Friday, 26 August 2011

Snakes and ice cream

An old friend of Mama’s emailed me last night to say how much she was enjoying my blog.  I feel such a delightful sense of purpose in writing this blog.  It’s as if Mama is right here next to me as I write about her and Bumps and my times with them.

Mama was very fond of her afternoon tea, and often had guests come over for a visit.  The tea trolley would be laden with little morsels of pleasure, and a huge pot of tea of the very best china would brew under a pretty tea cosy.

We often had tea out on the patio, which overlooked the lush rose garden and pretty lawns with a view down to the orchard.  On the left hand side of the patio you would find all kinds of beautiful birds housed in a huge aviary. I cannot remember what all of them were, but I remember being fascinated by all the colours and noises they would make.  I know there were love birds and budgies and canaries...but to what the other ones were, I cannot tell.

During the grown up chatter, I sat quiet as a mouse staring at the interesting ladies in front of me.  It did not matter that we were on an African farm, in the sweltering heat – the ladies were dressed in summer frocks, pearls and hats with dainty fans to chase away the flies.  All except for Mama – as she was a bit of a rebel and wore her trade mark slacks with one of her many beautiful floral blouses. On this particular hot and sunny Rhodesian afternoon as we sat on the patio sipping tea from china cups and munching on tea cakes - something most exciting happened!

The family dogs went barking mad and the birds started to screech and fly around the cage in anguished distress. There above the aviary was the cause of the ruckus. A cobra lay coiled up and its beady eyes seeking out which bird would do for tea. The dogs, Polly, Gretel, Libby and Ben (whom we called Benny-big-balls for obvious reasons) rushed around bumping the tea trolley causing tea and cake to go flying!

The cobra now alarmed at the noise from the dogs and screeches from the ladies – reared its head to display its fierce hood ready to spit its venom at will!  As we stood back from the frightening site, Mama called out to Bumps in a manner of calmness defying the scary situation we were faced with and asked him to bring the gun.  Bumps aimed the point 2.2 rifle and shot the snake between the eyes....oh ok -a bit of artistic licence there...he actually blew the snakes head right off.

Jawa the gardener, pulled the headless snake off the aviary and declared he would take this home for his wife to cook...better him than me, I say.  This was just one of the many, many, many run-ins we had with snakes!  This was Rhodesia you know... spitting cobras, boom slangs, adders, mambas you name it – but more on them another time.

As I mentioned, Mamas friend Jill – emailed me.  Jill asked if I would share Mama’s ice-cream yes of course I will.  This is a family treasure and I share this with lots of love and hope you enjoy it as much as I did and still do!

Mama’s ice-cream – and you don’t need a fancy ice cream maker for this!

What you need:
  • 2 tins condensed milk – 1 if you don’t want it too sweet
  • 1 Litre whipping cream
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • Dash vanilla essence

How to make:
  • Whisk the egg whites till soft peaks
  • Wisk the cream till soft peaks, add in the condensed milk, egg yolks and vanilla essence and give it a stir
  • Add the egg whites into the mixture and whisk until just smooth
  • At this point... I deviate a little from Mama and add in some crushed chocolate cookies or stir in some melted toffee... add as you like!
  • Pour into a tub and place in the freezer – you can give it a stir through in a couple of hours if you like – this is not necessary as it is such a high fat mixture it won't form crystals
  • Leave to set for 12 hours.
  • Take out of freezer 20 minutes before serving – otherwise you’ll break the spoon!

1 comment:

  1. Great story and I love the way you remember your grandmother through food. I think you are the first I've come across that's actually been to a truly old fashioned "English" tea party. Funny how it's all back in fashion now.