice and rum. Dip the rum babas into the syrup until they feel quite heavy, but are not completely soaked through. Split the rum babas horizontally, place the bases on serving plates then drizzle with a little rum syrup. Place a scoop of rum and raisin ice cream on each base, then replace the rum baba tops. Drizzle with the remaining rum syrup, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

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