Monday, March 17, 2014

Guilt Free Ice-Cream

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!  If you've sworn off something for lent, maybe today is the day you allow yourself a treat.  This is a great option, delicious but really not particularly guilt inducing ;-)

 Over Christmas, Mountain Man and I visited a friend and I had the rare opportunity to sit and chat while someone else cooked.  We were fed homemade bhajis to keep us (or me, really) calm, while the most amazing vegan Indian spread was prepared.  I was in heaven.

I did help with one thing, which was to make some ice-cream.  Possibly the easiest thing on the planet to make, basically this is a mix of cashew nuts, dates for sweetness, water and cacao nibs or dark chocolate to make the mix deliciously chocolatey.  Our host directed me, as I hadn't made it before and within about 10 minutes, it was ready to go into the freezer.  

Cashew nuts are a fantastic alternative when you don't want to use cream or milk.  Simply blitzed in a blender with water they make a gorgeous creamy sauce, brilliant for lasagne or in this case, ice-cream!  Nutrient wise, they're high in protein and energy rich, so a small amount is quite filling.  They're also good sources of Magnesium, Manganese and Iron as well as Vitamin K.

Recently, I decided to make two versions, one as a plain vanilla and the other as chocolate chip.  They start the same way and chocolate chips are added at the end.  You could add cocoa powder for a really chocolatey version, which, as I type, sounds really good! 

So, to make the ice-cream:

  • Put a cup of raw cashew nuts into your blender.
  • Add 5 soft pitted dates, 1/2 a cup of filtered water and 1 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Turn on the blender and blitz everything.  Stop occasionally to scrape everything down the sides of the blender and repeat until the mix is really smooth.  It can take a while, as the nuts can be a bit grainy so keep at it.
  • Once it's super smooth, pour the mix into a container for freezing.  
  • If you want to make it chocolate chip, add a handful of dark chocolate to the blender and blitz for 30 seconds so the chocolate is still in small chunks.
  • For super chocolatey gorgeousness, add 2 tbsp of cocoa powder and a handful of dark chocolate and blitz well.  
  • If you have an ice-cream maker you can use that.  I don't, so I took the container out of the freezer every hour and gave it a stir.  This stops it from turning icy.


Serve on it's own, with some melted dark chocolate poured over or, as I did recently, a shot of Baileys  (Obviously, this will not be vegan, but it is yum!)

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