The last Monday in August is a public holiday in the UK. It celebrates the last weekend of summer and it’s a last chance to relax at a local village fete (I’m off to Baltonsborough‘s later on, birthplace of St Dunstan) or a friend’s BBQ. But if the weather is really ‘promising’, people can go a bit barmy, driving long distances to squeeze in a full-on camping weekend or a last family outing to the seaside before the start of term. Motorways jam, cars get overheated, children turn feral, patience is on the edge, tempers fray. WIthout a cloud in the sky, today is going to be, for many, one of those days.
On a hot bank holiday, ice cream is needed like never before: to cool veins, splice forked tongues, and lower the decibels. Children are chillingly silent when eating ice cream. Mums and dads turn contemplative and have a moment to reassess their parenting skills. Everything’s better after ice cream.
Back in June I indulged in a big purchase… a proper ice cream maker from Andrew James. It’s one that churns and freezes (within 30 minutes or so) without needing to take it in and out of the freezer. I used my daughter’s birthday as a poor excuse to buy it. If I’m honest, it was really a present for me.
The machine is heavy and bulky, so it’s not the easiest of things to keep in a tiny kitchen (if the design had inset handles it would be very… handy). It’s ‘high-days and holidays’ status coupled with its storage (under the stairs) often means I forgot it’s there. So it’s well worth making several batches whilst it’s out.
This weekend we made three types. Vanilla, of course, and:
Cucumber ice cream
With a pile of Crystal Lemon cucumbers still left after Saturday’s tzatziki, I looked in the Index of Claire Kelsey’s book, Melt, and couldn’t believe my luck. There was a recipe for cucumber ice cream! And who would believe it could taste so good, frozen with honey and cream, a splash of lemon and a pinch of salt? Very refreshing it is, too. Perfect after a greasy BBQ.
Elderberry Frozen Yoghurt
I also had a stab at making up my own recipe using some Greek yoghurt (“not yoghurt again, mummy!”) and elderberry juice that I’d kept aside from jam-making last week. Again, I used honey to sweeten it… I think I’d probably use sugar next time to keep the tangy elderberry flavour ‘clean’. And a pinch of salt, recommended in all the recipes in Claire’s book, really does bring out the flavours in ice cream.
A little garnish of edible pansies and mint just set these off.
Today is already hotting up… If you do venture out today don’t forget that other cream:
Now I’m wondering what else might work in an ice cream… Maybe the vegetable competition tent at the village fete will give me some ideas?