Jul 27, 2009

A Cute Little Culinary Secret!

It's not often I get to share secrets but here is a little gem - about ice.

In addition to having an ice cream maker at home, I have a home ice maker or a portable ice maker as some people call it. I have mentioned it before in my blog posts when talking about preparing foods and entertaining where having freshly made ice available is relevant. However, one thing I have NOT said before, is that this little machine has an 'ice secret' all its own.

That secret is in the shape of the ice it produces. Sounds odd? Perhaps, but not so for anyone who has used one of these machines to produce their own ice for storage in the freezer.

If you have ever bought bags of ice to store at home you will know that it is usually the commercially, bulk produced kind, shaped in cubes. Take the bags of ice cubes home, put them into your freezer to store, bring them out when you need them and more often than not you are greeted with .... no, not a bag of beautifully preserved, loose cubes but the challenge of smashing apart a solid block of ice because the cubes have fused together!

Now with a home ice maker such as the one I have (in the photo), the ice it produces is nugget shaped - cylindrical is perhaps a more accurate description. This shape means that when the nuggets are stored together in a bag in the freezer, they won't stick together in a solid block as readily as cubed shaped ice does. So when you pull your bag of frozen nugget ice out of the freezer all it usually requires is a gentle tap to just free any that have become a little 'sticky'. Now that's what I call a cute little culinary secret!

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Jul 23, 2009

Anyone For Viagra Ice Cream?

Japanese ice cream has to be one of the most fascinating 'food' subjects you could wish to study! I have been to Japan and simply loved it - the culture, the food, the scenery and the history is stunningly different and memorable. The strong and luscious, vivid colors of the trees and plants will live in my mind forever. However, I have to admit that Japanese ice cream did not make much of an impression on me though, to be fair, that was because I only tasted the American style that was available at the time. Since that time I have heard much about the 'exotic' flavors of ice cream that some ice cream producers offer to the public in Japan, many of which are not for the faint-hearted!

This week I read a news article about Japan being hit by an invasion of giant jellyfish and in passing the journalist wrote about how a company has even come up with a vanilla and jellyfish ice cream - “slightly chewy” was the description they gave! No thanks, can't say that one holds any appeal for me. This reminded me, however, of how Japanese people tend to be very 'brave' when it comes to trying unusual foods and flavors so I have finally sat down and written a page on Japanese ice cream which is now ensconced within the main ice-cream-recipes.com website.

I have formulated a list of just a few of the extremely unusual ice cream flavors that have been commercially produced in Japan in recent years and am sure my readers will enjoy reading it, though perhaps with a little shock and surprise here and there!

On the list are the following:

  • raw horseflesh ice cream
  • goat ice cream
  • octopus ice cream
  • squid ice cream
  • soy sauce ice cream
  • cactus ice cream

    and ....
  • viagra ice cream!

I think the lesser challenge of a Wensleydale Cheese ice cream - as made by master gelatiere Gino Soldan - might be as exotic as I'm ever likely to try!

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Jul 19, 2009

National Ice Cream Day 2009

If you celebrated National Ice Cream day last year and possibly in the years before, then you might just be looking to do something a little different with your homemade ice cream today. Take a look at my list of unusual ice cream recipes and see what takes your fancy!

Even if you don't make your own ice cream (shame on you!) you can still take part in the fun of National Ice Cream day ....
  • you could take the family out for a special treat to an ice cream parlor and try one of the many fabulous ice cream sundaes that are usually on the menu.
  • you could go to the movies and just enjoy a simple tub of ice cream whilst watching it
  • you could buy a quality, commercially made ice cream at your local store or supermarket, take it home and make your own Knickerbocker Glory
  • you could spot your local ice cream truck in a neighboring street and treat yourself (and others!) to a great ice cream cone

The list goes on!

That's the wonderful thing about ice cream as a food/treat - it's not confined to any one place or any one supplier. You can eat it indoors or outdoors and you can buy it made by someone else or yourself. It's almost infinitely variable in taste and methods of presentation and you can add toppings or sauces, fruit or nuts, chocolate flakes or wafers. I could go on all day writing about ice cream - it's a passion with a tradition and perhaps that's why it's worthy of its own national day. Long may it be so .... have a great National Ice Cream Day folks!

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Jul 12, 2009

Let's Celebrate National Ice Cream Month

One of the best ways to celebrate anything is to recall past events that have a strong association. On a wedding anniversary people think back to their wedding day and anniversaries over the years; at Christmas many people think of past Christmas celebrations, often childhood ones. Looking back in this way seems to somehow solidify and strengthen the meaning of whatever is being celebrated.

With this month being National Ice Cream Month in the USA, I thought it might be good to look back at past posts on Blog Of Ice Cream and pick out some of the more unusual ones to help put people in the right frame of mind. For those reading these posts for the first time, I hope you enjoy them and for those already familiar with them .... well, if you really love all things ice cream, you can never have too much of a good thing!

Here goes ....

Ice Cream In The Movies - from Jackie Chan to Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Sausage & Mash and Wensleydale Ice Cream - a master gelatiere's amazing ice cream challenge

The Story Of The Long Distance Strasberries - my quest for a new homemade ice cream

If these articles don't make you see the fun in ice cream .... nothing will!

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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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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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