Lunch was the main meal of the day and always included dessert. My gran and I used to play a little game during the main course. I would ask her what was for dessert and she would give one of two answers: 'wait and see' or 'hope it's set'. With all the wit at the disposal of a small child, I made acronyms out of those two phrases and began to ask her, "Is it 'was' or 'his' for dessert today, Gran?" to which she would respond with a fond look and a "ho ho ho" that I can't even begin to describe here, but that meant "grown-ups don't really find that funny, but I know you would like me to, and I don't want to hurt your feelings".
My Gran's desserts weren't very adventurous, it has to be said. I have since come to realise that this might have had something to do with my grandfather's rather conservative preferences. Sometimes the dessert was just a can of peaches with evaporated milk (still a favourite with my own family). Sometimes it was a tub of shop-bought ice cream served with a jar of ginger-in-syrup (I still remember those Chinese-style jars).
But sometimes, oh glorious sometimes, it was home made ice cream.
My gran used to make it using a metal ice tray (do you remember those?) with the divider bit removed. If that aluminium tray appeared at dessert time, I was transported with delight. It didn't happen often because it was quite expensive to make in large quantities, and it was very rich, which my grandfather would complain about. I could never understand why we were expected to declare everything delicious and marvelous and wonderful, while he was allowed to find fault... but I am not going to let my grandfather ruin this post as he did so many of my childhood meals, so let's move swiftly on, shall we? This is how you make Granny Norton's ice cream...
410g tin evaporated milk
397g tin condensed milk
250ml water (or, if you want to be really decadent, cream - I use cream!)
5ml vanilla essence and/or flavouring of your choice (I used rose water this time... just yum!)
- Refrigerate the evaporated milk overnight or place in the deep freeze for two hours. I don't know why, but this really does make a difference to the texture of the finished ice cream.
- Beat all the ingredients together.
- Freeze until crystals begin to form.
- Remove from freezer and beat well.
- Freeze again until firm. This will give you roughly a litre of ice cream.
Oh, and it melts quite quickly, so don't leave it hanging around.