‘Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.’*
This week I was delighted to join an enthusiastic group for an ice cream master class led by Richard Makin, Founder & Director of Blu Top Ice Cream held at the London Kitchen Project.
The recent warm weather made the timing perfect and Richard lead us through the science of ice cream, a practical lesson that we each participated in, followed by questions & answers over a tasting session.
Richard’s confidence, experience, knowledge & enthusiasm really made for a night to remember. For those who have been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that I love exploring favourite foods, stripping them back to the raw ingredients and learning how to make them myself. In recent years we’ve started making our own bread, cheese, sausages and macarons and now, this summer, it’s time for ice cream!
Come on, we all love a bit of ice cream, and once you’ve understood the science and appreciate the values of the classic base ingredients, the cheaper brands and ‘iced desserts’ that are often on offer are just not worth a second glance and, for me, as a chicken keeper, any delicious recipe that uses a good amount of egg yolks is perfect as we are partial to a pavlova and mad about macarons – both recipes requiring just the egg whites.
For the ‘Classic French Vanilla’, which was the base recipe that we made in pairs, we needed milk, cream, sugar, skimmed milk powder, egg yolks and a little bit of cornflour to stabilise the mixture.
A good quality vanilla extract provided the flavour and this perfect base mixture provides a foundation for so many other ice cream inventions.
Why vanilla? Because it tastes so gorgeous.
Extract v’s bean/seeds? As long as it’s made from good real vanilla – just pack it in!
We had to treat these ingredients with care and nurture them through eight steps of mixing & warming, heating, tempering. thickening & pasteurising, homogenising & cooling, chilling & ageing, churning and hardening.
Whilst our batches were churning and freezing in the machines, we used some groovy ‘Sage by Heston Blumenthal Smart Scoop Ice Cream Makers’, Richard brought out some sumptuous samples.
We were spoilt with flavours such as Bourbon (made with boozy cocktail ingredients), Banana (that tasted like cake), Toast and Jam (the perfect breakfast) and Builders Tea (does what it says on the tin)…
Each spoonful melted in the mouth to a delicious rich creamy custard that mesmerises your taste buds, took your mind to a happy place and made you smile.
We were able to dip our spoons into a large silver bowl holding scoops of ice cream straight from the freezer, however, Blutop Ice Cream is usually served sandwiched between two home baked cookies – another of Richard’s passions.
If you are in London over the summer, do look out for the classic blue van and buy yourself a few moments of memories as every flavour and combination will conjure up reminders of happy days and reasons to be cheerful…
Fortunately, Richard gave us some great notes which shall be studied carefully and I’ve just ordered some salt flakes to make the Salted Caramel version and expect that a Lemon Curd Ripple shall be tried in the next few weeks…
We have so much coming up throughout the summer that we’ve produced our own Summer School Timetable!
10 different classes that each help us grow in our skills and understanding of Urban Food Production. If you can’t decide which session to book into, choose your first class and I’ll give you 20% of all other Summer School bookings, just let me know via our contact form.
Some of the classes are here at Hen Corner and some are at the London Kitchen Project.
Alternatively, if you are interested in a private event for you and your friends, or a team meeting for your work colleagues. Do contact us for more information.
- We are proud again this year to be working with The Challenge National Citizen Service, a great team visited this week – do check out their project here.
- Paul the carpenter has been back again to build a new larder and storage for all our course equipment – Neat and tidy, tidy and neat!
- A Chiswick Scout Pack came to discover how to produce food from your own garden, we gave them tasters of both our honey and strawberry jam – a good time had by all!
Jobs for this week:
- Make even more lovely strawberry jam
- Get ready for a bespoke course – a group of friends coming to learn together
- Maybe buy some new chickens, 19 can’t be enough, can it?
Join us on the Journey!