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Book review: Lola's Ice Creams & Sundaes

Book review: Lola's Ice Creams & Sundaes
Lola's Ice Creams & Sundaes
by Morfudd Richards
published by Ebury Press
RRP £20
Morfudd Richards whizzes across the country- her ice cream van full of frozen delights in proper grown-up flavours. Regular customers will be no stranger to the concept of Lemon Verbena and Nettle as an ice, perhaps, or even Sweet Miso. Those recipes are here, along with over 100 more.
We've all been seduced by the nostalgic tinkle of the ice cream van. Yet succumbing too often renders what should be a rollicking good, guilty pleasure a saccharine-soaked disappointment. Our sophisticated adult palate has spoilt us for the pleasures of that Screwball- long before we even reach the gumball.
That's where Morfudd Richards steps in- whizzing up and down the country with her Lola's ice cream van chock full of frozen delights in Proper Grown-Up flavours. Regular customers will be no stranger to the concept of Lemon Verbena and Nettle as an ice, perhaps, or even Sweet Miso. Those recipes are here, along with over 100 more.
It may disappoint your inner child to know that ice cream making is pure science and not a feat of some strange sorcery- but there's no denying a basic chemical understanding makes it a heck of a lot easier to create your own. Morfudd cracks straight on with the nitty gritty- swiftly distilling the key points in straightforward language so we can all get on with the fun part.
Greed aside, though, 'the science bit' is rather interesting- at least to a food nerd like myself. Understanding how components and flavours interact enables the freedom to dream up your own 'off menu' recipes- as the author intends. She's a clever companion, knowing when to guide firmly and when to let the cook take the lead.
Photography is a little patchy- on one page, drool-inducing glossy blackcurrant puree send me running to the kitchen, on another a sterile image of perfectly round, insipid-hued tomatoes puts me in mind of a discount supermarket brochure. There's also rather too many featuring children, where I feel these ices appeal to a more mature audience.
I'd also have liked more illustration, particularly for the splendid Sundaes section. Featuring '5 Tastes of Japan' and an off-the-wall Dolci Tricolore- a riff on the classic Italian salad, it's intriguing stuff, but I'd like a visual for 'Flavours of the Far East' or the floral 'Coupe Aromatique'. With their complex compositions, it's hard to take a leap of faith without knowing what you're in for.
But enticing recipes like Pea and Wasabi Sherbert, Plum and Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream and Beetroot Cassis Sorbet make you overlook the book's few shortcomings. The savoury recipes, in particular, are fascinating- Blue Cheese Ice Cream with Pineapple Compote, or the summery Crab Ice Cream with Sorrel Sherbert.
Purists need not fear- flawless renditions of classic favourites like Vanilla, Chocolate and various fruit recipes have a place here too. But this inspiring work invites you to adopt that reckless, devil-may-care attitude of youth- embrace it, harness it, and whip up a pint of Sweet Potato Sorbet.
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6 June 2010
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