Today was a day of experimentation –
ice cream time! I made a couple of batches of my Hay Tea ice cream – one as a ‘standby’ in case I don’t get the chance to freshly freeze-churn a batch for the James Martin programme, in a couple of weeks; & the second, as a gift for Boo as she’s invited us over for dinner with her & husband Carl, tomorrow evening. Carl is the only one of us ‘Famous Four’ who is still in the RAF, & has been lucky enough to bag a posting to nearby MoD Aberporth, sited on a picturesque clifftop overlooking the ocean a few miles away from their home (which is also the B&B they run) in Newcastle Emlyn. Ironically Carl & I met whilst working together at RAF Innsworth in Gloucestershire, during 2006 – & like me he certainly doesn’t miss the 3+ hours’ daily commute to work!
I also worked on a recipe for a spiced honey variety of ice cream: the custard is divine, as rather than simply plonking a dollop of honey directly in it, I made a hot syrup of honey & spices into which I poured freshly-whisked egg whites, transforming the whole into a light, frothy mousse. To be honest, even if it doesn’t work as an ice cream, I should perhaps patent the tantalisingly tasty scent – as the aroma of hot, melting honey, mixed with the spices which wafted around the kitchen was utterly divine! Because the custard is now chilling down I can’t say whether this batch of ice cream will be a success – in fact I suspect I’ll have to reduce the sugar content – but it’s certainly been a fascinating journey of discovery to concoct this recipe. On this occasion I used a pale muscovado sugar, coupled with a light, local wildflower honey (so it should also be beneficial for local hayfever sufferers let alone those with lactose intolerance); anyway, the taste test will take place in the next couple of days….I can hardly wait! This is one case where the hackneyed phrase about the ‘proof of the pudding’, is definitely true. Incidentally if you want the full recipe – including one for the most simple but utterly delicious ice cream, see the ‘Flavours & Recipes’ subpage for Ice Cream. I’m never entirely satisfied, however; & intend to do further experimentation on this theme by combining different varieties of honey with varying quantities & types of sugar; today’s version once perfected, should prove a light, summery taste; but I also intend to create a subtly sophisticated, dinner-party version for the more discerning palate.
However as it’s been a lovely, sunny day it felt almost too good to stay indoors; so let’s hope we have a fine, dry autumn with plenty of bright, crisply chill days to stimulate some vigorous work in the gardens, orchard & on the ffarmyard coupled with some brisk walks with the dog; as well as encouraging me to perfect my semi-hard variety of goats’ cheese in preparation for the reality of retail, next year. And who knows, I may even be tempted to create a really special blue cheese for Dad, to complement his Christmas port….though the delicious creaminess of a mature Harbourne Blue would admittedly be hard to beat! But I do love a challenge…..