Friday, 20 July 2007

Wildfires and Icecream

We currently have a number of wildfires burning in Nevada. Last count was well over 20. These photos are of the Hawken Fire, which is burning in the hills in front of me, which means we have had some rather spectacular views of the fire and the helicopters doing water drops. These were all taken on, I believe, Day 2 of the fire, when the winds were strong and up to 400 homes were at risk. We are now at Day 4 and the heroic firefighters have done an excellent job, with containment now at 34%, no homes lost and the fire confined to about 2495 acres, so far. The winds being quieter over the last couple of days has also helped.

What I do find hard to fathom though, is the behaviour of a far to large proportion of the public. Despite numerous appeals, by the authorities, through the media to stay away, they were trying to get as close to the fire as possible. This was getting in the way of emergency vehicles and personal needed for firefighting and rescue. Just as seriously, they were also blocking the escape route for residents who needed to be evacuated from the fire area. Not a lot of common sense!!!

Then there are the idiots who went up to the lake to watch the helicopters coming into scoop up water. There were appeals going out in the media asking people to stay away, as they were hampering operations there. No brains....


Went out and bought a Hamilton Beach icecream maker at the weekend. I have fond memories of my childhood and homemade icecream. Plus I like the idea of having control over what I put into the icecream....the list of ingredients on the store bought stuff is a tad scary!

For my first attempt, I decide to make some Green Tea icecream. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I brought two cups of whole milk to a boil and then seeped 8 green tea bags in the milk for about 10 minutes. removed the tea bags and let milk cool. Then I whisked in 6 egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar. I heated the mixture in a double boiler, until the custard was thick enough to cling to the back of a spoon. I allowed this to chill. I whipped 2 cups of cream until soft peaks formed. I added a few drops of pure vanilla essence to the cream. I then combined the custard and cream till they were completely combined and put it in the fridge, overnight, to chill.

The next day, I started up the icecream maker, which had been in the freezer for 24 hours per instructions, and poured in the recommended 1 litre of the chilled mixture. This was when things began to get interesting. About 20 minutes into the freezing proccess, the mixture began to overflow out of the ingredient mix in spout on the machine. Not sure whether I have to add less mixture because of being at high altitude, or if whipping the cream first added to much air. I think that I'm going to have to experiment a little. next time I make Green Tea icecream, I think I will also use more tea bags or buy some Japanese powdered tea as the flavour was not as intense as I would have liked. Still, all in all, it tasted pretty good.

All it was missing was a snifter of Stone's Green Ginger wine to pour over it.....

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