Remembering the good old Aussie Milk Bar. The cornerstone of any self respecting city suburb or country town. Mixed businesses usually run by Greek or Italian immigrants. Friendly, communal places where you could pick up the newspaper, a bottle of milk and loaf of bread. Or more importantly a bag of mixed lollies, an ice-cream, hamburger or milkshake. The ultimate after school treat, however, were ice-cream spiders. Available in an array of popular soft drink flavours. Coca Cola, Creaming Soda and Passiona. My favourite? The Red Back Spider. A concoction of vanilla ice-cream, and raspberry syrup muddled together in an icy cold glass. Topped with coca cola. Perched on a stool at the counter, slurping my spider through a candy striped straw I was convinced I would be the envy of my friends.
This weekend we made the most of the unseasonably warm weather with back to back barbecues. A very easy option. For dessert nothing could be simpler than Red Back Spiders. Chilled glasses and bottles of Coca Cola were set out for my guests, together with jars of raspberry coulis, tubs of ice cream and bowls of raspberries. A quick show and tell on how to put it all together and self assembly is the order of the day. A wonderful talking point that puts a smile on everybody’s face.
Nostalgic and a little bit of fun, there really is no set recipe. I like to use a good quality vanilla ice cream with both raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries instead of the more traditional artificial topping. Here’s a quick rundown on how I prepared my Red Back Spiders. As always feel free to improvise or embellish as you like.
For Each Red Back Spider
Use chilled bottles of Coca Cola. Also chill your glasses by placing them in the freezer or refrigerator for up to two hours.
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 tablespoon raspberry coulis (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon fresh raspberries
Up to 200 ml Coca Cola, depending on the size of your glass
PLACE one scoop of ice cream in a chilled glass. Top with raspberry coulis and half a tablespoon of fresh raspberries.
POUR in enough coca cola until the glass is 2/3 full. The mixture will froth and bubble.
ADD another scoop of ice cream and the remaining half a tablespoon of fresh raspberries.
TOP UP the glass with a little more coca cola, taking care not to overfill.
SERVE with a straw and long-handled spoon and extra coca cola on the side.
Makes 3/4 cup
500 g frozen raspberries
1/3 cup caster sugar
finely grated zest of one lemon
PLACE frozen raspberries, lemon zest and sugar into a large non-stick frying pan. Stir to combine.
COOK, stirring often, over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the fruit is very tender. Using a wooden spoon, crush the raspberries until puréed.
REMOVE from heat and set aside to cool. Pass the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to strain, pressing down with the back of a wooden spoon to force the fruit and juices through. Discard the seeds.
TRANSFER the coulis to a glass jar and refrigerate until ready to serve.