Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you all the best for 2010, and I hope it will be a year full of family, love, and joy.
Last night, in Dingle, it was a beautiful evening. Not only was it clear, but we had a blue moon as well an eclipse.
The wind that’s been blowing over the last days also died down, allowing the fireworks to go ahead.
Here are a few photos to ring in the new year.
If you can make it to these parts, we hope to see you soon!
Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh.
I couldn’t help myself. I know it’s a day after Christmas, but above is my niece Una playing Mary with baby Jesus in a cardboard box. I though she was very cute, so I hope you forgive my sharing in this space. Once again, a happy festive season to all!
Now… it’s time to think about the Wren!
We’re doing the above special as early celebrations for our 10th anniversary in business and to point out that (in the world of the “glass half full”) that we’re halfway to summer! Please come join us tomorrow (Monday), if you’re in Dingle or Killarney. After all, who could say “no” to a free ice cream?
There are many kinds of gingerbreads out there, and people certainly have their preferences – how dark, how sweet, how spicy. The good news about making gingerbread ice cream is that you can use whatever gingerbread you like, so you’ll definitely like the ice cream! Whether you use gingerbread you have made or gingerbread you have bought, this makes a great festive ice cream. I’ve spiced it up a bit, but you could leave the spices away if you like a plainer ice cream, and simply substitute a bit of vanilla.
MURPHYS GINGERBREAD ICE CREAM
What to do:
1. Stir the cinnamon, ginger and sugar together.
2. Add the egg yolks and beat until thick.
3. Bring the milk to a low simmer.
4. Beat the milk into the egg/sugar mixture in a slow stream.
5. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place over low heat.
6. Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
7. Immediately remove from the heat.
8. Allow to cool.
9. Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
10. Fold (gently stir) in the custard.
11. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, adding the gingerbread when it’s fairly solid.
You can also just cover and place in the freezer, stirring every few hours, and again, add the gingerbread when it’s reasonably solid.
Yield: 8 servings
1. The reason to add the gingerbread at the end is that otherwise it can sink to the bottom of the ice cream as it is freezing and won’t be evenly mixed through it.
2. To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and maintain that temperature for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though, and keep stirring! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.
This year, for Halloween, I made these awful looking eyeballs for our shops. They are not hard to do, and they are quite tasty!
If you wish to make them, you will need chocolate moulds, round ice trays, small glass dishes, or anything else you can use to get the half-sphere shape.
If you like the bloody-looking raspberry puree, the recipe is here.
To make the eyeballs, here’s what you do:
200 ml water
200 ml plain yogurt
3 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoon sugar
4 gm agar agar flakes
What to do:
1. Combine the water, yogurt, sugar, and agar agar flakes and let stand for five minutes.
2. Blend with blender or mixing rod.
3. Transfer to a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
4. Turn down the heat and simmer for three minutes.
5. Add the lemon juice and blend again.
6. Carefully pour over a blueberry, which you have placed in a mould, using only enough liquid to cover the blueberry.
7. Let stand for about 15 minutes, until the agar agar has started to gel.
8. Push down the blueberry to make sure it’s at the bottom.
9. Allow to set completely.
10. Carefully remove from mould. You might need to slide a knife around the edges to get them out.
11. Decorate with raspberry puree (optional).
After a cold and rainy May, summer has arrived, and what an arrival it has been. Today was a day warmer than any in 2008. and I certainly don’t remember one as warm in 2007. The beaches were packed, the sun hats and shorts were out, and people were smiling more than I’ve seen in months.
In Dingle, sand from Ventry and Wine Strand came in with sun-kissed customers, and the mood was relaxed in a way that only happens when expectations of a holiday are exceeded. In Killarney, locals wandered around Main Street as if lost in their own town – a place already beautiful but transformed by sunshine and heat into the South of France, perhaps, or some place just as pleasant.
These perfect days are not the busiest in our shops, as people leave town to make the most of the weather. We, however, don’t mind at all, for the sunshine brings out all of the splendour of Kerry, and those who experienced it will spread the word and return themselves. Best of all, however, was that a bank holiday like this was a great gift for a country struggling with difficult times. For these few days at least, people forgot their worries and remembered just how very good life can be.
Easter is early this year – we’ve hardly finished celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! In fact, Easter can only ever fall on one day earlier, and that hasn’t happened since 1818. The lastest day it can fall upon is April 24th, and that isn’t due to happen until 2038. In any case, it’s definitely March here with a forecast of a cold and blustery weekend. We’ll just have to make the most of it here in the world of ice cream and warm up our customers with good cheer.
Last year, we tried making ice cream easter eggs, and we made some more this year. If you want to make some, you will need some egg moulds. You simply pour the ice cream into the moulds and then decorate them when they are hard. This year, we experimented with dipping them in rasperry coulis, which dyed them a pleasing red. We also sat them in chocolate cups.
I’d love to take a course in decorating desserts, but playing with melted chocolate and other toppings sure makes for a fun afternoon – whatever the outcome. I don’t think we’ll sell these, but possibly give them away as gifts…
P.S. Happy news – Lent ends tomorrow!