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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Feb 6, 2008

Valentine's Day Ice Cream

Valentine's Day is not an important day for everyone but, for some, it's very special - a day for romance and the opportunity for lovers to declare their love for one another. So it is that on February 14 every year, millions of Valentine's cards and gifts (flowers, chocolates, candy, rings etc) are exchanged as tokens of affection.

But how's this for an idea .... instead of buying something to give to your loved one, why not make something yourself?

It could be anything from a homemade Valentine's card to a photo that you've taken, printed and had specially framed, or, better still why not make your loved one's favorite ice cream and serve it as a surprise!

With an ice cream maker and a little forethought you can come up with a great Valentine's Day treat. Here's what to do ...
  1. If you don't already know, then find out your Valentine's favorite ice cream flavor.

  2. Also find out how they like it served - simple scoops or a sundae, what toppings, what sauce and whether they like wafers or not.

  3. Search on the Net for a homemade ice cream recipe for that flavor and print/download the recipe so you know what ingredients to use.

  4. Go shopping for all the ingredients you are going to need including toppings etc if you're going to present your homemade ice cream as a Valentine's sundae.

Don't worry if what you make doesn't turn out as perfect as you would like - the fact that you have gone to such trouble plus the fact that you've done it out of love will be far more important and hopefully have the impact you're looking for!

In need of ideas for ice cream recipes? 2 great favorites are strawberry ice cream and chocolate ice cream - both these recipes are made with a custard or cream base giving you a rich and creamy homemade ice cream.

Interested in history? Read about the history of Valentine's Day

Want to know if you're a true romantic? Take an online Romantic Personality Test

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Nov 13, 2007

Ice Cream & Dentistry

I never cease to be amazed at the variety of opinions and taste people have about ice cream and, as my family will tell you, I relish the chance to talk to just about anyone on the subject. A trip to the dentist the other day offered a new and unusual opportunity for just such a conversation.

Apart from being a world class mountaineer having scaled the heights of K2 no less, Jim is a fantastic dental surgeon and a thoroughly nice person to boot. So, having fixed my tooth very quickly (and without any pain I might add!), I asked him if he liked ice cream. The answer .... an emphatic YES! When I asked his favorite flavor it turned out to be somewhat unusual - Caramel Shortbread (preferably from Cream O Galloway). I then asked his assistant if she liked ice cream and she told me how she adored the ice cream she had on holiday in Italy (aka Gelato). Before leaving the dental surgery I chatted with Gillian in reception who also confirmed a love of ice cream and when asked for a favorite flavor simply said 'All of them!'. Now that's what I call a true ice cream fan.

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Jun 15, 2007

Ice Cream Flavors

My last Blog post about The Ultimate Ice Cream Sundae was a good example of the wonderful "variety" you can experience with ice cream .... but it doesn't end there. There is probably a greater range of flavors in ice cream than any other food. Commercial ice cream makers have have developed this side of their ice cream products enormously in recent years and competition in the flavor stakes runs high. A few examples of this include:

With homemade ice cream of course you can enter a whole new world of flavor experience and experimentation. Invention is easy - just take something you like and try it in an ice cream recipe - eg. marmalade (here's my marmalade ice cream recipe).

Using a basic custard or cream base you can add almost anything, although the consistency and sweetness of what you add will affect the texture of the ice cream you produce and its freezing capacity. That's why I use the word 'experimentation' - it can take time to get it right when being adventurous! Also anything citrus or acidic is not likely to work well with a custard/cream base so better to try it in a sorbet recipe - a good example is my white wine sorbet recipe.

Despite the many hundreds of ice cream flavors we can either buy or make for ourselves, we still seem to go for the old favorites - yes, we're talking about vanilla and chocolate ice cream! These still rank as the 2 most popular in the world ... and I think always will.

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