Winter treat

Lots of the blogs that I read seem to have posts containing recipes for Christmas puddings or other dried fruit based desserts, but not here. The Snail of Happiness does not like Christmas pudding, so I’m going to share with you my idea of a lovely winter treat:

White Chocolate and Raspberry Ice Cream!

I can’t eat ‘normal’ ice cream because of my lactose intolerance (and even lactase tablets don’t help with food that is so cold). So, I make my own lactose-free ice cream… in this case by treating the cream and milk with lactase enzyme (available in a bottle) to digest the lactose overnight beforehand. You need:

150ml cream
400ml whole milk
3 egg yolks
100g sugar
150g white chocolate
as many raspberries as you like (easiest if frozen)

  1. Heat the milk and cream in a pan to just below boiling point. Meanwhile combine the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Pour half the hot milk/cream mixture onto the eggy goo and stir well.
  3. Return the mixture to the pan containing the rest of the milk/cream and heat gently until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not allow this mixture to boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and stir in the white chocolate, allowing it to melt completely. Transfer back into the bowl.
  5. Cover the bowl and allow the custard mixture to cool (I add a couple of extra drops of lactase at this stage to deal with any lactose in the chocolate) then refrigerate overnight.
  6. Either put the cold custard in an ice cream maker until a soft frozen stage is reached (20 minutes in my Kenwood Chef attachment) or freeze the custard for several hours, beating it by hand once every hour to stop large ice crystals forming.
  7. When softly frozen, mix in the frozen raspberries and leave, undisturbed, to finish freezing.

In my opinion this is a much better end to a meal than Christmas pudding… plus it uses eggs and raspberries from the garden and makes us dream of summer days!

Lactose-free raspberry and white chocolate ice cream:  a taste of summer

Lactose-free raspberry and white chocolate ice cream: a taste of summer

Oranges really aren’t the only fruit

Raspberry flowers... fingers crossed these turn into fruit

Raspberry flowers… fingers crossed these turn into fruit

Some years ago I realised that the digestive problems I had been suffering from were the result of lactose intolerance. I was devastated because I had, until then, always started the day with a bowl of milk and cereal along with a cup of tea with milk. So, I had to do some research and completely alter my morning eating habits. I was delighted to discover that I could eat live yoghurt because the Lactobacillus that turns milk into yoghurt actually breaks down lactose (which is a disaccharide) … so these wonderful little micro-organisms can do the digesting for me!

Looking forward to our first red currants this year

Looking forward to our first red currants this year

Eventually I settled on (home made) yoghurt, fruit and either oatcakes or muesli to begin my day. In addition I completely gave up milk in tea and coffee. For quite a while my  fruit of choice was banana, preferably accompanied by raspberries (I LOVE raspberries). After a while I came to realise how expensive this was, especially since, at the time, I had to buy any raspberries I ate and even frozen ones were not cheap. And then along came the apple mountain of 2011. My friend Perkin over at High Bank gave me car loads of apples, which I stewed and bottled or froze or juiced or made into jelly. My freezer was stuffed with blocks of frozen apple; my dresser was stuffed with jars of apple puree. In addition, 2011 was the first year that my raspberries fruited in abundance, so all through the summer I had been eating fresh raspberries and I had more of those in the freezer.

Blueberry flowering well in 2013

Blueberry flowering well in 2013

The idea of buying fruit was absurd – we had more fruit than I knew what to do with at that time and so I gave up the bananas and transferred my allegiance to apples: very few food miles and no added chemicals. As we planted more things in our fruit cage, I realised that we might be able to be avoid having to buy any fruit… as long as Perkin’s apple tree continues to thrive. The fruit cage now contains red currants, blueberries, choke berries (new this year) and pink dessert gooseberries as well as raspberries and rhubarb, so we’re not putting all our fruit in one basket, so to speak.

Sadly 2012 was not a good year for apples and I ran out in March, but this coincided with the start of the rhubarb season, plus I still had some blackberries (picked from the wild last autumn) in the freezer and these have supplied my breakfasts until now. So, apart from lemons and a punnet of strawberries to celebrate the new season last week, we have not bought any fruit in 2013. And I have high hopes for the two potted citrus plants – one lime and one lemon – that I have sitting out in the sunshine at the moment.

It turns out that discovering I was lactose intolerant made me think about my diet in a whole different way and has encouraged me to grow much more of my own produce… every cloud has a silver lining!

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