How to Make a Sundae

Ice Cream SundaeLike the banana split, the ice cream sundae has some controversy about its origin, with many towns from Ithaca NY to Evanstown IL, claiming to be its birthplace.

The story I like best is that during the 1890s, when the rage was consuming ice cream sodas in chemist shops, ice cream sodas were banned on Sundays by the preachers as being too sinful. So someone came up with the sundae as a less sinful alternative.

If that was the height of sinning in the 1890s, one does have to say that those were gentler times!

It’s a bit confusing for me, because I can’t see how a sundae would be any less sinful, but maybe it’s down to the lack of fizzy bubbles. However, it must have been considered a bit naughty all right, for the odd spelling of the name is attributed to avoiding an ice cream dessert named after the Sabbath.

To make a sundae, you will need:

What to do:

  1. Take a tall glass, dribble some sauce at the bottom of it.
  2. Put in a scoop of ice cream.
  3. Add some more sauce.
  4. Add a second scoop of ice cream.
  5. Add more sauce.
  6. Top with cream and toppings.

That’s it! Find yourself a long spoon and dig in.

It’s a decadent treat for a lazy summer day!

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Andalucia, Part 2

Boy rider I’m just home from Spain, so please forgive the silence over the last days. The internet connetions were troubling, to say the least.

MarbellaHowever, it was an interesting trip. I have never been to the South of Spain before, and I would certainly go back.

I had heard many negative things about Marbella, but I must say that I enjoyed a couple of days there. There was a fiesta on, so maybe I had an unusual view of things, with lots of people in traditional dress and flamenco dancers of all ages thronging the streets.

It has a pretty old town, and the promenade is what one would expect…

From there we went on to Puerto Banus. Much too much bling for my tastes…

AlhambraMy favourite parts of the trip were the cities of Grenada and Seville.

Grenada, with its Alhambra palace, youthful population, and delightful town, and Seville for sheer ambience. The narrow streets with endless picturesque buildings and churches are made for wandering.

Both places are foodie heaven, and I could have spent the full week in either quite happily!

Cadiz beachI finished the trip in the sherry country around Jerez and Cadiz. It’s not the prettiest area, but it certainly has its parts of interest. 

The wind along that coast is something to experience, but it feels good after the heat of the inland cities. The beach in the old town of Cadiz is quite beautiful.

I didn’t make it to any of the bodegas, but I did bring back a couple bottles – one of sherry and one of port, and both should bring happiness to someone like me.

I’m already thinking about how to use them in the ice cream!

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Flamenco girl I´ve taken a week to travel a bit in Andalucia, looking for inspiration and the possibility of opening a shop here. The latter is a fairly crazy notion because of the transportation from Ireland, but given the outrageous rents at home, it could well be that transportation costs are offset by lower rent.

Mind you, there seem to be as many cranes on the skyline in Spain as in Ireland, so who knows…

Caves In any case, I´m having a bit of trouble connecting here, so it looks like I will have to wait until I find a more reasonable connection before posting more and just enjoy the scenery…

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Champagne Sorbet

Dom Perignon Sorbet My brother and I have had discussions about how far one can go with ice cream. Given that we are already at the top-end of the market, it makes some sense to push the limits of ingredients to make ice cream beyond what most people could imagine.

Dom Perignon Label

Champagne sorbet is good. We have done it. So why not, we thought, make a sorbet with Dom Perignon? In our local supermarket, a pair of 1998 vintage bottles have been staring at me for a while. Why not, indeed?

Then a journalist from the Sunday Times rang wanting to do an article about business and blogging. As part of the interview, she asked me what I’d be blogging about and I mentioned using upscale ingredients such as milk from the Kerry cow, the Valrhona single estate chocolate and a champagne sorbet using the Dom Perignon. The article about blogging is a few weeks off, but the upscale flavours caught her attention, and they decided to give us a blurb on that front. The article and the sorbet both came out on Sunday.

Given the price of the champagne, we’re charging 10 euro a scoop for it in our shops, and there are definitely people going for it. I guess it’s one of those things that you will never forget!

If you want to try to make it, here’s a recipe:

Murphys Champagne Sorbet

Dom Perignon Sorbet 2Ingredients:

330 gr Sugar
500 ml Spring Water
250 ml (Dom Perignon) Champagne
75-100 ml Lemon Juice

Yield: 6 Servings

What to do:

1. Boil the water and stir in the sugar, until it is completely dissolved.

2. Cool completely.

3. Stir in the champagne and lemon. (The lemon is just to offset the sweetness. Taste it as you add it, and make sure it doesn’t overpower the champagne).

4. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer, stirring at 1 hr intervals to break up the ice.

5. Garnish with strawberries and serve!


1. It’s hard to make sorbet without an ice cream machine. You will need to interrupt the freezing process and stir, or you will be left with a block of ice! The more times you do this, the better the consistency will be.

2. If you’re making a special meal, you can have your glasses of champagne at the start, and simply leave enough for the sorbet. If your sugar/water mix is already cold, the timing should work perfectly to add the champagne to the mix just before your main course, put it in the domestic ice cream machine, and it will be ready for dessert!

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Single Estate Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate scoop

I have formed a dangerous addiction to the single estate Valrhona bars, and I really do think that it doesn’t get any better in terms of pure eating chocolate. Since that’s the case, and since we’ve been talking about doing super-super-premium ice cream flavours for our shops, we decided to make single estate chocolate ice cream. (There’s a bit on us on the cover of today’s Sunday Times business section this subject).

Valrhona Grand CruGiven the expense of the chocolate, we have to charge a euro extra per scoop. I tried two out of the three single estates – Ampamakia, my favourite for eating, and Palmira. The latter is definitely better in the ice cream, but both are good.

As with many of the finer things, it’s the subtlety and complexity of flavour that makes it special. If you can find the bars and want to go wild and treat yourself, here’s a recipe!

Murphys Single Estate Chocolate Ice Cream

1 Cup (237 ml) Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/8 Cup (266 ml) Milk
1 1/8 Cup (266 ml) Cream
7 oz (200 gm) Valrhona Single Estate Chocolate
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Yield: 6 Servings 

What to do: 

1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water or a microwave. Take care – chocolate burns easily!

2. Beat sugar and egg yolks together until pale yellow.

3. Bring the milk to a simmer.

4. Remove from the heat and beat the milk into the egg and sugar mixture in a slow stream. Pour the mixture back into pan and place over low heat.  Stir until the custard thickens (around 60C). 

5. Add to the melted chocolate in small parts and mix thoroughly until smooth and velvety.

6. Allow the chocolate custard to cool.

7. Stir in the vanilla.

8. Whip the cream and fold into the mix.

8. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer.

6 Servings.


1. The boiler or container in which you melt the chocolate must be completely dry or the chocolate can clump.

2. The chocolate and the custard should both be hot when you mix them.

3. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and keep at that temperature for three minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.

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Bank Holiday and Ice Cream

Mint Scoop I looked over my last posts, and I couldn’t help noticing that there was very little ice cream in them, so I’ve decided that at least I should post a few photos of the tasty stuff. It’s in great demand at the moment with the sun blazing down and the tourists streaming into Kerry, and if you’re heading this way, maybe it will get your taste buds going…

Chocolate ConeI’ll add a recipe over the weekend if at all possible. With the bank holiday weekend, the shops will be very busy, especially in this fine weather, and it could be that I’ll be too busy scooping and running around keeping the whole thing ticking over.

I’ve talked earlier about the Leica digital camera that I bought, and it was the best 700 euro investment I’ve made in a while.

It’s amazing to be able to produce reasonable images for a variety of purposes, from menus to posters, etc.

With a bit of photo paper and a laminator, it’s easy enough to do a variety of basic marketing applications, and it’s great not to have to go through the expense of bringing in a photographer for every shot.

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The Ice Cream Man Goes Milking

Kerry Cow Chewing I know I might get boring writing about the Kerry cow but we’ve been having a great time experimenting with making ice cream with the milk of this rare and indigenous species. Apparently, there were only 409 births of Kerry calves in 2005, so you have an idea of how few of them there are left in this world.

Kerry Cow in YardStill, they are making a bit of a come-back, and we’re delighted to be doing our small part supporting the breed. Yesterday, I visited the local farmer who has an interest in such things and a few of them registered for milking, and I was allowed to help milk them.

That might sound boring for some, especially those raised in rural parts, but for a city boy, it was quite a thrill. Even though I’ve lived in the wilds of Kerry for years now, there is little for someone born and bred in New York that seems as interesting or as exotic as a farm.

Milking Kerry CowI can’t say I really got the hang of it, and I needed quite a bit of assistance, but the farmer was quite polite and said it’s all about the practise.

As bumbling as my hands might have been, it was a lovely experience to have my head leaning into the side of a Kerry cow and attaching the milking machine, surrounded by the sounds of the breathing of the animals and the milk pumping away.

Kerry Cows WalkingAfterwards, we walked the cows back to pasture. The evening was so glorious, with the mountains behind us and the whole countryside bathed in golden light.

At times like these, all problems seem to disappear, and there’s nowhere I’d rather find myself than Dingle. I’m as happy as can be.

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