Making the perfect ice cream

So, now that I am officially back in summer mode, with lovely warm weather this week, I’m going to be out in the garden, beer in one hand, ice cream in the other and feet up! It’s too late now to be doing much else in the garden, so I don’t have to feel guilty about the flowerbeds looking a bit messy. What I do fancy doing though is making some homemade ice cream. This is something that always seemed too much effort, but the difference in taste plus all the amazing flavour combinations you can come up with, plus there are some really cheap ice cream makers available now – there’s no excuse any longer.

Here are some amazingly cheap ice cream makers to buy from Comet with prices from just £22.49…

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Here are some tempting ideas for flavours…left to right Grand Marnier & blueberry, mango, rhubarb & strawberry, espresso, mascarpone cheescake, masala coffee.

The latest appliances for your stylish kitchen

If you are lucky enough to have a stylish new kitchen then don’t forget to invest in some new appliances to complete the perfect kitchen. Some kitchen appliances you hide away at the back of a large cupboard when your finished with them, others are stylish enough to be on display all the time, and if they are in constant use like your kettle or toaster it makes sense to pick one that will look great as well as get the job done.

Here are some stylish gadgets that would make a feature in any kitchen from Kettlestore.co.uk, Toasterstore.co.uk, JustCoffeeMakers.co.uk and FoodProcessorStore.co.uk

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Time to relax at home with the perfect cup of coffee

Enjoying a perfect cup of coffee in your own home requires a bit of skill and a good coffee maker. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a barista you will need to invest in a good coffee machine.

Filter coffee machines are very easy to use, the water drips through a basket of ground coffee to infuse in a pot, a hot plate keeps the coffee warm underneath. Here are some suggestions from JustCoffeeMakers.co.uk

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Espresso and cappuccino are considerably more expensive but produce a much stronger and richer coffee. Water is boiled in a chamber which builds up pressure and steam which then forces the boiling water through into the coffee, and the steam is used to create froth.

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Coffee grinders are also important to give you the best flavour, here are some ideas from JustCoffeeMakers

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Main types of coffee:

Cappuccino – 1/3 espresso, 1/3 hot milk, 1/3 frothy milk
Latte – with added hot milk. Normally ratio is 1:6 espresso: hot milk.
Macchiato – espresso with a little touch of milk
Con Panne – espresso with a dash of cream
Mocha – hot chocolate with a dash of espresso
Americano – hot water with a dash of espresso

Coffee machine

Tips for the perfect cup:

Crema – this is the pure coffee extract you find on the top of an espresso. Resembling the head you’d find on a glass of stout, it’s full of rich aroma and leaves a lingering flavour. A test of a good ‘crema’ is to put a little sugar on the top. It should take time to fall to the bottom.

Tamping – after filling the filter holder with coffee gently tap the top of it, levelling off the coffee, before locking the holder into the machine. This makes sure the water filters through evenly. Top machines feature an in-built tamper.

Frothing the milk – for perfect frothing you can use any type of milk as long as it’s fresh. It’s the protein that makes the froth, and this diminishes after about 4 days. Always use a stainless-steel jug and fill it to just under half full with cold milk. When it’s too hot to touch at the base the froth is ready. Give it a couple of taps to get rid of any bubbles, and then gently spoon the froth onto your espresso.

How about the perfect accompaniment to you perfect cup, here are some real indulgences, left to right: dark chocolate selection from Hotel Chocolate, chocolate raspberry cupcake from Waitrose, candied orange biscuits from John Lewis

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