Happy New Year folks!

How have you been enjoying 2013?

I hope you all had a lovely and relaxing Christmas break filled with lots of fun and delicious treats!

I spent my break with friends and family in Sydney. I also spent a good chunk of my free time playing my new Christmas pressies on the XBOX, Lord of the Rings and Batman 2 Lego games 😀

I do have a bit of annoying news for myself though – and that is I’ve been feeling a bit intolerant lately. I’ve been feeling quite ill for the past few months. I’ve seen the doc, had my blood tested for a few things, and have also tried a few elimination diets to try and figure out why my digestive system was on the fritz.

Prior to this I’ve had similar sorts of stomach upsets but this was lasting a lot longer than it had in previous times. Long story short, I seem to have some sort of intolerance to wheat AND dairy – much to my disappointment as I clearly love both of these things with a passion. Fortunately I seem to be able to consume a smallish amount of either without much consequence but any more than that seems to have.. side effects. Side effects that I would rather not bore you with, but I’m sure you get the idea!

Anyway, that being said, while I still intend to share my favourite gluten and dairy recipes with you all (as I will still make them from time to time) I suppose I will be venturing into more gluten- and dairy-free recipes. Time to don my creative hat, as eating gluten- and dairy-free is certainly a new thing for me. I suppose I am still in a bit of a teething stage and part of me hopes that it may not be permanent (my blood test revealed that I am definitely not coeliac). All this being said, I am looking forward to trying out new GF and DF recipes and I will still of course be only posting the easiest and most delicious ones I can find!

One particular dairy-free treat I’ve missed indulging in the most (and especially in this heat!) has been ice-cream. I am a big strawberry lover and love all things strawberry scented and flavoured: ice-cream, body wash, shampoo, creams, all of it! So when I got inventing in the kitchen, it was not a tough decision about which flavour to try first.

I did a bit of brainstorming and figured I would make a strawberry syrup from fresh strawberries, blend it with coconut cream, then freeze. To my surprise, it worked out even better than I imagined.

This recipe is beautifully creamy with a great strawberry flavour and a light coconutty aftertaste. Not only is it dairy-free, it is also gluten-free and vegan, but I promise that you will not miss the usual cream and egg yolks normally packed into regular ice-cream!

If you wanted to try a different spin on this recipe, I expect this would also be a lovely treat blended with Greek yoghurt instead of the coconut cream.

I really was surprised at how well this recipe turned out – I kept sneaking bites during the photographing process, hehe. Even as I type, I’m still finishing off the last few scoops – pretty handy on this intensely hot day! I think this may well be one of the best recipes I’ve ever come up with! Another bonus is that this easy recipe is only five simple ingredients. Woohoo!

This recipe is a snap to put together, however it does require you to pop a can of good quality coconut milk in the fridge the night before (to separate the hardened coconut cream from the thinner coconut water in the can). I’ve heard of those who don’t refrigerate their cans of coconut milk overnight with success, but I haven’t tried it.

One day after refrigerating your coconut milk, flip the can, open it, scoop out the hardened coconut cream and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

Slice up two punnets of strawberries and chop a medium sized lemon in half.

Add sliced strawberries to a saucepan, followed by a cup of water, a cup of white sugar and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Place on high heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Careful though, as this has a tendency to overboil! Keep an eye on it. After 20 minutes on high, lower the heat to medium-low and keep it on there for a further 20 minutes.

Take it off the heat when the strawberries are nice and syrupy. Cover and put in the fridge until completely cool (at least 2 hours.)

Pour cooled strawberry syrup into a blender and add coconut cream.

Blend until creamy and a pretty pale pink.

Pour into pop moulds and freeze until solid.

With the rest of your ice-cream mixture, pour into a plastic container and freeze in the fridge. Every hour or so, take it out and mix thoroughly with a spoon to break up any ice crystals forming until completely frozen and creamy. For an even better explanation on how to make ice-cream without an ice-cream maker, click here for David Lebovitz’s great tutorial. You could of course just pour this into an ice-cream maker and churn after blending.

Note: This ice-cream is also a little icy after freezing. David Lebovitz once again comes to the rescue with tips on how to soften home-made ice-cream – click here to read on!

Dairy Free Strawberry Ice-Cream (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 1 litre strawberry ice-cream (approx)
Time to prepare: Overnight for the coconut cream, about 1 hour for the strawberry syrup, 1 minute to blend and about 2-3 hours to freeze.

1 can of coconut milk
2 punnets of strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
the juice of half a small lemon

Equipment needed
chopping board, small knife, 1 small saucepan, 2 bowls, wooden spoon, a food processor or blender, ice-cream pop moulds

To start this recipe you need to begin one night beforehand by putting your can of coconut milk in the fridge. You can make the strawberry sauce 2 hours ahead of ice-cream making time, as it needs to be cooled, but if you’re starting the night before that would probably make things more convenient to cool it overnight in the fridge and you’re ready to go the next morning.

  1. Slice strawberries and place in a saucepan. Sprinkle over sugar and add water. Turn heat on high and heat until sugar melts. Simmer for about 20 minutes on high, but please keep an eye on it, as this mixture is prone to overboil! (I learned this the hard way!) Lower heat to medium-low for about another 20 minutes until the strawberries are quite syrupy, but there is still quite a good amount of liquid. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until completely cool. You should have about 600mls of liquid in total.
  2. While the syrup cools, remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and flip (be careful not to shake it). Remove can lid, drain off the watery liquid and scoop out the hardened coconut cream at the bottom of the can. Place in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge while syrup cools. This should slightly thicken the cream.
  3. When syrup is completely cooled, pour into food processor, or a blender. It is not too difficult a job to blend, so even a cheap blender should do the trick. Blend until creamy and a pale pink.
  4. Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze for about 2 hours or until frozen solid. To release from the popsicle moulds, run the moulds under hot water to help loosen the strawberry pops. Serve and enjoy!

Hope you are all surviving the heat and having a super lovely week!