Making icecream is a doddle, as long as you have a freezer, a container and a spoon, you can make icecream. It is certainly easier if you have an icecream maker - I do, it was about £15, although you could pay thousands if you are making it proffessionally.
For the basic icecream I make, these are the proportions of things I use:
-Half a vannilla pod (do not use escence or I will come around your house and burn it down)
-A pint and a half of single, double or whipping cream
-About 6 ounces of golden caster sugar
Half the pod and wrap the other half in cling film to keep it fresh. Split the pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds as below and then chop the remains of the pod in to smallish pieces.
Now, add all of the ingredients to a pan and WARM GENTLY. DO NO BOIL the cream. You are just wanting the cream to take on the vanilla flavour and for the sugar to mix in well. Stir the cream while it is warming, but do not beat it - you are not making whipped cream.
It should not take very long - maybe 5 minutes - then turn the heat off and leave the pan to cool.
If you have an icecream maker like mine - basically, a bowl that holds its chill with a mixing paddle attachment, you should have put it in your freezer 24 hours before. If not, do not worry, this will just be quite a bit of work...
Sieve the cream into your icecream maker, stick the paddle in and turn it on. It should take 40-60 minutes to get decent icecream, depending on the ambient temperature. You can judge if the bowl needs to go back in the freezer by looking at the outside of it. If the moisture in the air is still freezing on it, its all good - if it is starting to turn to liquid, back in the freezer for half an hour to cool it again then back out and more mixing.
If you are making this by hand, put the sieved, cooled cream into a freezer proof vestle and put it in the freezer for 40 minutes or so. Take it out and mix it - a lot - you do not want any lumps. The aim of making icecream is not to have large chunks of ice, but ice crystals evenly distrobuted through the cream. Keep returning it to the freezer and taking it out, roughtly every 40 minutes or so and mixing. Once it is really starting to freeze, you will have to take it out more often and mix more often.
Eat it how you like - you can add a lot of different things while it is mixing - I ussually add golden rum or baileys.
If it is left in the freezer for a long time, it will go hard - just get it out 30 minutes or so before you want to eat it to let it soften a little.
As I said, use real vanilla pod - it tastes better and you get the seeds in the icecream which show you are not a cheapskate. If I was served home made ice cream or custard that did not have vanilla seeds in or tasted of escence, I would throw it on the floor.
Be discerning in your taste.