Dec 24, 2009

Enjoy Your Ice Cream - This Christmas & Next Year!

A Christmas message to all my readers - and if I haven't included your language please forgive me. I try my best!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
I hope you enjoy great ice cream in 2010

Joyeux Noël et Bonne Année
J'espère que vous apprécierez la crème glacée incroyable en 2010

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes Neues Jahr
Hoffentlich werden Sie fantastisch Eis in 2010 geniessen


Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo
Spero che ti piace il gelato meraviglioso

Feliz Natal e um Feliz Ano Novo
Espero que você goste de sorvete maravilhoso

Feliz Navidad y un Feliz Año Nuevo
Espero que disfruten de helado maravilloso

Finally here is a clip of Santa's band wishing you a Merry Christmas in their own way!


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Dec 8, 2009

Ice Cream Gifts For A Great American Christmas

A familiar sight this time of year - a shopping mall adorned with Christmas decorations ....


If you're tired of trawling the malls but still looking for Christmas gift ideas, try the Ice Cream Recipes Online Store (in association with Amazon).

There's a great selection of ice cream makers including electric machines and hand crank ones plus a fabulous range of ice cream books covering homemade ice cream, ice cream sundaes and gelato. This 5 star rated artisan gelato book is a great example.

So what if they've got an ice cream maker and all the ice cream books they'll ever need? Well, you could try something just that little bit different but still on an ice cream theme, such as ice cream ties and ice cream jewelry.

And what if you're buying for someone who doesn't like ice cream (that would be sad but could of course happen!) - ? Well, you can always try a themed gourmet gift basket - from Victorian Lace to chocolate to tea.

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Dec 6, 2009

Ice Cream & Cocktails For A Great British Christmas

The biggest audience for is the United States with the second being the United Kingdom.

In a couple of days I will be publishing a post especially for my US readers with some great tips for buying ice cream related gifts online - all of course in US Dollars (courtesy of Amazon).

Today, however, here is something for my UK readers - a little online store full of ice cream makers, ice cream books, beer and wine fridges and gift ideas for your home bar and making cocktails - all in Pounds Sterling (courtesy of Amazon).

Here is one of the best selling, best reviewed ice cream makers in the store - the Magimix Gelata Chef ice cream maker in satin steel finish

For a general cookery book there's little that can beat the Nigella Express

A great stocking filler is this book by Ben & Jerry

And if you want to make a Christmas party that bit extra novel and special, you can always treat yourself to this Glowing LED Pitcher and Cocktail Glasses Set

There are chocolate fountains and gourmet gift baskets too.

I hope there's something there for everyone!

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Dec 28, 2008

Festive Spicy Ice Cream

During the Christmas holidays many of us meet up with friends and family that we don't see very often throughout the rest of the year. So I think it's a great time to give people a treat. Cooking at home for people is a real pleasure - sure it's hard work too but it's like anything, the more positive the energy you put into it, the better the result. With food of any kind this makes the best possible recipe!

So how about making some spicy ice cream for your guests? Most are not likely to have tried this before but, given that it's Christmas, they're probably in party mood and would really relish trying something a little different - especially if the host has gone to the trouble of making a homemade treat.

My idea? Honey with Cinammon and Cloves Ice Cream. Great, simple ingredients - honey, milk, sugar, eggs and cream with the added spice of cloves and cinammon. It's not the quickest ice cream recipe because you need to allow the spices to infuse in the milk (at least an hour or even overnight if you have time) but it's the richness of the spices that makes this ice cream special. It's probably only at Christmas, or at least in winter time, that you'll think of making and eating such an ice cream in fact ... but that's what makes ice cream such a fantastic food - you can vary the ingredients according to the seasons.

Follow the link above to find the full recipe instructions.

I hope you enjoy this festive, spicy ice!

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Dec 23, 2008

Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

Last year I suggested two ice cream recipes for dessert on Christmas Day - traditional vanilla ice cream for those with simple, traditional tastes and Egg Nog ice cream for the more adventurous. This year I'm not going to suggest an ice cream for Christmas Day at all ... surprised? Well this time I'm going to encourage you all to enjoy a traditional Christmas Pudding with cream, brandy sauce or custard ...

Then, having bought an extra Christmas Pudding, cook this the following day (26 December) and use it to make your own Christmas Pudding Ice Cream!

In many families, the day after Christmas Day is a quiet day - no special meal and no desire for one either after the previous day's feast! However, making the day special in some other way is a great idea and ice cream is just the treat. Let's face it, if you have children in the house over Christmas it's not always ease to keep them from getting bored - this is where ice cream is nearly always a winner! They will not only enjoy having homemade ice cream but the fact that it's something they've probably never had before will make it even more exciting for them.

Indeed, you can cook the Christmas Pudding in the earlier part of the day without anyone knowing if you like and make the ice cream later, only announcing to everyone at that latter stage that homemade ice cream is on its way. The clever cook must always keep something up her sleeve and there's little that is more pleasurable to people than being given a surprise treat!

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Dec 21, 2008

A Christmas Story - Of The More Unusual Kind

Christmas is synomous with tradition. Perhaps you will have a traditional Christmas tree in your house or sing traditional Christmas carols or eat traditional Christmas food and drink such as traditional mulled wine (if you like mulled wine try my mulled wine sorbet!).

There are also many traditional Christmas stories of course - from the definitive nativity story itself right through to Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'. Well, for those of you who enjoy Christmas stories - and that's adults and children alike - here is a new one. I just found it on this wonderful Letters From London Blog.

Full of the sentiments that Christmas is really all about, it's a super little story and I was so grateful for having found it, I wanted to share it with my ice cream blog readers.

It's called The Christmas Rock Maker - follow the link to read it in full. I hope you enjoy it and pass on the link to others - sharing the true spirit of Christmas is possibly one of the best gifts you will give this year.

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Dec 13, 2008

Christmas Shopping? There's still time ... online!

Phewww .... I've actually done all my Christmas shopping - gifts for family and friends and I've even ordered the turkey! However, many of my friends have not and according to a BBC Radio program I was listening to, this seems to be the case for most people. Not to worry though because help is at hand - courtesy of the Internet.

Let's face it, it's a wonderful resource at this time of year and for lots of different reasons ....

  • you can stock up on food for the holidays by shopping online thus avoiding braving bleak weather and long supermarket queues;

  • you can get some great recipe ideas online ahead of throwing a party or dinner - such as my ice cream recipes of course;

  • you can shop online for all your Christmas gifts;

  • you can check online to see what's on tv over the Christmas holidays;

  • you can check for the latest weather reports ahead of making any trips to visit people over the holidays;
What would we all do without it now? Strange but for young people today they can't relate to that idea. Being from an older generation though, I can not only recall what life was like before the Internet but even before there were pocket calculators! I'm digressing a bit too much here .... so back to thinking about Christmas.

This is the last post I'm going to write about Christmas shopping for this year ... just let me remind you that I have a super little Internet store for US buyers where you can buy all kinds of gifts (courtesy of Amazon) such as:

The Back to Basics CM300BR Cocoa-Latte Hot Drink Maker (pic left)

The Cuisinart ICE-30BC sorbet/yogurt/ice cream maker

There's also a great range of coffee makers and tea makers

For that ever important fresh ice at parties there are ice makers

One of my favorite gift ideas, especially at Christmas time, is the gourmet gift basket (or hampers as they're called in Britain). In the store you will find some wonderful gourmet gift baskets such as the Lindt Lovers Chocolate Gift Basket. The Sweet Wishes For You Basket pictured right is possibly one of the most stunning and appropriate gift baskets I've ever seen for Christmas.

For British buyers there's a separate online store where you can buy a similar range of gifts including this electric bottle chiller (left) for making sure that the extra special bottle of Chardonnay you've bought is served at just the right temperature. Whether it's for a quiet romantic evening in or for when you have guests to dinner, it's a great piece of kit to have to hand.

Serious lovers of ice cream could enjoy life so much more if they had this superb ice cream maker by Gaggia (right) which is really popular in Britain and Europe. Then when you've made your ice cream you should serve it in style - like in this fantastic, stunning-looking ice cream bowl and spoon set from Alessi.

Whatever you buy for your friends and family this Christmas, I hope you try to make sure it's something they will find rewarding. Happy hunting!

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Dec 4, 2008

Started Your Christmas Shopping Yet?

When it comes to Christmas gift shopping everyone seems to take a different view. Some people don't like to contemplate the idea of Christmas until around 17 December, a week before Christmas Eve. By contrast some people (me included) like to get their Christmas shopping done early so that they don't have to rush at the last minute coming up with ideas or trekking round a shopping mall amongst throngs of people.

To be honest I always try to do my Christmas shopping in October - before Halloween in fact. I will usually make one trip to a main shopping area, spend 2 or 3 hours there browsing and getting my ideas together and then when I get home I will go online to look for the best deals for the gifts I've decided to buy. I don't always find what I want straight away but by the 2nd or 3rd time I've been online I've got my list together of where I'm going buy my Christmas gifts. More often than not the suppliers are a mixture of the 'big guys' such as Amazon and the smaller, specialised retailers.

Here's are some examples of ice cream related Christmas gifts online ....

Electric Ice Cream Maker

USA Shoppers - have some great deals and their customer reviews and star ratings are a great bonus in helping you choose the right machine. This Cuisinart ice cream maker comes with an ice cream recipe booklet, 3 year warranty and has some great customer reviews. It's also at an affordable price and from a top ice cream machine manufacturer.

UK Shoppers - is a good route to take. There's a Phillips ice cream maker which is stylish and compact, has a 5 star rating and at under £50 is great value for money.

Ice Cream Books
On both the above Amazon stores there are sections dedicated to books on ice cream covering subjects such as ice cream recipes, making gelato, old fashioned ice cream and granitas. I could spend hours just browsing through these books alone! So I shall take a closer look at ice cream books in a later post and list my personal choices for what I think make great Christmas gifts.

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Dec 24, 2007

Ice Cream For Christmas Day

With my passion for ice cream, my mind naturally turns to dessert recipes when celebrating a special occasion and when it comes to a dessert for the Christmas Day menu there's lots of ideas to choose from. For example, if you know that your Christmas Day dinner 'eaters' have usually eaten too much after finishing the main course (usually the lure of a succulent roast with stuffing is the cause in our house!) then you might choose to serve a batch of homemade ice cream just on its own as the dessert - tasty and indulgent but not too filling.

Alternatively, if you know your guests appreciate a pudding or pie for dessert then you can make it that little bit extra special by making an ice cream to compliment it. A traditional, creamy, homemade vanilla ice cream made with real vanilla will compliment any pudding or pie in my experience and for those prefering something a little more "warming" (contains rum and brandy!) there's a deliciously rich Egg Nog Ice Cream you can make at home.

Whatever you do on this Christmas Day 2007, whatever you eat and wherever you are - snug and warm indoors looking out onto the beautiful snows of Colorado or sat in the sunshine on an Australian beach enjoying a bbq - enjoy it. If you're lucky you'll get to spend time with family and friends and even share some great recipes with them too, an added bonus! Happy Christmas.

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Dec 20, 2007

Christmas Ice Cream Is Legal!

I was watching a tv show the other day featuring a celebrity chef and his ideas for Christmas desserts - though he didn't feature any Christmas Ice Cream ideas much to my surprise - when someone in the studio said they'd heard that it's actually illegal in England to eat a mince pie on Christmas Day. Being English 'born and bred' I too had never heard of this and thought it must be the first line of a joke coming up. However, I was wrong! Apparently, it's true and all because of a very old law on the English statute book passed at the behest of Oliver Cromwell who at the time felt it important to try and reduce the gluttony that he believed people were prone to at Christmas time! To this day that old law has never been repealed, so technically it could be enforced - though it's doubtful its enforcement would have many supporters. Nearly everyone I know eats mince pies on Christmas Day!
There are similar old laws too still on the English statute book - if you're interested to read more here's a a recent BBC news article "Where mince pies break the law"

The members of my family who are partial to a mince pie or two over Christmas never like to eat them cold funnily enough - they always prefer them warm and served with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream; the latter always seems to melt at just the right speed, slowly enough to enjoy the ice cream texture yet fast enough to blend in with the warmth of the pie and not give too sharp a contrast between the chill and heat factors involved. Sounds a bit scientific put that way and I suppose there is some actual science behind it all. I can imagine one day coming across a web page with a scientific equation behind why warm mince pies are great with ice cream - it may well be Professor Douglas Goff from the University of Guelph in Canada whose Dairy Science and Technology web pages are so incredibly detailed and informative, especially the Ice Cream section.

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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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Dec 9, 2007

Christmas Parties - Mulled Wine Sorbet

Many people give or go to Christmas parties - they can be for friends, family or colleagues from work or college. They can be big parties or small gatherings but whatever the type of party, the host is usually under pressure to offer something traditional yet different - a difficult task! So how about this idea .... mulled wine sorbet

Mulled wine has a long tradition, being heated up with spices to offer something revitalising. Indeed, many countries around the world have their own word for their type of traditional mulled wine - in France it's vin chaud and in Russia it's glintwein (глинтвейн) for example. My favorite is the German term Glühwein which I remember very fondly from a trip to Austria many years ago!

If you'd like to read more about mulled wine here is an interesting web page I found: The history of mulled wine

The other thing you always need at a Christmas party is plenty of ice because no matter what the weather - snow in the Rockies, rain in Scotland or sunshine in Australia - there will be people who want ice in their drinks ... and it needs to be in good supply. You can't afford to run out of what you've frozen in trays in the icebox (they're so fiddly anyway!) so this is where one of the latest kitchen/home appliances comes in - the ice maker. You can buy one of these at most department stores nowadays or online and they're great - I have one and wouldn't be without it. You don't have to plumb it in so it's portable and it's really easy to use. When Christmas has passed you then can look forward to using it for any other celebrations, bbqs etc - it really comes into its own in the summer.

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Dec 4, 2007

Christmas Holidays - Ice Cream & Card Tricks!

For most families, the Christmas holidays are a great time which everyone looks forward to. However, after the initial break from work, college or school and having been to a variety of parties and celebrations, some family members can start to get bored, especially the children. Start preparing for this now and you won't get caught out! It depends upon the children of course but two things I believe always work are .... food and fun.

With food you can create some wonderful homemade ice cream and even get the children to join in either helping to make the ice cream or to create some ice cream sundaes. Let them use their imagination - just make sure you supervise them and give them only edible things to work with!

When I was a child my father used to bring out the odd magic or card trick that he had learned in order to entertain everyone - usually at a Christmas or birthday party. The tricks were nothing stunning of course like David Blaine for example but they were good, simple fun. Today my husband follows in that tradition and whenever we see certain friends and their children, he's always asked to 'do some magic'. It's not that difficult either (so he tells me!). There are plenty of easy card tricks online. So why not try to learn one or get someone in the family to have a go. Even if the trick isn't the greatest in the world everyone will appreciate the spirit in which it's done. I certainly did as a child - which is why I've never forgotten about it. Happy Holidays!

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