Summertime Gladness Day Eleven: I scream for icecream

For my 24th birthday my wonderful boyfriend bought me an ice cream machine. I’d wanted one for a long time, my love of ice cream awakened on my recent trips to Italy, where I consumed gelato on a twice-daily basis. As a child I was never really that fond of the chilly desert. But since my childhood, the ice cream industry has come on leaps and bounds, and now there are so many flavours out there, it’s hard not to devour the odd tub or two from time to time.

The prospect of making my own ice cream excited me a great deal. Think of the flavour combinations! The freshness! And the joy of knowing exactly what is in it. Well, it turns out that what is in ice cream is actually quite alarming. It literally is iced cream. The ice cream inventor certainly didn’t have to look too far for an appropriate name for this delicious dessert.

I decided to test drive my new machine last week, I wanted a simple recipe so that I could make my first batch with the help of my niece. Little Soph (who is very nearly three years old) absolutely loves helping in the kitchen. My Dad’s renowned for his cooking skills, his speciality is food and lots of it. So Sophie consequently enjoys nothing more than dragging a dining room chair into the kitchen, climbing up onto it so that she can reach the countertop to help assistant with whatever is being made. She’s helped my Dad make burgers, clumsily stirring the mince with a wooden spoon that looks gargantuan in her tiny grasp, she’s also a dab hand at making cakes, cracking the eggs by squeezing the shell tight in her fist until it explodes into a yokey mess.

Sadly her attention span for ice cream was non-existent, the prospect of playing dolls house much more enticing. So with the departure of my little helper, I cracked on, solo style.

I used James Martin’s Easy Strawberry Ice Cream recipe and it called for the following:

  • 600g of Strawberries
  • 600ml of Double Cream (gulp, that’s a lot of cream people!)
  • 280g of caster sugar

And that is literally it; it is so simple.

To start with I plucked all the green leaves out of the tops of the strawberries, followed by a jolly good rinse, shaking the strawberries around under the cold water to make sure that the water trickled down to clean all of them.

After dabbing the red berries dry with a freshly clean tea towel, I popped them into a bowl and blitzed them into a strawberry pulp. I used a hand-held blender for this.

With the strawberries liquidised the kitchen smelt amazing, sweet and sticky and incredibly fruity. Without further ado I poured in the vast quantity of cream, followed by the sugar. Then it was time for a big mix with a wooden spoon and that was the ice cream batter made.

I’d recommend decanting the mixture into a jug for pouring ease and to avoid spillages. With the mixture in the jug I began to pour it slowly into the ice cream machine which had already begun its churning. I left the machine churning the pre ice cream for the recommended half an hour by which time it was done. The ice cream machine produces pretty soft ice cream, which is ready to eat. However it was a little too soft for my liking so I decided to put the frozen mix into the freezer for a firmer, more ice cream like set and was really happy with the end result a few hours later.

I thoroughly enjoyed making my very own ice cream, although I have to say that I preferred eating it. This activity is perfect for a warm summers day, and even better if you get the chance to pick the strawberries yourself. What better way to prolong the life of those sweet, plump red berries, than to churn and freeze them with cream and sugar. A trio made in heaven!

Homemade ice cream is utterly delicious, I am eager to try more recipes and perhaps even create a few of my own.

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