There’s no doubt about it – it’s ice cream weather in Perth right now. We’ve had some real scorchers. The kind of days where if you’re unlucky enough to be walking outside for a considerable distance (me); you power walk through the sunny stretches, and gasp melodramatically every time you reach a patch of shade. Well, maybe that’s just me. I definitely was not made for Australian summers.
But never mind all that. Aside from giving in and catching public transport, there’s a solution for the days where you can’t stay submerged in a swimming pool all day. Ice cream! And Australians know it: an ice cream van regularly trundles through my neighbourhood in the late afternoons, to the lilting tune of Greensleeves. Now, as much as I loved soft serve as a kid, it doesn’t really float my boat these days. Furthermore, making your own ice cream is so much more satisfying and totally doable for those with dietary restrictions. No one should have to miss out on ice cream.
Frozen yoghurt is a rather wonderful option. I used to freeze little tubs (full fat thank you. Better digestibility and a far superior texture when frozen) every day for school. By the time morning tea came around, it had softened to a velvety pot of bliss. Swirling barely sweetened stewed or pureed fruit through Greek yoghurt that’s been spiked with vanilla extract and a splodge of light honey (Karri tree honey from the South West of Australia. Get on it.) is also a divine DIY option. Or just that yoghurt mix with limoncello… So don’t get me wrong; frozen yoghurt will always be one of my favorite summer desserts.
But for most of this summer, I’ve had to cook dairy free (long story). I love dairy, and frozen juice icy poles just aren’t quite the same (although I’m happy to be proven wrong!) Thankfully for those who aren’t best buds with lactose, it turns out that here’s something that’s just as good, is dairy free is made completely from scratch at the drop of a hat, and is ready instantly with a little foresight.
The answer is banana. Just banana. Frozen, and whizzed up.
Wait! Icy cold bananas aren’t nearly as full on as room temperature ones. The bananas will provide that elusive creaminess, and you will barely taste them. Additionally, you can freeze them when they’re just ripe, rather than waiting for them to break out in spots and get all intense on you (not that that’s a bad thing, especially when combined with some cacao powder and a pinch of sea salt). But I digress. Just make sure they are actually ripe, because you really can taste THAT. Finally, if you and bananas really don’t see eye to eye – add a second frozen fruit with a strong flavour. At the moment, I’ve been using different sorts of berries, and absolutely love using raspberries, blueberries and boysenberries.
To be prepared for unforeseen ice cream situations (the downside to frozen yoghurt is that you have to see the ‘crisis’ coming): I generally keep frozen berries on hand; and peel, chop and freeze some bananas whenever I have some extras getting ripe. If I can see the need for ice cream coming, I’ll whack the necessary items in the freezer that morning (or the night before), ready for the end of the day.
But enough of that; here’s the recipe.
To serve 1:
1/2 large banana, roughly sliced and frozen
1/3c frozen berries
1 tbsp coconut milk or cream, regular cream, almond milk or similar
Blitz until smooth and homogenous (or not. Flecks of colour is nice too) in a food processor or strong blender. Add extra cream if needed to get things going. Especially if making ice cream for several people, you may have to stop and help things along with a spoon initially.
Yell: ‘ ICE CREAM!’ Ok, that’s optional if you’re eating alone, or don’t want to share with your neighbours (which is a serious risk if you talk about food as much as I do.
Additions: good squeeze of lime juice, vanilla extract, or ditch the berries and add cacao powder and sea salt. If you’re letting other people in on your secret, mess around with toppings:
- Berry sauce: before you make the ice cream, blitz a handful of berries with a mint leaf or two. Dribble in water to achieve your desired consistency.
- Tahini caramel sauce. Check out Wholefood Simply for the recipe.
- Crumbled raspberries, straight out of the freezer (pictured)
- Coconut flakes
- For something a little special – unsalted pistachios
- Fresh stone fruit
If you used a blender, you’ll probably find that the dregs are hard to scoop out from between the blades. So before someone comes up with an inventive way to get it out; grab the jug, scrape the sides down; add milk or almond milk; and blend it all up for a small milkshake to enjoy tomorrow. Or, umm, now.
Coming soon (I hope…): sumptuous icy poles using yoghurt and coconut cream. By the bye: I gave up. Instagram is too tempting. Find my Gen Y stereotype fulfilment over here.
PS. Sorry there aren’t more photos. This stuff melts too quick. Or it gets eaten too quickly!