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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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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Dec 1, 2007

Rainforest Fruit, 9 ball pool & Roald Dahl

So .... what's the connection between a rainforest expedition to Madagascar, the 2007 9 ball pool World Championship and the author Roald Dahl? The answer .... fruit! One of the most important ingredients in ice cream making is fruit and because of that I always seem to prick up my ears whenever fruit is discussed in conversation around me or on tv. In the last week, fruit - especially the peach - has been the common theme in my everyday life.

First, the movie 'James and the Giant Peach' (based on the wonderful book by Roald Dahl) was on tv a couple of days ago, then I heard my husband and son discussing the recent 9 ball pool world championship and how it was won by a rank outsider, Englishman Daryl Peach. How's that for a great memorable name for a sports champion!

Then, yesterday, I chanced upon a fascinating tv documentary called 'Madagascar - A Treetop Odyssey' which followed the work of a group of scientists studying the Madagascar Rainforest - one of the last unspoilt rainforests on earth. They were looking for - and indeed discovering - new species of animals and plants.

I had tuned into the program about 1/2 way through and had only 10 minutes to spare before having to prepare dinner but in that quick 10 minutes what I saw made me smile - it was all about fruit. One of the scientists tasks was to look for and test new fruits found growing in the rainforest and he was interviewed whilst cutting and tasting some of what they had found. Apparently whatever he found to be an interesting new taste would then be passed on and recommended for commercial ice cream and yogurt making. There was one new fruit which the scientist had tested and described as milky and creamy yet exotic (it looked to me a little like a lime in size and colour) and about which he was very excited because of how well it might work with strawberries in combination for a new ice cream. I listened hard for the name of the fruit but alas none was mentioned. Perhaps before very long and if the scientist is right, we will see it being cultivated (though not at the expense of rainforest depletion and damage) and sold on a larger scale. If and when my local grocery store has it on the shelves I aim to be the first to buy some and try in my homemade ice cream making!

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