Ice cream, skirt: last minute firsts

With only a few hours left of 2012 I thought I should learn a new skill to perfect over the next year. Like many other middle class 30-somethings from Sussex, I grew up in Clothkits sew-at-home dresses, but I’ve never made any clothing myself. This morning, my daughter, who is tall like me, had a wardrobe malfunction when we put on her new dress, only to discover that it is in fact, a top. I took this as my prompt to learn how to make her some clothes, starting with this circle skirt (pictured). I didn’t follow a pattern so I got it wrong (for one, it’s too long), but I looked at the tutorials on Ruffles and Roses and Dana Made It for the basic idea. Even with a few unpicked stitches it was still quick to do, so I’ll definitely be having another go, but next time I think I’ll follow the instructions more closely.

While we’re on the subject of firsts, I made my first homemade ice cream this week too, using my brand new machine. My aunt recommended I make the River Cottage custard ice cream, but she said it is too sweet for her taste, so I should reduce the sugar content. I followed her advice, and what resulted is the most delicious ice cream I can remember tasting. Here is my adapted recipe:


Vanilla custard ice cream

300ml single cream
4 egg yolks
100g unrefined caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
300ml double cream

Place the single cream and vanilla paste in a saucepan and heat over a low hob until it’s just starting to steam.

Separate the eggs and whisk the yolks with the sugar until smooth and slightly lighter in colour.

Pour the warm cream into the egg yolks and sugar and whisk together, then return to the saucepan.

Over a very low heat, warm the custard mixture, stirring constantly until it has thickened slightly. The custard is thickened enough when it coats the back of a spoon and when you draw your finger across the mixture, it leaves a clear line on the spoon.

Cool the custard in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.

When the mixture has cooled, stir in the double cream and pour it into a prepared ice cream maker.

The ice cream should be ready in 20-30 minutes. It is ready to eat right away, or (if you can bear to resist) to transfer into a carton and keep in the freezer for later.



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