Vanilla Ice cream with Rosemary Rhubarb & Strawberries
The impetus for this post was a gorgeous bunch of rhubarb that I found at the farmers market last week. Rhubarb is not something that I was exposed to as a kid and only discovered it as an adult in my past quests for low sugar, low-fat, low-calorie foods. This fit the bill and I was determined to like this stuff – but how can you call it a fruit when clearly, it is a vegetable!!!
In fact, it was classified a vegetable until 1947 when the United States decided it counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. It’s very similar to Swiss chard in that both can have long red leaf stalks and glossy dark leaves although I was surprised to find out that rhubarb is related to the buckwheat family while chard belongs to the beet genus.
Nutritionally, rhubarb contains a decent amount of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and dietary fibre although it contains oxalic acid which renders the calcium not so bio-available to the body. The leaves of rhubarb contain a significant amount of oxalic acid that can be fatal, so the leaves are definitely not edible.
Rhubarb has been used for years in Chinese medicine as a laxative and is hence useful as a cathartic in case of constipation. Handy to know!
I always remember rhubarb being as cheap as chips a decade ago and very seasonal. Seeking it out now you will find it priced at up to $7 a bunch which seems outrageous, so I was very excited to find some lovely glossy red stalks for $3.50 last week.
Rhubarb contains a lot of water and it breaks down very readily when cooked. I prefer to give the stalks a very light cooking rather than a lengthy stewing. They are nice roasted which intensifies the flavour but i think they need more sugar this way.
Many people describe rhubarb as being sweet yet tart, but I only get the mouth puckering tart and sour taste. Sour is good. I think that we are so programmed into the familiarity of sweet & salty & sour tastes, that we forget the multitude of other tastes out there like tart, pungent, umami, bitter, astringent, spicy and more..
So I cooked up the tart stalks with orange juice and strawberries, and I have added a fragrant twist of rosemary which pairs beautifully. But you can’t have stewed fruit without……ice-cream!
Make this dairy-free ice-cream ahead and freeze into ice-block trays if you don’t have an ice-cream churn. Blend the blocks when ready to serve for a luscious, seemingly instant, ice-cream.
The softness of ice-cream depends on the sugar & fat content of the mix (and of course, your freezer temperature). *The addition of vegetable glycerin will help with keeping the texture softer but is entirely optional. You can find it in health-food shops and sometimes, supermarket, but check that it is food grade. I have it in my cupboard as it works as a good emulsifier and anti-crystallising agent too.400g coconut cream 200g nut milk (I used almond) 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped 80g coconut sugar (I used Natvia) 1 tab brown rice syrup or maple 5 egg yolks 1 egg white 20g glycerin* 20g macadamia oil pinch cinnamon Add all of the ingredients to the TM and cook on SP 4 at 80°C for 10 minutes. Cool and pour into ice-cube trays and allow to freeze overnight. Mill the frozen mix on SP 9 for 10 seconds and then add the egg-white. Continue to blend on SP 8 until creamy. Pour into a sealable container and freeze for 15 minutes while you make the rhubarb. If your freezer is really cold, you will need to remove any left-over ice-cream from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving to soften.
1 bunch rhubarb, chopped into 2cm lengths1 punnet strawberries, halved 1 cinnamon stick 1 tab coconut sugar – or more to taste rind & juice of 1 orange 1 sprig of young rosemary Place rhubarb, sugar, rosemary, cinnamon & orange into a shallow pan and cook gently until the sugar is dissolved and rhubarb has softened. Add the strawberries and cook for a further 3 minutes until they start to soften, then cover with a lid and turn the heat off. Let sit for 10 minutes to steam. Taste for sweetness before serving with vanilla ice-cream and toasted coconut or nuts to garnish.