LAVENDER COCONUT VEGAN ICE CREAM
Even though I deeply love food and am a total food nerd, I rarely get caught up in restaurant or chef hype. But after Season One of Chef’s Table last year, the beautiful mini documentaries on Chefs and their stories, inspirations and roots, I gave in to the entrancement of Chef Rene Redzepi of NOMA in Copenhagen, the four time winner of “Best Restaurant in the World”.
For me it is his love of fermentation, emphasis on farm relationships and simple, local ingredients used in unexpected ways which is beautiful and worthy of adoration. I recently saw a NOMA Instagram on cabbage ice cream, and my first reaction was YARK! Cabbage ice cream? Strange and yet intriguing…it got me thinking.
How is this different to a green smoothie? It is simply hiding vegetables in a sweet veil so we can consume even more of their life giving goodness. I have a greens packed smoothie nearly every day with this in mind, therefore it can also be true of dessert. So with the silkiness of coconut and a complex hint of lavender, our humble red cabbage and its cancer fighting magic are elevated to the dessert course. Blender and vegan friendly, you can switch up lavender for berries in this royal purple treat.
Lavender Coconut Ice Cream
Prep: make most of this one day ahead, finish in 5-7 mins before serving, total time 1 hour
Serves: 2-3 persons
220ml of canned coconut milk
2 bananas, peeled, chopped and frozen
Top wedge sliced off 1 red/purple cabbage, or about 70g/1 handful of the chopped cabbage
2 Tbs of honey (best with lavender combination), maple syrup or stevia as desired
1 Tbs of dried lavender flower, suitable for eating (via Dille & Kamille, tea or spice shops)
1 pinch of fine sea salt
OR if lavender is too fussy for you try:
1 handful of blueberries or blackberries,
A few blackberries per person and some coconut flakes
Combine the coconut milk with lavender and bring to a low boil, mix thoroughly to break up the coconut fat bits. Turn off heat when it reaches boiling, add the natural sweetener and salt, and let it steep for 20-25 mins. Strain the mixture and discard the lavender flowers.
Now blend the chopped cabbage into the mixture very finely. If it is too chunky, you can strain it, but leave some of the cabbage for extra fiber! If using a blender, reserve about 150 ml of the mix apart in the fridge, in a jar or closed container and pour the rest into an ice cube tray and freeze overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Chop bananas into chunks and freeze in an airtight container or freezer bag.
You can make this up to two days ahead if desired, great for entertaining.
Coconut Blackberry Ice Cream
If you opt for berry flavour, warm the coconut milk up in the same way, combine the salt and sweetener but skip the 20 minutes steeping. When it’s cool you can blend fresh berries in with the cabbage and strain out any seeds that will stick in your teeth. Note, that if you use frozen berries your coconut will become grainy as the fat gets cold.
You can use frozen berries, but just let them thaw for a bit or drop them in for 5 minutes to heat up with the coconut milk, then blend and strain the warm mixture to make sure it all combines well.
When ready to serve, pop the ice cream cubes and bananas into the food processor or if using a blender, add the reserved liquid, which will help it come together in the blender easier. You will have a softer end product than if you do it in the food processor (using the the blank plate) but still nice. If you really want it hard and scoopable, blender users would need to refreeze for 30-40 mins before serving. Garnish with some coconut flakes and/or fresh or frozen berries, if desired.
If your ice cream is still too thick for your blender, you can add plant milk to thin, bit by bit until it blends smoothly, too much and you have an icy milkshake so, go slowly. Oat, rice or kokos rice blend would combine well but almond changes the flavour a little.