Follow the fortunes of Muddyboots & Family on their East Yorkshire farm which has changed from dairy farm to luxury ice cream manufacture

Monday, 28 January 2008

Ice cream, glorious ice cream

Every year at the end of January, ice cream manufacturers from the huge multinational to the small artisan producer, pack their bags and head off for the the ice cream show to end all ice cream shows, the Big One, the International Artisan Ice Cream, Patisserie & Confectionery Exhibition held in Rimini.

l must just say that we have only been once before and don't attend every year, but this year whilst Management stays put, the lads have braved the roadworks on the A1, scrabbled for seats on the Ryanair flight to Forli all in the name of ice cream!

The Italians, as well as designing wonderful shoes & handbags, are also thought to be the world leaders in ice cream. Every street has its own gelato selling a mouth watering array of brightly coloured*** & wonderfully decorated ices & sorbets. So then it's hardly surprising that the main exhibition for all thinks ice creamy is held in Italy.

All the main flavour suppliers will be there as will be stands displaying nothing but glassware, for ice cream sundaes, fixtures and fitting, to make your ice cream parlour look the bes knees, cones, machinery, packaging. Everything you can think of do do with ice cream will be there!

Ice cream recipes are very interesting, you can make a batch using nothing more than water or milk. a 'ready mix' powder and loads of added air. Here we use gallons of fresh milk, double cream, very little added air [our ice cream feels heavy compared to cheaper ice cream] & definitely do not use anything artificial, we prefer to use locally grown fruits wherever possible but failing that we do buy in flavours, things like chocolate & amerana cherry for example.

So l am looking forward to hearing all about the Ice Cream Trip on the Boys return and l really hope that the range of natural flavours has been increased!
The Italians do like to add plenty of E120 & E110!***

Thursday, 24 January 2008

today's weather forecast................

Why is it here, in England that we seem to be so obsessed with the weather? Certainly being married to a farmer you seem to be more weather orientated. Its a bit like, when you go out for a drive, farmer looks over the hedges and passes comments on the straightness of the tram lines. Same with the weather, here, in this household we don't just watch 1 weather forecast we watch, well l personally don't, several... sky, BBC news 24 etc etc. We even have homemade weather stations here on farm!

All this technology seem far removed from the folk law of times gone past. I remember one year's young farmers rally, the main exhibit competition title was 'old wives tales', ours club's was, 'make hay whilst the sun shines', another club had used the legend, 'if the cows are laid down then it is going to rain'.

Then there is global warming. Do we really think this is happening and if it is, can we really save the human race buy a mere change of light bulbs? The earth will survive what every happens, we are the ones who will become extinct going the same way as dinosaurs! The next generation of life in 20 million years time will be digging up our fossilized remains & wondering what happened to us! But there again is this heating up of the planet just a regular occurrence, something that has happened time & time again, followed by the big freeze?

Right then, is all this flooding, the second time in 6 months, to do with a change in the weather patterns? Who knows, but exporting all our industrial pollution to India & China in return for cheap consumer goods seems to give the impression of, well it's not in my back yard so why should l worry, but then don't put up wind farms near me please as they are an eyesore but l am doing my bit as l fill my 4wd with bio diesel and fit all my lights with the low energy, mercury filled light bulbs.......

Monday, 21 January 2008

A Relaxing January?

Halfway through January. Time passes so fast, is the planet spinning faster on its axis? So here we are then, 21st January 2008. Busy busy busy.

In previous years, January has been the sedate month, a time to recharge those batteries, sit front of the fire sipping sloe gin & watching those good old repeats on the telly. Bliss. This year?

Bang! It has been non-stop since the New Year. Hence no blogs. Don't mention the word 'paperwork' or 'external audit'. Shussssh!

To produce food, you have to be passed by the local council's Environmental Health Officer, who gives you a very thorough going over & inspects your HACCP plan with an electron microscope. This is good. It protect you, the general public from bogus or substandard food and protect us into the bargain. However, we have a new customer coming on board who is raising the bar to an even higher notch. This is good. But to actually climb over the high bar we need to put new measures in place. It all takes some doing but we are getting closer to the gold medal standard, so to speak. It just takes time. So no January holiday this year! I think having achieved SALSA certified standard makes up for it. How sad is that? A certification as opposed to 10 nights somewhere near the equator?

Now swiftly moving away from our luscious, homemade ice cream to caravans. The Caravan Club certified site is, l am pleased to say, fully booked for Easter. We also have a caravan rally at the same time. Nothing like gluttons for punishment eh? Lets hope that, despite Easter being early, the grass pitches will be dry enough to use, if not, it's a case of hard standing only!

Oh by the way, did l say it is still raining up here on Yorkshire's east coast?

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Grandpa B's photos

As is so often the case when l am meant to be playing accountant and supposed to be working hard & interpreting the figures on my quickbooks software, l find myself straying, sending out emails to friends, browsing the pages of Google for, well just about anything of interest to me. l will confess that this is no new phenomena, it is a part of me, easily distracted. School reports wrote ' she is always gazing out of the window, her mind on things miles away and paying no attention to the lesson in hand'.

Not much has changed, outside it is snowing, the wind howling down the chimneys, my feet encased in 2 pairs of socks & boots, and here l am, scanning Google and the word Newent. My family, you see, come from this small country town on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean. In fact they have lived & died here for some 200 years, their tombstones peppering the churchyard of St Mary's, their spirits walking the King's Shoot & the attics of the Red House.

Oh, as you can see, l have done it once more, gone off on a tangent. So here l was googling the ancestral town, when my grandfather's name popped up. On further investigation and clicking l was somewhat chuffed and needless to say surprised to see that my cousin, who lives in California, has been restoring and posting photographs that had been taken nearly 100 years ago by said grandfather. l will hasten to add that Grandpa B WAS a very keen amateur photographer as was his father & grandfather before him.

The picture of the two chaps and weather vane will make my Dad chuckle for you see his bedroom was directly opposite the church and the wonderful, gleaming golden cockerel. Being a country lad and the proud owner of a collection of firearms which he used to shoot anything that moved, the weather vane became a vital piece of target practice. Some years later, when the spire & vane were being repaired, it was discovered that the weather vane was full of bullet holes. 'Who dunnit' ran the headlines in the local newspaper. 'Perhaps it was the Home Guard using the cockerel for target practice' ran the story.

l don't think so!

ps: the last picture is view of the Red House / Post Office from church spire
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