Jun 29, 2011

"Half & Half Ice Cream" - Recipe For A Birthday Treat

Tonight I found myself in need of making a small batch of homemade ice cream but without having had the opportunity to plan in advance and ensure I had enough cream and eggs in stock (I like to make custard base ice cream whenever I can), I was stuck for ideas!

Determined to come up with something as we were celebrating a family birthday, I rummaged around in the kitchen and found some dark and milk chocolate Toblerone pieces tucked away in a box .... what to do? I had it! Make a quick 'half and half' chocolate gelato! I grabbed a pint of fresh milk, 2.5 oz of granulated sugar (caster sugar is also OK) and set about chopping up the chocolate into small pieces. I knew to weigh out just 4oz of chocolate because I already have a chocolate gelato recipe that uses 2 pints of milk with 8oz of chocolate, so I was effectively making half that batch size.

I gently heated up the milk and sugar together in a saucepan, stirring all the time to melt the sugar and ensure that the milk did not come to the boil. When the sugar was melted I removed the pan from the heat and simply dropped in the small chocolate pieces. Stirring the mixture for a few minutes saw the chocolate melt, although in this instance there were some pieces that didn't melt because of the make-up of the chocolate I had used. (Toblerone has tiny chunks of chocolate and nougat mixed in). That was fine by me because I knew it would give some texture to the gelato when frozen.

I left the milk/sugar/chocolate mixture to cool and set up my electric ice cream maker and some new little ice cream serving dishes and spoons which my mother kindly bought me last week (pictured left). Thanks Mum!

Once the mixture was cool enough I chilled it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then poured it into my ice cream maker bucket.

I switched the machine on, ensured the timer was set for 25 minutes and away it went!

I joined the family to enjoy a favorite episode of Laurel & Hardy whilst the ice cream was churning. 25 minutes and a lot of laughs later it was ready.

Taking my new, fun little ice cream dishes I served two scoops of my 'half and half' gelato into each one and handed them out.

The verdict?

Simple yet delicious!

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Jun 18, 2011

Carcassonne - Ice Cream In A Medieval Walled City

French ice cream is without doubt one of the best you could ever enjoy. There is something special about it. It is that little bit different to Italian ice cream (gelato) and indeed to any other you could name. I suppose it's a little like French culture - difficult to describe, somehow different to any other yet once you've had a taste, you're hooked. That's how I feel anyway!

Such is my love of all things ice cream that I ask people I know or meet to share their ice cream stories with me. A good example is my friend Colin who is a big fan of Carcassonne in France - one of the finest, medieval walled cities in Europe. He writes all about Carcassonne and he's even written a page about ice cream.

So for anyone going to Carcassonne or indeed going to France here are some great ice cream pages ...

Carcassonne Ice Cream
French Ice Cream

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Jun 14, 2011

Ice Cream Cones By Post!

Ice cream cones are great fun - especially when they come through the post on your birthday!

That's what happened to me .... it looked like an ordinary envelope but when I opened it I found it was no ordinary birthday card. Three beautiful paper ice cream cones (1 large and 2 small) stared at me from the front of the card. What a lovely idea!

Without thinking, I placed the card down next to my ice cream maker (I was in the kitchen opening the post at the time). Then it occurred to me what a super image I beheld ..... sitting atop of my ice cream maker were 3 hand-knitted, wool ice cream cones - a gift from my cousin Iris some years ago (Iris is a wonder at knitting!). The ice cream maker, the 3 knitted cones and the ice cream cones birthday card all together. I grabbed my iPhone and took a picture.

That's what I call an ice cream themed birthday! Thank you Brian and Pam for sending me such wonderful ice cream cones through the post!.

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Jun 12, 2011

Ice Cream & Sloe Gin - What A Mess!

I love ice cream desserts and it was almost exactly one year ago that I enjoyed one of the best I've ever tasted - Eton Mess, a glorious combination of meringue, forest fruits and vanilla ice cream.

The scene of this special ice cream dessert experience was the Windsor Castle pub, one of the most celebrated in central London and a favourite haunt of Old Etonians. It is also happens to be my close friend Mary's favourite place to enjoy a spot of lunch. So when visiting her again just last week, there was no doubt in my mind where she would suggest we went at midday!

For main course we both selected the asparagus and green pea risotto with fresh parmesan which you can see in the photograph - delicious!

"What shall we have for dessert?" came the question. There was no competition ... Eton Mess! This time, however, there was a difference. It had an added little 'kick' .... sloe gin. What a combination! What's more I think it even appealed to Chloe, Mary's cat, who accompanied us to the pub. Look carefully at the top right hand corner of the picture!

"Oh hello Chloe!" said the young lady serving us, reaching out to stroke her as we studied the day's menu. Chloe is indeed a very special cat .... a Bengal with beautiful markings that make her look like a miniature tiger and stunning bright blue eyes, she is also a fully qualified Pets As Therapy cat who does great work within the local community. No wonder she's a welcome regular at the Windsor Castle!

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