Gochugaru Girl’s much used and much loved ice cream book* is 19 years old.
I hadn’t realised the now faded receipt was still within its pages. It informs me that the book was bought for £12.99 at Hatchards, 187 Piccadilly, on 24 July 1995.
Given that Junior Two was born six weeks before that, I really wonder how I had the time to think about making ice cream. Maybe I desperately needed a distraction from changing nappies.
My first batch of home-made ice cream was churned in a pre- frozen canister containing a cooling agent. After pouring in the ice cream mixture, a paddle attached to a motor was inserted. The paddle would turn round and whip air into the ice cream mixture. It was a lot of fun but the canisters (I had two) took up a lot of space in the freezer.
My current ice cream machine is a Musso which was shipped over from Italy. This was when Junior Three was born, so obviously I needed another (upgraded) distraction from changing nappies.
Whilst in Rome I had the tastiest strawberry ice cream in I Dolci di Nonna Vincenza.
It was not dissimilar to the one I regularly make, but I am certain their use of wild strawberries is what gives the gelato its intense flavour.
English strawberries, however, need a little boost and this comes by way of a strange ingredient – balsamic vinegar. Somehow, the vinegar enhances the flavour of strawberries.
The following recipe makes enough ice cream for 8 – 10 people, with 2 scoops per person.
For the Ice Cream:
450g fresh strawberries
150g caster sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
150 ml whipping cream (36% fat content)
Fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries to serve, or serve with strawberries dipped in chocolate
How to Make:
Wash and hull the strawberries. Dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper then put them in a food processor or blender with the sugar. Set the machine in motion and add the balsamic vinegar through the lid or funnel.
Continue to blend until the ingredients have combined to a smooth puree, then pour this into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. The sugar and vinegar will bring out the flavour of the fruit.
When ready, combine the strawberry puree and cream and either still-freeze (see below) or start the ice-cream machine, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Leave to churn until the ice cream has the consistency of softly whipped cream.
Quickly scrape into plastic freezer boxes and cover with waxed or greaseproof paper and a lid.
Finally label, then freeze. Freeze for 1 hour or until just firm enough to serve. If stored longer and frozen solid, allow about 20 minutes in the fridge to soften sufficiently to serve.
Pour the chilled mixture into a strong plastic container to a depth of 4 cm. Cover with a lid and put in the coldest part of the freezer.
Check after 1-1 ½ hours; the mixture should have frozen to a firm ring of ice around the sides and base of the box, with a soft slush in the centre.
Beat the mixture for few seconds until it forms a uniform slush. Return to the freezer.
Repeat the beating at least twice at intervals of 1-1 ½ hours.
After the third beating freeze for a further 30-60 minutes.
Transfer to the main body of the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.
*Ices: The Definitive Guide by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir was first published (in paperback) in 1995. This is now out of print but used copies are available through Amazon.