Feb 19, 2010

Ice Cream Photos - Rhubarb Crumble & Vanilla Ice Cream

Continuing with the theme of sharing some of the photos I've taken over the years relating to all things ice cream, this post is takes 'rhubarb and custard' as its theme.

For some reason the rhubarb in our garden flourishes annually beyond all our expectations. Needless to say I have become adept at making rhubarb crumble :)

This picture was taken literally seconds after it came out of the oven. It was still bubbling around the edges. So what do you serve with rhubarb crumble? Custard perhaps or cream .... maybe .... but what about vanilla ice cream?

Here is a batch of homemade vanilla ice cream that I made with my favorite ice cream maker at home - photographed just as it came out of the machine.

Imagine a scoop of it on top of freshly made, hot, homemade rhubarb crumble. Now that's what I call a (n)ice dessert!

Read about rhubarb on BBC Good Food.

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Nov 25, 2009

A Dimension Of Thanksgiving - Apple Pie With Ice Cream!

There is of course more than one dimension to Thanksgiving. Much of the media seems to focus on the 'gluttony' that takes place, portraying many families as spending the afternoon lazily watching football on tv after over-indulging in food. OK so that might happen in a lot of households BUT what is more important is the fact that many people go to great lengths and travel long distances just to be with their families for this one special day, irrespective of how they spend the afternoon. Being together and giving thanks for the good things they share is the real heart of Thanksgiving. It's not commercial and it's not about religion - it's about love and gratitude - and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with good food.

So enjoy your turkey, the cranberries and the stuffing and if you're having good old apple pie for dessert ..... don't forget the vanilla ice cream!

Happy Thanksgiving

PS. Not planning to have apple pie? Just want a good homemade ice cream? Read my Thanksgiving Ice Cream page.

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Oct 10, 2009

French Ice Cream

Last weekend I cooked dinner for my family and some visiting friends. We all like Thai food so I opted to cook a Thai red chicken curry, served with rice, noodles and some fresh spinach. For dessert I served fresh fruit (blueberries, strawberries, chopped banana and peach) accompanied by homemade vanilla ice cream ... freshly made. It was so fresh that I had the ice cream maker churning whilst we were still eating the main course! It was delicious - honestly, I am not just saying that; everyone at the table echoed the feeling with my husband saying it was the best vanilla ice cream he had ever tasted! The recipe, which is on ice-cream-recipes.com of course (just follow the link above), is what I call a custard base ice cream and uses a real vanilla pod, fresh eggs, fresh milk, sugar and fresh cream. Essentially this is "French ice cream" because it requires a cooked egg custard.

Many years ago, using the term French ice cream inferred it was the best possible ice cream that you might find on a restaurant menu. One example is that of the RMS Titanic's first and second class dining menus - "French Ice Cream" for first class passengers and "American Ice Cream" for second class. Read my "Ice Cream & Class Distinction On The RMS Titanic" post from 2008.

Since those days of course the world has changed a lot and I doubt very much if the French only eat French ice cream! They definitely have a passion for ice cream though and I know this for 2 reasons ....

  • Firstly, the statistics from ice-cream-recipes.com show a significant number of visitors from France, searching in French for the term "glaces maison" (homemade ice cream)
  • Secondly, a friend who enjoys taking holidays in France - especially in and around Poitou Charentes - tells me that the ice cream there is always very, very good.

There are of course lots of other 'national' variations on ice cream such as Italian ice cream but that's a post for another day!

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Jul 1, 2009

Ice Cream Passion Poll - A Call To Ice Cream Lovers!

Hurrah! July is here - National Ice Cream Month has arrived. A great time to talk about Ice Cream Passion!

Here's the thing .... the number of visitors to ice-cream-recipes.com builds year on year by an average of 33%. I don't think the percentage of people around the world getting connected to the Net every year is as high as that in fact, and if I am right, it can only mean one thing - that the popularity of ice cream is growing. This is backed up by the fact that from the 1.15 million people who visited ice-cream-recipes.com in 2008, 4 out of 5 were new visitors.

People search consistently for "vanilla ice cream", "homemade ice cream", "strawberry ice cream recipe" all clearly indicating a passion for learning more about ice cream making.

So I've been asking myself how I can appease this passion a little more .... how can I make people feel like they are making a contribution to ice cream know-how?

The answer - "The Ice Cream Passion Poll"

I have opened up this blog post to comments and invite anyone with a passion for ice cream to CAST YOUR VOTE. Want to take part?
Sign in via your Google account and just state the following information:

1. The country where you live
2. If you are male or female
3. Your favorite, all time ice cream flavor
4. Your favorite ice cream topping/sauce
5. If you have a favorite ice cream memory

This is an exciting experiment for SERIOUS ice cream fans and if it proves popular (and doesn't get abused with junk posting!) then it will be an endorsement of the good side of the Net - allowing people around the world to share their ice cream thoughts with each other. So climb on board and join the Ice Cream Passion Poll!

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May 11, 2009

The Prospect: No More Ice Cream Trucks On Our Streets

It was with total disbelief that I read a news item the other day about how in Britain there is a move towards banning ice cream trucks from parking in residential streets to sell their ice cream. Crazy or what?!

Apparently, some local councils are fearful that ice cream trucks may cause a public nuisance and could even contribute to childhood obesity. So some are no longer issuing street vending licences to ice cream sellers.

I grew up looking forward every week to the ice cream truck coming down our street, parking within easy walking distance of our house and being allowed by my parents to go and enjoy a special treat of a vanilla ice cream cone sometimes smothered in raspberry sauce or with a chocolate flake. The memories come flooding back as I begin to reminisce. Some of the happiest days of my childhood were ice cream days like that. Moreover, I didn't become obese as a result!

I know I'm not alone in my feelings too - many people eat an ice cream cone and can't help but smile as they do so, recalling fond memories of enjoying ice cream when they were younger. Like John who owns some Penrith cottages and writes a great little blog - in one of his posts about a walk in the Eden Valley he mentions eating an ice cream cone. Then there are movies where eating ice cream cones is portrayed as no less than a part of our cultural heritage - take for example 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' (1951 original with Michael Rennie). There's a scene where the man from outer space spends a day out in Washington getting a taste of what human life is about and he gets to eat an ice cream cone. Speaking of Washington, President Obama has a love ice cream that he's happy to share with his family, as witnessed last year during the presidential elections. Read about it in my US Presidents and Ice Cream blog post and also how Senator McCain reacted excitedly upon hearing an ice cream truck whilst he was out campaigning. Very pointedly, none of the people mentioned are obese.

So come on Britain, let some common sense prevail please and leave the ice cream man alone!

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May 7, 2009

Mother's Day Ice Cream

Most countries have a 'Mother's Day'. In Britain it's in March each year yet in the USA it's in May - this year 10 May is the day.

I'm not going to linger over any complicated suggestions of what to do on Mother's Day this year, simply to say that if your mother likes ice cream, you could do worse than to give her a special ice cream surprise.

Make some homemade ice cream fresh that morning - such as vanilla ice cream - or take her out to an ice cream parlor for a special ice cream sundae. It doesn't have to be expensive and it doesn't have to be a great big serving of ice cream. Then again if she really likes ice cream sundaes then order her something like a Knickerbocker Glory! Just as long as i'ts something you know she likes.

After all, Mother's Day is about showing that you care and how better to do that than recognise that she deserves a little treat occasionally. That's the magic of ice cream!

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Apr 23, 2009

Ice Cream & Roulade

Here's an interesting thing I learned today - a roulade can be not only sweet but also savoury. With its origins being European and its name obviously a French word, it's not surprising then to learn that savoury roulades are popular in France, Germany (known as Rouladen), Italy (known as Braciole), Hungary (known as Szüz) and Poland (known as zrazy).

In England, the roulade is definitely associated with the sweet kind, a good example being coffee roulade. There are lots of other variations on a theme for sweet roulades but coffee roulade springs to mind as I write this post because a friend recently told me that one of her longest standing friends Tina was a very good cook who happened to enjoy coffee roulade with a serving of ice cream. Now I'm not sure what kind of ice cream Tina put onto her roulade (it was probably vanilla ice cream) but if any of my readers want to try some coffee ice cream, I actually have a fresh coffee ice cream recipe that you can try. Whether it's with or without roulade doesn't matter. Good ice cream is great on its own or with other food - makes no difference - not to me anyway!

Coffee is a fascinating subject - I even have a coffee history page where you can read about the East African shepherd that many people believe was the first to make a coffee drink.

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Jan 20, 2009

Air In Ice Cream

Of all the ingredients that go into ice cream, air is arguably the most important. Air in ice cream - sounds crazy? Not at all. You just need to stop and think about it and you will realise why.

When I was a child (and it's not that long ago really!), ice cream was only available in one of two ways - from our weekly ice cream man in his ice cream truck or at the local grocery store where they was usually a freezer with a few rectangular cardboard boxed blocks of vanilla or raspberry ripple ice cream.

Then, suddenly, it all changed .... and soft serve ice cream was born - principally the result of adding more air into the manufacturing process. Amongst the pioneers in this field was no less than the now Baroness Margaret Thatcher. She was part of a research term in the UK who worked for a British ice cream manufacturer and whose job it was to improve the manufacturing process and make it more profitable. This they did by adding more air into it. Read more about on my Ice Cream & Political Passion blog post.

You might think that manufacturers might be tempted to put more and more air into their ice cream to make even bigger profits of course - but you would be wrong. First of all, most countries have legislation governing the maximum percentage of air allowed in ice cream - usually accepted as 50%. Secondly, the texture and taste would be so poor that people simply would not buy it. Without a doubt, the best quality ice cream in my opinion has the least air in it at about 20%. When you make your own homemade ice cream you can experiment with how much air you put into it - whether you do the mixing by hand or just control the churning time in your ice cream maker. Try and see. You'll be amazed how the volume of air makes a difference!

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Nov 30, 2008

Vanilla Ice Cream Toppings

I make more vanilla ice cream than any other ice cream flavor. It's not that I'm afraid to be adventurous - I've tried all kinds of unusual ice cream recipes but I and my family simply find that nothing compares to vanilla ice cream when it's freshly made. Apart from its unique flavor, you can do so much with vanilla ice cream. Add fresh fruit and cream and it tastes great. Put in it an ice cream cone and it's wonderful. Put it into a lavish ice cream sundae and it's fantastic.

I think vanilla ice cream really comes into its own though when it comes to ice cream toppings and sauces. Any topping and any sauce will work with vanilla ice cream in my opinion. You can put chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, mini marshmallows or colorful 'hundreds and thousands' on it and it will work. You can opt for rich maple syrup like this Organic, GMP Certified Maple Syrup with a 5 star rating (Amazon store) or toffee sauce or strawberry syrup or chocolate sauce and, again, it tastes and looks great.

So be mindful when you're trying to impress guests with a new ice cream recipe - there are times when only good old fashioned vanilla ice cream will do!

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Oct 12, 2008

Halloween Ice Cream

Summer's over, the children are back at school and autumn has arrived. October can be a wonderfully atmospheric month - golden leaves on the trees, a nip in the air with a hint of winter to come, darkness falling earlier and before you know it Halloween is just around the corner.

For many children Halloween is a day of fun and excitement and if you are involved in organising anything for Halloween you will know only too well that it can take a lot of time and effort to plan your Halloween party just right.

You might be looking for ideas for childrens' Halloween costumes for example or for food recipes to celebrate Halloween. Pumpkin dishes of course are usually on the menu - but how about some Halloween ice cream? If you have an ice cream maker it's not difficult to produce a batch of tasty, unusual ice cream for a Halloween celebration. Here's my idea for a Halloween ice cream recipe: Pumpkin and Maple Ice Cream. Made with heavy cream, egg yolks, caster sugar, cooked, cooled & mashed pumpkin, maple syrup and a touch of ground nutmeg, it's simply delicious!

But what if you don't like pumpkin? OK, then just go for a quick and easy ice cream recipe such as this vanilla ice cream.

Did you know that the pumpkin isn't a vegetable?
Do you know why the pumpkin is associated with Halloween?
Do you know what the Pumpkinfest is?

Find out the answers on this Halloween blog post.

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Jul 1, 2008

Celebrate 4 July With Vanilla Ice Cream

Last year I was amazed at the number of visitors to http://www.ice-cream-recipes.com/ around 4 July. I have always known that holidays of any kind are great occasions for making homemade ice cream and sharing it with friends and family but a summer holiday is especially so. For some reason, it turns out that 4 July is THE day when Americans want to make their own ice cream more than any other day in the year.

So what was the ice cream flavor my visitors were most interested in on 4 July? Yep, you guessed it .... vanilla ice cream. The perennial of all ice creams! Out of 85,000 page views that day, my main vanilla ice cream recipe had almost 20% of that in its own right! I have to admit that vanilla is my favorite ice cream, especially when it's made with a fresh custard (cream) base and using a real vanilla pod. A couple of scoops topped with delicious chocolate sauce and a dollop of fresh whipped cream - what bliss! Here's my custard base vanilla ice cream recipe.

It may seem like hard work on a special holiday to take time out and make some homemade ice cream but it's not that difficult, nor is it too time consuming and the end result is well worth it. You not only get to enjoy the ice cream yourself but you get the pleasure of see all those smiling faces when you hand it out to other people.

Whatever you're planning to do this 4 July, have a great time - and if you fancy a bit of homemade ice cream don't hold back. Get to it and enjoy it!

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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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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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Apr 25, 2007

Vanilla Ice Cream

The most popular ice cream in the world is vanilla ice cream yet when you first consider the facts about vanilla it’s hard to see where the appeal comes from.

For example:
- The vanilla bean is not a fruit but from a climbing orchid
- It’s classed as a spice
- It’s visually very unappealing - dark, long and thin in appearance
- When first picked it has no fragrance at all

Not the kind of characteristics you would imagine for such an immensely popular and indeed valuable commodity.

So why is vanilla ice cream so popular? In my view you’ll find the best answer in making your own homemade vanilla ice cream. The taste is quite simply unique – a blend of sweetness mixed with a hint of spice, a slight fruitiness yet somehow floral as well.

There are different recipes for making vanilla ice cream. Whether you use actual vanilla beans or vanilla essence, whether you opt to use a custard base or just cream and condensed milk (quick & easy recipe), you’ll come out with a delicious tasting ice cream every time. A tribute to the unique appeal of vanilla.

Try one of my 2 Vanilla ice cream recipes

Watch the video – Making Vanilla Ice Cream

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