To make ice cream without an ice cream maker
You will need a large bowl, preferably plastic, a metal lidded container (a coffee storage container is ideal), a bag of ice, crushed if you can get it, a bag of salt, a couple of wooden spoons and a spoon for the salt.
Take a bag of ice (you will need at least 2kg), and smash it up with a mallet, wooden rolling pin or wooden pestle if it isn’t already crushed. Put about 3cm in the bottom of a large non-breakable mixing bowl. Sprinkle in a couple of tbsp of salt (this lowers the melting point, making everything much colder). Stand your metal container on this, with the lid on. Fill the space around it with more crushed ice and lots and lots of salt until the ice reaches almost to the top of the can. You should be able to see ice forming on the outside of the bowl, and the inside of the container will be freezing too. Mush down the ice with the end of a wooden spoon to mix the salt and ice together (make sure you then keep this well away from the ice cream lest you get salt in it!).
Now add your ice cream or water ice mix to the can. Stir it well. Put the lid on and give the container a firm twist to get it turning freely in the ice. You need to keep turning it and taking the lid off and stirring it about every 10m until it is set. After a while, you’ll need to scrape the sides of the container as the ice cream starts to freeze. This keeps the ice crystals small and gives it a good texture. Mix the frozen stuff in with the rest and give it a good stir. Eventually (about 30-45mn) you’ll have set ice cream! You can either eat it now or put in the freezer for later.
If the ice cream isn’t freezing after about 15mins, either you haven’t added enough salt to the ice, in which case add a few more tablespoonsful and remush with your carefully put aside wooden spoon, or you have too much sugar or alcohol in your mix. If the latter is the issue, you can try removing the mix, and diluting it with more cream (if ice cream) or water (if water ice/sorbet).
Modern freezers tend to set the ice cream into a rock, so if you have stored it in the freezer, when you want to eat it, try and remember to give it 10mn at room temperature or 20 in a fridge. Or buy a chisel.
Marmalade water ice (Victorian) The simplest of ices, yet delicious. Can be done with any jam or preserve, as you fancy.
150ml marmalade, 1pt or 500ml water, juice of 1 lemon. Colouring as desired.
Cucumber cream ice (Victorian) Divine. Cucumbers are related to melons, so it’s sort of like a refined and less cloying melon ice cream.
2 small cucumbers, or 1 large; 4oz / 100g sugar; ½ pint / 250ml water; 3floz / 75ml ginger wine or brandy; juice of 2 lemons; optional green food colouring; 1pint/500ml sweetened whipping cream.
Peel and deseed the cucumbers, and cook with the sugar in the water until tender. Stick in a food processor and add the ginger brandy [or wine], colouring and lemon juice. Sieving is strictly optional in 2013. Puree, allow to cool, add 1pint of sweetened cream, slightly whipped.