Saturday, 18 August 2007

Ice cream

I live in Brisbane, and it's EKKA time at the moment. I've lived here for nearly 3 years, and I've never been to it. I used to live in a fairly regional town and we only got country shows, so I've never been to a big show either. I have been able to ignore the urge to go and check it out because a) I don't want to catch the flu (even though I probably have just as much chance catching it at the local shopping centre on a Saturday), b) it actually costs a lot more money than the country shows ($22 entry and $4.50 for a Dagwood dog) and c) noone will go with me. But the urge seems to get worse every year.

I think it has something to do with working in fairly close proximity to the showgrounds, and you get to see the rides and the lights every night when you drive home. I think it may also have something to do with the strawberry ice creams I know they have there.

I love strawberries and I love ice cream and I'm a sucker for harmless propaganda, so the news coverage of the "traditional EKKA ice cream" and all the people raving about it has made me really really want to go and try it. I don't go in for rides and I don't really like showbags, but I do like ice cream and the sound of the international food village. This year I even managed to score a free entry, but DD refused to go with me on the day it was valid for.

He wasn't completely mean though, and he offerred to take me another day, but I couldn't justify spending $44 just for us to go in a buy a $3.50 ice cream (he doesn't like strawberries, so he wasn't very excited) and some international food, so we didn't end up going.

Now, on the last day of the EKKA, I'm kicking myself for not going. Next year!!!

To make up for refusing to go with me that night, DD went out a bought me an ice cream maker so I could make my own strawberry ice cream. So far I've made a vanilla bean ice cream and a chocolate ice cream.

The vanilla bean ice cream was awesome. I used the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from The Chocolate Gourmand, which is something he has tweaked to get the best of both egg-based ice cream and non-egg based ice cream. Yum yum yum! It was yum before it went into the fridge to chill, it was yum after it chilled and before it went into the ice cream maker, it was yum when the ice cream maker failed me and I had to put it in the freezer to freeze and it was yum once it was frozen.

I think the yuminess of the ice cream was all that saved my first ice cream attempt. I don't know what I did wrong, but the mix just wouldn't freeze. I had frozen the bowl in the freezer for the required 24-26 hours, there was no liquid sound when I moved it about, I chilled the mix for several hours before I put it into the ice cream maker, but it just didn't work. The manual suggests that since I freezed the bowl as required and I chilled the mix as required then the ratio of ingredients must be off. I said okay then, and my second attempt was a chocolate ice cream using a recipe from the ice cream maker manual.

I also chilled the mix overnight this time, just in case the several hours I had the vanilla one in the fridge for actually wasn't enough. It came out of the fridge looking and tasting like Yogo, so I have to admit I was a little apprehensive at that stage. However, I put it in the ice cream maker and the stupid thing didn't freeze again!!! I'm going to have to get a thermometre and check my freezer temperature. It's the only thing I can think of. And damn, if it's this much trouble making ice cream now, when it's still winter, I don't want to think how much it will fail come summer.

I should have just gone to the EKKA.

Anyway, once the mix had had it's hour in the ice cream maker I put it in the freezer still unfrozen. I did the same thing with the vanilla one, but with the vanilla I stirred it every hour or so just in case. I didn't do that to the chocolate one, and it still turned out fine and creamy. So, even though the ice cream maker isn't freezing the mixes, it does seem to be churning them enough that I can finish them off in the freezer without too much trouble. It's just a pity that the chocolate one still tastes like Yogo (blech).

Slightly unrelated to ice cream, but this is the second time I've used my Callebaut chocolate buttons in cooking and been less than impressed. I made my bearclaws first with cheap supermarket couverture chocolate and then with Callebaut buttons and I liked the taste of the cheap supermarket one better. I think it was because the supermarket one had a bitter taste to it? I don't know. My Callebaut buttons taste great on their own!!


  1. Hi Adrasteia, glad you liked the vanilla ice cream. I just made a batch a few weeks ago on a camping trip to Yosemite. I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are having with your ice cream maker. The only thing I can think to try would be to only pour in half the ice cream base and do 2 batches. This would effectively double the chilling capacity of your maker (since I assume it is pre-freeze canister model). The other half you can store in the fridge in an empty plastic water bottle while you re-chill the ice cream canister in the freezer. - Brian

  2. Thanks very much for the tip, Brian. I will definately try that next time. Your vanilla ice cream was just divine!