Jan 15, 2010

Winter Ice Cream

Winter is as good a time as any for homemade ice cream - it's surprising but many people eat just as much ice cream in cold weather as they do in summer!

I was recently walking by a lake, all wrapped up in warm coat with hat, gloves and a pair of warm stout walking boots. I stopped at the lakeside cafe and found they were not only selling hot take-away drinks but ice cream as well! In fact, they had a special counter and display just for ice cream. I knew it was a popular place for ice cream in the summer months but had never seen a queue for it in winter - and there it was, a queue of adults and children all waiting patiently to buy their ice cream cone.

The most popular flavour they bought? Vanilla ice cream - of course :)

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Oct 17, 2009

A Tangy Sweet Sorbet

When you've made as much homemade ice cream as I have over the years, it can sometimes feel like you've covered pretty much all bases ... but that thought has only ever lingered with me a second or two before a new ice cream idea then enters my head! That's the fun of ice cream and what happened recently when I gathered in the final apples of the season from my garden. I already have an apple sorbet recipe so what else might work?

I thought back to my childhood days when my mother would bake a traditional, English fresh apple and blackberry pie. I can close my eyes and still remember the warm, sweeet smell in the kitchen! We would look forward to it being served, freshly baked and hot from the oven - delicious.

Apple and blackberry pie was one of my father's favourite desserts and he was happy to eat it with custard or cream or ice cream. He loved ice cream in fact and was my "Knickerbocker Glory Champion".

Thinking of that good old, homemade pie gave me the answer .... I could use freshly picked homegrown garden apples with blackberries to make a sorbet.

How did it work out?

Well, as you can see from the photograph, it made a beautifully dark pink, luscious-looking sorbet with a tangy yet sweet taste. A true 'sweet and sour' water ice.

I served it for my family with some fresh fruit and they loved it. It's such a strong tasting sorbet that you only need a single scoop and it positively brings the fresh fruit alive.

Here it is my apple and blackberry sorbet recipe.

There's lots more reading on sorbet recipes on my website.

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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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May 24, 2008

Memorial Day & Barbecue Recipes

The last weekend of May is a long holiday weekend in many countries - but interestingly enough for different reasons.

For example, in the USA the last Monday in May is known as "Memorial Day" - an official national holiday to commemorate US men and women who have died in military service. This year the holiday is on Monday 26 May - a day when many Americans will also get out the barbecue sets because the holiday is also widely recognised as the "official" start to the barbecue season. It is the end of May after all and the weather is usually ideally suited to families and friends getting together.

There will probably be a few barbecues in the UK as well as it's a holiday weekend there - but for an entirely different reason. The last Sunday in May is called "Whitsun" or "Whit Sunday" (another term for Pentecost, a prominent feast in the Christian liturgical year). The term apparently derives from the Middle English term "whitsonday" and Olde English "hwīta sunnandæg" which means White Sunday.

So if you live in a part of the world where any of these celebrations and holidays are taking place this weekend, you are very likely getting together with other people - being invited out to dinner by friends or family or possibly playing host yourself with a barbecue or even a formal cooked dinner. If you are looking for some recipe ideas, here is a great recipe from a friend of mine who is both an innovative engineering genius (sonic horns specialist) and an excellent cook. His favorite dishes are fish and seafood recipes; this one is called "Octopus Hibernia". For dessert you might like to try a light and fruity ice cream sorbet. My lemon sorbet is easy to make yet deliciously refreshing on a summer's day.

Whatever you do this holiday weekend and whether you are cooking or not, try and enjoy your time with family and friends. After all, "these are the days of our lives" ....

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Jan 23, 2008

A Timely Sorbet In Mallorca

Some dear friends of mine (Shirley and Don) occasionally 'escape' to Mallorca for a few days of much needed (and much deserved) relaxation. When I last spoke with them, they had just returned from a New Year's break there and I of course asked about the weather. It had been mild - much milder than where I was! - and they told me how wonderful the locally-grown orange and lemon trees were looking. Apparently, January is the month when oranges and lemons ripen on the island, being ready for picking late January and into February. I never knew this - I've always thought of oranges and lemons as summer fruits!

I suppose that's understandable though because it's the summer when I usually make ice cream sorbets. Hearing of ripening oranges and lemons made me think of an orange sorbet recipe I like to make which uses both fresh oranges and a juice from a fresh lemon.

Next time I see my friends I'll try to remember and give them a copy to take back to Mallorca. I can visualise them now .... on a balcony overlooking the sea, taking shade from the sun, enjoying the balmy air and enjoying their very own homemade 'locally grown' sorbet. What a nice thought!

(Don recently won a very prestigious award for his innovative work with sonic horns - a fascinating subject!)

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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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Jul 15, 2007

National Ice Cream Day Is Here!

Yes, it's finally here - Sunday 15 July 2007 and National Ice Cream Day. Whatever you're planning to do today, try and join in the celebration of all things ice cream. Here are a few ideas that might just make your day that bit extra special ....

Let's not forget people less fortunate too - like those who are in hospital today. May ice cream be on the menu for you to enjoy as well. My son got out of hospital a couple of days ago and whilst he was there ice cream was on the menu every single day! The nurses told me how it's always a winner with children, bringing smiles to young faces when they've been through a rough time.

Thank you President Reagan for recognizing the value of ice cream beyond being just a food. It's much, much more than that!

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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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