whether drunk or sober, ice is getting colder

When I was 12, I became pretty obsessed with a lady called Linda Goodman. All I could do was re-read her books over and over again, loitering by the 00 section of the local library in the hopes that there’s be something new (pre-Google, I wasn’t to know she’d died in 1995, thus making new book output unlikely.) Linda Goodman dealt in the subject of horoscopes, and I completely believed every word she said about my sign of Aries. Eventually I lost the level of interest in her writing but I’ve never been able to quit starsigns altogether – I’m always gravitating towards the newspaper to see what direction my day could take in spite of every negative prediction causing me to sternly tell myself it’s over.

Is it longing for guidance in this uncertain world? Is it actually the cosmic truth? Is it that I’m a bit self-absorbed and like to read things about myself and think, “oh, that’s so typically Aries of you, Laura!” Probably definitely the last one. Anyway, I bring this up because my horoscope today said “Your plans are more ambitious than you first realised, (cue Homer Simpson style “aaagh!” from methough they are still very much within the realm of possibility. (“Phew!”)  You will need a lot of help. (“D’oh!”)

Of all the horoscopes to read when you’re planning on debuting your YouTube video tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream! So I decided to cautiously ignore it, except for the bit about the “realm of possibility.” I want to go to there!

I know, would I ever stop talking about ice cream? But two things prompted this into existence: the Ice Cream Guidelines list I made last time got me thinking that I could be even more demonstrative, and after having some delicious cider on Friday night I got to thinking that its sparkling, crisp apple flavour would be ideal in ice cream. And the reason I was drinking cider, was because I won some from Old Mout, just by tweeting them. And here I am talking about them! Ten points to their marketing team. And to me too, because it’s really delicious cider.

Let me defensively acknowledge some things first so you don’t have to: Yes, it’s distinctly amateurish, as I have but a phone to be filmed with. Yes, there are a lot of cuts and it’s a little quiet. Yes, I was in a post-lunch downwards spiral, but there was no other time to make the ice cream. Yes…I am pretty toothy. It’s from my mum’s side. On the other hand, it was really fun, and the pilot episode is always a bit shaky, right? (Unless you’re, like, Game of Thrones) Honestly, I really enjoyed this, and while it’s a little bit nervous-making putting yourself out there on YouTube, I’m already on here. If this blog is all the thoughts in my head, the videos are a bit like what you’d hear if you were sitting at my dining table with a cup of tea, or perhaps walking past me on the street, where I’m still very likely to be talking about custard.

Suggestions for the next one are welcome (although “Please! No more!” will be studiously ignored like a bad horoscope) but I must warn you, I’m already thinking about pastry: one batch traditional and buttery, one batch gluten free. What say you?

Cider Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups cream (plus – optional – an extra 1 cup cream)
1 cup apple cider (I used Old Mout’s Classic Apple. Use what you like – I also love Bulmer’s.)

Find a freezer-safe container of about 1 litre capacity. 

In a wide pan, carefully heat 1 1/2 cups cream. Don’t let it boil – turn it off once you start seeing steam rising off it. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugars till thickened and a little bit lighter in texture. Carefully pour a little hot cream into the yolks and sugar, stirring thoroughly, then pour in the rest.

Wipe out the pan and tip everything back into it. Stir continuously with a spatula over a very low heat, till it’s the texture of a good thickshake. Remove from the heat, continuing to stir – you now have custard. Once it has cooled a little, whisk in the cider, and scrape it all into the container. Freeze. 

If you like, once the ice cream is partially set, you can whisk up the extra cup of cream till thickened but not whipped and mix the two thoroughly together. This gives it a creamier texture, and of course, gives you more ice cream. But frozen custard on its own is all good.

As I said, I thought it up on Friday night and foolhardily tweeted about it, which, in my dubious code of honour, means that it had to happen. Luckily, it tastes spectacular – the apple flavour shines, with a mysterious hint of fermentation, which gives it a strangely sophisticated edge that you wouldn’t get from mere apples alone. Yet the cider flavour isn’t overwhelming either, with any threat of pub-carpet scent fades as the mixture freezes. I was a bit nervous that the aggressively bubbly structure of the cider would bubble right into the custard and break it up, but apart from a little fizzing, the two liquids settled into each other nicely.

Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so the cider content keeps this lusciously soft – I spooned the scoops of ice cream you see above straight from the freezer. It’s truly delicious stuff. 

While on the subject of shoddy video editing, my mission to turn Poppy the kitten into an internet sensation continues with her first video.

ALSO, I recently had an article published for the clearly excellent and discerning 3news.co.nz, called How To Hunt a Cookbook. If you’ve ever thought long and hard about how to get more second-hand cookbooks in your life, this might help you out some.
Title via: Local wonder David Dallas and his bouncy, affable, and crocodile-snappy tune Till Tomorrow from The Rose Tint.
Music lately:

Mariah Carey’s MTV Unplugged album is so brilliant, it caught me by surprise and I listen to her enough to forget that she really was, and still is, monumentally talented. Listen to her sing Make it Happen – when she cries “Grrrrouuuund-aahhh” towards the end I nearly cried from the amazingness of it all.

Neil Young, Don’t Let It Bring You Down – one of my favourite songs of his. Having been about six years since I lost my copy of his biography Shakey, I can’t remember how exactly he got into singing (what with that improbable voice) but I’m so glad he did.
Next time: Possibly…a drink called Purple Jesus. Or the very sensible pea soup that I promised last time.

23 thoughts on “whether drunk or sober, ice is getting colder

  1. Nicole says:

    Hi again, it's Nicole from Dunedin. I'm glad you decided to make a video tutorial on that particular subject. I love eating and creating ice-cream, but always seem to curdle the custard, so have dodged custard-based recipes for a while. Maybe I'll have the courage to try again now… cider ice-cream sounds soooo good. And your ad-lib made me laugh! I think you grasped within the realms of possibility 😉


  2. Zo @ Two Spoons says:

    Awesome! Great choice of recipe to do a video for too btw – it really helps to see the consistency of the custard, because I often switch off when recipes just state “when thick enough.” Also the video is actually quite nicely lit and not too quiet at all 🙂

    Pastry would be a great one to do too, it often sounds harder than it is! Even if you know how to make it, it's fascinating to see how people do the same thing, but in their kitchen.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I love the video (and your accent)! Good job and I'd love to see another one 🙂 Also, your cat is ridiculously cute. Ice cream sounds delish.


  4. Anonymous says:

    *two thumbs up* Awesome! And completely reassures me about technique (I think I didn't quite thicken my custard enough). Very keen to try this.


  5. Lori says:

    Great job- you are great on camera. And this cider ice cream sounds yummy. Maybe some caramel sauce on top too. mmmm.

    I usually add about a tablespoon of vodka to my ice cream.

    So did you hear about the changed dates in horoscope signs and the addition of a new one— I think it is a snake. Orpheus… I think that is it.


  6. Hannah says:

    I think my favourite part was “I'm going to be turning this into a cider-flavoured ice cream, which I thought up on Friday night when I was drinking cider”. 😀 I'm so glad it wasn't something like “I thought up cider ice cream when I was undergoing torture-by-endlessly-repeating-Avril-Lavigne-songs-while-treading-water-in-a-swimming-pool-filled-with-mud”.

    (I had very, very little sleep last night. I apologise.)

    My darling friend whom I'll meet eventually, congratulations on a spectacular video! I'm definitely looking forward to more, even if that means I will struggle with envy at your glorious combination of cleverness, talent, warm speaking style, luscious locks of hair, and overall awesomeness.

    Til next time! xo


  7. HayleyB says:

    What a lovely and informative first video! I'm so impressed with your presentation skills; you're a natural! And you make this recipe look so easy! I've never made a custard based ice cream before, and you make it look much less daunting than I imagine it to be. I was too worried about ending up with sweet scrambled eggs to try it! (A bit silly of me, since I'm pretty adventurous with other such recipes where you are never quite sure if you're doing it right – bread! Jam! etc).

    I would love to see a video on pastry or risotto 🙂

    PS. Really enjoy reading your blog! Love your writing style!


  8. Sue @ FiveCourseGarden says:

    Loved that video. I want to do some garden video tutorials, but haven't quite got my head around it. Maybe Tim could have a new career shooting videos for bloggers? The only thing I wanted to see added at the end is you sneaking into the freezer in the middle of the night, eating the icecream out of the container… in a satin robe of course!


  9. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic video, looking forward to the next one. And cider ice cream, awesome, I wondered about whether the bubbles would make it all curdly but you've assuaged my fears. (And I shouldn't have been too worried, considering you can have beer ice cream and beer shakes… beer shakes!) 🙂


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