Mango Lassi Ice Lollies

Over the last few weeks I’ve been gorging myself on delicious Kesar mangoes from India. Alphonso mangoes aren’t very good this year, their flavour not as sweet and their scent not as perfumed as usual but the Kesar ones have been superbly delicious. I’ve bought box after box from my local Asian grocery store, shared with family and friends or eaten at home with sleeves rolled up and an apron protecting my clothes.

The last box I picked up wasn’t ready to eat when I bought it so I had to wait, impatiently, for the fruits to ripen. When they did, they did so fast and it wasn’t long before they continued on from perfectly ripe to starting to rot. I quickly cut open the last four mangoes, slicing and scooping all the flesh out of them before they turned. That left me with 700 grams of top quality mango flesh in the fridge.

I thought about freezing the mango flesh in small portions to throw straight from the freezer into smoothies or instant sorbets.

But my thoughts went back to a family barbeque we recently enjoyed with family friends – three generations of our two families contentedly sharing an afternoon around the barbeque, watching my nephew put his recently-discovered walking skills into practice for hour after happy hour. I took a big box of ripe kesar mangoes, my mum took several bottles of home made lassi.

Lassi, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is a popular Indian drink made from natural yoghurt and water. It can be made sweet or salty, the former often enhanced with rosewater or kewra essence, the latter with spices such as cumin. More recently it’s become common to add fruit, with mango lassi becoming increasingly popular both in India and worldwide.

I’m not the first to translate mango lassi into ice lolly form – it’s such a natural progression, especially during the hot summer months and it’s also a great way to enjoy top quality mangoes beyond the all-too-brief mango season.

Mango Lassi Ice Lollies on Kavey Eats (titled 1)

For my mango lassi ice lollies I debated whether or not to blend the mango flesh into the yoghurt but decided to keep the two separate, so that some bites are sweet and heady with mango, while others are refreshingly tart from the yoghurt.

If you prefer, you can blend mango and yoghurt together for an all-in-one style ice lolly.

 

Mango Lassi Ice Lollies

Delicious mango and natural yoghurt ice pops

Makes approximately 8 ice lollies depending on the capacity of your moulds

Ingredients
700 grams fresh mango flesh
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 medium lime, juiced)
(Optional) sugar to sweeten the mango, to taste
500 grams thick full-fat natural yoghurt
(Optional) sugar to sweeten the yoghurt, to taste

Note: As my mangoes were very sweet, I didn’t add any sugar but if yours aren’t sweet enough, add sugar while blending, to taste.
Note: Likewise, my natural yoghurt was very tart, so I mixed 50 grams of sugar into it – just enough to soften the tartness without eliminating it.

You will also need lolly moulds and lolly sticks. I use disposable plastic cups as moulds, and traditional lolly sticks (easily purchased online).

Method

  • In a blender, combine the mango flesh and lime juice and blend until smooth. If you are adding sugar, add a little at a time, blend thoroughly and taste again before adding more if needed.
  • If adding sugar to the yoghurt, fold it in by hand or your yoghurt will lose its naturally thick texture.
  • Assemble your lolly moulds – as you can see I use disposable plastic cups.
  • Spoon in dollops of the mango mixture and the yoghurt in turn, swirl with a lolly stick to mix if needed.
  • Insert a lolly stick into each mould. If using cups rather than custom-designed ice lolly moulds, you may need to use elastic bands or masking tape to hold the stick upright – mine stayed upright on their own as the mango and yoghurt mixtures were both quite thick.
  • Freeze upright for 24 hours.
  • Once frozen, unmould individual lollies by dipping each mould into a bowl of hot water for a few seconds before pulling the ice lolly gently out.

I used my Froothie Optimum power blender to blend my mango into a super smooth smooth pulp, much as I use it to make smoothies. The powerful motor can also blend solid frozen fruit straight from the freezer to make an instant sorbet. I’ve also made several delicious soups in it as well as custard-based ice creams – it’s a great no-fuss way to make custard from scratch. Fruit curds are also a doddle.

IceCreamChallenge mini

This is my entry for this month’s Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge, open to all bloggers around the world – if you blog an ice cream, sorbet, ice lolly (or pop), shaved ice or gelato recipe this month, do join in!

Mango Lassi Ice Lollies on Kavey Eats-3

Mango Lassi Ice Lollies on Kavey Eats (tallpin)

If you’re a fan of fresh fruit lollies, you may also like my roasted banana ice lollies and my eton mess strawberry cream and meringue ice lollies.

This post contains affiliate links. Please see my sidebar panel for more information.

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Persimmon & Bergamot Fruit Curd | Easy Power Blender Recipe

Last month I got it into my head that I wanted to make a persimmon fruit curd. That was a little odd on my part really, since before this, I’d never even eaten persimmons at home – only on my travels. But this winter their orange piles have been beckoning me from several local grocery shops, and I was really keen to experiment. Once the idea of persimmon curd entered my brain, I couldn’t dislodge it!

Persimmons are a fascinating fruit. Bright orange with a smooth skin, at first glance they look a little like orange tomatoes or tomatillos, though they are related to neither. They vary in shape from round to ovoid and even square – such an unusual shape for fruit! – and the colour runs from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange. Botanically a berry, persimmons range in size from a couple of centimetres up to 9 centimetres but most I’ve come across are towards the larger end of that scale.

The most widely cultivated variety is the oriental persimmon Diospyros kaki, native to China where it has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. In Japan, persimmons are known as kaki fruit and are hugely popular. You may also know them as sharon fruit, the name by which the fruit is marketed in Israel, another key producer.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2852 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2574

I first tasted them in Japan; they were in season during our two Autumn trips and many trees still had the orange fruits hanging to their branches, though all the leaves had long since fallen. Market stalls and supermarkets created striking displays of huge piles of evenly sized and coloured fruits.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2012 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-2827 Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-5805

When under ripe, the taste of many persimmon varieties is rather astringent; the high levels of tannin are unpleasantly mouth-puckering. Other varieties, such as the Japanese fuyu, are much less bitter and can therefore be enjoyed when not fully ripe – at this stage the flesh is still firm and crisp.

When fully ripe, the flesh becomes jelly-like with a rich flavour and intense sweetness.

They are also enjoyed dried, a great way of preserving a seasonal favourite.

Persimmon Fruits in Japan 2013 Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-3099

Having fixated on the idea of making fruit curd, which is known as fruit butter in North America by the way, I wanted very ripe fruits with sweet, jellied interiors so I was delighted to spot a bowl of seven slightly-past-their-best persimmons for £1 at one of my local ethnic grocery shops. I can rarely walk past the displays of fruit lined along the outside front of the shop without buying something good to eat!

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8006 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8021

My first attempt – persimmon and lemon curd – had a wonderful flavour but I blended it for it too long and as it overheated, the eggs curdled. In the mouth, it still felt super smooth and didn’t taste eggy but visually, it had a curdled texture.

For my second trial I adjusted the recipe ratios a touch, but changed the timings a lot and that resulted in a thick, silky smooth curd that was everything I hoped it would be. I also increased volumes to use the remainder of the persimmons, but you can certainly scale the recipe down to two thirds or even a third, easily enough.

I also switched lemon for bergamot on the second run, as I had a couple on hand. Bergamot are actually sour oranges but their yellow skin and sour flesh and juice mean they make a perfect substitute for lemons, and their zest gives off that trademark Earl Grey scent – the tea is flavoured with bergamot oil extracted from the skin of these distinctive citrus fruits.

Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8009 Persimmon and Bergamot Fruit Curd in a Power Blender on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8019

The flower-shaped calyx of the persimmon fruit can be hard to remove, more so when the fruits are not fully ripe. My tip is to place the fruits upside down on the chopping board, calyx-side down. Cut the fruit in half until the knife is pushing on the calyx. Then take the two halves of the fruit, still joined at the calyx, and pull them apart. The calyx will remain attached to one half. You can then either pull it off by hand or use a sharp knife to cut it away from the fruit.

Because I wanted super ripe fruits, there were a few patches on some of the persimmons that were too ripe to use. I cut these out and discarded them. To get 500 grams of chopped fruit (skin on) I used four fruits.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (overlay)

Persimmon & Bergamot Fruit Curd | Power Blender Recipe

Makes approximately 1 litre fruit curd; can be scaled down as required

Ingredients
500 grams roughly chopped persimmon fruit (see note below on peeling)
200 grams caster sugar
zest of 2 bergamot oranges (or 1 lemon)
120 ml bergamot orange juice (or lemon juice)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks
150 grams butter, roughly cubed
0.5 teaspoon salt

Note: Because I knew my Froothie Optimum power blender could handle them, I decided to keep the skin on to add extra colour and fibre. However, the skin is pretty tough so if you make this using a less powerful blender, you may prefer to peel the fruit.

Note: The Froothie Optimum 9400 has an incredibly powerful motor that powers the blade to 44,000 rpm – and it’s the friction generated by that speed which heats up the mixture as it blends, allowing you to blend and cook the curd in one step. If you make this using a less powerful blender, you may need to transfer the blended mixture to a pan and cook over very gentle heat to thicken the curd.

Note: I sterilise my jam jars in the oven (and boil lids in a saucepan on the stove) before I start weighing and preparing ingredients. Before I transfer ingredients to the blender jug to make the curd, I remove the jars from the oven and lay the lids out onto a clean tea towel, so they cool off a little before I pour the finished curd into the jars a few minutes later.

Method

  • Place all ingredients except butter into the blender jug and switch on at low power. Smoothly turn up the power to full. After about a minute the ingredients should be blended into a super smooth liquid.
  • With the blender still on, remove the cap in the lid and gently drop the butter in piece by piece. I took about a minute to drop all the butter into the mix.
  • Blend for another two to three minutes until the jug starts to feel a little warm to the touch. Don’t let it get really hot – you don’t want to overheat the curd.
  • As soon as the jug feels warm, switch off the blender and dip a spoon in to check taste and texture. The curd should be thick and smooth. If it is, you’re done. If not, blend for a little longer and check again.
  • Transfer straight into still-warm sterilised jam jars and seal.

Persimmon Fruit Curd on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-8033

Other power blender fruit curd recipes you may enjoy:

Kavey Eats is a brand ambassador for Froothie. Please see my sidebar for further details. I affiliate with and recommend only brands and products I truly believe in.

Golden Banana, Turmeric & Maple Syrup Smoothie

Sometimes the best ideas are spur of the moment, driven by the ingredients you happen to have on hand. So it was with this banana, turmeric and maple syrup smoothie which I liked so much I made it three days in a row.

Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle (title overlay)

Banana is my staple base for a smoothie – I love the flavour and the thick creamy texture it gives, whether as the star ingredient or as a base for other fruits. I like to use natural sweeteners – usually honey, dates or maple syrup.  I first made this smoothie in a snatched 5 minutes before leaving for work early on a dark January morning and it gave me a burst of energy as I headed out into the cold.

A recent fruit and vegetable box gift from Abel & Cole included fresh turmeric root and I was keen to try it raw. Turmeric is the spice that gives many Asian dishes their vivid yellow colour and has a distinct, earthy flavour; strong, a little bitter and quite unlike any other ingredient that I can think of.

I’ve been taking the powdered form, on and off, as a natural anti-inflammatory – recommended by Ayurveda for thousands of years, but only recently being researched by Western medicine. It is said to help with digestive complaints and poor circulation too. My daily dose is mixed with ginger and fenugreek, a combination that tastes pretty vile so I stir half a teaspoon into a few tablespoons of cold water and swallow fast, chasing it down with a long glass of cold water and quickly brushing my teeth! Does it work? Hard to tell, since I also rely on a range of more conventional treatments. Right now, I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt.

That said, I’m not making any health claims for turmeric; I’m not qualified medically or scientifically, and I’m not a fan of the current crop of health gurus that make pronouncements about excluding various food groups based on the flimsiest of anecdotal, purportedly personal, evidence.

In this recipe, the turmeric is far more palatable, adding a vibrant colour and distinctive flavour to this quick-to-make, energy-boosting smoothie.

Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7899 Banana Turmeric and Maple Syrup Smoothie on Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle-7902

Golden Banana, Turmeric & Maple Syrup Smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients
1-2 bananas, peeled
1 small piece of fresh turmeric root*
Maple syrup to taste, I use about 2 tablespoons
120 ml water ^
Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon~

* I used a piece of turmeric root about the size of the top joint of my forefinger. I didn’t bother peeling as the skin was soft and thin, but if yours is tough, peel first. If you don’t have fresh, by all means substitute ground turmeric instead; half a teaspoon of dried will be sufficient here.
^ I like a thick but pourable smoothie. Adjust amount of water up or down if you prefer a thinner or extra thick smoothie.
~ Cinnamon is such a natural bedfellow for maple syrup and banana that I added a teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon to the last batch. It’s not that strong against the turmeric but adds a lovely dimension to the scent.

Method

  • Place ingredients into a well-powered blender and blitz until smooth. If you like your smoothies with less sweetness, use half the maple syrup to start and add more to taste if you need it. Likewise, adjust volume of water to your preference.
  • The banana will start to oxidise and brown after a while, so this smoothie is best enjoyed as soon as it’s made.

As you may have spotted, I used my much-loved Froothie Optimum blender to make my smoothie. We’ve been using the Optimum 9400 for over a year now and it’s one of the best appliances in our kitchen. It’s enormously powerful – enough to blend solid frozen chunks of fruit easily or ice cubes if you want some instant slushie base. In fact the motor whips those blades to an impressive 44,000 rpm which generates enough friction heat to make piping hot soup or one-step custard. You can use it to make your own nut butters and nut milks too. See the affiliate box in my sidebar for information on how to claim an extra 2 year warranty on any Froothie appliance.

Other Recipes Featuring Fresh Turmeric

Roasted Banana & Cream | Ice Lollies | Paletas | Ice Pops

These ice lollies were based on a roasted banana paletas recipe I spotted online a while ago. A paleta is a Latin American ice lolly featuring fresh fruit mixed into a water or cream base – what we call an ice lolly in the UK, the Americans call an ice pop and the Canadians a popsicle!

The recipe I saw used yoghurt which I have switched out for double cream – I do enjoy the tang of natural yoghurt with fresh fruit but for these lollies I wanted the banana to be the star of the show.

Roasting the banana brings out a softer, sweeter flavour than using it raw, but of course you can use it uncooked if you prefer.

Cinnamon is a natural bedfellow for banana but is often added in quantities that make it the dominant flavour; I wanted a mere hint that would add complexity to the banana rather than overwhelm it. Likewise, adding just a small amount of vanilla added a subtle savoury flavour without making its presence felt too strongly. You can omit either of them entirely or adjust up or down to suit your taste. I reckon a generous handful of chocolate chips would be a great addition too – to be tried next time!

Roasted Banana Ice Lollies aka Paletas Ice Pops Popsicles - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -overlay 1

Roasted Banana & Cream Ice Lollies

Makes 4-6 depending on capacity of lolly mould

Ingredients
3 medium to large ripe bananas
50 grams Demerara sugar or light brown sugar
300 ml double cream*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
(Optional) half teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)

* For American readers, the closest substitute to double cream is heavy cream; if you can find a non UHT version, so much the better.

Method

  • Wrap the unpeeled bananas individually in foil and roast at 200 °C (400 °F) for half an hour.
  • In the meantime, measure the sugar into a bowl and set aside.
  • Remove the bananas from the oven. When you can safely do so without burning your fingers, unwrap each banana and peel and scoop the soft flesh into the bowl of sugar. Do this while the bananas are still hot and mix thoroughly so that all the sugar is melted by the heat. Using a pair of tablespoons makes it easier to handle hot bananas.
  • Put cream, cinnamon and vanilla (if using) into a blender or food processor and add the banana and sugar mix. Blend until smooth.
  • Divide the mixture into lolly moulds or cups, insert lolly sticks (or teaspoons) and transfer to the freezer.
  • I kept mine quite small so they froze within about 4 hours, but you may need to leave a little longer if make bigger lollies.
  • To serve, cup the mould in warm hands to loosen, or dip very briefly in a bowl of hot water. Slip out of the mould and enjoy!

I used my wonderful Froothie Optimum power blender which quickly made a super smooth thick liquid to pour into my moulds. See my Affiliate links sidebar for more information.

Roasted Banana Ice Lollies aka Paletas Ice Pops Popsicles - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -overlay 3

This is my entry for the August #BSFIC Cooling Crowd Pleasers challenge.

IceCreamChallenge mini

If you blog a suitable recipe this month, do link up to the challenge to be included in my end-of-month round up and shared via social media and Pinterest.

Roasted Banana Ice Lollies aka Paletas Ice Pops Popsicles - Kavey Eats © Kavita Favelle -overlay 2

Lemon Balm Sorbet

The herb patch in our back garden has gone wild. Lemon balm is one of the winners of the battle for space and light, thrusting proud stems laden with aromatic leaves in all directions. We also have bold bushes of sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme.

I think the pure and subtle flavour of herbs can be a little too tempered in dairy ice creams, but sings loudly in simple and refreshing sorbets. Since I’ve enjoyed both mint and basil sorbets in the past, I figured a lemon balm sorbet would work nicely and give us a way of using up some of that lemon balm bonanza.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle -landscape-text

I opted to use my wonderful Froothie’s Optimum power blender to speed up the process. Blending together sugar, water and lemon balm leaves and a large dose of white rum took only minutes and produced a super smooth liquid which I cooled down and churned in my beautiful Smart Scoop ice cream machine (from the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range).

The advantage of this method is that it’s super fast and the flavour of the herb is good and strong.

The colour, of course, is much darker than steeping herbs in a sugar syrup and straining out before churning.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9021 Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle --9025

The rum adds a punch of flavour but also keeps the sorbet super soft. If you prefer your sorbet to freeze really hard, use less or omit entirely.

Simple Lemon Balm Sorbet

Ingredients
200 grams caster sugar
300 ml water
10 grams freshly picked lemon balm leaves, stems removed
1-2 tablespoons white rum

Method

  • Place all ingredients into the power blender and blend until completely smooth.
  • Transfer to fridge to cool.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine, or transfer to freezer in a tub and fork through every hour for 3-4 hours.

Lemon Balm Sorbet - Kavey Eats - (c) Kavita Favelle - portrait-text

This is my entry for the Early Summer Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream, which has a theme of sorbets and granitas.

IceCreamChallenge mini

The Optimum 9200 and 9400 are available from Froothie’s website. Don’t forget to enter “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout for an additional 2 year warranty free of charge. Please use my affiliate link (here and in my sidebar) to support Kavey Eats.

Kavey Eats Froothie Optimum 9200 Blender Giveaway

Today we’re kicking off a celebration of National Vegetarian Week by giving away a truly fantastic prize – Froothie’s wonderful Optimum 9200 power blender, a boon for any cook’s kitchen.

Regular readers will already know how much I love my Optimum 9400, the predecessor model to the 9200. I’ve used it for all manner of recipes from energising breakfast smoothies to super silky custard bases that make the most delicious ice creams to fast, fresh and piping hot soups made from vegetables picked straight from the garden and allotment. And there is so much, much, much more on my list!

Optimum9400-KFavelle-KaveyEats-2014-[1] Optimum9400-KFavelle-KaveyEats-2014-[4] Optimum9400-KFavelle-KaveyEats-2014-[7]
Jungle Juice Sorbet

Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats-[7] Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats-[14] Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats-[21] Courgette-BlueCheese-Soup-KaveyEats-[13]
Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup

White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-Ka[15] White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-Ka[3]
White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-Ka[11] White-Chocolate-Vanilla-Ice-Cream-Ka[6]
White Chocolate Ice Cream

3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-[6] 3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-[8]
Banana, Matcha & Prune Smoothie

You might also enjoy my rich, dense and dark power blender chocolate ice cream (perfect for fudgy ice lollies) or my butternut squash soup with bacon brittle (and a pumpkin seed alternative for vegetarians).

Optimum 9200 Next Gen Blender Giveaway

The Optimum 9200 next generation blender is a commercial-grade super blender designed for longevity, versatility and brawn. Stronger, faster and more powerful than a Vitamix, the Optimum 9200 is perfect for making amazing soups and smoothies, super silky dips, nut butters, ice cream and more. This is the best blender you’ll ever use and the last blender you’ll ever need. Once you try it, you’ll wish you’d had it all your life. A few features you’re going to love:

  • Crushes ice in seconds
  • Easy to use, with three speeds, three timer settings and a pulse button
  • 6 blade assembly creates a vortex that will suck your ingredients down and make blending a breeze
  • Super easy to clean and maintain by simply blending water in the jug at high speed

The Optimum 9200 retails for £429 but will be on sale for £349 during National Vegetarian Week. Visit Froothie’s website for details and don’t forget to enter “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout for an additional 2 year warranty free of charge. Please use my affiliate link (here and in my sidebar) to support Kavey Eats.

Froothie Optimum 9200 nvw2015

Entry to the giveaway is via Rafflecopter and we’ve provided lots of ways to gain extra entries and increase your chances of winning!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fellow Froothie Ambassadors are also giving away Optimum blenders and juicers – visit these sites to enter each giveaway.

You can also ncrease your chances by entering the Optimum 9200 giveaway on Facebook.

Kavey Eats received an Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie last year. I affiliate with and recommend only brands and products I truly believe in.

3 Ingredient Smoothie | Banana, Matcha & Prune

Green smoothies are all the rage.

But I’ve just not developed a taste for kale, spinach, broccoli or any other green vegetable in my smoothies and prefer to stick to my fruit concoctions.

3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-Prune-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-textoverlay-8092

A banana is a great start to the day. In recent years, bananas have received some bad press because they do not score as low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) as many other fruits and vegetables. But, as this really excellent guide explains, there are weaknesses in using the GI to assess food – you have to eat a lot more of some foods to hit the 50 grams of digestible carbs on which the score is calculated than you do for others – although bananas have a GI score of around 50 (depending on ripeness) you’d need to eat 3 bananas to hit that 50 grams of digestible carbs. It’s also worth remembering that the GI doesn’t take into account the nutritional benefits (or lack of them) of different types of food – crisps are only a touch higher than bananas in terms of their GI score! A banana for breakfast not only keeps me feeling full for quite a few hours, it is also a good source of fibre, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and B6.

Recently I’ve been drinking even more matcha than usual, after writing an article all about it for a recent issue of Good Things magazine. Although the method of grinding tea leaves into a powder originated in China, it was not until the practice reached Japan by way of Zen Buddhist monks that it developed into the drink we know today. Matcha is traditionally made by stone grinding green leaves of shade-grown tea (gyokuro). Before grinding the leaves are dried, de-veined and de-stemmed, in this state they are known as tencha. Growing tea in shade slows down the growth, stimulating an increase in chlorophyll levels. This turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids, in particular L-Theanine, which provides a distinctive umami flavour. L-Theanine is also claimed to reduce stress, sharpen cognitive performance and improve mood, especially when combined with caffeine, as it is in matcha.

Prunes – dried plums – have long been used as a mild natural laxative, although there’s no real evidence that they’re any more effective than other fruits and vegetables that are good sources of dietary fibre, bananas included. But I love their rich flavour, and they’re a great natural sweetener.

Of course, the dark colour of prunes turns what would otherwise be a brighter green smoothie into a less visually attractive brown one, so feel to substitute with dried dates or apricots, or a generous squirt of honey or maple syrup, each of which will create a quite different flavour profile for your 3 ingredient smoothie.

3 Ingredient Breakfast Smoothie | Banana, Prune & Matcha

Ingredients
1 large banana, peeled – about 125 grams peeled weight
2-3 teaspoons matcha (Japanese green tea powder)
60 grams pitted dried prunes*
1 cup of water, or more for a thinner smoothie

* substitute with dried dates, dried apricots, honey or maple syrup if preferred.

Method

  • Place all ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  • Pour into a glass and drink straight away.

Tip: My Froothie Optimum power blender makes quick work of even the toughest dried fruits, but if yours is not as effective, soak the dried fruits in water for 30 minutes before blending – you can use the soaking water in the smoothie too.

3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-Prune-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8088 3-Ingredient-Smoothie-Banana-Matcha-Prune-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle-8090

For more fruit smoothie inspiration check out:

Rich, Dense & Dark Power Blender Chocolate Ice Cream | Perfect for Ice Lollies

My initial plan, when Choclette and I set our joint #WeShouldBSFIC challenge for January, was an ice cream sandwich. I wanted to make chewy chocolate chip cookies and sandwich white chocolate vanilla ice cream between them. But every time I started scribbling potential recipe notes, my thoughts turned instead to a chocolate ice cream recipe I shared back in the summer of 2012; a rich, dense and wonderfully dark chocolate ice cream. I still remember the richness of that ice cream!

Like many no-churn recipes, it has a base of condensed milk and double cream (plus regular milk). Unlike most no-churn recipes, it’s not simply a case of folding together whipped condensed milk and cream, adding flavouring and popping into the freezer. It needs the milks and cream to be boiled, the chocolate (and other flavourings) to be melted and thoroughly mixed in, and then a flour thickener added before the mixture is cooked further until it’s so thick you can only just pour it from the pan to a plastic box.

I was keen to see if I could adapt the recipe to make it in my Froothie Optimum 9400. This power blender has such a jet engine of a motor that it not only blends but heats too – there’s no heating element but the friction of the blades at top speed will generate enough heat to make your mixture piping hot. Having already made an ice cream custard base in the Optimum 9400, for my silky smooth white chocolate vanilla ice cream, I was hopeful my adaptation would work.

When I took the ice cream out of the freezer,  I belatedly remembered how dense this ice cream is and how hard it is to scoop. We ended up popping the entire block out of the plastic box and cutting a slice off the end with a knife. It doesn’t look pretty, as the photographed side shows where it slid out of the box and the other side looked even stranger, from where the knife pushed through it.

That’s when I realised this recipe would  be utterly perfect for individual chocolate ice cream lollies, or fudgesicles as Americans call them. As soon as you cut into the ice cream with a spoon, it reveals it’s beautiful smooth texture, utterly silky in the mouth and with a hint of chewiness that reminds of the wonderful mastic ice creams of the Middle East. I took a bite straight out of the slice and oh yes indeed, this would be perfect on a lolly stick! Too bad I didn’t think of that 24 hours ago!

So please use your imagination to see past my appalling photo and trust me when I tell you that you should give this recipe a try.

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Rich, Dense & Dark Chocolate Ice Cream | Made in a Power Blender

Ingredients
200 grams sweetened condensed milk
100 grams whole milk
100 grams double cream
100 grams very dark chocolate, grated or finely chopped*
0.5 scant teaspoon instant coffee granules or powder
1 scant teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Small pinch fine sea salt
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 tablespoon cold water

* Note: To save on washing up, use your power blender to “grate” the chocolate, then pour/ scrape it out of the jug and set it aside.

Method

  • Into the jug, pour the condensed milk, whole milk and double cream. Blend on high power until the mixture is steaming hot.
  • Add the chocolate, instant coffee, vanilla bean paste and salt. Blend on high power again until the chocolate melts and is fully mixed into the cream and milk.
  • In a small bowl, mix the flour and water into a smooth paste, then add to the blender.
  • Blend on high power for 4-5 minutes. The mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Pour / scrape into a shallow freezer container, or better still, into individual lolly moulds or small paper cups, with lolly sticks inserted.
  • Transfer to the freezer overnight or until solid.
  • To serve, take out of the freezer 10 minutes ahead of scooping (or slicing).

This is my entry for the joint Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream and We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by myself and Choclette.

IceCreamChallenge

As I’ve mentioned before, I was given my Optimum 9400 along with the opportunity to be an ambassador for the Australian brand, as it breaks into the UK market. Hand on hearts, Pete and I have been enormously impressed with the blender, especially given the price when you compare it to market leaders like Vitamix; (you can read a comparison of the two, here). We’ve made super quick frozen fruit sorbets, delicious vegetable soups (which are blended and heated so quickly that they retain the fresh taste of the vegetables, an unexpected bonus), quick custards (both to enjoy as they are and freeze into ice cream), and we’ve also used it to grate, puree and blend. And yet we’re only at the start of our learning about all that it can do. I’ll continue to share my favourite Optimum 9400 recipes with you here on Kavey Eats. You can access them all via my Froothie tag.

Like this recipe? Here are a few more power blender recipes from fellow bloggers that caught my eye:

Kavey Eats received a review Optimum 9400 power blender from Froothie. Please see the right side bar for a special offer on buying the Optimum with an extended warranty via my affiliate link.

Easy Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Brittle

I first made butternut squash soup with candied bacon last autumn, after watching a masterclass episode of MasterChef Australia in which Matt Preston shared his recipe for an easy pumpkin soup garnished with pepita (squash seeds) and bacon candied in brown sugar. I simplified his recipe further to come up with the version I shared last year.

Since then, I’ve changed the way I candy the bacon pieces for a crunchier texture; I think it’s more accurate to call this version bacon brittle. The recipe produces twice as much bacon brittle as you need for two bowls of soup but it’s very hard to resist adding more so the extra soon disappears. It will last a day in the fridge in an airtight container or feel free to halve the amounts.

Pete and I like the subtle warming flavours of the mixed spice, but you can certainly omit the spice if you like. I’ve made it both ways and we like both versions.

Vegetarians can substitute pumpkin seeds for bacon, toasting them gently before mixing them into the hot caramel and allowing the brittle to set.

This year, I’ve been able to use our homegrown butternut squash for the first time and just love them so we’ll definitely be growing more next year.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon Brittle

Serves 2 (with extra bacon brittle)

Ingredients
150 grams cubed pancetta/ lardons or chopped streaky bacon
100 grams caster sugar
1 butternut squash
1 teaspoon mixed spice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or bacon fat drained from cooking the bacon)
100 grams caster sugar
0.5 litres homemade chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
Salt and pepper
Optional: 2-3 tablespoons double cream

Method

  • In a frying pan, dry fry the cubed bacon until it the fat starts to colour a little, about 5-8 minutes. I like my bacon to still have some chew, but you can cook a little longer for a more crispy finish if you prefer.
  • When the bacon is cooked to your liking, scoop out the bacon pieces and set aside. Optional: retain the bacon fat left in the pan, to use when cooking the squash.

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  • Before starting the bacon brittle, get a baking tray ready by lining it with greaseproof paper or a silicon mat.
  • In a clean heavy-based frying pan evenly sprinkle the sugar across the surface area and cook over a medium heat. Do not stir, and keep a continuous watch.

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  • When most of the sugar has melted into a clear liquid, shake and swirl the pan gently to mix hotter and cooler areas and help the rest of the sugar to melt. Do not stir!
  • As soon as the melted sugar begins to brown, watch like a hawk.
  • Once the sugar takes on a decent caramel brown colour, remove from the heat and immediately add the bacon pieces. Mix thoroughly and quickly.
  • Immediately pour out the mixture onto your prepared baking tray and poke any lumps flat with a wooden spoon, if needed. The brittle will start to set very quickly, so you won’t have much time. Leave the bacon brittle to cool and harden.

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  • Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  • Peel the squash and remove seeds and fibres from the centre. Roughly chop the flesh into chunks, about an 3 cm or so in size and spread them out in a baking dish.

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  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of mixed spice (if using) and a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil or bacon fat (or a mixture of both) over the squash.
  • Bake until soft, 30-40 minutes.
  • Heat the stock in a pan or the microwave, or boil the kettle if using water.
  • Put the baked squash, stock (or water) and a little salt and pepper into a blender and blitz until smooth. Add double cream, if using, and briefly blend again.
  • Taste and add more seasoning if required.
  • Serve the squash immediately, with broken pieces of bacon brittle on top.

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Looking for more inspiration? Try Nazima’s Winter Squash Veloute with Chipotle Lime Roasted Seeds & Apple, Camilla’s Spelt and Butternut Squash Cake and Becca’s Paneer Stuffed Butternut Squash.

I’m entering this into Ren’s Simple & In Season (hosted this month by Katie) and Michelle & Helen’s Extra Veg and Jo’s SuperSoup challenges.

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I made this soup using my lovely Froothie blender, which is fast becoming one of the most frequently used appliances in our kitchen. It’s so powerful and quick, it’s a pleasure to blitz fruit and vegetables. We also enjoy using it to blend and cook really quick soups from scratch, such as this recipe for courgette and blue cheese soup, and a simple tomato soup made with fruits picked only seconds before – making this in the Optimum 9400 resulted in an incredibly fresh tasting soup. It’s also a doddle to make custard from scratch, which is excellent news for ice cream making!

Kavey Eats received a review Optimum 9400 power blender from Froothie. All opinions are my own. Please see the right side bar for a special offer on buying the Optimum with an extended warranty via my affiliate link.

Burnt Apple & Bourbon Ice Cream

This ice cream is very much inspired by a recipe from The Bojon Gourmet, a blog I discovered via Pinterest. It caught my eye when I was looking for ideas on new ways to put some of our enormous apple harvest to good use. I replaced Alanna’s cream base with a rich and very sweet custard base and roasted my apples until the sugars not only caramelised, but the edges caught and blackened to add texture and a touch of bitterness. I didn’t include a crumble as it tends not to stay crisp for long and our ice creams usually last at least a few weeks in the freezer. That said, this one’s disappearing fast!

Serendipity struck when making the custard ice cream base: I decided to use up 75 grams of sugar mix leftover from a recent apple pie making session. The leftover sugar had a little cinnamon and plain flour mixed into it (for thickening the pie filling) and I topped it up with an additional 25 grams of plain sugar. I blended and cooked my custard using my wonderful Froothie Optimum 9400 power blender, and found that the inclusion of the flour resulted in a beautifully smooth and thick custard.

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Burnt Apple & Bourbon Ice Cream

Ingredients
For the roasted apple

2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
100 grams light brown sugar (I use Billington’s sugars)
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon
0.5 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of allspice
For the ice cream base
250 ml double cream
150 ml full fat milk
100 grams sugar
1 pinch salt
3 large egg yolks
0.5 teaspoon cinnamon
Optional: 1 tablespoon plain white flour
To make the ice cream
Custard
2 tablespoons bourbon
Roasted apple mixture

Method

For the roasted apple:

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  • Toss all the ingredients together to combine and transfer to a small roasting dish. Roast for about 45 minutes, checking on progress once or twice during the cooking time. If the apples are not yet caramelised, with a little charring on some edges, roast for longer until they’re ready.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. These can be made the day before churning the ice cream and stored in the fridge until needed.

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For the ice cream base:

  • I combined all the ingredients and used my power blender to both mix and cook the custard for several minutes. The speed of the powerful blades generates enough heat to cook the custard while continuing to mix it so that nothing catches. No burnt bits, no lumps and very quick.
  • Alternatively, you can make your custard the traditional way by gently heating cream, milk and half the sugar in a pan until it reaches boiling, then removing from the heat. Meanwhile beat the remaining sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl. Slowly pour the hot cream and milk over the eggs, whisking continuously, and then pour the combined mixture back into the pan and cook until it thickens. Make sure you stir continuously so that the custard doesn’t catch and burn.
  • Once cooked, set aside to cool. The custard can be made the day before churning the ice cream and stored in the fridge until needed.

To make the ice cream:

  • Add two tablespoons of bourbon to the custard base and mix well.
  • Add the roasted apple mixture. Alanna puréed some of hers and adds the rest whole, but I decided to leave all of it whole. I added only three quarters of the mixture as I thought it would be too much but in retrospect I could certainly have all of it.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine until ready.

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With the fruit, bourbon and spices this ice cream is very reminiscent of mince pies and Christmas pudding.

The Smart Scoop: Sage by Heston Blumenthal

For the last couple of years I’ve been using a Gaggia ice cream machine. I’ve been happy enough with the results, but have sometimes wished it would churn the ice cream till it was just a little more solid. I have worked around this by transferring the finished ice cream to a freezer container and popping into the freezer to solidify further.

When I heard that the Sage by Heston Blumenthal range of appliances included an ice cream machine, called the Smart Scoop, I was intrigued by some of the extra features it offers over my Gaggia. It’s also a good looking machine with its handsome brushed stainless steel surface.

Instead of just having a timer function that switches off when the time is up, the Smart Scoop offers a range of settings from sorbet through frozen yogurt and gelato to ice cream. Once you’ve chosen the texture you’re aiming for the ice cream maker starts freezing and churning. It automatically senses how hard the mixture is so it can alert you when it’s ready. Alterrnatively, you can use manual mode to freeze and churn for a set time according to your own recipes.

There’s an alarm to alert me when the ice cream is ready. I can adjust the volume (or set it to mute) and I can choose between a regular beeper and an ice cream van-style musical tune.

The Smart Scoop also has a function to keep the finished ice cream (or sorbet) at your chosen consistency for up to three hours so I don’t need to come running the moment the alarm goes off.

With our Gaggia, I always have to stay close, especially as the machine comes to the end of it’s timer run. Sometimes the ice cream isn’t finished and I have to turn the dial again to give it more time. Sometimes the motor starts to strain as the ice cream becomes too solid for the machine to churn any further and the paddle stops rotating; then it’s a case of having to switch the machine off quickly and transfer the ice cream into another container to pop into the freezer. The Smart Scoop solves both of these problems.

Niggles?

I wish the Smart Scoop ice cream bowl was dishwasher safe; this seems to me to be an oversight for the modern kitchen.

And of course, like most ice cream machines with integrated freezing unit, it’s large and very heavy. This, of course, is the same for all the models that I’ve come across.

Overall?

I’m really happy with it and shall be sharing many more sorbet, froyo and ice cream recipes to come.

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Other ideas to make the most of apple season:

And if you’re interested in the history of apples, read my post about a Visit to the National Fruit Collections at Brogdale.

This ice cream is my entry into the September / October #BSFIC challenge, Anything Goes.

IceCreamChallenge

Kavey Eats received a review machine from Sage by Heston Blumenthal and an Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. All opinions are my own. Please see the right side bar for a special offer on buying the Froothie Optimum 9400 with an extended warranty via my affiliate link.