Cook from the Book: La Grotta Ices

Things have been getting pretty frosty at The Happy Foodie HQ since we got our hands on brand new ice cream and sorbet cookbook, La Grotta Ices, a collection of 75 delicious and seasonal recipes from Kitty Travers, who has been making immensely popular iced delights for South London and beyond from her converted greengrocers in Bermondsey since 2008. Ice cream is often assumed to be the reserve of kitchen pros, but with Kitty's warm, relatable and easy-to-follow instructions, we were all inspired to give it a go, and with plenty of seasonal fruit to choose from and the weather looking up, it was the perfect time to fill our freezers. Find out how we got on...

Who: Julia Pal, Senior Marketing Manager, The Happy Foodie

What I made: Apricot Noyau Ice Cream

What I thought:  This week I have learned three things:

1. To feel exactly like I'm on holiday, all I need is a seat in my garden on a warm summer's evening, a cold glass of rosé and a big bowl full of home-made apricot noyau ice cream.

2. When the writing is as good as Kitty Travers', I can sit and read a book about ice cream making from cover to cover without stopping.

3. I have been wrong to ridicule my husband mercilessly for the past three years for purchasing an ice cream machine. All it took was the La Grotta Ices cookbook to make me understand that he is, in fact, a GENIUS. Making Kitty's ices is all I want to do with my time from now on. Might be time to invest in a bigger freezer.

Who: Jessica Lockyer-Palmer, Marketing Executive, The Happy Foodie

What I made: Gariguette Strawberry Ice Cream

What I thought: I fell so deeply in love with the recipes in La Grotta Ices that it inspired hours of eBay trawling and stealthy bidding to acquire an ice cream machine. The next challenge was to choose which flavour to make from a (very) long list of favourites, which ultimately proved more difficult than getting the ice cream machine in the first place. In the end, having seen plenty of plump and fragrant stawberries at my local greengrocers, and being forever a lover of the bold simplicity of a classic flavour, I settled on this recipe. I'm not ashamed to admit that a previous foray into ice cream making a few years ago didn't er, exactly go to plan (raspberry ripple scrambled egg, anyone?)...so I was a little apprehensive about how this would work out for me, but I soon felt at ease following Kitty's step-by-step guidelines and every stage of the process went to plan. The resulting perfectly pink, perfumed and creamy ice cream has the wonderfully authentic flavour of strawberries that is so synonymous with British summertime and my ice cream making ego has been given a boost. I have a feeling I'm going to need a bigger freezer...

Who: Kate Neilan, Marketing, Vintage

What I made: Banana, Brown Sugar and Rum Ice Cream

What I thought:  I love it when you're able to use something up and create something delicious at the same time, so I chose Banana, Brown Sugar and Rum ice cream to make the most of two very ripe bananas. I has already treated myself to a very easy-to-use ice cream maker, costing less than £30, and I was able to find the few ingredients not already in my cupboard or fridge – double cream, whole milk and muscovado sugar – in the local corner shop.

This was my first time trying to make ice cream, and I was a little nervous, but in fact I found it very straightforward. The recipe is based on a simple custard, with egg yolk, sugar, cream and milk and, having watched Bake-Off, I was most concerned about this stage. Luckily, I wasn't in a tent in a field being scrutinised by Paul Hollywood, so I kept stirring, watched carefully, and nothing burned or curdled. The banana, sugar and rum mix just took a few moments for chopping, measuring and stirring to create a heavenly-smelling treacly goo, before I put both into the fridge to chill overnight.

The following evening, I combined the two mixtures, poured them into the machine and left to churn for 25 minutes. The results were well worth the wait: sweet, creamy and smooth with a delicious banana flavour, and a hint of molasses. I ate mine with some tart raspberries, but this would be amazing with biscotti for dipping.

 

Who: Rowan Yapp, Editorial Director, Square Peg

What I made: Barbados Custard Ice Cream

What I thought:  I made the Barbados Custard because I couldn’t resist the delicious-sounding title. It is essentially a vanilla ice cream which also uses unrefined sugar and a hint of rum, hence the alluring name.

Making ice cream is something I have only got into since reading La Grotta Ices and being inspired to buy an ice cream maker but I have not looked back. The ice creams have been incredibly delicious: perfectly balanced and so clear-flavoured. I was surprised how simple the process is and it is so satisfying making it from scratch. Admittedly, the first time I made it there were various steps to get my head around (and I have once curdled the custard) but since then it has been a breeze. What I love about making ice cream is it is something you can make ahead for guests and it is such a crowdpleaser and makes you seem like a kitchen pro.

Cream is pretty much my favourite ingredient so this Barbados Custard ice cream was always going to win my heart. It tastes like the ultimate expression of creaminess and I love how pure and white it looks in the bowl too.

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