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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The big freeze


I always thought you had to have a fancy machine to make ice-cream. Or stir it every five minutes. Or faff in some other, unspecified, way. And since cooking, for me, has to be combined with filling in forms and answering the phone and asking Littlest to stop climbing up the damn bookshelves, I don't really go in much for faff. (I'm using 'faff' in accordance with the British definition, having discovered recently on Pinterest that it's easy to misunderstand. A poor woman got very insulted by my comment on her pin because apparently in Australia, 'faff' means 'rubbish', whereas here it means 'too much effort for me to be bothered with'. Luckily bloggers are very reasonable, and we all parted friends.)

The other week I bought a Tana Ramsay cookbook, and though I'm not sold on every recipe (some of them involve insane quantities of ingredients such as a full kilogram of frozen peas or 250g of parmesan) we did rather like the look of the mint and chocolate ice-cream. And since fresh mint is the only herb that doesn't die horribly on my windowsill, we were already partway there.

Here's what you do. You put half a pint of milk into a pan, and heat until just boiling. Beat together three egg yolks and 125g of sugar (see how I veer wildly between metric and imperial here. I'm a woman trapped between two generations) and then whisk in the hot milk. Then, transfer the mix back to the pan and stir until it has 'thickened slightly and coats the back of a spoon'. Or, you could do as I did, and leave it heating for absolutely ages whilst cooking a spaghetti bolognese, and lose all hope of it ever thickening, and then accidentally bring it to a slight boil when you weren't looking and whip it off the heat smartish. This approach works too, though it's probably not for the purists.

Leave it to cool, and then gently mix in half a pint of softly whipped double cream. Throw a handful of chopped fresh mint into it and put it in a tub in the freezer.

After approximately three hours (or, again, to use my method, just when you are dropping off to sleep and have forgotten all about it and have to get up and stub your toe in the dark) give it a good stir and then put it back to freeze solid.

Eat with melted chocolate drizzled over it. It's gorgeous! It's really minty and natural-tasting, so much so that it could almost convince you that it's healthy, even though it is just a big bowl of double cream with some flecks of greenery added.

We costed it out, and it also comes in cheaper to make than the ice-cream I occasionally find falling inexplicably into my trolley when I'm in Lidl.

I got so excited that I immediately followed up with my own strawberry and vanilla version, making the same custard but with some vanilla extract added, and stirring in some chopped strawberries. Now, it's highly probable that every single one of you could have told me this beforehand, but this didn't work at all. What I got was frozen shards of strawberry-flavoured pain, surrounded by what would otherwise have been a perfectly delicious vanilla icecream. You live and learn, at least.

27 comments:

  1. oh yum. and I bet the strawberry would work if you whizzed it up.
    unfortunately I am a bit frightened of the beginning of the recipe, which sounds a lot like homemade custard. I made custard once. it was lumpy. I have never been allowed to forget it.....

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  2. I tried the above but with gooseberry puree for flavour. I now know that gooseberry puree acts like the fibres in fibreglass. It was impervious to cutlery.

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    Replies
    1. Who knew fruit could be so aggressive?

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  3. You made ice cream. I've only done it once. I squeezed all the beejesus out of some blackberries, leaving a tiny drizzle of syrup. I faffed endlessly. I whizzed and refroze. I fiddled and twiddled. I was left with five small scoops.

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  4. By coincidence I have been making ice cream today. Coconut. And to be honest I have to say my method is much less faff. Yours does sound and look delicious though.

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  5. Fortunately I don't own a freezer so am not inclined to go through all that faffing about. I like your approach to timings very much, except for the stubbed toe obviously.

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  6. The only problem with making your own ice cream is being forced to confront exactly how much cream it contains (my recipe has no virtuous milk business). But surely the mint must count as one of your five-a-day, no?

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  7. I opened up an old jar of damson jam yesterday to dispose of it (the seal had gone, I wasn't going to risk it) and stuck my hand in to start cleaning it out, and was STABBED by a chunk of crystallised sugar. Cooking is dangerous, I tell you.

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  8. Oh I like the sound of mint ice cream. I am going to give it a shot at the weekend. When I am being really lazy I just but a pot of ready made custard and use that. I am liking the new cook book I got too

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    Replies
    1. I would just end up eating the custard before I even started. At least, that's what happened with the Easter marzipan...

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  9. That looks really good - I think Nigella has a 'no churn' ice cream recipe too...if you were interested.

    ps. don't worry about the gardening - everything is swamped at the moment anyway.

    Nina xx

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  10. Yum, yummy, yum yum. I have a Tana Ransey book too, one of my many dirty little secrets, and it seems to include bacon in everything. But otherwise is suprisingly useful.

    Another dirty little secret is the icecream maker that sits at the back of an already overfull cupboard doing absolutely nothing. This looks way easier.

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  11. Thank you for the laugh on what is a wet day in the drought. Makes me very sleepy but woke up enough to have a giggle as exactly what I would do........or forget to do, lol!

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  12. Which reminds me I should start making some ice cream ... starting with the tons of lemons I stare at each day wondering what the heck to do with.
    The faff incident made me lol.

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    Replies
    1. I suppose a Lemon Drizzle Cake wouldn't fell enough of them?

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  13. Clare from Leeds27 April 2012 at 11:50

    In our house TMF = Too Much Faff, much politer than CBA.
    My fave homemade ice cream recipe is Mascarpone and Lime - basically a lime syrup and mascarpone cream mixed together and frozen - no second beating together - slightly more virtuous (no double cream) and very low on the Faff Scale!

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    Replies
    1. Now that DOES sound nice. Lime syrup, you say...?

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    2. Clare from Leeds2 May 2012 at 11:14

      It's a Nigel Slater recipe from his book "Real Food" - if you want the recipe, just let me know. But the book's well worth it...lots of lovely recipes and ideas.

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    3. Really - the last thing I need is more temptation! But thanks!

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  14. Best strawberry ice-cream ever ... 1 pint of softly whipped double cream, juice of 1 lemon and a jar of Bonne Maman Strawberry jam (or any other good make of jam). Add lemon juice and jam to whipped cream, freeze and enjoy. No stirring, no heating. Just perfection.

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    Replies
    1. It sounds lovely; but it's a long time since I stretched to Bonne Maman. I loved the jars, but couldn't justify the cost since most of it was eatn by a seven-year-old with an overactive toast-spreading action.

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  15. We all learn that the hard way, don't we? Maybe Anonymous's recipe is the trick. Now you've inspired me!

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    Replies
    1. I'm sticking with the mint, I think. If it ain't broke...

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  16. Brown bread ice-cream. It sounds grim but is quite delicious and was one of my favourite treats as a child. Sophie Grigson has a very good recipe.

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  17. Funniest icecream recipe ever. I'll only try it if I don't have to stub my toe though.

    I think faffing means you LOOK like you're doing stuff but really you're not accomplishing anything of value, as in we tried to leave on time but Mr Fixit kept faffing around in the shed. Not sure I've heard it used as meaning rubbish.

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