Lets talk ‘ice cubes…!’

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

We know ice cubes has nothing to do with ‘Downsizing your home’ …etc etc and the chances you will live/be/eat/drink and sleep alone but lets digress at bit…lets indulgunce for a while.

The most underated, dull, ordinary, standered food item has been the humble ice cube. They have been ignored to the point of gross neglect, and its a shame.

Store away these thoughts and ideas for when you’ Upsize’ back into the mansion, get a job in catering, have nothing else better to do or want to deliver someting unique. You and the guests will end up talking about ice cubes.

Rule 1; Ice cubes dont have to be made out of water.

Water may have been cheap but, apart from fillling up buckets, a few selective individual cubes delicatly placed in lovely glasses can liven up a regular drink.

Rule 2; Ice cubes can go in first and the drink poured over them. Its not a life jacket and does not have to be thrown in as a last resort to bounce then disappear.

Colour your ice cubes. Use the tear off flat pack ice cube bags which are so cheap at the supermarkets (Morrisons £1 bag)

Obviously use natural juices, carrot, cucumber, beetroot, fruits which can be mixed with water to get the right colour and thickness.

If using ice trays, its very easy to layer a couple of colours, but make sure the first layer is very solid first.

For ice trays pop in a pea, rasberry, mint leaf, pommegranite sead, cucumber slice, coffee bean, mini olive, choc drop, nut, or berry. It doesnt matter if they cant drink it and end up fishing it out with their fingers…it will amuse their tiny minds whilst fishing it out:)

If time is a problem buy some ready made fruit juices and use those. Yes it will add flavour but mostly just a sugary taste which is not waht you want.  Drinks loaded with pure ice, just loose the flavour of the drink first.

Tomatoe juice red ice cubes placed into a gazapacho soup adds nice touch. Add Lea and Perins, celery salt etc into the cube and add to Bloody Marys.

Freeze  bags of local cheap grapes when they are cheap and in season and throw the lots into a jar of white wine or sangria.

Freeze lemon/orange/lime rinds and mash them up under a cloth and sprinkle of everything. or drop whole pieaces into pitchers of Sangria.

Ice cubes of rose, orange and geranium waters go well over fruit salads and bowls of melon ot strawberries.

Freeze a shalow bowl of liquid, put a net/foil/papaer over the top and drop down mint sprigs so the stem freezes into the liquid like a mini garden. Use a a central table decoration.

Freeze squares of icream, add some liquer and pop into hot black coffees.  A few squares of sorbet look good over ice creams drizzled with sauces.

Last of all, freeze the left over wines and throw them into the cooking.

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What are you drinking?

Excerpt from “Downsize your home and regain your freedom’
Amazon and Kindle

Its not just the preparation, menu, and serving food, that changes when you downsize, but making the drinks casual, low cost and easy.

Make pitchers, jugs and buckets of drinks. Lots of fruit, colour, flavour, leaves and ice.

Use plastic jugs,  bright buckets  and serve with a soup ladle or a large tea cup.

People like to see lots to drink when they arrive, not mean little thimble measurements where they sit waiting to be offered a few scant drops.

They also like to help themselves and, for some guests, passing the drinks bar/bucket can be a continual  journey and their only reason for movement.

Get a theme. Theme around the food and drinks and music. Let them travel a bit. The further south of the equator the more forgiving and tatty it can all look. Who knows what Chilean cuisine is really all about? Except roasted Guinea pigs, exceptional Chilean Sea bass priced  for Miami dinners, no one will know or dispute the menu.

Fun, fun, fun. You have downsized the property now upsize the fun.

Jugs filled with of lots of interesting stuff. Ice teas, sangria, punches, fruit drinks, iced flavoured coffee at

breakfast, iced Irish coffees. Its fun and no one studies the wine label.

Get out the espresso cups and make up some brandy/rum/whiskey coffee in advance.

Pop a teaspoonful of ice cream into cup and pour on the  warm coffee. They will lick the insides.

Fresh cut mint on everything, as it hits the nose and sends  out all the right messages.

Rose, orange and Geranium water is cheap form the arab shops and adds a scented touch to drinks.

If you do have to serve wine, decant it. Get to Argos or Debanhams and buy a glass red wine decanter or two. It improves the quality of your wine no end conceptually.

Save all old wine bottles and wash off the supermarket labels. Make your won wines labels labels, splash with tea and write out some drivel in french with a date or two. Do not put 18th century dates on your wine. Leave the bottle outside over night to gather dust.

Sake saves the day. Its reasonable  and very few people know much about it. Buy a chinese presentation box from Pier 1 and fill it with coloured tissue paper. It’s a ceremony to open and is exciting.

Serve  table waters out of glass bottles even an old olive oil bottle looks better than plastic.

Bowls of tooth picks with olives, grapes, raspberries, currants, dried fruits, lend a touch.

Its freedom and fun we all need, not grandmas lead crystal or plates with ‘names’ on the back.