Mar 13, 2010

No Ice Cream Maker?

Having an ice cream maker in your kitchen is a great advantage when it comes to making homemade ice cream. However, not everyone has an ice cream maker which is why I have a page about making ice cream without an ice cream maker.

The other day I came across a book called 'Castle Cooking' by Jenny Bagley. Now retired, Jenny used to be the cook at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire, England and over 30 years produced meals, soups and desserts for a wide range of guests including VIPs and members of royalty from around the world. Jenny's cooking has always been definitively English and traditional and so it was with delight that I read her recipe for Orange Ice Cream Bombe - the instructions to which do not involve the use of an ice cream maker!

So here is it is ... Jenny's Orange Ice Cream Bombe. An ice cream fit for 'the king of the castle'.

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Nov 18, 2009

Ice Cream Maker Tips - Choosing The Right Machine

If you are looking to buy an ice cream maker for the first time, you will be overwhelmed by the choice now available. Years ago of course it was not the case but today, as with so many other things, it is a very different scenario.

First of all, there is the choice between a manual machine and an electric ice cream maker. The latter, whilst much more expensive, bigger and heavier, actually freezes the ice cream as it churns it so you can go from your ready mixture to edible, servable fresh ice cream within as little as 20 minutes.

Secondly, even with an electric ice cream maker, there are different types and styles to choose from. Gaggia for example have developed their own very distinctive style of machine which you recognise instantly the moment you see one of their ice cream makers and Cuisinart have also developed their own style such as the very popular ICE-50BC Supreme Ice Cream Maker (see photo left).

Hamilton Beach makes an ice cream maker that looks entirely different again! Indeed, their Hamilton Beach 68330R 4-Quart Automatic Ice-Cream Maker (photo right) actually works in a different way. It requires you to pour your mixture into the canister, insert the dasher into the canister, attach the easy-lock lid and then place the motor over the canister, locking it onto the bucket. Then you add layers of ice and salt to the bucket covering the canister. Your homemade ice cream will then be ready in 20-40 minutes. This particular ice cream maker can also be used for making frozen yogurt and custard. At under $40 it makes a great, affordable gift for a loved one or friend - especially if you know they love ice cream!

So you see ... choosing an ice cream maker is not that easy any more.

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Jul 6, 2009

Anyone For Tennis? Don't Forget The Ice Cream!

Watching the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on tv is something I have enjoyed since childhood. Over the years great champions have come and gone and the nature of the game has changed radically - everything from what the players wear on court, to racquet technology to the level of fitness and strength required to get to the top of the sport.

My son is an avid Andy Murray fan so we've watched him with fascination this last year and particularly of course during the Wimbledon Championship. Reading about him, it's staggering to discover just how hard he works to maintain peak fitness, from weighted chin-ups to 100m sprints - and that's before he even picks up a raquet! When training for a match he eats a 6,000 calories per day diet! Things like bagels with peanut butter, protein shakes, steak, fruit, cupcakes -and lots of sushi. It's all right being told that you HAVE to eat this if you want to be at the top of your sport but what if you don't like it? I don't know whether Andy enjoys all this food but what I DO KNOW is that one of his favorite foods (when allowed) is ice cream, especially Cookies And Cream ice cream by Haagen-Dazs.

With that in mind, it seems to me that one of the first things Andy should buy for that wonderful, new home of his in Surrey, England is an electric ice cream maker for the kitchen. Then he could have the best possible ice cream - homemade ice cream using his actual favorite cookies and some rich, heavy cream. Game, set and match!

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May 4, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream - Great DIY

If you ever thought that DIY (Do It Yourself) was restricted to putting up some new shelves or installing new roller garage doors, think again because DIY also applies to foods that you might never think of making for yourself ... but can!

Let's face it, when most people think of ice cream they think of going out to buy a pack of Ben & Jerry's or Walls (or one of many others depending upon which country you live in). Few people actually stop and think about making their own homemade ice cream. Yet it's not that difficult. Granted, it's easier with an ice cream maker but you can also make ice cream without an ice cream maker. What's more, when you make ice cream yourself it always tastes better and it's such a satisfying experience.

So if you've ever done any DIY around your house or garden but never made ice cream, think of it like this .... just as you get a kick out of seeing those shelves installed and carrying your books or dvds with the satisfying knowledge that you've done it yourself, imagine eating a bowl of delicious, fresh ice cream made by your own fair hand. Now that's what I call 'tasty' DIY!

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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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Nov 22, 2008

Ice Cream Maker Tips - Cleaning

All kitchen appliances have their pros and cons so a range of tips on how to use them properly is useful. The ice cream maker is no exception. So if you're planning to make ice cream as part of Thanksgiving celebrations, get ahead, get your ice cream maker out and give it a good checking over.

In this and subsequent posts I plan to cover some of the key tips in how to use your ice cream maker to best advantage.

Let's start with tip 1 - Cleaning Your Ice Cream Maker

If you have an ice cream maker then cleaning it properly before and after use will be something you are used to. If, however, you are about to buy an ice cream maker then my advice is make sure you develop the habit of cleaning it properly from the moment you take it out of its box. Clean it and do it properly every time you use the machine. That way not only will you be making your ice cream hygienically but you will also help preserve the working life of your ice cream maker. As anyone knows, ice cream can be messy, especially if you've just made a batch of fresh ice cream, served it up for the family to enjoy and then you forget about the remnants left in the ice cream bucket or bowl, only to come across it a couple of hours later., warm, runny and sticky .... yugghh! Always try to clean your machine as well and as quickly as possible after you have finished using it.

That also applies to the utensils you use - making sure they are clean before you use them is really important otherwise your ice cream could become contaminated. Here's a list of the utensils you are most likely to use when making ice cream:
  • measuring spoon (or scales, measuring jug or cup)
  • food grater
  • mixing bowls
  • spatulas (wooden or plastic are preferable to metal)
  • sieve
  • saucepan (if you are making a custard base ice cream)
  • ice cream scoop
  • storage container(s)

Just remember - a clean machine is mean machine!

More reading on ice cream maker tips

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Oct 8, 2008

Rise Of The Ice Cream Machines

Making ice cream is big business - yes, of course for the commercial ice cream producers such as Ben & Jerry's, Baskin-Robbins or Dreyers but also for the manufacturers and retailers of the type of ice cream maker that you can buy for home use.

Ice cream has been popular for as long as I can remember, starting with the simple ice cream cone you could buy as a child from the ice cream truck when it came round through to today when supermarkets stock a wonderful, wide range of ice cream flavors you can just put in your trolley, check out and take home to enjoy at your leisure.

Over recent years, however, there's been a significant increase in the number of people interested in home cooking and recipes. In line with that, manufacturers have recognised the need to supply these people with more machines and gadgets to help them with their homemade foods. From juicers to smoothie makers to bread makers ... the list goes on.

When it comes to ice cream makers we are almost spoilt for choice. There are the larger sized, 'professional' type ice cream makers that retail for around $700 in the USA such as the Lello 4080 Musso Lussino 1.5-Quart Ice Cream Maker (via Amazon) and in the UK there's the incredibly popular Gaggia Geletiera 74500N Ice Cream Maker that retails for around £260. There's also a good range of less expensive ice cream makers of course that are still really quick and efficient as they have their own built-in freezers so you can freeze the ice cream as it mixes and batches (ready in about 20 minutes from when you put your mixture in the machine). At the 'value for money' end of the range there are ice cream makers which require the use of a freezer before the ice cream is ready, hence it takes longer to produce the ice cream.

If you have never made ice cream before don't worry about getting the best ice cream maker that money can buy - get what you can afford and just have a go. The important thing is to have some good ice cream recipes to follow and to make your ice cream with enthusiasm! Don't be afraid to try out new ideas too. Like any other food, when ice cream is made properly, it's wonderful.

Looking at the statistics of visitors to my website, it's clear that year upon year there is an increase in the number of people searching for ice cream maker recipes. The rise of the ice cream machines goes on!

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Aug 4, 2008

Ice Cream Making & Ice Making At Home

As everyone who reads my website knows, I have a passion for making ice cream at home. I even have 2 different kinds of ice cream maker - both are electric but one freezes as it batches allowing me to make a traditional fairly frozen ice cream and the other is one of an increasingly popular type of machine which produces more of a gelato (semi-frozen) ice cream. My latter ice cream maker even has compartments for sprinkles, an ice cream cone holder and a lever for dispensing the ice cream when it's ready. It's like having my own little ice cream parlor. Experimenting with ice cream mixtures has never been more fun!

My kitchen has other machines in it of course - for making anything from bread to ice. My ice maker is a small, light and portable ice maker, ideal for home use. It doesn't make ice cubes but rather ice nuggets. See photo for the shape of them. It's really handy whenever I want fresh ice in a reasonable quantity. Also I don't have to worry about making space in the freezer to try and produce a few ice cubes from a tray of water.

I also have one of those mini chocolate fountains - great for parties and get-togethers. In fact, when I come to think of it, all the machines I've just talked about could be used in one fell swoop for a summer party - homemade ice cream and dipping chocolate (with fruit) for desserts and freshly made ice for all the drinks. All we need now is the sunshine!

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Dec 29, 2007

New Year Sorbet Recipe

Looking back over the last year and looking ahead to the next is something that we all do and on/around 31 December is usually when we do so. It can be at a New Year's Party or indeed just at home quietly enjoying some time alone or with family/friends.

Whatever you do over New Year someone in your family will doubtless be doing a little cooking or baking - if that person is you and you think an alcohol-based homemade ice cream is appropriate, then here's a recipe that's truly in the spirit of a New Year's celebration - white wine sorbet.

It's really easy to make too, especially if you have an electric ice cream maker. The sweetness of the wine plus the orange and lemon juice make for a really refreshing sorbet.

Then there's another option if you want to make an ice cream that's a little more challenging but nevertheless alcoholic in flavor - you could try this coffee, rum and walnut ice cream recipe. Rich but oh so creamy!

My thanks to all the regular readers of for visiting the website in 2007. I hope you will all return in 2008 and continue to enjoy the new recipes and information that I so much enjoy offering. I wish you all a very Happy New Year.

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Apr 12, 2007

Making Homemade Ice Cream

Say the words: “Ice Cream” to just about anyone and you’ll get an instant positive reaction – anything from a smile to a few words of praise to profuse extolling of its virtues! Let’s face it …. we love ice cream. Here at I’ve been writing about ice cream and researching its many facets for some years now and I’ve yet to run short of new ideas and information to bring to my readers. I suppose it’s because making ice cream is great fun and something you never get bored with. There’s always new recipes to try, new ways to present what you make and even different ways to making ice cream. For example:

Using an Ice Cream Maker
If you want to make your own homemade ice cream on a regular basis, prefer to serve it fresh as soon as it’s made and can afford an electric ice cream maker, then this is the way to go.

ice cream makerI wouldn’t be without mine! Basically, it freezes as it batches taking from just 20 to 40 minutes (depending upon how soft or hard you like your ice cream). To me there’s lots of advantages to having an ice cream maker – here’s my list.

Using a Bowl and Your Freezer
This is the way most people made their ice cream before electric ice cream makers came along. Once you have your ice cream recipe mixture prepared you just need a wide topped bowl, use of your freezer, lots of arm power for regular beating of the mixture and a few hours spare for the freezing process. See my dedicated web page for full details.

Using Rock Salt & Ice (better done outdoors than inside the house – also great as a fun project for children)a) the smallest and simplest method is to use 2 plastic, zippable bags, one smaller than the other. Put your ice cream ingredients into the smaller bag, zip it up and then insert that inside the larger bag with rock salt and ice in between the bags. Roll the whole thing around for about 20 minutes, allowing the rock salt and ice to freeze the mixture. b) same as above but on a larger scale using 2 empty, cleaned food tins (1 larger than the other) that have separate and re-sealable lids. Mix your ingredients in the first, smaller tin and seal tightly using tape to ensure the lid is firmly sealed if necessary. Place this inside the larger tin and pack the rock sale and ice in between the 2 tins. Seal well. Roll around for about 20 minutes.

strawberry ice creamWhatever method you choose of making ice cream, it’s an enjoyable experience, made all the more wonderful by being able to enjoy what you’ve produced.

The Fun of Ice Cream is here to stay!
Watch our Vanilla Ice Cream Video

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