Apr 3, 2010

Easter Egg Ice Cream

Over the last 10 years I have learned and indeed written a lot about making ice cream. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that ICE CREAM is a vast subject! Perhaps that's why I enjoy it so much - there is always something new to learn, always a challenge that awaits.

When it comes to Easter, however, I have realised that there is only one truly appropriate homemade ice cream you can make .... Easter egg ice cream.

Chocolate Easter eggs come in all shapes and sizes and the chocolate might be white, dark or milk. My mother, who is 80 this year, recalls fondly the chocolate easter eggs of her childhood. It was 1930s England and they were always milk chocolate eggs, made by Cadbury. Only about 3 inches tall, they had no fancy foil wrapping but were memorable for the tortoise-shell pattern on the outside of the chocolate shell. As one of 9 children, she only got 1 easter egg but relished every bit and there was never any left over in the household!

How times have changed .... today, according to many people I know and from what I have read in the media, there is invariably some Easter egg chocolate left over in the average household .... often because there have simply been too many bought or received as presents. Before the holiday comes to an end, everyone has had more than their fair share of chocolate so an Easter egg or two gets put to one side 'for a rainy day'.

Well, whether you wait for the rain to come or not, just remember that you can always use up that spare Easter egg in some homemade ice cream. My suggestions?

Milk Chocolate Ice Cream

White Chocolate Ice Cream

And if you don't use up all that Easter egg chocolate in making your ice cream, remember you can grate it to use as a fabulous ice cream topping.

Happy Easter .... eggs and all!

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Feb 5, 2010

Ice Cream Photos - Dutch Sundae & Polar Bear Ice Cream

Here are 2 photos that bring back great holiday memories ...


After a warm summer's day on holiday in Zandvoort we called in to a local ice cream parlour where they served this great ice cream sundae.

It never ceases to amaze me how inventive ice cream parlors can be when it comes to concocting ice cream sundaes.

This sundae was particularly delicious as it had one of the parlour's own 'special' ice cream recipes in it called "Dolce Vita" (a superb chocolate ice cream).


This wonderful bear with the ice cream cone was standing right next to our table at the ice cream parlour as we sat and ate our ice cream sundaes.

He looked as happy as we felt!

If the photo is to be believed then at least we now know what ice cream polar bears like to eat ... chocolate and mint choc chip, not forgetting the whipped cream on top of course :)

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Nov 1, 2009

A Chocolate Ice Cream Bath? No It's Mud Running!

When I write about people or places in A Blog Of Ice Cream I often follow up later to check on any additional news.

In September I featured a super little ice cream cabin at Eastnor Castle selling locally made ice cream to the many visitors to the castle and its grounds. You may have read my Castle Ice Cream blog post.

Well, yesterday I read with fascination about Mud Runner 2009 - a special race event held earlier this month at Eastnor. And muddy it definitely was! Some of the runners became so caked in mud that they looked like they'd taken a chocolate ice cream bath!

If you want to see for yourself just how much fun this event is, take a look at this fantastic Mud Runner video gallery.

It was an undeniably tough race but the smiling faces of the runners confirmed it was a really enjoyable and exciting challenge.

So if you're a keen runner and enjoy a challenge, check out the details for next year's Mud Runner event. There are rumours there might even be an earlier Spring Mud Runner too such was the success of the event.

You might yet get to look like a chocolate ice cream!

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Apr 11, 2009

Easter Ice Cream - With Chocolate, Nuts & Honey

Every Easter I'm aware that many of my readers will be thinking of doing some home entertaining or, at the least, a little home cooking. So Easter recipes are high on the agenda for Internet searches around this time of year - and I don't want to disappoint anyone who is looking for ideas!

Last Easter I suggested a rich white chocolate ice cream recipe. Great for using up any white chocolate easter eggs you might have left over. The same applies to milk chocolate too - here is my chocolate ice cream recipe using real milk chocolate. So if your family gets a lot of chocolate this Easter, remember they don't have to eat it all at once - make some ice cream with it or, indeed, keep some of the chocolate until after the holidays and then make ice cream with it. After all, the 'best before' date on chocolate is usually pretty good. In fact I met a chocolatier a couple of years ago who told me that, generally speaking, chocolate can be good for up to as long as a year after it's been made. Even so, you should always check the manufacturer's date on the packaging.

However, I digress .... back to Easter ice cream!

This Easter I'm going to suggest 2 ice cream recipes:

Something 'nutty' - my crunchy pecan & maple syrup ice cream recipe. The reason? It has proven to be one of the most popular with people I know which makes it a pretty good bet for when you have visitors over the holidays.

Something 'sweet' - my honey ice cream recipe. The reason? Most people like honey. It also gives a great texture to the ice cream and, funnily enough, is an ice cream flavor that many people have yet to try. So the reaction to be offered it is usually one of surprise and interest.

Honey is always great to have in your kitchen at Easter anyway - it's delicious served on hot cross buns or scones!

Indeed, if you serve honey in any shape or form over Easter, you might like to share with your guests a few, fascinating facts about the wonderful honey bee. The link I've given is to a great BBC web page - nothing too scientfic or overbearing, just some great information.

Happy Easter ice cream making!

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Aug 25, 2008

Ice Cream Sundae On Holiday

Enjoying an ice cream sundae is something you can do anywhere - at home, in town, at a friend's house, at a party, etc. However, an ice cream sundae on holiday always seem that bit extra special.

We all like ice cream in my family and my husband has a particular penchant for chocolate ice cream. On a recent, lovely short holiday we went to an ice cream parlor and there my son and I enjoyed a delicious cone whilst watching my husband eat one of the richest ice cream sundaes I've ever seen.

Served in a beautiful ice cream dessert glass with lashings of whipped cream and chocolate sauce, it was topped off with a ferrero rocher chocolate and heart-shaped wafer. Not only that but look at the spoon in the photograph .... it was the coolest ice cream spoon I've ever seen!. With a most delicately twisted, elegant bend in the middle, it gives the ice cream eater the chance to take a break and place it on the edge of the dish where it balances perfectly. What a neat idea!

I was so taken by that spoon that I got to talking to Daniela behind the counter of the San Remo Gelataria where we were eating that night. She told me how ice cream making is her passion too and that all the ice cream they serve is made on the premises. I couldn't resist asking about the spoons and told her I'd never seen any like these before. Daniela explained that there were indeed very difficult to get hold of. I so much wanted to take one home to add to my collection of ice cream spoons (I've quite a few now) that I offered to buy one but she refused any payment, just smiled and gave it me for free. So thanks to Daniela I now have a very special addition to my collection.

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Aug 18, 2008

Hairdressing, ICT & Ice Cream

Like most people I have to get my hair cut once in a while and this week I paid one of my regular visits to see Naomi who cuts my hair for me. She's been cutting it for a couple of years now I suppose and she's very good. She's always friendly and we usually enjoy a good chat. The other day was no exception. She was explaining how the salon had just changed its range of hair colorants and how she is getting used to using them. Apparently, it's all done by numbers and she has to try and match a client's color from the previous range to the new one. We agreed it's a bit like a recipe, having to get the right balance of ingredients so that the end result is just right. That was it ... we only had to mention the word 'recipe' and I started talking about ice cream!

After that we indulged in discussing our favorite ice cream flavors. It was the end of Naomi's working day and I was the last client there so I felt at ease developing the conversation. Katie, who had just washed my hair, then joined in the discussion. We all agreed we love ice cream yet found out that it's for very different flavors.

Same thing happened when I was ordering a new handset for the office telephone system the next day. I rang Gary who had last helped me with our telephones 3 years ago. I half expected to hear that he had moved on as is so often the case with people these days. But no ... he was still there, much to my delight for Gary is a fantastic ICT (information and communications technology) field sales consultant, knowledgeable, efficient and courteous. In a matter of minutes he had sorted my problem and I said I would write about his efficiency on my ice cream blog, but only if he told me his favorite flavor. He had little hesitation in saying 'chocolate'.

Many people I've talked to over the years have told me they like chocolate ice cream. It's amazingly popular .... and it's not difficult to understand why. If you make it with a rich custard base and use real chocolate it's absolutely delicious!

So thank you Naomi, Katie and Gary for providing me with a greater insight into people's ice cream tastes. I find I can never guess what ice cream somebody is going to say they like so I enjoy finding out whenever the opportunity crops up. I wonder who's next ? :)

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Aug 15, 2008

Big Ice Cream Cones!

Anyone who loves ice cream will enjoy an ice cream cone. It might be a straight strawberry ice cream cone or a vanilla ice cream cone with strawberry sauce swirled on top; it might even be a multiple scoop cone with lots of different flavors! The funny thing is that all of these ice cream cone variations can be seen in a larger than life way - as giant ice cream cones used for displays.

Whenever I'm out and about I keep my eyes open for these; you can usually find them outside ice cream kiosks and ice cream parlors.

On a recent trip to Zandvoort in the Netherlands I couldn't believe my eyes - within the space of a few hundred yards I counted 6 (six) beautiful giant ice cream cones and every one of them different! 4 were outside fast food kiosks that also served ice cream and the remaining 2 were outside Zandvoort's beloved ice cream parlors. Out came the camera of course. Of all the photos we took, my favorite is the polar bear with the 2 scoop ice cream cone who sits happily outside the San Remo Gelataria in Zandvoort (photo). A giant cone of chocolate ice cream, pistachio ice cream and whipped cream on top!

And you can't visit the San Remo and not eat an ice cream! We enjoyed some truly wonderful ice cream there - all homemade from what I'm told too. Some great photos and an inside scoop of a story (forgive the pun) to follow soon including a picture of one of the best ice cream spoons I've ever seen!

In fact there should be 2 or 3 more articles to follow shortly about ice cream in Zandvoort. I've just seen the photos we took and can't believe just how many ice cream associations there were on that trip. Maybe that's why I love the place so much!

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Feb 29, 2008

Knickerbocker Glory & Chocolate Frog Ice Cream

I recently had 2 'Harry Potter' related experiences so thought I would bring them together here, particularly because there's a nice ice cream connection.

First of all, my family and I visited Alnwick in Northumberland, England and enjoyed a super tour of Alnwick Castle which was used for many of the Hogwarts' scenes in the movies. Standing on the lawn from which Harry took his first broomstick flight was especially exciting! Follow the Alnwick Castle link and you'll see a photo of the very lawn.

Following this trip, I watched an excellent tv documentary about J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books and it reminded me of the many, happy hours that I spent reading the books with my son when he was younger. I thought back to the very first book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" which we read together with great excitement and then my mind turned to ice cream - to a Knickerbocker Glory in fact. What's the connection? Well, any avid Harry Potter fan will guess the answer but for those of you unfamiliar with the series, or at least the first book in the series, there's a scene at a zoo where Harry is out for a day with his loathsome aunt, uncle and spoiled cousin Dudley. When Dudley's Knickerbocker Glory isn't as big as he wants, he throws a tantrum. Now despite the fact that Dudley is an obnoxious character, wanting a Knickerbocker Glory to be as big as possible is something I can actually understand! Not that I eat them very much (I tend to always be making them for others to eat) but I know from watching my own dear Dad enjoy many a Knickerbocker Glory over the years that it's an addictive pleasure! Read my post about the Knickerbocker Glory Champion.

Anyway, going back to Harry Potter, I don't recall ever reading that Harry himself actually ate ice cream in any of the stories, so I began to wonder what ice cream Harry might enjoy, given the chance. The obvious one that came to mind was pumpkin ice cream and then I let my imagination run a little .... chocolate frog ice cream! To make this you could consider using my recipe for real chocolate ice cream and simply substitute Harry's favourite chocolate frogs for what I call 'normal' milk chocolate. What a 'magical' experience that would be!

If J.K. Rowling ever writes another Harry Potter book, maybe she'll let him or another character have fun making ice cream. The possibilities for rewriting the recipe books are endless!

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Dec 14, 2007

Christmas Shopping Comfort Food - From Soup to Ice Cream

Christmas is a time for enjoying food, possibly more than any other time of year. Some people enjoy the same recipes every Christmas and others like to try new recipe ideas. It depends of course on how much cooking you do at home at this time of year - some people have a continuous stream of visitors leading up to Christmas and over Christmas itself whilst others like to enjoy it quietly and perhaps have just one special meal on Christmas Day.

Christmas Shopping trips are a great opportunity for trying out new recipes. Here's how .... you've covered what feels like many miles on foot, carrying more bags than you thought possible and return home tired and hungry - the perfect time for some good homemade food.

A delicious soup recipe is a great treat on such an occasion and well worth planning ahead for. There are some great websites offering interesting soup recipes - just search on Google and you'll find lots of options. I had a look and saw one result that really intrigued me - the Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science website! Believe it or not, they have an unusual but great list of soup recipes which you can find via this link. I haven't had time to try any yet myself but they sound really tasty.

Another great 'comfort' food once you've had your main meal at the end of a long day - whether you've been Christmas shopping or just had a busy day - is ice cream, especially a batch of good homemade ice cream. Indulging in something tasty is, as I've said, worth planning ahead for and doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming to make. Here's a quick chocolate ice cream recipe that I've made from start to finish in less than 30 minutes (including the batching time in my electric ice cream maker).

Whether it's soup or ice cream that's your passion, think ahead and plan a special homemade treat for yourself in the run up to Christmas. It's the busiest time of year after all!

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Oct 24, 2007

Homemade Ice Cream - The Easy Way

There's no question in my mind that homemade food is always the best - being able to select the ingredients yourself and having it fresh just when you want it, but that is providing you have the time. After all, many recipes require time and patience often with a several step process involved. So what do you do if you don't have much spare time but still want homemade food? Well, with ice cream there are a few quick and easy recipes you can use.

Here are the quick and easy ice cream recipes that I've found work well:

vanilla ice cream
chocolate ice cream
banana ice cream

The banana ice cream recipe is a particular favorite in our house. I recently made a video of me making it in our kitchen so you can see just how quick and easy it is. Visit this page to view the video (my vanilla ice cream making video is also on there)

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Jun 22, 2007

National Ice Cream Month (USA)

This year sees the 24th anniversary of "National Ice Cream Month" in the United States. Instigated by the President Reagan in 1984, this great month of celebration is always July with the 3rd Sunday in July being "National Ice Cream Day".

The International Dairy Foods Association in Washington DC, which represents the US Dairy Industry as a whole ( dairy farmers, manufacturers, marketing and supply companies), is at the forefront of promoting "National Ice Cream Month" - here is their page.

Whether you're a dairy farmer, an ice cream manufacturer or just someone who loves ice cream, if you live in the US then next month is a great time for you! To celebrate in style why not:

Make Your Own Homemade Ice Cream
Choose whatever flavor seems right for the occasion. You might like to try a recipe for Nougat ice cream or a celebratory white wine sorbet. The choices are endless. Follow these links for more on popular ice cream recipes and unusual ice cream recipes for more great ideas.

Make Your Own Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Here's Oliver's White Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe to make some delicious cookies and then you can sandwich between them a batch of homemade chocolate ice cream or vanilla ice cream. Whatever you do, enjoy it!

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May 20, 2007

Chocolate Ice Cream: Why It's So Good

Two of the most delicious foods of all time have to be CHOCOLATE and ICE CREAM. Each one in its own right is a treat almost second to none for many people and chocolate and ice cream in one combination .... well, that's hard to beat!

I've made lots of homemade ice cream and whenever I make chocolate ice cream I never seem to be able to get the first batch served or into the freezer without being able to resist a taste! And it seems I'm not the only one with a love for it - my chocolate ice cream recipe is one of the most popular on ice-cream-recipes.com, second only to vanilla ice cream in the number of daily page views.

Chocolate ... a few interesting facts
  1. The melting point of chocolate is 34°C (just below human body temperature), hence that wonderful 'melt in the mouth' quality it has.

  2. Chocolate contains phenylethylamine - a known mood enhancer, hence why so many people claim it makes them feel better when they eat chocolate.

  3. Some of the oldest people on record claimed to be big chocolate eaters - one who lived to 119, the other to 122 and both of them women.

    Read more about chocolate

Two world famous faces reported to have a love for chocolate ice cream are Elvis Presley and Jackie Chan.
Read more about famous people and ice cream

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