Saturday, May 10, 2008

Breakfast! 'Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free!' - Pure Banana Ice-Cream



We are big fans of bananas these days, easy to eat and digest, conveniently wrapped and high in the kind of carbohydrate a damaged gut can process without too much fuss. Starchier unripe bananas however, are much harder to digest - so I'm constantly searching for perfectly ripe specimens, scanning grocers displays for those little brown spots like a sniffer dog on a mission. My solution is to have a banana cupboard stuffed with the things in varying stages of ripeness, so that when we need a banana fix there's always at least one at the point of perfection, brown flecked outside and spotlessly creamy inside.

Consequently, Fin is starting to resemble a monkey - no really - what with his terminal avoidance of haircutting and washing and his penchant for nudity; as he scampers pinkly around the garden, tousle haired with a peeled banana in one hand and an insane chuckle ringing in the bushes, I am minded of the seven stages of man......hmm. This week I discovered red ants all over the lawn in little muddy piles like tiny molehills. So now Fin has to wear wellies if he wants to run about the garden - bizarrely making his nudity more apparent. Strange that, isn't it? A bikini is clothing, wellies and naked skin just scream naturist.

Anyway, when I mentioned that I was going to make ice-cream for breakfast Fin regarded me with a suspicious look, like a pet trying to work out if this unusual treat will have some foul tasting medicine hidden in it like last time. He decided not to ask too many questions in case I changed my mind once I had become aware that ice-cream was not a legitimate breakfast choice and decided on steamed broccoli instead. But the secret, (that I chose to keep to myself) is that this ice-cream is no more sinful than eating a plain old banana whilst swinging naked around the garden. It's gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free - in fact, I should rename it iced freedom. Of course, if you have banana intolerance, you're stuffed on this one and I really do feel your pain.

Everyone else, feel free to break those breakfast conventions and make yourself the campest breakfast possible - add some cocktail umbrellas or stir through some fruit puree, add some frozen berries for the pinkest ice-cream or a tiny shot of strong coffee and some hazel butter for something rather grown-up and sophisticated. Some hazelnut cookies would be delicious here and increase the protein content, whilst adding to the illusion that you really are having something so decadently naughty for breakfast - just leave out the cocoa-butter truffle, I mean it's still breakfast right?

Nick declined my offer of ice-cream, pouring himself a more traditional bowl of oats and milk instead. And so we sat, thoughtfully spooning from our martini glasses and comparing flavours as Nick chewed his oats. It was a delicious way to start the day, light, playful and comforting - a smooth, creamy glass of banana snow that demands to be eaten slowly and followed with a steaming cup of something clean and fragrant; Earl Grey in my case. Now I'm wondering what else I can put in the freezer to whizz up for breakfast. Any suggestions?

Pure Banana Ice-Cream

I feel fraudulent giving this as a recipe, when its really just a method - but never mind my scruples, here it is....

1 ripe banana per person.

Choose really ripe bananas for this as they give the sweetest ice-cream and the best texture. Break up the banana roughly and freeze on a plate until hard (3-4 hours or overnight). You can do this with a glut of ripe bananas and have waiting in the freezer for an urgent ice cream need!

When you want to eat ice-cream just bung the banana in a food processor with any flavours you want to add and whizz until it's a smooth ice-cream texture, scraping down a couple of times and adding a couple of teaspoons of cream, yogurt, a raw egg yolk or coconut milk  if it seems too stiff. Then spoon into a lovely glass, garnish as camply as possible and spoon slowly into your mouth.

The recipe also works well as a sorbet with any other frozen soft fruit - although you may have to pulse and scrape more times as the fruit will contain more water and therefore freeze harder.

Optional additions:
Rose and vanilla - tsp vanilla extract and half tsp rose water per banana
Hazelnut - large tsp hazel butter and tsp vanilla per banana
Strawberry - handful of chopped strawbs frozen with the banana
Forest fruits - a handful of frozen berries per banana (you can buy these already frozen too)
Coffee - half a shot of well chilled espresso per banana (you might want to add a little raw honey or maple syrup with this



Of course, there are endless ways you could vary this simple ice-cream and many other garnishes that you could add. If anyone finds another combination that they just have to shout about - let me know, I'd love to try it!

If anyone would like to enter a breakfast dish for Go Ahead Honey it's Gluten Free, please check the link there for information and email me your entry before the deadline. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you all come up with. Ain't breakfast great?