Hot, cold, Sunny, cloudy. You never know what it's going to be. The weather in Sydney has been as indecisive as a temperamental bride-to-be umm-ing and ahh-ing her way through everything. I don't think I have seen the weather this ambivalent until of late; moody, yes; merciless, yes, but this ambiguous, no. You never know what's coming your way, and I've given up trusting the weather people, they seem to get it wrong most of time.
With the weather being so volatile, I thought I would beat mother nature to the punch and just put away something sweet and icy for when a hot summer's day would come. If we were going to get one, that is. I found that making a batch of ice cream on a cloudy day, is the perfect nest egg for future hot days.
And well what do you know, summer does eventually decide to show up and in true Sydney fashion, it showed up in such a way that you will want to jump out of your skin, or at least straight into a cold pool of water. Woe to all those who don't have air-conditioning, or aren't in near proximity to a body of water.
Being the environmentally-conscious greenies that we are, were a little stingy with the air-conditioning and try not use it unnecessarily and like to leave it up to mother nature to provide the cool breeze. Although when Sydney summer is at its peak, you can forget the breeze; you can also forget the words balmy and tropical, it's more like stifling and blistering and not to mention the muggy nights. There's just no relief. By this time there is absolutely no hesitation in grabbing the remote and turning on the cool air. I'm trying to remember why I love summer again.
Ahh yes, there is this one thing, besides the beach of course- it's Ice Cream! I hate to say it but let's just do a united shout out and hi-five for ice cream. Whoever decided to put some cream and eggs together and said let's churn this baby till it gets thick and freeze it is a godsend. In my opinion, nothing makes children and adults alike as happy as ice cream does.
This ice cream not only took the edge off during the hot days but it also comes as an extremely tardy recipe for the guys at Harden Honey. I had promised them some recipes on the supply that they had generously given me months ago but never got around to making something decent and worthy of their honey. So here it is, finally, a gorgeously smooth Honey Lavender Ice Cream.
Using honey instead of sugar is great of you are thinking about minimising refined sugars in your diet, honey is not only a natural sweetener and is full of antioxidants. It also adds a nice floral accents to the ice cream, more so than ordinary sugar would. I would recommend using a mild honey for this ice cream as a stronger, richer honey would drown out the subtlety of the lavender.
And to add to the fanfare, I made these cute ice cream cups made of wonton wrappers. It's a great alternative to waffle cones, especially when you don't have one of those nifty waffle cone presses.
Honey Lavender Ice Cream
Recipe from epicurious.com
Makes about 1-litre
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup full cream milk
2/3 cup mild honey
2 tbsp dried edible lavender flowers
2 large eggs
1/8 tsp salt
Bring cream, milk, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat.
Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender.
Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.
Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking.
Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 75 to 80°C on a thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).
Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.
Churn custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Crispy Ice-Cream Cups
recipe from Donna Hay Magazine Issue 36
1-pack wonton wrappers*
40g unsalted butter, melted
icing (confectioner's) sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Brush wonton wrappers with melted butter.
Press wrappers into a 12-hole muffin tray. (Depending on the size of the wonton wrappers you have bought you may have to use more than one wrapper. If you are using more than one, brush between each layer.)
Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden and crispy.
Turn out into a wire rack and cool.
Dust with icing sugar.
Scoop ice cream into the cups and serve immediately.