The wonderment with which Anne of Green Gables imagines what ice cream might taste like has always made me feel slightly guilty….
I don’t feel that I could endure the disappointment if anything happened to prevent me from getting to the picnic. I suppose I’d live through it, but I’m certain it would be a lifelong sorrow. It wouldn’t matter if I got to a hundred picnics in after years; they wouldn’t make up for missing this one. They’re going to have boats on the Lake of Shining Waters—and ice cream, as I told you. I have never tasted ice cream. Diana tried to explain what it was like, but I guess ice cream is one of those things that are beyond imagination.
We lost our sense of wonder about the majesty of ice cream a long time ago. The glorious alchemical effect of combining eggs, cream and a deep-freeze has become as routine as a walk to the bus stop. Which is why I was so pleased to be sent Ben Vear’s new ice cream book, Make Your Own Organic Ice Cream, published by Spring Hill.
I tasted Ben’s ice cream at a wonderful lunch to celebrate the online food magazine The Foodie Bugle. After the exquisite feast cooked by the Bugle’s founder Silvana de Soissons, we ate ice cream made by Winstones Ice Cream, the business created by Ben’s great grandfather Albert Winstone in 1925. Albert used to drive around the Cotswolds on his motorbike, selling home-made ice cream from the sidecar.
Ben’s book is simple, charming and inventive. It’s not a hugely elaborate affair crammed with lavish photographs, but an honest and above all inspiring paean to the marvels of ice cream. I’ve already made his recipe for coffee and cream, a rich, aromatic creation with crushed coffee beans, and I’m planning to make mulled wine ice cream next. But this morning I made Ben’s wasabi ice cream. Wasabi is also known as Japanese horseradish. It is, of course, ferociously hot which, much to my satisfaction, makes this a hot cold ice cream.
BEN VEAR’S WASABI ICE CREAM
- 250ml organic double cream
- 200ml organic full-fat milk
- 150g Fairtrade caster sugar
- 1 large organic egg
- 50g wasabi paste, also known as Japanese horseradish (adjust to taste)
Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan. Tip in half of the sugar and place over a low heat, stirring at regular intervals and not allowing the mixture to boil.
Whisk the egg yolk and the remaining sugar in a mixing bowl, beating with an electric whisk for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture has become a smooth, pale paste.
Combine both mixtures and return the pan to a low heat. Cook, stirring all the time, for approximately 10 minutes, until the mixture has a thick, custard-like consistency. Add the wasabi paste and continue to stir.
Set aside to cool, then pour into your ice cream maker, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and leave to churn. (Alternatively, pour the mixture into a freezer-proof container, seal it firmly with a lid and place in the freezer. Whisk after 1 hour to prevent ice crystals from forming; repeat 3 times before leaving it to set.)
Ben suggests serving wasabi ice cream with chicken, red meat or game. But I combined this elegant eau de nil-coloured creation with hot-smoked trout, rocket leaves dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and red onion pickles. Make sure that you add plenty of lemon juice and zest when you dress the leaves, to counterbalance the slight sweetness of the ice cream. The astringency of the red onion pickles adds an extra balance to the dish too.
I suspect the nose-twanging properties of wasabi ice cream would have been several steps too far for Anne of Green Gables. But she would have approved of my face when I ate it, because my expression was as full of wonder as hers.
Gosh, I had not remembered that passage from Anne of Green Gables, how very charming it is. And a lovely introduction for your post. Really lovely to re-read it now.
I've always loved Anne of Green Gables, Kavey. She was valiant but full of fun. I often think of her when eating ice cream…
That looks amazing. From the first picture, I thought that you were serving it in cornets!
One word: cool! – especially serving it on top of salmon.
Your words are so magical and weave such a tale that I want to buy the book now! The coffee and cream ice cream sounds so divine and the wasabi and the mulled wine both are so intriguing one would have to try them both! I am fascinated by "savory" ice creams meant to be served as part of a meal. Fabulous, as always.
That gives me an idea Mary – how about savoury cones? I'm going to try….
Good choice of word, Sarah – combines hot and cold in one!
Thanks, as ever, Jamie. I'm intrigued by savoury ice creams too – they're so counterintuitive as to be fascinating.
What a clever idea. A new twist on a mayonnaise to go with with cold or smoked salmon/trout.
We love wasabi, I must give this a try. And thanks for the reminder of Anne, I read them all as a tiny and for a while my whole aim in life was to be her and marry someone called Gilbert
I loved those books too, oxslip. But I always worried how it panned out with Gilbert.
Thank you Jakey – let me know if you try it.
My favourite passage from Anne of Green Gables is where she begs forgiveness of Mrs Lind. Love Anne, love Wasabi but not a big fan of icecream or hot and cold together. I'll leave this one at the 'admire with your eyes' stage.
This sounds absolutely amazing! I love the hot hit of wasabi and can't quite imagine how it would taste in ice cream…the only thing for it is to make this asap 🙂 Fascinating.
I love that part too, Sally. When I was a child there was a Sunday afternoon tv adaptation of the novel – it was the highlight of my week.
Hello thelittleloaf – do let me know if you try it. Savoury ice-creams are so surprising, even puzzling at times. And yet we eat ice-cold gazpacho without a second thought.
I made savoury cones out of tortilla wraps – I dampened them with water, dusted them with a little paprika and salt then rolled them into cones and baked them in a hot oven for a few minutes. They were great with the gazpacho savoury sorbet I made. Wasabi icecream's been on my to do list for a little while – I was going to serve it with tuna tartare. Glad you enjoyed your savoury icecream too!
That sounds so delicious, Anwen. I adore gazpacho and will definitely try it as a sorbet. I hope you enjoy the wasabi..
Was referred over here by a comment on my blog: it seems we share a love for books and literature. Oh, and wasabi. 🙂 Great post! I love the idea of wasabi and ice cream… the idea of ice cream and fish, I’m still grappling with!
Hi Laura Thanks so much for your comment. It’s funny that you find ice cream and fish odder than ice cream and wasabi. Other people have said it’s the other way round. Perhaps they’re both odd!