There was a point when I wondered whether all my years in the kitchen had been wasted.
A glut of blackcurrants. My favourite icecream is blackcurrant and our friend John reckons my blackcurrant icecream is pretty good. I made him a litre for Christmas one year.
For decades I made icecream by the easy method – and by the way I recommend it – mixing all the ingredients together, throwing them into a container and putting it in the freezer. No churning, no forking, no mixing an hour afterwards. Just leave it there and take it out about 40 minutes before its required and scoop into dishes. Years ago I used to make banana icecream in one of those shallow round terracotta dishes. It was always failsafe and topped with buttered and carameled almonds it was gorgeous. Then I thought I’d get clever and ask for an icecream maker. BIG BIG MISTAKE.
Back to the blackcurrants. Ah yes, the glut of blackcurrants. First poach the blackcurrants with some sugar (not too much) and a little water. I often add a slug of Creme de Cassis. Let it cool. Then mix with the blackcurrants. Dont bother with sieving it or pureeing it. Its lovely to bite into a nugget of blackcurrant through a creamy coating. Icecream maker – now comes the tricky bit. The icecream maker bowl had been in the freezer for the required 8 hours. The paddle and the lid were assembled. Now – do I pour the stuff in the bowl and then lower the paddle and turn it on, or do I start it paddling then add the liquid? That’s the bit I can never remember. And I never have been one for keeping instruction leaflets. My risk-taking tendencies are actually much more radical than not keeping nor reading instruction leaflets, but that is another story, another day…………………….
Oh yes. Pour it in and then lower the paddle. The paddle starts but only goes 90 degrees when it stops. And judders. Hell’s teeth. I lift the lid and the attached paddle, attempting to grasp the bowl which is very cold with slippery condensation on the outside. Slithering outside. Skittering inside. It careers across the worktop and lands in the sink. Blackcurrant icecream shoots over the side. I wipe it off with kitchen towel. Peer into the bowl. Damn – should have started the paddle THEN poured it in. Icecream is frozen to the sides which is why the paddle wont turn. Chip away at it with a spoon but of course it refreezes instantly. Pointless. Pick up bowl and attempt to pour into another bowl. The bowl is freezing cold on the outside and yes, still there’s that condensation…………… Crash. Blackcurrant icecream slooshes over the edge of the kitchen worktop and onto the floor. Oh. And down my white top. Why did I do that?
With some of the icecream still salvagable, enough for four or five, I peel off some clothes and throw them into the washing machine with some Vanish and return, rather scantily clad, to the chainsaw massacre of a kitchen, slipping on the melted icecream on the floor and in an attempt to save myself, I elbow the bowl over the edge. Upside down. On the floor. Like me.
The saddest story is that I tried it again a few weeks later with a magnificent custard based cinnamon icecream which was to have adorned the black treacle pastry apple tart. Similar story. Similar outcome. Made do with creme fraiche. Icecream maker anyone?