Did you know that lavender is actually a herb? I never knew that. I just thought I'd let you know because I don't want you to feel cheated like I did, thinking that it was just a pretty smelling flower favoured by country folk and old people. Now that I've discovered it's a herb, I look at it in an entirely different light. I'm not sure what this could mean, but chances are I'm going to be experimenting and will soon be topping my pizzas with lovely lilac petals and roasting my chickens with tufts of lavender poking out.
In the meantime, I decided to put it in icecream because hey, why not?
(yes this does mean that I finally bought an ice-cream maker to replace my old one which is out there somewhere, lost in the abyss of a rubbish tip)
Honey and Lavender Icecream
Makes about 1 litre
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup honey
2 large eggs
A few handfuls of fresh lavender, petals removed from stalks
Icecream is basically a frozen custard, with eggs used to create a smooth, creamy consistency. This means you have to work quickly and have everything ready before starting the icecream mixture otherwise things can go wrong quite quickly (it has taken me a few tries over the years to avoid scrambled eggs in my icecream mixture.) Keep this in mind when starting this recipe!
Heat the cream, milk, honey and lavender petals in a heavy deep saucepan on a medium heat for about 5 minutes to let the flavours infuse and mingle. Take off the heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes.
Pour the warm liquid through a strainer to remove lavender. Then pour the milk/cream/honey mixture back into the pot and turn the stove back onto a low heat. Whisk the eggs together in a bowl and slowly incorporate 3 tablespoons of the hot cream/milk mixture into the eggs, stirring constantly with a fork so as not to scramble the eggs.
Now slowly pour the egg/cream mixture into the rest of the milk/cream/honey mixture in the pot, whisking continously with a whisk, again to avoid the eggs from cooking. Keep whisking until the liquid starts to become thicker and can coat the back of a spoon. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
Now you have to quickly cool down the icecream mixture. Have a big bowl sitting inside another bigger bowl that has been filled with ice. Pour the icecream mixture into the smaller bowl that is sitting ontop of the bowl filled with ice. Stir the mixture continuously for about 5 minutes to encourage it to cool down. Leave the mixture in the fridge to cool completely before pouring it into your ice cream maker, which will churn the mixture into a thick, fluffy, icecream like consistency. All you have to do is then freeze the resulting mixture et voila, perfect homemade icecream.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, after cooling the custard base completely pour into a sealed container and freeze for about 8 hours, taking out the mixture to hand churn with either a fork or a whisk every half hour or so. But believe me, get yourself an ice cream maker - they're cheap and easy to use and allow you to achieve a consistency that hand churning just can't.