Gelati by Kate Hardy

by Kate Hardy, author of A Moment on the Lips (Harlequin Presents Extra, November 2011)

My entire family is addicted to ice cream. And I have a bad habit of being a ‘Method’ author (i.e. researching my hero/heroine’s jobs or hobbies or background by following in their footsteps), so when I bought an ice cream maker my daughter took one look at it and asked me if it was a research job.

Absolutely :o)

And so the seeds were already sown for my gelati book, A Moment on the Lips. That, and the fact that on the coastline near us is an amazing ice cream shop with about 50 different flavours. My original idea was to make several research trips, aka have a walk on the beach and then go to the ice cream shop, to work our way through the flavours. But then my ed said she wanted me to set the book in Italy. Given that the nicest ice cream we’ve ever had was in Sorrento, how could I resist using Naples? Especially as Vesuvius – one of the most awesome places we’ve ever visited – looms over the city.

I thought the book was all sorted.

Except my ed suggested this two days before I was due to go to Paris with my research team (aka husband, son and daughter). I was working on the outline on the Eurostar. And then it struck me that my heroine was teaching the hero to have fun, and that was exactly what we were planning to do… so she has to whisk him off to Paris.

Being the ‘Method’ writer I am, I had certain things in mind for future books that I needed to try out in person. Some of them ended up in A Moment on the Lips. We visited the inverted pyramid in the Louvre to get rainbows in our hair (this is my daughter); and we climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe at night, because I had a particular sight in mind. Something that happens on the hour. And it was a bit chilly (all right, so it was late October and it was freezing), but it really was worth staying there until we saw the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkle. (Especially as we’d climbed 600 steps up said tower earlier in the week. I had several complaints about overdoing it from my research team on that day. I guess 30,000 steps – especially when 900 are up steep stairs and then 900 down again – is a little bit harsh…)

And, of course, we had to try the ice cream! Parisian ice cream is meant to be among the best in the world, but I have to admit that we all prefer Italian. (We discovered a very nice Italian gelati shop in Montmartre, just behind the Sacré Coeur.)

I’ll leave you with my very easy recipe for ice cream – it’s not strictly ice-cream, but it’s low-fat, incredibly tasty and it vanishes within seconds in my house!

Put 400g washed and hulled strawberries in a blender with a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Whizz until puréed, then add 400g fat-free Greek yoghurt and a tablespoon of double (heavy) cream. [This is for texture purposes!] Whizz for a couple more seconds, then pour into an ice-cream maker. It’ll be ready in about 30 minutes.  (If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, you can also put it in the freezer and keep whisking it with a fork every 30 minutes until it’s set. But my ice cream maker is one of the few kitchen gadgets in regular use in my house, and I recommend them highly!)

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Comments ( 22 )
  1. Amy
    November 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi Kate! Was the ice cream shop in Montmatre called Tutti Sensi? My fiance and I went there this September and their ice cream was the best we ever had! Banana split and Toblerone flavour…so yummy,

    That being said, we also visited an ice cream shop on one of the islands (forget which one) that is supposedly famous and we very disappointed — especially after paying 3 euro for a tiny cup.

  2. Kaelee
    November 9, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Ice cream ~ I love gelato. We used to have a place that made it here in Calgary but sadly it’s gone.

    I like the sound of your new book Kate. will have to get it.

  3. Kate Hardy
    November 9, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Amy – I think that was indeed the one :o) And we had a similar experience to you with the famous one (our shop was near Notre Dame). So it’s Italian for me all the way!

  4. Kate Hardy
    November 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Kaelee – it’s a shame that the shop closed (though a good excuse to make your own!). Two new Italian restaurants have just opened in Norwich, and I am looking for an excuse to go and try their ice cream…

  5. Aimee Carson
    November 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Fabulous pictures, Kate! Now I’m inspired to do some research of my own 🙂

  6. Heidi Rice
    November 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Oh good Lord! Why do your blogs always have to be so delicious.

    I’m off to Paris tomorrow…. Major family get-together as my mum celebrates her 75th birthday with all her children and grandchildren! So there’ll be 17 of us eating coq au vin and pofiteroles in my Mum’s favourite brasserie. But now I’m thinking we may just have to do a field trip to Montmatre.

  7. melanie Milburne
    November 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Kate,
    You’re making me hungry! Why haven’t I thought of that sort of research! I go clothes shopping for my heroines. Does that count?!!

  8. anna cleary
    November 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    How delightful researching can be. I love how you throw yourself into the work so thoroughly Kate, (not to mention your team.) I do recall a gorgeous gelateria in San Gimingnano I think you would appreciate.
    When next you get the chance to pop over to Tuscany, have a passionfruit gelato for me.

  9. Marlyn
    November 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Kate, such a hot and beautifully crafted romance. Their chemistry, amazing.

  10. Kimberly Lang
    November 9, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Oh, now I want ice cream… So much for my diet!

  11. Robyn Grady
    November 9, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    Kate, you so don’t over do research. In fact, I think you need a secretary/PA on your next trip to Paris/Italy/wherever. I’m your gal!!!

    Robbie, who only eats ice-cream when she’s pregnant, consequently putting on 25ks before having 6lb babies.

  12. Kelly Hunter
    November 10, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Kate, you evil author, you. I’m starving here. And there’s no ice cream in the fridge.

    A Moment On The Lips is available this month in Aus – it’s a 2 in 1 with one of mine so I have many author copies. Bonus!

  13. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Aimee – thanks! Enjoy your research 🙂

  14. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Heidi – what a lovely celebration! Happy birthday to your mum, and have a FAB time in Paris. (Immensely envious. I am so desperate to go back – Versailles, the Conciergerie, the Musee d’Orsay…)

  15. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Melanie – is this online browsing, or actual shopping for clothes? LOL. I browse for wedding dresses, engagement rings and places to live. (My DH had a big panic when he thought I was trying to bid for a vineyard in France. Cough. That was online research. But for me nothing beats going out there and soaking up the atmosphere!)

  16. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Anna – ooh, passionfruit! (Mind you, you and Amy Andrews started me on hummingbird cake…) And Tuscany. Florence is on my wishlist, but the research team worked out it meant art galleries and vetoed it. They can be replaced…

  17. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Marilyn – thank you! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  18. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Kim – ah, but my recipe is low fat and mega healthy. (Just don’t ask about the custard-based ones…)

  19. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Robbie – you’re on 😉 I still love Anna’s idea of a writer’s retreat. Except I have a nasty feeling we’d all be really bad and just sit round drinking wine and lusting after certain actors. And Nic Marsh would shame us by writing a whole book, LOL.

  20. Kate Hardy
    November 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Kel – considering I have a yen for Chinese food every time I read one of your Singapore books – revenge is sweet! ;o) And how cool that I’m in a duo with you. Loved your last.

  21. Annie West
    November 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    Kate, I recently had cherry ice cream in Paris and it was brilliant! Real tang and flavour. I had such a lovely time trying French ice cream I added a pic to my FB page recently showing one of the more spectacular ones. Your research sounds marvellous.

  22. Kate Hardy
    November 11, 2011 at 4:57 am

    Annie, glad you enjoyed your cherry ice cream. I really regret not trying the blueberry and violet one in Vienna (or talking one of the kids into ordering it) – I was too full after the cake. Hmm. Excuse to go back, yes? (And yes, I am so writing a cake book at the moment, split between Rome and Vienna. My 50th – scary!)