life on a smallholding

not quite a business, but more than a hobby

First beer, then ice cream — Monday, 25th June

First beer, then ice cream

Lemon and ginger ice cream
Lemon and ginger – fruit and root ice cream

I generally have chunk of root ginger lurking in the salad drawer of the fridge and although it’s used, it can often be forgotten.  A while ago I came across a recipe for proper ginger beer which presented an excellent opportunity to make use of that ginger which was getting past its best, along with a couple of lemons.

Ginger beer
Delicious fizzy ginger beer

It was simple to make but after straining the liquid I was left with a bowl full of sliced lemon and chopped ginger that seemed just too good to throw away.  Instead I added sugar and water and simmered it for a couple of hours until it was soft and the syrup was thick.  I ladled it into a sterilised jar and popped it in the fridge.

A couple of days later I was making a vanilla ice cream to accompany our Devonshire apple cake and was looking for something to liven it up a bit.  I spotted the jar of fruity syrup and decided it would be perfect to add a bit of zing.

Our pudding was served up with a large dollop on top of the cake with some sprinkles of lemon crystals which just make your mouth water – delicious!

This month’s blog challenge on Kavey Eats was fruit, so it was very fortuitous.  Here is my recipe for lemon and ginger or fruit and root ice cream but if you want to try it, you will have to make the beer first!

Fruit and root ice cream


Lemon crystals
Mouth watering lemon crystals
  • 400ml milk (I used fresh goat’s milk)
  • 4 tbls dried milk powder
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • pinch salt
  • 2 heaped tbls lemon and ginger in syrup
  • Lemon crystals for decoration


  1. Put the milk, dried milk powder and salt into a pan and bring just up to boiling point.
  2. In a bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until pale and fluffy.
  3. Allow the milk to cool slightly and then with the mixer running slowly, pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture and stir until thoroughly blended.
  4. Leave to cool.
  5. Pour into the ice cream maker and start churning.
  6. When the ice cream is just beginning to freeze spoon in the lemon and ginger with the paddle running.
  7. Continue churning until done.
  8. Serve on a warm pudding with sprinkles of lemon crystals

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Shards of salted chocolate ice cream — Monday, 28th May

Shards of salted chocolate ice cream

Shattered chocolate ice cream
Vanilla ice cream with lightly salted dark chocolate

Thanks to this glorious weather we are enjoying, even in Scotland, lots of ice cream is needed to keep us cool.  With Lily only recently kidded, I have  barely a litre of milk per day as it has to be shared with her babies until they are weaned.  It’s not worth separating as I would only get about 50ml of cream so I am using whole milk and making small quantities at a time.  Luckily we still have plenty of eggs, although the ducks have passed their laying peak, so on Friday I made a basic vanilla ice cream and then in honour of this month’s blog challenge on Kavey Eats, pepped it up with some lightly salted dark chocolate.

Ice cream churning
Ice cream churning

Shards of salted chocolate ice cream


  • 400ml milk
  • 2 tbls dried milk powder
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • pinch salt
  • 50g plain chocolate
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt ground slightly
  • Instructions

    1. Put the milk, dried milk powder and salt into a pan and bring just up to boiling point.
    2. In a bowl beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla paste until pale and fluffy.
    3. Allow the milk to cool slightly and then with the mixer running slowly, pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture and stir until thoroughly blended. Try not to whisk too vigorously as this makes in frothy.
    4. Leave to cool.
    5. Pour into the ice cream maker and start churning.
    6. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, stir in the ground sea salt.
    7. Leave to cool slightly.
    8. When the ice cream is beginning to freeze pour in the cooled chocolate with the paddle running.  As it hits the cold ice cream it should harden and break up into pieces.

    With a nice tub of ice cream crying out to be eaten I decided to make us some cones so that we could enjoy it properly.

    Home made cones
    Home made cones

    Ice cream cones


  • 50g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 50g butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbls milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • Vegetable oil or melted butter
  • Instructions

    1. Whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add the slightly cooled melted butter and stir.  Add the rest of the ingredients apart from the vegetable oil and beat until you have a smooth batter.  Add more milk if it’s a bit on the thick side.
    2. Heat a pan over a medium heat until very hot.  Remove from the heat and brush with vegetable oil or butter.
    3. Pour 60ml (4 tbls) of the batter into the pan and swirl it around until it forms a thin circle in the base.
    4. Return to the heat and cook for approx 5 minutes or until the underside is brown then lift the pancake with a pallet knife and flip over.
    5. When golden brown on both sides, remove from the pan and whilst the pancake is still hot (gloves are very useful at this point) wrap around into a cone shape and squeeze the bottom to seal completely.
    6. Leave to cool on a rack while you cook the next one.
    7. When all the cones are completely cold, fill with the ice cream of your choice and enjoy.
    8. Alternatively drape the hot pancakes over an upended bowl and gently mould around it.  Leave to cool, remove from the bowl and you have a handy edible vessel in which to serve your ice cream.

    Cone bowls
    Handy edible bowls for ice cream

    A very white ice — Sunday, 25th March

    A very white ice

    A simple Vanilla gelato
    A simple Vanilla gelato

    Today I found another exciting challenge online, this time it was all about ice cream, on an excellent blog entitled Kavey Eats.  It must have been fate as it was a scorcher of a day here in sunny Scotland (yes I know that’s hard to believe) so ice cream was just what we needed.

    The theme of the March challenge was to recreate a favourite childhood ice cream experience or flavour.

    I thought back to my childhood ice cream eating days and remembered that I had an obsession with white ice cream, not just vanilla, this ice cream had to be brilliant white, I wouldn’t eat the yellow Cornish types and I wouldn’t even look at strawberry or chocolate ices.  I’m certain I must have driven my mother mad.

    I have been making ice cream for years now, will try just about any variety and since the arrival of my cherished Gaggia ice cream maker, I have been virtually unstoppable, experimenting with all sorts of flavours.  I’ve since learnt that egg yolks give it a yellowish tinge and that the ice cream I loved all those years ago was almost certainly an Italian gelato.  To recreate my childhood favourite I used raw milk from my goats, powdered milk, a minimum amount of sugar and Vanilla extract rather than a pod, as I would never have tolerated black seeds ruining my perfect white ice.

    I was delighted with the finished ice cream, it turned out well and tasted just as I remembered and bought back lovely memories from days gone by.  It must have been good, we scoffed the lot in one sitting!

    Vanilla gelato
    Recipe Type: Ice Cream
    Cuisine: Pudding
    Author: Sharon Wells
    Prep time: 45 mins
    Total time: 45 mins
    A light, summery and refreshing ice cream
    • 400ml raw goat’s milk
    • 4tbls dried milk powder
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 1tsp Vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt
    1. Pour the milk into a bowl, add the milk powder, sugar, Vanilla extract and salt.
    2. Give it a good stir and leave to stand for around 15 minutes.
    3. Stir again to ensure that everything is dissolved in the milk.
    4. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and put on for 30 minutes.
    5. Serve slightly soft and melting.