churning your own ice cream!

Having my own ice cream machine has given me much more flexibility when making different types of ice creams and frozen ices. Without the machine, the method of hand stirring and still freezing ice cream was very time-consuming with some recipes. Home-made ice cream without all the additives is a big plus. Children love to cook and I know that making their own ice cream will be a big hit with them… it was with mine!

Rock salt and ice used in the freezing process of ice cream

Some years ago I decided to buy my first ice cream machine and the only one I could find at the time was the type requiring rock salt and ice which you had to layer around the inside container of the machine, chilling and freezing the mixture inside while being churned … at least the churn was electric and not hand-cranked!

Crushing and layering the ice was a bit of a hassle plus keeping an eye on the salt and ice levels (living in a hot climate) posed another challenge. Over time, excitement and enthusiasm of making home-made ice cream began to melt away (pun intended) and the machine ended up in the store-room gathering dust…eventually given away.

Churning the ice-cream with an electric paddle helps break up the ice crystals and incorporates air, resulting in a lighter and smoother ice cream

When traveling, visiting kitchen shops are always high on my list… so it wasn’t  long before I had a new ice cream machine wrapped snugly inside my suitcase… bound for Bahrain .

The freeze bowl type with the  electric churn is the most popular and the one I use, light in weight and taking up very little space on my kitchen worktop. The bowl houses a special liquid freezing solution (hurray no ice and salt) insulated inside its walls which then needs to be placed for a minimum of 10  hours (depending on model) in the freezer before use. Before buying you might want to check that your freezer, especially drawer types can accommodate the size of the bowl.

Make sure when drying the bowl that you use a lint free cloth,  taking care to dry all the little nooks, if they get blocked with ice the motor head will not attach properly, plus chipping the ice away may damage your bowl.

Tip:  After making a batch of ice cream I always return the bowl (washed and dried) back to the freezer compartment where it is stored all the time, making it always available for use.

The larger and more expensive ice cream machines contain their own freezer unit and work independently. The big advantage is that they can churn out one batch of ice cream after another. Heavy and taking up a much bigger space on a kitchen worktop.

Other uses: Need to chill a bottle of wine fast…use the freeze bowl!

Pumpkin Ice Cream coming up …!

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Rose Petal and White Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice cream, sorbet, frozen yoghurt and ices are all types of frozen desserts enjoyed all over the globe. Versatile and popular these frozen treats have many flavour combinations to choose from, each of us having our own personal favourites. Long before mass production, ice cream was traditionally made with a few simple ingredients… milk, cream, sugar, eggs (not always) and natural flavourings. However, over the years and due to its growing popularity and demand, ice cream is now mass-produced.  As a result, the ingredients list of this has grown too…but not always in a good way!

what’s the real scoop?

Is it worth making your own ice cream when so much is available to buy? I believe it is…try reading (the print is so small) the ingredients list on some ice cream cartons.  For example, you may see words like polydextrose, aspartame, lactitiol, maltitol and many E numbers. Do most of us know what they are? Now scroll down and read the ingredients list of this simple home-made ice cream recipe…

I watched these interesting videos regarding ice cream and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and thought I would share… it really is food for thought!  Jamie Oliver on the David Letterman’s show did mention something about beavers anal glands.

Rose Petal and White Chocolate Home-Made Ice Cream

No ice cream machine needed for this very easy smooth and creamy recipe. As it is all cream based… go easy on the servings size.  Serves four but you can easily double the recipe to make more. I like to make small amounts of ice cream at a time, keeping everything as fresh tasting as possible. This ice cream is best served on the day of making.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of chopped dried rose petals
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 50g  powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose-water
  • 25g good quality white chocolate

How to make:

Place a metal or plastic container into the freezer to chill.

Add the dried rose petals into a mixing bowl. Pour in the cream and add the powdered sugar. Mix everything together and place the mixing bowl into the fridge for about 10 minutes, the cream will be lightly perfumed by the dried rose petals. Meanwhile finely chop the white chocolate and set aside.

finely chop the rose petals using scissors

Take the mixing bowl from the fridge and whisk the cream until soft peaks form using an electric whisk.  Add the rose-water and white chocolate and fold into the cream using a spatula. Scoop the contents of the mixing bowl into the chilled container from the freezer and smooth over the top of the cream with the spatula. Cover and place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until firm before serving.

whisk the cream into soft peaks 

Tip: Making the ice cream hours ahead of serving you will find the ice cream will have frozen solid and impossible to scoop from the container. Usually what I do is take the container of ice cream from the freezer and place it into the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. This softens the ice cream, making it easier to scoop into balls with an ice cream scoop.

Vanilla and Chocolate Ice Cream: Omit the dried rose petals. Replace the rose-water and white chocolate with 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 25g of finely chopped dark or milk chocolate.

Middle Eastern Ground Rice Pudding

Muhallabia is the arabic name of this delicate middle eastern dessert, made from ground rice and flavoured with rose-water. In Bahrain this is a very popular dessert and one of our family favourites. As Eid Al Adha is almost upon us, I thought I would also post a little information about an old tradition Hiya-Biya, which is very popular among the children of Bahrain around this time.

Muhallabia

Ingredients:

  • 500ml full-fat milk
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons ground rice
  • 1/2 tablespoon corn flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of ground almonds
  • 2 teaspoons of rose-water (or more to taste)
  • to garnish, a handful of toasted silvered almonds

How to make: In a small bowl mix the ground rice and corn flour into a paste using a little of the milk. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and place over a medium heat. Add the rice paste and stir continuously using a whisk or wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens, taking care that the mixture does not burn at the bottom of the saucepan and spoil its flavour.

Add the sugar and ground almonds and cook for a further minute, stirring continuously. Remove for the heat and stir in the rose-water (use more if liked), cool slightly before pouring into a serving bowl or individual serving dishes. When cool cover and store in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight to chill. Garnish with toasted almonds before serving.

 Hiya-Biya an Old Tradition 

Seeing all the traditional Hiya-Biya baskets hanging outside the shops in Bahrain brings back memories of when my children were young and enjoyed this old tradition, celebrating the beginning of Eid Al Adha. Long before the festivity, the children would fill an empty basket with sand and plant some grass seeds. Each day the children would water the seeds and watch with great excitement as the grass grew in their little baskets.

On the eve of Eid Al Adha the children would dress up in traditional dress and gather by the sea-side. While swinging and singing a song about the Hiya-Biya (now that I have taken care of you, watered you, don’t forget to bring me joy over Eid and for the safe return of the Haj pilgrims), the children would then throw the Hiya-Biya into the sea, watching them drift away.

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