I used to live in Tooting, south London, and every now and then a rag-and-bone man would come down the street, straight out of Steptoe and Sons, with his horse and cart. Now that we’re in west London, we don’t see so many of those (but we do get the occasional police horse), but we do hear the chimes of the ice cream van on a regular basis. Is it the urban equivalent of the first cuckoo of spring? Anyway, we don’t rush out the door because we far prefer to make our own. And our excuses for resorting to the freezer cabinet of the supermarket are even fewer now, as this book Ice Cream and Other Frozen Delights from; fourth generation of a family of ice cream makers, Ben Vear gives us a recipe for pretty much every single flavour possibility imaginable.
There are nine chapters, for a total of 286 pages, with most recipes taking two pages: one of text, and a photo. Chapters are on vanilla, sugar, caramel and toffee, chocolate, berries, citrus, herbs and spices, botanical infusions, alcoholic infusions, and accompaniments. The exhaustive nature of the book is reflected by no fewer than seventeen recipes in the vanilla chapter. Of the rest of the book, I’m particularly tempted by the brown bread ice cream – an old favourite, salted caramel ice cream, saffron and caramel kulfi, dulce de leche mascarpone ice cream, chocolate and rosemary ice cream, blueberry pie ice cream, balsamic, blackberry and strawberry, lemon and squid ink, blood orange sorbet, chilli and lime sorbet, gin and tonic sorbet, and sloe gin and damson ice cream. As well as the ice cream there are lollies, sorbets, frozen puddings, cones, biscuits and baskets.
The big test of any recipe book is obviously the quality of the results, and we have to say that Ben has triumphed here. We’ve tried a couple of recipes so far, both have been a great success and we are looking forward to trying more. On a practical note, we like the way that the book is bound in such a way that it lies flat easily, and that there are two ribbon bookmarks – appropriately enough, one white, one red.
Summer is obviously the high point for ice cream consumption, and as with all things, home made beats anything bought from a shop into a cocked hat. In the battle for space on our cook book shelf, this book has earned its place and we look forward to Ben’s next offering.
Fuss Free Rating
Ice Cream & Other Frozen Delights by Ben Vear: *****
Ice Cream and Other Frozen Desserts is published by Absolute, cover price £20
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review.