Spring has finally made its late arrival here in the Netherlands and with it comes the first crop of Dutch strawberries!
When I bought my first container of berries the other day, their sweet smell reminded me of the time we had the most awesome strawberry and black pepper ice cream on the beautiful Isle of Anglesey in Wales. At that time, I was still eating dairy (and still coughing like a mad woman, without knowing WHY I was coughing every morning and every night). But anyway, I just remember how incredibly tasty that combination turned out to be:
So I set out to re-create this marvelous food wonder but in non-dairy form. I started with Chloe Coscarelli´s Red Velvet ice cream recipe but just using the base recipe without the cake. I also took the instructions for making the strawberry syrup for ice cream from Veganomicon, with a few twists of freshly cracked pepper. Then my good friend and überfoodie Myriah suggested that I drizzle balsamic vinegar over the whole mess.
And how did it pan out?
Just freaking fantastic!! Since I did not have an ice cream maker, the whole mix looked like shrimp cocktail after I whizzed it in the food processor. But who really cares when it tastes this good.
Strawberry, black pepper and balsamic ice cream
(adapted from Red Velvet ice cream by Chloe Coscarelli)
Ice cream base
1 can low-fat coconut milk
1 ½ cups soya milk
¾ cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon canola oil (I might try no oil next time and replace it with rum)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
500 g strawberries, washed and chopped and divided
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
2 tablespoons sugar
Freshly cracked pepper
Prepare the ice cream base first by zipping everything in a blender. Put in the refrigerator to chill.
Take 1/2 of the strawberries tip them into a small saucepan, along with the water, arrowroot powder and sugar. Heat gently whilst stirring (you may need to add a little bit more water if it gets too thick), about 7 minutes or until a sauce develops. Take off heat and let cool. Add cracked pepper (I used about 12 twists but add or subtract to taste) and then blend it with the ice cream base. Toss in the rest of the chopped strawberries and chill with a fancy pants ice cream maker if you have one or toss it in the freezer overnight like the rest of us.
Serve with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Oh la la!