I hadn't planned on seeing the New Year in. Unlike back in my teenage years I really can't be arsed with the whole kerfuffle that goes with New Years Eve. Maybe it's what happens when you get a little older, the whole pressure to 'go out' really doesn't even come into play once you're over 30 I reckon (or does it?), or maybe it's just that the idea of being woken up at 5.30am from kids jumping on your bed is enough to make any sane person want to stay at home. I don't know, either way I really had all intentions of being fast asleep as the fireworks went off ringing in the new year. But yeah well, the boy had other ideas didn't he.
11.53pm I was awoken by his sobs in the room next door. It turns out he was in the midst of another one of his night terrors he's becoming well known for. I heard the thud of fireworks in the distance as I lay next to him stroking his back trying to calm and reassure him that there really weren't two balloons in the corner of his room, belonging to his sister that was requiring him to have a full melt-down in the middle of the night. He was beyond consolable the poor thing (and has no recollection of these terrors the following morning). By the time he finally settled after I promised him a hundred times that I would buy him some balloons in the morning it was nearly 1am. Happy New years!
Earlier in the evening we celebrated the end of 2012 the best way I know how by eating home made frozen yoghurt for dessert, that is after we had a banh xeo feast at my mother-in-laws for lunch. Much more my style these days, now that I am a Nana and all. This frozen yoghurt is a version of Sara Forte's one from her book The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. I'm not usually into anything peppermint and only recently acquired peppermint extract for the first time, ever, after I needed it to make some cookies for the kids teachers before Christmas. But it was the flavour that had the most votes in our house when I suggested making ice cream, so I went with it. I can't tell you how surprised I was when it came to tasting this frozen treat, it's minty but not in-your-face-so, it's delicate and beautifully creamy with a gentle tang from the yoghurt. Sara suggests you could always use coconut milk/cream in place of the whipping cream if you prefer, but as I had a little carton of cream left in the fridge from Christmas (and now that we tolerate it occasionally) I went the whole hog and threw it in.
I'm really sorry as I don't mean to always refer back to the weather here in Perth but after this past week I think it's really all anyone is talking about over here. See, we had a little bit of a heat wave, the craziest one in years apparently. I felt like it was never going to end, but thankfully today was a little more bearable than the 40C+ (104F) we've had everyday since Christmas. There is hot and then there's hot. This was the kind of heat that see's sweat running down your back, your legs and arms, the kind of heat that makes a car bonnet hot enough to fry an egg on (seriously I wanted to give it a shot on Monday) and gives no reprieve at night time whatsoever. Eating has been of the what-can-I-throw-together-in-two-seconds-before-I-pass-out kind of nature; a lot of salads, loads of fruit, green smoothies, juices, rice paper rolls and ice-blocks (aka icy-poles/popsicles).
I made only a few changes to Sara's recipe, using my full 300ml carton of cream instead of the 1 cup suggested so as not to waste any of it. And when I went to pull the chocolate from it's spot in the pantry is was nearly fully melted already, chopping it into chunks was just not going to happen. Instead I gave it the smallest amount of heat in a bowl set over water, it barely needed any convincing to melt and was liquid before my water even began to boil. I liked the randomness of the flecks of chocolate, after being flicked into the churn in the final minutes.
I reckon 2013 is going to be a special one from where I'm looking from and I wish you all the happiness in the world for yours. xx Emm
fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt
As mentioned above, Sara suggests using coconut milk/cream in place of the whipping cream (aka heavy cream in the states) if you prefer. Also just a note on brown rice syrup; if you are really intolerant to any minute trace of gluten please make sure you source a certified gluten-free brown rice syrup as some brands can't guarantee 100%. Lastly if you can't source brown rice syrup or just don't like using it, Heidi suggested using 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup in it's place when she made Sara's recipe a while back.
Makes approx 1 litre
300ml carton of (whipping) cream
1 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 cups thick plain yoghurt
115g dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
Combine cream and mint in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling remove from the heat, stir in brown rice syrup and set aside to infuse and cool. Once cool, strain mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl, squeezing as much flavour as you can out of that mint. Discard mint and stir yoghurt into the cream mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Churn in an ice cream machine 15-20 minutes or until nearly done. Drizzle in melted chocolate and churn for a further 2-3 minutes. Serve straight away as soft-serve or transfer to a container and freeze for 1-2 hours until firm.
If you don't have a ice cream machine pour the yoghurt mixture into a shallow freezer-proof container (a loaf tin is perfect), freeze for 1 hour until the edges are starting to freeze, beat with a hand mixer or whisk until smooth. Return to the freezer and repeat this another 2-3 times before drizzling in the chocolate, stirring well to incorporate and leaving to freeze for 2 hours. The results won't be quite the same, but still delicious.
Adapted slightly from a recipe by Sara Forte in The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. Published by 10 Speed Press August 2012.