Who doesn’t love a cold, creamy cone or gelato on a hot summer’s day? A refreshing treat to cool you off, an ice cream break is a time to embrace the indulgences and joys of summer. Unfortunately commercial ice-creams are often packed with E numbers and overloaded with sugar and a synthetic in flavour. If you’re looking to make your icy sweet fix a little more nutritious (yes, nutritious!) then why not make your own ice-cream this summer. It is a great way to get kids in the kitchen too!
Plant-based Ice creams (refined sugar and dairy free)
MINT CHOCOLATE ICE-CREAM (serves 2)
- 1 (400ml) can full-fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)
- 2 frozen bananas
- ¼ teaspoon spirulina (optional, for colour)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- A handful fresh mint leaves
- A small drop peppermint extract
- ¼ cup (60ml) raw cacao nibs (or grated dark chocolate)
Open the coconut milk can and scoop the thick white cream into a blender. Add the bananas, spirulina, if using, maple syrup, fresh mint and peppermint extract to the blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender if necessary. Taste and add more sweetener or mint, if desired. Add about two thirds of the raw cacao nibs and stir gently with a spoon. Scoop into bowls, sprinkle the remaining raw cacao nibs generously on top, and enjoy!
Mint: Oils in mint are very effective at relieving digestive discomfort, acting as an antispasmodic, helping to relax muscles that line the walls of the intestines, breaking down and removing gas from the gut. Also, cooling and fragrant.
Cocoa in nibs and pure dark chocolate: A flavonoid, called anthocyanidin, is especially high in cacao, along with epicatechins, that are powerful antioxidants. Researchers have compared the antioxidant capacity of black tea, green tea, red wine and cocoa, concluding that cocoa has the highest antioxidant activity and the greatest potential for health benefits. Also, rich in Magnesium, Calcium and B vitamins.
PEACH ALMOND ICE CREAM (serves 4)
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds, best soaked for at least 4 hours
- 150ml coconut water
- 3 dates, pitted
- 1 tbsp. almond butter
- 4 drops vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 peaches, stoned and frozen
- 3 bananas, peeled and frozen
In a high-speed blender place almonds, coconut water, dates, almond butter and vanilla blend well. Add all remaining ingredients and blend hard until a semi-freddo consistency. Or using unfrozen ingredients it can be blended together and put into an ice-cream machine.
Peaches: Beta-carotene (Vitamin A) & vitamin C rich – both antioxidants – protecting the retinas in your eyes and can improve vision, preventing age-related macular degeneration. Promotes skin health. Another major antioxidant in peaches, chlorogenic acid, helps scavenge free radicals, to reduce the effects of aging and deter chronic diseases. This antioxidant may also reduce body inflammation.
Almonds: they reduce LDL cholesterol levels, Protects the LDL from oxidation (preventing heart disease), are rich in Magnesium that reduces blood pressure and assists in blood sugar control. Almonds boost metabolism, this can be effective in weight loss and reduces hunger. They are rich in protein, essential fats, the antioxidant Vitamin E protecting cell membranes.
LAYERED WATERMELON ICE LOLLIES-WITH A CRUNCH (8-10 lollies)
Almost any type of fruit, berries, sweetener or dairy products can be used, whatever is in season and to your liking. You will need moulds and sticks.
- 1kg watermelon
- 1 cup / 250 ml full-fat vegan, coconut or greek yogurt
- 2 ripe bananas
- Honey if you want extra sweetness
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 fresh raspberries
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
- 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp ground dried ginger
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cut the watermelon flesh in chunks and add to a high-speed blender. Mix until smooth and pour the watermelon juice into a jug. Rinse the blender and add yogurt, banana, honey and vanilla to a high-speed blender. Mix until smooth. Slowly pour some of the banana yogurt into the moulds, filling about 1/3 of the mould (or whatever height you think looks pretty). Then carefully pour the mixed watermelon on top (remember to leave some space for the crumble if using). Check so the layers more or less stay intact (if the consistency is too loose, you can pop the moulds in the freezer for 10-20 minutes before adding the second layer). To get the marbled effect, simply use a straw or the backside of a teaspoon and stir up and down one or two strokes. Tear the raspberries in half and drop two halves into each mould, use a straw to push them down. To create the crunchy layer, melt coconut oil and honey in a frying pan on low heat. Add the rest of the ingredients and toast for a few minutes while stirring. Spoon into the moulds as a top layer, then carefully insert the lolly sticks. Freeze for at least 3-4 hours. When you want to eat them, rinse the moulds quickly under water to release them, enjoy.
Watermelon: relieves muscle soreness after a workout by an abundant amino acid called L-citrulline, it is thought to improve athletic performance, “Drinking it may help your muscles get more oxygen” studies conclude. With 92 percent water, lycopene, beta carotene, vitamins A and C this refreshing juice is hugely beneficial. Also, alkalising, hydrating and very refreshing!
About the author
Suzanne is a Nutritional Therapist trained in London at College of Naturopathic medicine. She has 25 years experience as a chef and recently trained in raw foods, at a gourmet level with Matthew Kenney.
Suzanne’s business is Vital Nutrition which she founded in 2008. She offers private consultancies focusing on diet and lifestyle improvements supporting patients on their journey to optimum health.
Her regular cookery workshops are delicious, fun and educational and her cooking skills are available to private clients, on retreats and for chef training.