Jun 30, 2010

Don't Forget The Ice Cream Glasses & Spoons!

When making ice cream, it's not just about choosing the right recipe but - and this you have to work out BEFORE you make the ice cream - also about HOW YOU ARE GOING TO SERVE IT.

Fresh, homemade ice cream is always best eaten immediately as I find it can lose quality of texture and taste after being stored in the freezer. Therefore, whenever I make a new batch of ice cream I get all the accessories I'm going to need ready first. That way, the moment the ice cream maker beeps to say the ice cream is ready, I'm all set.

Q: So what are these 'ice cream accessories'?

A: Here's what you need ready to hand to serve your homemade ice cream well ....

  • Ice cream scoop - I have used many over the years and nothing beats a quality, stainless steel ice cream scoop. Smooth in its action and easy to handle with consistency of scoop every time.

  • Ice cream dishes or ice cream glasses - if you are serving ice cream as a dessert at the dinner table or offering party guests a special ice cream sundae, then you will need to have your dishes or glasses washed, dried and ready. Sometimes I opt to chill them for 15 minutes or so in the fridge before serving the ice cream as it stops it melting too fast.

  • Ice cream spoons - these long-handled spoons are both practical and fun. My late father always enjoyed being handed a 'proper' ice cream spoon to eat his ice cream sundae with. I have plastic ice cream spoons with novelty decorations on the top of the handle which children love to use and also stainless steel ones. Click on the link to see a picture of them.

  • Ice cream cones - if your homemade ice cream is not going to be a formal dessert but just a quick scoop or two for everyone on a sunny afternoon, then an ice cream cone treat is ideal. So you need to have the cones out of the box and ready to use.

  • Paper napkins - a MUST to have ready to hand both for dinner guests and for if it's an ice cream cone occasion.

Here is my Special Ice Cream Spoons post for anyone who hasn't read it

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Jun 23, 2010

It's All Rhubarb!

As you know, I recently wrote about how the rhubarb season is now upon us. I love rhubarb - the sound of the word alone is wonderful!

I have made rhubarb crumble, rhubarb sorbet and now rhubarb and custard ice cream with the rhubarb growing in my garden. The trouble is it grows so fast I can't keep up with it and I've run out of space in the freezer! Never mind, I suppose you can have too much of a good thing ....

Here, however, I can share with you some of the photographs of my rhubarb and what I have made using it.

Photo 1

Freshly picked rhubarb photographed within seconds of being picked from my garden. I went on to use this in my rhubarb sorbet recipe.

Photo 2

Rhubarb crumble.

I served this with homemade custard.
A delicious hot dessert.

Photo 3

Rhubarb and custard ice cream.
My husband had a quizzical look on his face when I said I was going to make this but soon changed his expression when he tasted the end product.

He even asked for a second helping!

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Jun 17, 2010

Windsor Castle Eton Mess - With Vanilla Ice Cream!

On a recent trip to London I met up with my dear friend Mary whom I had not seen for over 10 years. The welcome was as warm as I could have wished for .... mid morning chocolate biscuits and English tea at her apartment followed by a super lunch at the local pub (more of that in a minute!), a walk in some beautiful gardens and then back for afternoon tea with cake and hot cross buns. Just as well that when I did leave, I had plenty of time to catch my train - I was so full I couldn't possibly have run!

Catching up on all our news, we recounted stories and reminisced about 'old times' (we used to work together in the same office in Regent Street many years ago). Our conversation was interspersed by the delightful play of Mary's new Bengal kitten, Chloe - searching for her ball and then chasing and playing with it, scampering here and there, quick as a whip. Chloe is without doubt the most adorable kitten I have ever encountered, with incredible, big, blue eyes. I challenge you to view this short video clip and disagree!

Chloe's Big Blue Eyes

When lunchtime arrived, we went to a local pub taking Chloe with us. The 'Windsor Castle' is a characterful, old pub and one of the most celebrated in London. The staff are friendly and helpful - everyone of course adored Chloe the moment they saw her - and the manager even came over personally to say hello. The food ... well, it was delicious.

After our main course (I had a lovely goats cheese salad), Mary insisted we have a dessert. I was too full I explained! So Mary suggested we share a dessert. Well, we had no idea that the pub has always been a favourite with Old Etonians (I learned this after our visit), so it was by pure chance that we opted for the 'Eton Mess' from the dessert menu. It turned out to be one of the pub's specialities.

Now if you've never had an 'Eton Mess' before, this is an English, 'fun' dessert for summer. It is derived from a well-known strawberry and cream dessert traditionally served on 4 June at Eton College in England when students picnic on the playing fields after the prizegiving ceremony.

The standard 'Eton Mess' recipe calls for broken meringue pieces, strawberries and cream - here is a very quick and easy Eton Mess recipe from the BBC.

However, at the Windsor Castle pub they take this dessert to another level, adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream along with some fresh, forest fruits. Ice cream and fruit - it was just as if it was meant for me! Served in a tall ice cream glass, the Windsor Castle pub's Eton Mess was topped off with sliced, fresh strawberries and fresh mint leaves. Score? 10 out of 10 - it was superb.

Chloe in 'Windsor Castle'

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Jun 12, 2010

Movie Stars Just Love Ice Cream!

As I commented recently, ice cream is a common feature in movies - from 'Borat' to 'Help!' to 'Iron Man' and lots more (read my ice cream in the movies page).

However, it seems that it doesn't end there with the movie industry because many movie stars themselves and/or their children make no secret of their own love of ice cream when out and about in public.

Just take a look at these reports and pictures ....

Jolie-Pitt Kids Enjoy Ice Cream In Italy

Jackie Chan treats friends and family to ice cream in Australia (you need to scroll to about 2/3 way down this long page - there are some great photos here, many by Jackie himself)
NOTE: Read about Jackie Chan's favorite ice cream in my famous people and ice cream page.

Russell Crowe treats his boys to ice cream in Australia

As reported in my own page on movie stars and ice cream, the much loved comic actor Lou Costello's last words were reported to have included 'ice cream'.

All the above echoes just one thing ... that ice cream is indelibly imprinted in our consciousness and our culture, whoever we are.

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Jun 6, 2010

Sauce Too Hot For Ice Cream!

Today we spent a wonderful couple of hours in the company of friends. We sat in the summer sunshine outside enjoying what is always great and entertaining conversation but to add to the delight, we were brought an array of 'nibbles' which included some super cheeses, oatcakes, a bowl of homemade Russian salad and a large dish of tortilla chips. We were told that we had to try some of the homemade dips with the tortilla chips. On the table were two bowls of the most colourful dips you have ever seen in your life! Here they are:

One was a hot, sweet chili dip and the other ... well, he didn't give it a name. We were challenged to guess what it was. I tasted it carefully ... there was fruit in there somewhere along with a strong taste of mint and, yes, definitely some mustard though not a strong one. Our friends smiled and then revealed that the fruit was mango and the mustard Dijon. Alongside these and the mint was a little cumin, hence the fabulous colour which complimented the colour of the mangoes. It was delicious - mild yet spicy, minty and fruity!

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