Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’

A Two Hour Drive for Lemon Ice Cream

Friday, October 10th, 2014

*Warning: The following blog post contains discussions of food regurgitation (aka vomiting.) If you don’t want to hear about it, don’t read further.

I will travel great distances for good food and when my cousin, Les, told me about a lemon ice cream that could only be described as “orgasmic,” I decided I needed to try it. I have never heard anyone describe a food as orgasmic as repeatedly as Les did about this ice cream. Clearly it was good and clearly I needed some.

The fact that the ice cream was located a two-or-so hour drive at the Inn at Brough in the Lake District didn’t really bother me. Thankfully Les was so keen on this ice cream that she was willing to drive me there as a “Birthday Adventure Treat.” So yesterday my birthday continued in the form of a drive through the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District and an amazing lunch at the Inn at Brough. I’m a lucky girl.

We arrived at the Inn for our booked time slot of 1pm and were greeted by the very friendly staff members who knew that Les was ‘that woman who keeps calling to check they will have the ice cream.’ The restaurant was empty, but it was a rainy Thursday and apparently the place is booked out on weekends. I could see why – Brough is a small village and the Inn sits proudly in the centre, offering a comfortable place to come and sit, drink and eat. We were looked after by a delightful lady who was friendly, welcoming and very, very polite. The Inn is attempting to be a little bit fancy and the service reflected this. I preferred when she kept looking out of the window and across the road to her house where a man was pruning her trees.

View from window

Our rainy view

We ordered some wine and then our food, our grumbling stomaches dictating that we should both splurge and try the lamb and redcurrant pies seeing as the lamb would be local and therefore delicious. This was Error #1. Our menu reading eyes and greedy stomaches were far too hungry for their own good. We were told the pies would take 25 minutes to cook during which time we just salivated more and more for tender baby sheep.

When our food arrived we both recoiled at the size of the serving and made “Gosh, I’ll never finish this” noises. But as we tucked in and tasted the tender lamb, buttery pastry, crisp potatoes, sweet carrots and some heavily buttered snow peas, we couldn’t stop. Soon we had both devoured the majority of our food, not quite finishing simply to ‘leave room for the ice cream.’ This was Error #2. Hindsight suggests I should have chosen a cheese and pickle sandwich but I know it wouldn’t have been as delicious as the pie.

Lamb pie and vegetables

Mmm… pie.

It was really good – the meat wasn’t fatty and the flavours were fantastic although I didn’t taste much redcurrant. The chips were seriously crispy – these giant potato chunks had obviously been doused in some sort of animal’s fat and deep fried. Too good to stop eating. The vegetables were alright but nothing special. The snow peas were limp and dripping butter and the ratatouille looked and tasted like it had been made a few days ago and reheated. But overall it was a top plate o’ food.

The lovely server knew we were wanting the lemon ice cream for dessert and said she would give us ten minutes to digest before bringing it out. Such a wise lady. She would have been even wiser to suggest that we have a cup of tea instead. But no, we were there for the ice cream and so we should have it. Error #3.

Three balls of soft yellow ice cream were served rolling around on a plate with a chocolate swirl biscuit as garnish. It didn’t look beautiful but who cares? If this ice cream is really orgasmic then does presentation really matter?

Lemon ice cream

It ain’t pretty but it sure tastes good.

Les dived in first as I took the necessary photographs and there was that silence that you only get when people are sitting enjoying food on the other side of the table. She was a happy lady. The ice cream was creamy but not overly sweet with the lemon tang biting through. It was really, really good, although I kept getting strong hints of egg which kind of put me off. After one and a half balls I was reaching my cream/fat/excess food limit but I struggled on for the sake of having driven two hours to eat this dessert.

Was it orgasmic? I’m not quite sure but I am not a citrus lover. I also have difficulty eating large amounts of cream-based items and would never normally have three scoops of ice cream. But the flavours were definitely delicious and it was very good homemade ice cream. Compliments to the chef.

Reclining back in our seats, our over stuffed bellies were now grumbling in disgust at our greed. I had a cup of peppermint tea to aid my digestive system and Les had a cup of coffee. Both were served with shortbread biscuits on the saucer. Perhaps these were the ‘waffer thin’ mints that broke Mr Creosote in the infamous Monty Python scene. We were both feeling a little unwell.

I would like to point out, highlight and emphasise the fact that neither Les nor I believe the Inn at Brough was to blame for the events that followed. The food was perfect, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it whatsoever and I think you should definitely eat at the Inn. It was our own personal greed and in ability to handle rich food that led to us both experiencing moments of nausea that may or may not have resulted in one of us revisiting her lunch near the roman ruins of Brough Castle. Let’s just say, I will do anything to avoid vomiting so you can add up the clues by yourself to work out who it was.

Brough Castle

Scene of many battles and at least one upset stomach.

And so, with our disgruntled bellies and our acceptance that it just served us right for being greedy pigs, we headed off on an exploratory journey of the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales. Apart from intestinal explosions and the fairly insistent rain, it was a great day out and the meal at the Inn was definitely worth the drive. Perhaps not surprisingly, neither of us are in a huge rush to go back for more lemon ice cream, no matter how orgasmic it may be.

Trough of Bowland

A yellow beetle is the only way to roll on the Trough of Bowland

Chorlton Crack and Pure Origins

Monday, August 12th, 2013

During the Manchester International Festival, I discovered Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – an ice cream van that releases your inner child. The pink and maroon van was parked in Festival Square and I once made an out-of-my-way beeline for it in order to soothe my life-is-hard woes. It worked – this ice cream is good. The flavours are not your average chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. They vary daily from salted caramel with peanut butter (aka Chorlton Crack), dark chocolate, strawberry with mint, and rhubarb and pink peppercorn sorbet.

Since the festival, I have spotted the van at various points over town and am usually unable to stop myself from buying ice cream. Life is too short, I say. Buy the ice cream, I say. So within minutes I am holding a cone filled with glorious melting goodness. On my first two visits I just chose my staple option, pure origins dark chocolate, unable to bend from my usual ways. But the other Sunday I was feeling emotional, hormonal and depressed (a dangerous combination that can only be fixed with sugar and fat) and Pooja and I went in search of THE VAN. I decided to take them up on their great double scoop deal (£2.50 for one, £3.50 for two) and chose dark chocolate and Chorlton Crack. Oh the joy! My grumpy face was instantly replaced by jubilant smiles and then “I ate too much ice cream and I think I might vomit…” contentedness.

Mmmm... Pure Origins and Chorlton Crack...

Mmmm… Pure Origins and Chorlton Crack…

I have now had this double-banger ice cream twice and I am shocked to discover that the folk in charge of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium do not agree with my flavour combination. On their website they have an article stating they advise their customers against joining chocolate and crack as they both have deep flavours that should be savoured on their own. I can understand this and as someone who appreciates the joy of simple and pure food, I accept their call. However, the pure joy that I received from having these two flavours together can’t be denied. Perhaps it is because I am a particularly skilled ice cream eater and I never actually eat the two flavours together. All I know is that the ice cream is good, the van is awesome and I love Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. The end.

Spontaneous Ice Cream

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

I finished my second linocut today and took it for a test print.

Ice cream linograph

First you take the lino

paint

Then you add some paint.

Ice cream print

Et voilà!

I am still working on my paint levels and pressure adding skills but I am pleased with the image. I think it looks delicious…

Here Comes the Harlequin

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

Tom and I hadn’t been out for a dinner on our own for a while so I asked him out on a date. Yes, I asked him. But let’s not get stuck on who did what to whom – I chose the restaurant and I booked the table. Seeing as I was paying, I booked through La Fourchette to choose the restaurant with the cheapest menu and biggest discount. I settled on a restaurant just up the canal from us called L’Arlequin Café – it had received decent reviews, it was close by and the menu sounded a-okay.

An hour before our arrival at the restaurant, a woman from La Fourchette rang me and said that there was no response from the restaurant and that despite me receiving instant confirmation that I had a table booked, our reservation had been cancelled. Great. It was too late to book another restaurant on La Fourchette so we decided we would still go to the restaurant and see if they would accept us anyway.

At 8pm we were the first customers for the evening (typical…) and the waiter who served us was very friendly and welcoming and said we could still have the La Fourchette discount, not a problem. And so we stayed. Something I really dislike is being the only people in a restaurant. For the two hours we were there, only one other couple arrived. It was a Wednesday night and clearly things were quite slow, but it is so quiet and you feel like you have to whisper. Luckily they had some utterly terrible music playing slightly too loudly so there was a bit of background noise. The other thing I hate is restaurants with televisions and L’Arlequin had almost-naked ladies dancing around in video clips for us to enjoy. Then the football started and we got to watch Real Madrid play Lyon. Lucky us.

The food wasn’t bad – Tom had duck and I had beef but really we could have ordered the same thing. Both plates consisted of our chosen meat, a pepper sauce served separately in a little bowl, two lettuce leaves with a little bit of grated carrot for extra pizzazz, and what were apparently potatoes. I say “apparently” because we both reached the same conclusion without discussion that the potatoes had come out of a packet. No one can peel potatoes that evenly and make little round domes that are all exactly the same shape. Plus they were coated in salt and had an “I am a potato from the freezer section” taste to them. Despite our difficulties to decipher between our two plates, both of us thoroughly enjoyed our chosen meats – my beef was tender, nicely blue as per French standards, and had far more taste than my last steak at Le Bistro du Coin. The pepper sauce was particularly good – spicy, flavoursome and not too creamy. The lettuce was lettuce and we’ve already discussed the potatoes. Tom’s duck was also very good so if they could have managed to chop and sauté their own potatoes then it would have been a really great dish.

Steak and potatoes

Lots of 'potatoes', giant lettuce and a little (Jess sized) steak

As per La Fourchette requirements, we had to have dessert in order to receive our discount. Quel dommage! Tom had a crème brûlée which was nicely set and contained real vanilla beans which is always a good sign. I went against my usual instant decision of the chocolate fondant, and chose the tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. The waiter informed me that I had made a very wise decision and that it was going to be ‘bon’. Excellent. He was right. It wasn’t your usual tarte tatin – it had huge pieces of apple, caramelised and soft, on top of a soft but tasty pastry. The vanilla ice cream was homemade, creamy and delicious, and if they have avoided putting a whollop of whipped cream (from a can) on the side it would have been perfect. It was a truly wonderful, homely dessert and I had to resist ordering a second round as I licked the last of the caramel off the plate.

Tarte tatin

YUM.

As we sat feeling overly satisfied (stuffed) with our meals, we were then provided with some light entertainment. A noise suddenly appeared outside and a woman around the age of 50 walked into the restaurant talking very loudly about something, something, police, something. I recognised her raised voice and intense way of speaking from a week or so ago when I had been walking up Rue du Saint Martin wondering what on earth that horrible sound was. I then saw her standing next to a bus stop, talking very loudly into a mobile phone but I’m not entirely sure that there was someone else on the other end of the line. So here she was again, looking very upset and demanding to speak to a policeman. The Prefecture (Police station) is just across the road from the restaurant and the two waiters strongly suggested she headed over there. No. She declared she would wait in the restaurant until the police came. But none were on their way – yet. One of the waiters went across the road to announce the presence of a noisy lady in their restaurant but he returned sans-policeman, however stated that the police were on their way. At least five minutes passed between the waiter going over the road and the policemen coming to investigate. Clearly they either had more pressing matters or they were in the middle of dinner. They eventually strolled over, by which time the woman had given up and had decided to move on, wandering down the street and around the corner. Instead of walking at a slightly faster pace in the direction that she had headed, the policemen wrote down a description on the woman and headed back to the Prefecture in order to get a car so that they could patrol the area. Because she was walking SO fast.

I spent most of the time laughing at how useless the policemen were and at the strangeness of the whole situation. The waitstaff were very apologetic and dealt with the situation well, plus it provided a little bit of entertainment for the evening and helped me stop staring at the television screens.

That’s Not a Beach

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I don’t wish to disappoint the French, but they have been severely misinformed about what a beach is. From 21 July until 21 August, the Mairie de Paris has installed, on both the Seine and Canal Saint Martin, the Paris Plages. On Monday Tom and I walked down to the Seine to see what all of the fuss was about and to experience the Parisian tides. It was… well… interesting.

Paris Plage

Riverside beach

Basically a large amount of yellow sand is brought in and dumped into wooden boxes with umbrellas and lounge chairs strategically placed to allow for the best views of the dirty Seine water. There are then showers and mist-makers (I have no idea what you would call one of those things… a vapouriser? That sounds like something that would be used to kill ghosts) to ensure people can stay cool while lying in the middle of Paris in their bikinis getting a tan.

Water fountains

Cooling waters

Monday was a hot day (well, by ‘hot’ I mean it was 27 degrees and I was wearing a sleeveless top) and the sun was beating down quite strongly on that area of the Seine and the Parisians were loving it. Maybe I am half vampire because I shrivel if I stay in the direct sunlight and yet the folk of Paris will hunt out any inch of sunshine that they can, remove most of their clothes and soak up the rays. There was a lot of flesh. While most people had come prepared with their latest bikinis, lots of people were clearly there in their lunch break and underwear was passing as swimwear. Odd.

I will admit that it was an amazing set up. Walking along the Seine there huts selling ice creams and drinks intermittently all the way along the water. Once again it was an example of Europe being cool enough to sell alcoholic beverages in an area full of children. There were fußeball tables, sand sculptures, buskers, a pirate hut for kids to play in – all of this was set up for a month of enjoyment for the folk of Paris. The Mairie de Paris spends a lot of money on ensuring the lives of its residents are as fun and enjoyable as possible. It is very impressive and nice to be living in a ‘city that cares’.

sand castle

That's a big sand castle.

Since seeing an exhibition at the Hotel de Ville a few weeks ago about the history of life on the Seine and discovering that the Paris Plages have been around for quite some time, it was interesting to go and see what it was all about. I don’t think I will be spending any time there and I’m not sure I particularly enjoyed it as a place to visit, however it does bring some sort of bizarre happiness into the lives of the Parisians who don’t run away to the south of France during August. And that’s just nice.

Bikes

These two cool dudes were happy to have somewhere to roll

Don’t Blame Me, I’m Just an Australian!

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

So I did it! I managed to talk my way into the 10km run this morning. Why I did this, I’m not sure, considering I almost died as a result. But when asked for my medical certificate I pulled a “I don’t have one because I’m Australian!” line and it worked! I had to write a note (in French) declaring that I was taking all responsibility for my health. So when I almost collapsed from heat exhaustion at the 4km mark of the run, I actually stopped because otherwise I’d have to sue myself.

Anyway, GO ME! I did it! I ran the 10km (well… I walked maybe 100 of those metres in total) and I crossed the finish line and the best thing of all… I wasn’t last! I wasn’t first either, but I also wasn’t a guy with ripped leg muscles who just sprinted the entire race. Nor was I wearing short lycra shorts. Some clear disadvantages there, I think you’ll agree. I came 350th (a nice round number) out of 600 competitors which I am quite pleased with. My time – 55 minutes and 57 seconds. I had Tom standing by the side of the road with a camera and a water bottle so there’ll be photos of me with a red face pulled into all sorts of “Oww! I want to stop!” contortions. But I have to say I am very proud of myself for doing it. Not only that, I managed to complete it in under one hour and I wasn’t last. And I have fulfilled one of my goals of running in fun run and I did it in Paris! Awesome.

Strangely enough, one of the biggest difficulties was the heat – it was really warm! So far I have only ever run in temperatures below 20 degrees (once or twice it was -2) in Paris so running in the warmth was a bit of a shock to the system. My body doesn’t like me much at the moment but in half an hour I’m meeting Rom, Coup and Amanda (visiting from Perth) for ice cream. I think that will make everything better. Then we’re going to go and check out the noises coming from the canal – it is Les Voix sur les Berges which I think is a choir competition on the canal. Could be interesting, could be terrible. We shall see. Until then, here’s a photo of me having just won the Paris Marathon.

The finish line

VICTORY!

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo…

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Today I let my inner child guide my adult body, resulting in me giggling like a little girl and running light-footed, following the musical chimes of the Mr Whippy Van. Tom and I had both declared our desires for ice cream but had pushed aside the urges for health and ‘saving-for-Paris’ sakes. We had glasses of water instead and focused on discussing whether or not you can buy jambon at la charcuterie. But in the midst of our French study came the sweet, sweet tunes of an ice cream van. Surely it wouldn’t come past the house? It couldn’t have chosen this street as a potential ice cream selling venue. It stopped right outside the house.

Mr Whippy

This is a book! Looks like a good read...

The van was somewhat oddly painted pink and covered in Hello Kitty stickers. Mr Whippy had clearly sold out to his niece or little sister. The ice cream was your average soft-serve and about four-times the price I ever remember from when I was a kid. That said, I was never allowed to buy ice cream from the Mr Whippy van so when the opportunity arose today and my parents weren’t around to say ‘No.’ I grabbed hold with both hands and bought myself a rocket – soft serve ice cream, dipped in chocolate WITH a flake. You can’t have soft serve ice cream without getting a flake and really that was the best bit. Soft serve is always disappointing (unless you buy it in Copenhagen where it is beyond delicious), the chocolate sauce wasn’t bad but hardly exciting, and the cone… well… It was fluorescent orange and Tom made the comment – “I wonder what these cones are made of exactly.” Enough said.

Yes, I felt sick afterwards and no, it wasn’t the greatest thing I have ever eaten, but the experience of happiness and joy in the form of ice cream arriving at your doorstop is worth $4 and a stomach ache. I just wish I had filmed the adventure so instead I am retelling the story to you and recording it for future generations. Yes, people from the year 2156, ice cream came in a van. Ahhh… good times.