Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Iced: 180 Very Cool Concoctions Cookbook Review

It's hard to tell if it's summer or not. Yesterday the weather was glorious and I was outside, today I'm back in a cardigan and cold at work. So annoying! But I thought I'd attempt to bring summer to our house by making some icy delights. I think I picked up my copy of Iced: 180 Very Cool Concoctions from TK Maxx a while back. It's a pretty hefty size, but then the title kind of gave it away - there are a lot of recipes featured! The recipes are by various people but the book has been photographed and styled by the same people so it feels like a coherent cookery book. It's published by Murdoch Books who make a lot of compilation recipe books - I've collected almost all of their 'Chunky Cookbooks' and find them great to dip in and out of. They also publish the book of Stephane Reynaud, Tessa Kiros and Bill Granger amongst others.

The recipes go from the traditional and expected flavours such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry; to the highly unusual like goat's cheese ice cream, licorice all-sort ice cream and rosemary, carrot and orange granita. There is so much to choose from I don't think you could ever be bored with ice cream! The recipes are one or two pages long so there's no struggling with turning the page when you're elbow deep in cream and sugar (slight exaggeration!). The photos are really bold and usually full page - I'm impressed by the different ways they present the ice cream, quite jealous of some of the bowls!

There are six chapters, including Ice Cream Parlour, Gelateria and Soda Fountain. I especially like sound of the Soda Fountain section as it's full of sickening, fatty recipes you'd expect to find in a 1950s diner like bourbon and brown sugar ice cream and pink peppermint candy cane ice cream! Wow!

I plumped for a simple strawberry ice cream to start with. I've never made ice cream before but La Mama used to make it when I was younger. We've always had a few strawberry plants in our garden and I have memories of going to pick-your-own farms for raspberries.

I started with the custard base first after pureeing and sieving my strawberries. This was another first - making my own custard and ruddy hell was it delicious! Much easier than I thought it would be and I had to restrain myself from just eating it like that straight from the pan! I had to keep stirring it as it cooled to make sure a skin didn't form on top, but mostly it was because I wanted to lick the spoon each time! Double-dipping times about 30 but it was only feeding immediate family so no worries!

I didn't make the full quantity stated in the recipe as I didn't want a litre - too many recipes I want to try out, who wants to be tied down to just strawberry ice cream?! The recipe gives instructions for an ice cream maker and for just freezing and whisking regularly. It was the first time in a long while that our ice cream maker has seen daylight so I just guessed as much as possible about how to use it! The pot didn't really have time to completely freeze so the consistency of the ice cream wasn't quite as creamy as it should have been but even with the ice crystals in place it was completely amazing. If I can improve the texture then I'm never buying ice cream again! I made little meringues (review coming next week) to accompany it. Great.

Very, very happy with this first ice cream recipe and impressed with how it easy it was to make.

The other recipe I tried out was for a pear sorbet. The recipe was for pear and apple sorbet but I fancied pear just on its own so adjusted the recipe accordingly. I also left out the cinnamon as I wanted just the pure pear flavour, plus some pear liqueur for an added little kick. The hardest bit about this recipe was peeling the pears! I find prep work so boring and time consuming. But once that was done the pears just needed poaching and pureeing, I also sieved it as I didn't want all the fibres in the sorbet. Bit of sugar and water and the mixture was ready to freeze. Brilliantly simple and it had such a nice flavour. Again, far too many ice crystals but nothing a few attempts can't iron out, and in the mean time I'll call it a granita!!

Really happy with the book and I feel I'll have to be exercising everyday if I'm going to work my way through all the recipes! There are also sauce recipes, sundaes and even a recipe for ice cream cones. The only thing I would question is the quantity of egg yolk required in each ice cream base, but I'm sure the amount could be reduced without affecting the recipe too much. I'm looking forward to my next attempt, I think rocky road might well be on the cards!

Also this week we found a chocolate and raspberry mousse recipe by Mat Follas, winner of Masterchef 2 years ago. The recipe was tucked in our Happy Egg box! It made a lovely, light mousse but it was quite sharp despite the raspberries being nice and ripe, but you got used to the flavour and it looks so pretty in the little espresso cups. Find the recipe here:


  1. Pear Sorbet sounds nice and refreshing. A good palate cleanser.
    I heard about Tessa Kiros for the first time yesterday - which of her books would you recommend?

  2. I love the sound of your pear sorbet and strawberry ice cream. Never make either, although am very tempted now!

  3. That ice cream book is just what I need at the moment. I think I'm going to be making a new icecream every week to test out my new machine.