What were your Saturdays like when you were a child? Mine would always begin with my sisters and I huddled under duvets on the sofa, chomping on bowls of Rice Crispies with milk and giggling at Saturday morning cartoons.
They would end with mass. It never mattered how much we resisted that weekly trip to church, we’d be washed, scrubbed and dressed in our Sunday (or in this case, Saturday) best before being dragged reluctantly along to the service.
Our parents did try to sweeten the deal though. In an attempt to ensure that we didn’t fidget or fight during what often seemed like a never-ending service, our parents would promise us the ice cream of our choice from the shop across the road from the church once mass was over.
Peering into a freezer full of ice cream, trying to decide between a Feast, Cornetto, Freaky Foot or Tangle Twister became the Saturday night ritual of my childhood and I still associate ice cream with a treat.
Despite the fact that there has been a huge growth in free-from foods, I haven’t been able to find many ice creams I can eat. A lot of dairy-free ices are made with coconut milk and because of its high saturated fat content, that’s not an ingredient for me.
Lately though, I have been hearing good things about ice creams made with frozen bananas. So last week I decided to experiment.
I must admit that my hopes weren’t high. Bananas may be sweet but I couldn’t see how they could also be creamy…
However, there’s magic in these ingredients. Combined, they create a flavour, a texture and a melt-in-the-mouth deliciousness that's just like ice cream.
And you don’t just have to take my word for it. My partner Richard (who hasn’t had to abstain from regular ice cream like I have) likes this ice cream too. In fact, he said it might just be the best thing I’ve ever made.
So there you have it: it’s possible to combine five simple dairy-free ingredients to create a truly decadent treat – one that I think even my childhood self would have liked!
Sharon's mint-choc dairy-free ice cream
This makes two moderately-sized ice cream portions. If it's the sort of evening where you want to sit on the sofa, watch TV and gorge on ice cream, you're going to need a lot more!
3 frozen bananas
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon date syrup or sweetener of your choice
4 mint leaves
- Peel and chop the frozen bananas. I find this easier to do if I chop the bananas into two-centimetre/one inch thick slices first. Your fingers will get cold though so it might be a good idea to wear a pair of rubber gloves to avoid the chill factor!*
- Add the chopped banana slices and the other ingredients to a food processor or liquidiser.
- Blitz until smooth and enjoy.
I'm planning to experiment with more flavour combinations in the next few weeks. I'm thinking chocolate and raspberry and rum and raisin. Do you have any other suggestions? What's your favourite ice cream flavour? Or what was your favourite ice cream when you were a child?
* In response to this post, smarter people than me have said that they peel, slice and bag their bananas before they go in the freezer. I'll be doing this from now on to avoid frozen fingers!