’VE BEEN an ice cream enthusiast most of my life — before Chunky Monkey was even a twinkle in Ben or Jerry’s eye.
My love affair began in the 1970s, at Dayvilles on London’s Finchley Road. It was my first taste of American ice cream. Before that, all the ice cream I’d consumed had been a Strawberry Mivvi or a Mr Whippy.
The romance has outlived Dayvilles — whose parlours are no more — and made it through the Häagen Dasz years when no Saturday night was complete until a visit had been made to the nowdefunct Hampstead store.
And with a churning machine in my kitchen, I have discovered the even greater joy of home-made ice cream.
Not only can you choose the exact flavour you like, but you also can adapt recipes to suit your audience. Crush your favourite brownies into a creamy vanilla; treat clamouring toddlers to less-sugary fruity flavours or ch urn lower-fat frozen yoghurt for your need-totreat-myself-but-still-must-fit-intothat-bikini moments.
In terms of flavours, there are no limits. The latest trends for ice cream flavours include Cornflake or Crunchy Nut Cornflake milk — with the evocative flavour from the milk left after a bowl of breakfast cereal — and the slightly out-there Wasabi.
You may prefer to keep it simple by using seasonal fruit, your favourite chocolate bar or biscuit.
And once you’ve got your ice cream made, there are so many ways to serve it. Freeze portions in round patty shapes to sandwich between two biscuits –digestives — especially the chocolate-coated ones — are ideal for this treat. Roll the sandwich sides in sprinkles or finely chopped nuts.
Or make different toppings — hot sauces like chocolate or fudge are a gorgeous contrast and the warm spiced raspberry compôte (see next page) is a deliciously tangy foil to the sweetness of the white chocolate sorbet. Or sprinkle on a crunchy topping like the baked crumble for the plum and ginger ice cream (see next page).
All is not lost if you don’t have an ice cream churning machine. The plum and ginger ice cream is just as delicious if you freeze and go. Or you can use the method on page 33 when freezing your ice cream to break up the ice crystals. A bit more laborious, but for the true lover of an icy treat — well worth it.