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Chillin’

When I first started food blogging, I assumed all food bloggers were cooking/serving/eating the same way I did: messily/hastily/quickly. I’ve revised this assumption, based on (a) how many food bloggers mention their cameras and offer advice on shooting your food; and (b) Foodgawker. People out there are committed to the look of it, and I’m grateful — I see some beautiful blogs out there. But I’m working with what I’ve got here, and what I’ve got is poor light, impatience and an appetite.

And anyway, I prefer food that speaks for itself.

I tried to do a big fancy bally scoop:

YES WITH A TEASPOON SHUT UP

…but it came out a bit slouchy.

Strawberry ice cream, my friends. When I did Advanced Chemistry in high school, we experimented with ethers and learned how to make banana-smell ether and strawberry-smell ether: as a result, I assumed that this is why strawberry is such a common artificial flavouring. Turns out strawberry flavouring is so widespread because IT’S AMAZING. The fresh stuff, I mean. Holy paddle pants, this is some really, REALLY good ice cream.

I first got my scoop on via David Lebovitz, he of the awesome cheese puffs recipe. Turns out he does the odd dessert recipe, too. I had a go at vanilla ice cream, with two slights twists: I used vanilla essence instead of vanilla beans, and where it says “freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions”, I substituted “freeze in a long bucket and whirr it with the stick blender once an hour until you’ve got ice cream (approximate time: long)”. And that was a pretty fine triumph, I don’t mind telling you.

The next step: flava. A $2 must-sell-all-squashy-and-gross punnet of strawberries yielded 400g of overripe goodness, which I chopped, tossed with sugar, and puréed with milk before adding the cooked custard. Then popped it in the freezer. Since it was late and I was tired, I went to bed, rather than staying up to reblend every hour. Bad blogger! No biscuit! The next morning, I left it out for half an hour and gave it a stout whirring before work. M did the same later in the day, so by suppertime we had a big carton of fine strawberry ice cream.

I never realised how much I liked ice cream, but with summer getting hotter and an air conditioner that just twenty minutes ago belched ice chips everywhere and then stopped talking to us, I think I’m going to get a lot of use from this new-found skill.

Serves: 2. If you’re lucky.

What I did, phrased authoritatively:

  • Mix 2 cups of milk (full fat) with 3/4 cup of white sugar, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. Heat in a saucepan until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Chop 500g of strawberries (I only had 400g and that seemed fine: work with what ya got, yo) and toss them in 1/4 cup of white sugar.
  • Whisk 4 egg yolks, then pour a little of the hot milk mix in, stirring constantly. Tip this mix back into the rest of the hot milk mix, still stirring constantly, and heat. Cook (stirring CONSTANTLY) until it thickens. If you don’t stir constantly we’re all doomed. Once it’s thick and custardy, take off the heat.
  • Whisk the strawberries/sugar with 1 cup of cold milk. Pour the cooked custard in, still stirring all the way.
  • Chill the mix until it’s cold (a few hours or overnight) and then freeze. Pull it out every two hours and blend it again (or, yes, fine, put it in your ice cream maker, Fancypants. yeesh.) until it has become ice cream.
  • Give three cheers. Consume ice cream.

Achievements unlocked: Used the phrase “hot milk mix” without batting an eye. Hello Google searchers! Bet you’re confused!

Next on iced cream adventures: Froyo. Ooooooooh yes, friends.

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