Make a floral bowl of ice
by Rhiannon James
Summer tableware doesn’t come much cooler than a flower bowl made of ice. With blooms from the garden frozen in its walls, it’s a pretty way to serve ice creams, sorbets and super-cold drinks. Make one big bowl for the table or, if you’re feeling like a challenge, you could make individual ice cream cup creations for each guest.
Things you’ll need
1. Two Pyrex basins (one about ten inches and one about eight inches in diameter)
2. A pair of scissors
3. A knife
4. A selection of flower heads (but don’t cut these until you need them).
1. Hold the smaller basin inside the larger one so that the rims are level. Using a jug, pour water into the gap between the two basins until it reaches the base of the smaller one. Then remove the inner basin and put the larger one into the freezer. Make sure the basin is as level as possible or the base of your ice bowl won’t be flat.
2. Decide on the flower heads you’re going to use to decorate the sides of the bowl but don’t cut them yet: look for those that are relatively thin and open-faced such as pansies, cosmos, dianthus, phlox and single geraniums. Then work out a design – a random arrangement or rings are easier than columns.
3. When the base of the ice bowl has frozen solid, you can go out and cut your first batch of flowers. If you’re creating a ring, measure the width of one flower and work out how many you’ll need to make a circle. When you collect the flowers, leave a short piece of stem attached to help them stay fresh. Take the large basin out of the freezer and put the smaller basin back in place so it’s resting on the frozen base of the ice bowl. Slide a flower into the gap between the two basins and push it down until it touches the ice. Repeat with more flowers until you’ve completed the ring. If you’re creating a different pattern, arrange this first layer of flowers to fit the design. Then, using a jug, gently pour water down the inner wall of the larger basin until the flowers are covered. If the flowers float out of position, don’t worry, just move them back again with a knife.
4. Then put the basins into the freezer and make sure they’re level. When the water has frozen again, repeat the process to create another ring or layer of flowers.
5. If you’ve got room you might then be able to add a third ring or layer.
6. Leave the basins in the freezer until you want to use the bowl, the flowers won’t discolour.
7. A few hours before you want to use the bowl, remove the basins from the freezer and leave them until the ice has thawed enough to remove them. Don’t be tempted to use warm water to speed up the process because this can cause the ice bowl to crack.
8. Once you’ve separated the ice bowl from the basins, put it back in the freezer until you’re ready to use it – just make sure you don’t drop anything on it!
9. The bowl is ideal for ice creams and sorbets, drinks need to be really cold. The ice bowl will gradually melt (the speed of this will depend on the ambient temperature. Putting liquids, particularly alcohol, in it will make it melt more quickly). It’s best to put it in a low bowl or on a tray to catch the drips. Then take it to the table to be admired!