Dessert, Easy, Sweet

The Crazy Food Lady’s Three Dreams of Ice Cream

It’s been a really tough week. Our son’s barely sleeping and the deprivation’s playing havoc with my mood. I’ve also been writing a piece on vulnerability for this post, before realising I’m not a good enough writer yet to say what I feel I need to, which left me feeling worse. I then wrote a fluff piece about the food I’m making, as I did last Wednesday, a cop-out to the promise I made to myself when starting this blog.

Food was never going to be the star of my blog, it was always going to sit in the background against living the life that creates my recipes. I’m not too sure how many of you read the words, versus shooting straight down to the ingredients list. May be I’m just writing to myself here, which on a day like this feels just fine.

So you want to know what I really think about the food I’m pushing at you today? Here goes…

I could tell you that I chose pomegranate because I like the flavour and the health benefits. But really I chose it because my mother lives in Egypt part of the year, where pomegranates run wild and rampant, and I miss her. And because running my hands through the deep red colour of the arils makes me feel alive. And tearing open the bleeding flesh satisfies a primal urge, on a week like this, that my prefrontal cortex can’t engage…

I hear endlessly about the health benefits of coconut, and the flavour’s delicious. But I really choose coconut because I feel I’m tapping into an entire garden of produce, housed in one joyfully hairy shell. Flesh, water, flour, sugar, cream, milk. It’s the veritable land of plenty, and I imagine coconuts sitting on our market shelves, worshipped by the other produce as they sway to a cool calypso beat. Having grown up in a country where coconut was one of the pinnacles of exotic I still feel a small child’s thrill whenever I stroke my hands over their balding heads.

My frustrated and flat mood makes it a perfect week for ginger. I love that it feels a little rebellious, punching me in the mouth each time I bite down. Its very own “screw you!” to its demise. It’s one of the gang members of the produce world. Backed up by wasabi and horseradish. Sneering at the apples, carrots and blueberries. Cautiously respectful of sour citrus, that cause all my taste buds to shrivel up and squeal. I picture the ginger, unmuffled by this coconut ice cream, screaming in maniacal and joyful defiance all the way down my throat. K’POW! K’POW! K’POW!!

The warming, delicate tang of far-travelled spice can liven even the most boring dish, I use spice in nearly everything I make. But that’s not why I’m making chai ice cream. It’s because I miss my little sister every day and chai is her favourite hot drink. I’m making it, because with each soft pinch of spice, the distance of 10,496 miles (16,892km) between us doesn’t feel so overwhelming. I like to think that she’ll smile when she reads this recipe, my sisterly love letter to her.

I get a lump in my throat every time I make my Fruit & Nut Loaf. I made it shortly after I found out we’d lost our first baby. I sang a quiet lullaby as I sifted the flour and wept as I stirred everything together. I grieved with my hands that day, and every time I pull out the ingredients I remember our children that could have been and call a small piece of my love and gratitude to the place they might be. And it reminds me to be intensely grateful for the child I have, sleeplessness and all. A slice of this sweet bread, warm from the oven, goes beautifully with any and all of these ice creams.

So join me in revelling in the stories we tell about our food. The pasta you love because it’s just the way mum made. The chicken dish handed down from your grandmother. The tinned soup you ate every Sunday night as a student. I really hope that food doesn’t just mean something to me, otherwise I’m just the crazy food lady warbling into the world-wide inter-web cloud.

Having just spent an entire post telling you how unimportant the food is, I can’t help but write that I think these are some of the best recipes I’ve ever created. The coconut sings a sublime introduction to the ginger’s punch. The pomegranate borders on super sweet until the encroaching flavours of cardamom and lime melt the sweetness down. The chai is just about the best thing I’ve ever tasted in ice cream form, tangled flavours that dance on the tongue and develop magically while eating. I’m ridiculously proud of them all.

Coconut & Ginger Ice Cream

  • 350ml (cups) coconut milk
  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy cream)
  • 80g (3/4 cup) desiccated coconut
  • 75g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75g crystallised ginger, chopped into small pieces

In a saucepan, mix the coconut milk, cream, desiccated coconut and half the sugar

Heat on medium-low to just below boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool a little

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks with the remainder of the sugar in a mixing bowl and whip for a couple of minutes, until fluffy

Add the egg yolks to the milk mix and stir constantly on medium-low heat, until it coats the spoon and you can draw a line with your finger on the spoon (if you have a food thermometer, it should be at 85˚C / 185F)

Take off the stove and let cool, ideally leave overnight in your fridge to let the flavours develop

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour into a container and place in the freezer

Add the ginger after the first two hours and stir well

Stir every hour or two until frozen

Pomegranate & Cardamon Ice Cream
(based on a Nigella Lawson recipe)

  • 2 pomegranates
  • 1 lime
  • 175g icing sugar
  • 500ml double cream
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom

Juice the pomegranates and the lime into a bowl
Add the icing sugar and whisk to dissolve
Whisk in the double cream and cardamom and keep whisking until soft peaks form in the pale pink cream
Spoon and smooth the ice cream into the airtight container of your choice and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight
Scatter with some pomegranate seeds before you eat, if you like

Chai Ice Cream

  • 150 ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy cream)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1 small pinch ground cloves
  • 1 small pinch ground nutmeg
  • 4 black teabags (cheap, strong tea is better – I’ve use Yorkshire Gold in homage to my sister)
  • 65g (1/4 cup) sugar
  • 5 egg yolks

In a saucepan, mix the milk, cream, spices, tea and half the sugar

Heat on medium-low to just below boiling point, remove the pan from the heat and set aside to let the spices and tea infuse the milk

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks with the remainder of the sugar in a mixing bowl and whip for a couple of minutes, until fluffy

Remove the teabags from the milk (press the teabags through a strainer back into the saucepan to get all the juices out), return to the pan with the egg yolk mix and, on medium-low heat, stir constantly until it coats the spoon and you can draw a line with your finger on the spoon (if you have a food thermometer, it should be at 85˚C / 185F)

Take off the stove and let cool, ideally leave overnight in your fridge to let the flavours develop

If you have an ice cream maker, pour into the machine and freeze according to instructions

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour into a container and place in the freezer, stir every hour or two until completely frozen

Standard

5 thoughts on “The Crazy Food Lady’s Three Dreams of Ice Cream

  1. Pingback: Lies, Damned Lies and Coconut Oil / Creamy Berry Tart {raw, vegan, gluten free} | The Imperfect Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s