Well, I couldn't tantalise you with a brief history of the stuff (see Wednesday's On The Side column) and not give you some to eat, could I? You know by now about the cream allergy, so you're not going to be getting any of the rich stuff, nor one of these unctuous ones where you start with a custard and do amazing things from there. I will give you a recipe, courtesy of the lovely Sarah Mellersh, for a distinctive and delicious concoction.Bizarrely, given its ingredients, the final product doesn't taste excessively sweet. Then, my favourite of all iced confections, sorbet.
But first things first, how are you going to make it? If it's your plan to make ice cream on a regular basis, you really need an ice cream maker. The most basic of these will cost a little over 30 quid. For that you get a bowl which you put in the freezer for 12 hours or so, then an electric churning mechanism which you apply once you have your mixture in the bowl. I used to own one (it involved a swap deal with a bread making machine, once I abandoned the latter). It can produce decent results, but there are a couple of drawbacks. Firstly, you need to find space in your freezer, a rare commodity in our case. Secondly, if the mixture doesn't freeze by the time the bowl warms up (as it's out of the freezer at that stage), then you have a problem. While the sky can be the limit for machines with built in refrigeration, I got mine in a sale for about £200. Its downside is the space to store it. (We keep ours in the little guest kitchen. Not only can visitors make themselves a tea or a coffee, they can rustle themselves up a cone.)
The point about churning is that it breaks up the ice crystals, resulting in a smooth end product. Worry not, there are things you can do with no equipment other than a tray and a fork. See below. But first-
Sarah Mellersh's Crème Fraîche Ice Cream (Makes half a litre)
240ml crème fraîche; 240ml buttermilk; 45ml lemon juice; 138g caster sugar
Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until very smooth. Transfer to an ice cream maker and churn until frozen. The time will depend on your machine.
Sarah's recipe says that you can make this without an ice cream maker, though it won't be as smooth. I think you would have to stir it fairly frequently.
Craig Wood's Any Flavour Sorbet
Craig will be known to many of you as the maestro behind the stoves at The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry. He has been generous to me with tips and recipes in the past. In essence, you take any fruit coulis you fancy, and sieve it. Whisk in an egg white then put it in the ice cream maker as above. You can buy ready made coulis. I've repeated below a recipe for raspberry coulis which I published a few months ago. It's impossible to be definitive about quantities, as different fruits have different levels of sweetness, and people's tastes vary. As with most cookery, taste as you go.
2 punnets of raspberries (approx 225g); 4 - 6 tbsp caster sugar; juice of a lemon; water; 1 egg white.
To make your coulis, gently poach the rasps, sugar, lemon juice and water together. For a sorbet you will want this to be more liquid than for a coulis, bearing in mind that you'll be sieving the mixture. Stir occasionally until the raspberries have completely collapsed. Check the sweetness, adding more sugar if need be. If you add extra sugar, add it then cook until the sugar melts.
Pass the mixture through a fine sieve. The end result should be fairly runny. Allow it to cool completely. Whip in the egg white, then transfer to your ice cream machine.
And, if you don't have an ice cream maker, try-
Make your fruit coulis as above. (No need for the egg white in this one.) When cool transfer to a shallow tray and place in the freezer. This will require longer than you think, probably a good 8 hours, so don't start it too late in the day. When ice crystals start to form, scrape with a fork to break it all up. Repeat this every 45 minutes or so, until there is no more freezing to be done. This will give a deliciously refreshing icy mixture, like a slightly thicker Slush Puppy.