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Monday, December 29, 2008

Flower Ice Bowls

Flower ice bowls are very beautiful things and are the ultimate container for a very special occasion. If only they lasted more than 30 minutes! I have made individual bowls here today to serve chilled soup, but one large bowl looks very dramatic filled with prawns, sorbet or ice cream scoops – or anything that needs keeping cold.

I have used flat-bottomed jelly and pudding moulds to keep the job simple. Round moulds are more common but require an ice stand to prevent tipping (see below). Choose your favourite flowers and foliage BUT nothing poisonous, like Oleander! I used blue Plumbago and the turning leaves of our Manchurian Pear trees.


Two round bowls, one two thirds smaller than the other. An extra bowl for the stand, a sharp knife, crushed or shaved ice for joining.


* Two flat-bottom bowls, one two thirds smaller than the other

* Small flowers and foliage of your choice

* Ceramic baking beads or a heavy weight for the smaller bowl in the freezer

* Ice cubes to weigh the flowers and foliage down


Pour about a cup of water into the bottom of the larger bowl and freeze. Remove from freezer and place the smaller bowl on top of the frozen ice. Fill the small bowl with ceramic baking beads or something heavy to weigh it down. The tops of both bowls should be level with each other.

Pour a little cold water down between the sides of the two bowls, add some flowers and foliage, hold these in place with ice cubes to prevent them rising to the surface (you may have to smash the cubes to fit them down the sides). Put the two bowls back in the freezer.

Repeat the process in several stages (depending on the size of your bowl) until you have reached the top. Freeze for 24 hours until solid.

Round bottomed bowls need a stand:

Freeze about a cup (250ml) of water in an extra bowl, un-mould it, up-turn it and use the top as the base. Attach the stand to the bottom of the bowl by scratching the two surfaces with a sharp knife, dipped in boiling water then join them with some crushed or shaved ice.

To un-mould:

Lay out a large serving plate or individual plates with a napkin in the centre of each to soak up the water and provide stability. White linen would be very attractive and looks so much nicer than paper.

Remove the weight from the smaller bowl and pour a little warm water into it. It will lift out immediately – do not waste time here – you do not want your ice bowl to start melting! Dip the bottom of the large bowl into a dish of warm water and carefully prise it from the ice. Repeat with your stand (if applicable), slash with the knife and connect the two pieces with the crushed/shaved ice.

Check for cracks or thin ice before filling – just in case and particularly if you are using the bowl for soup! Serve immediately.

Note: line the ice bowl with a piece of foil if serving ice cream or sorbet scoops.

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