So - my kind and generous little sister got me two packs of Saxa Rock Salt for Christmas for me to review...
...as the fuel for my new Play and Freeze Ice-Cream maker!! (YAY WOO!!)
And here we see the link to the Ben & Jerry's sub-theme for all the little stories I've been posting this week. I got their recipe book to enable me to whip up all kinds of amazing things, but unfortunately it's all designed around making a quart of ice-cream. In the UK this is a fictional measurement, and my new Play and Freeze Ice-cream maker only makes one pint. This means I'd have to halve/down convert such wonderfully inaccurate measurements as 3/4 of a cup and 1-1/2 teaspoons. Pro-tip guys, ml are much easier...
Fortunately inside the steel cylinder that comprises the freezing chamber was a small recipe book that resembled the most basic version but with easier to figure amounts. I planned to make half a pint of vanilla ice-cream.
Here is the science bit. You open the bottom and fill it with as much ice as you can ram in, then you add a load of rock salt. This melts the ice, and adsorbs heat from the surroundings. As the only thing surrounding it is a metal cylendar this gets cold fast. You then pour in your cream and sugar (and in this case vanilla essence) and then tightly screw it shut. Then you throw the ball around for 10 mins!
You can just about see the ice cream on the top window. After 10 mins the freeze action is so strong that you get this.
It's mostly ice-cream with a bit of slop in the middle. So you tip out some water, add more salt and play again!
Cats are very suspicious of the large ball, but as the ice crystals form on the outside you may need to put it down a bit to warm your hands up. And then you open it and use a spatula and a spoon to get at the ice-cream. Hooray!
It made about three generous portions, you could possibly have got a fourth if you were really scraping away hard.
Those last bits really freeze to the sides and take a bit of effort to get off, but it's worth it. Fantastic ice-cream and all made at home with basic ingredients. Look at the frost around the top on that last one. Chilly fingers...
We have a big bag full of alternative things like sweets and marshmallows and other Ben & Jerry's style things that go into their recipes, and we have these flavoured squirts to make instant variety. I do really like vanilla though so had to start with that.
The most important thing about any gadget - the one thing that dictates whether it gets used or mothballed is this. How easy is it to clean? The answer - hot tap water goes in both sides and then pours out and it's clean. Done. Storing a large red ball is harder, but I really thought it'd be a long term mess - one of those things that is never truly clean ever again. You could probably rebox it when it's dry and no-one would ever know.
It does use a large amount of ice, so I've actually set up some trays in the garden to try and freeze some overnight outside (Eco friendliness and all that). Buying bags of ice when it's this cold does seem crazy.
I'd link you to get one, but they seem to be out of stock after Stephen Fry featured them (little sister had to order from the USA) so you are better off typing Play and Freeze into Google or exploring local cook shops. Summer parties will be very fun this year (although the experience is a very loud one with all that ice rattling...)