Jun 25, 2009

Raspberries & Ice Cream With Fleur's Flair

It's the time of year for enjoying fresh fruit and ice cream. Personally, I think there's nothing better than fresh, ripe strawberries with a scoop of ice cream! Here's a picture of some fruit picked freshly from my own garden. My strawberry patch is quite small but VERY productive as is my raspberry patch and rhubarb patch and I only have 2 cherry trees but these alongside there are blackcurrant bushes, redcurrant bushes, gooseberry bushes, blueberry plants plus several apple trees, 2 plum trees and a pear tree, meaning that the summer months offer me and my family plenty of opportunity for enjoying fresh fruit - whether with ice cream, in fruit salads or even in fruit pies.

This brings me to a conversation I had recently with a dear friend who lives in London; it was one of those conversations where we found ourselves digressing from one subject to another. It had just been released in the news that the American painter and writer Fleur Cowles had died, aged 101 and I knew that she had been a good friend of my friend in London. Though I had never met Fleur, I knew of her and her delightful husband Tom, having read one of Fleur's books "She Made Friends And Kept Them" - a fascinating read. So naturally my friend and I chatted about Fleur a little and she volunteered a wonderful story which she has happily consented to my sharing with you here .... "I'm sure Fleur would have approved" she said.

One of Fleur Cowles' passions was arranging regular dinner parties at her London home and weekend get-togethers at her Sussex home to which she would invite her 'famous' friends -artists, actors, politicians, writers and so on. Luciano Pavarotti, Yehudi Menhuin, Dame Margot Fonteyn, Laurence Olivier, James Stewart, Cary Grant ... these are just a few who appeared on the guest list. My friend in London was invited to spend the weekend at Fleur's Sussex home on several occasions and remembers very fondly the pride with which the home-grown fruit was served as a dessert - when in season, it would be raspberries freshly picked from Fleur's garden served with ice cream. Although quite a few years ago now, my friend insists she can still recall the wonderful taste and how it represented a definitive "English Summer". A marvellous memory and a reflection of how Fleur Cowles touched the lives of many people - even mine!

My friend paid a delightful tribute to Fleur Cowles recently in her own "Letters From London" blog - called simply "Dear Fleur" it offers an intriguing insight into one of the most fascinating, individual women of the 20th century.

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Jun 23, 2009

Connecting Ice Cream, Famous People & Dyslexia

I've written before about famous people and ice cream such as Elvis Presley, Jackie Chan and others as well as a number of former US Presidents who enjoyed ice cream. It's an interesting connection but there are lots more connections that are just as fascinating. Such as famous people (including US Presidents) who have been/are dyslexic. Walt Disney suffered from dyslexia but it didn't stop him founding one of the biggest and best entertainment corporations the world has ever seen. Here is an interesting list of dyslexic famous people - it spans centuries from Da Vinci through to Tom Cruise.

I know several people personally who are dyslexic and one of them, David Allen who is a successful chartered accountant and businessman, was recently presented with a 'Businessman Of The Year' award in recognition of his energy and commitment within the local business and sporting communities. David is one of those people who is always coming up with new ideas, wanting to move forwards and make progress with everything he does.

I know that David likes ice cream too which made me wonder just how many successful people with dyslexia also enjoy ice cream. An interesting thought .... some research to be done there I think .... and another blog post for another day!

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Jun 16, 2009

Ice Cream Inspirations

Have you noticed how people who make ice cream are always looking for new recipes and new sales angles? I have come across 2 very different approaches to this ....

1. Using other foods to inspire new ice cream creations - such as Gino Soldan the master gelatiere did in the summer of 2008. Gino took some traditional British foods and made ice cream out of them. That may not sound very inspiring in itself but look at the foods he worked with and you'll realise what a challenge it was - Yorkshire Pudding, Sausage & Mash, Wensleydale Cheese! Needless, to say it got Gino into the headlines - indeed, sufficiently enough for me to contact him to ask him personally why and how he rose to the challenge. Read my interview with Gino Soldan.

2. Using famous people to inspire new ice cream creations - such as Ben & Jerry's and Baskin-Robbins have already done. "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road" consisting of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks was launched for a limited period in the summer of 2008 as a tribute to and with the permission of Sir Elton John. Similar ice cream creations have been produced as tributes to Barack Obama, Willie Nelson and John Lennon. Read more about Elton John's ice cream.

I shall keep on the lookout for more in this vein - it makes for such interesting reading!

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Jun 9, 2009

Recipes & Videos Including Ice Cream Videos

We all like to learn new things and it depends upon our interests and natural inclinations as to which direction we go in. For anyone interested in homemade food, it's got to be learning how to cook or bake something new - in other words ... RECIPES.

However, once you've got your recipe together, it's not always easy to know exactly how to go about it. I suppose that's why TV cook series have become so popular ... watch the tv chef at work, record it if you like and learn exactly how the recipe should be followed through. That's fine if you're happy to go with the tv chef's own recipes.

But what about recipes you download from the Web? Well, thanks to the wonderful, continual development of web resources we can all now view video clips of how to do things, including how to follow through with a recipe. Here are 2 examples ....

And of course if you want to watch a video of how to make homemade ice cream ... you can watch my very own ice cream videos
Note: filmed using an ice cream maker

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Jun 1, 2009

Knickerbocker Glory, Gordon Brown & National Ice Cream Week

As I reported in my last Blog Of Ice Cream post, 1 June 2009 sees the start of Britain's first National Ice Cream Week. Today could go down in history you never know .... if the British enter the spirit of celebrating ice cream this week, we could see all sorts of things never seen before!

Imagine it .... Members of Parliament taking a welcome fresh-air break from the House of Commons and rushing to queue up at the nearest ice cream van for a vanilla ice cream cone - paid for of course out of their own pocket! That's provided of course that their local ice cream van has not been banned by the local council. Banning ice cream vans sounds a crazy idea but it has been happening in Britain recently!

Continuing on with the idea of what we might see this week in Britain's National Ice Cream Week, I would like to think that everyone will join in, even the British Royal family. HM The Queen is known to sometimes offer delicious ice cream on the menu at formal dinners in Buckingham Palace and many of her grandchildren have been photographed enjoying ice cream cones at outdoor events.

What about the British Prime Minister? Will he allow himself to be seen eating ice cream this week? C'mon Mr. Brown, have an afternoon out with your family and visit an ice cream parlor - after all President Obama (clearly an ice cream cone fan) didn't mind being photographed doing just that with his family last year on the Presidential Campaign.

Tell you what Prime Minister Brown, if you go out this week and visit a British ice cream parlor, I will personally pay for your Knickerbocker Glory! Just email me the receipt. I sincerely mean that - it's time you had something to smile about and what better than a great British ice cream tradition.

Long live the Knickerbocker Glory!

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