They say that in the days of Cavemen and Cavewomen, the men went off to hunt. As a band of brothers they were a slick, fighting machine that brought home the meat for dinner.
They say that the Cavewomen stayed closer to the Cave. As a giggle of sisters they were a nattering lot and would forage around for tasty morsels to enhance the evening meatfest. The wee cavebabies would potter around close to Cavemummy.
They suspect that this ancient heritage explains why men nowadays find it seemingly impossible to focus on more than one task at a time. They also say that it explains why women have an insatiable appetite for gossip, are quite good with the small folk and are very good at bringing home sparkly trinkets and lots of little packages.
I am very tempted to guffaw at these notions, and race off down the well-trodden route of male-bashing. "Oh for goodness’ sake, how hard can it be to cook a meal, listen to the radio, unstack the dishwasher, help with homework, change a nappy, check your email, text your mate AND clear up afterwards?" I’m tempted to do some male-bashing, but I’m not going to.
This is because I have given the matter some thought. Imagine it’s true, and that the band of brothers really did have to go out and kill big hairy animals for their dinner. You would have to be pretty focussed on that task. Taking your eye off the mammoth and debating the pros and cons of spending a weekend in Cornwall could easily result in a tusk through the jugular. So I guess it really was in their interests to keep quiet, get irritable with any interruptions, wear headphones and only think of one thing.
Now let’s consider the Cavewomen. If they really did go out and just forage for little titbits with their offspring in tow, it would be pretty mind-numbing wouldn’t it? They’d have to gossip. They might even get a bit side-tracked and pick out a pretty flower for their hair. Or two. Or perhaps three, oh, and one for that lovely fur that her man promised her next month.
So all these male and female differences are beginning to make sense to me.
Given that it is now clearly proven that it is in our very bones to shop, may I recommend browsing for an ice-cream maker? They are not very expensive and if you say ‘la-la-la’ as the cashier tells you the total, you will barely feel it. I’m sure this expense could come under ‘Household Expenditure’.
If you have a child with a milk or an egg allergy, then we could even argue that it is akin to neglect to deprive them of ice-cream. Maybe that’s going a tad far, but really, a machine that helps your child and makes you look like a culinary goddess…what are you waiting for?
Chocolate Forager Ice-Cream
200ml rice milk
0.25-0.5 tsp xanthan gum (gluten-free, here's one)
100g dried apricots
80ml warmed rice milk
2 tbsps dairy-free spread (here's one)
180g gluten-free dark chocolate (here's one)
3 tbsps coconut cream (here's one)
2 tbsps Cointreau
- Heat the rice milk gently in a saucepan, sprinkle the xanthan gum over as it warms and whisk like mad. There may be a cunning trick to adding xanthan gum to liquid, I don't know it. It went in to small lumps, but with whisking and warming it all came right. Phew. NOTE: the consistency you are aiming for is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add a quarter of a tsp of xanthan gum first and add the other quarter if needed. It seems to be quite tricky stuff this xanthan gum
- Add the dairy-free spread to the rice milk mix and stir through until it has melted
- Add the coconut cream and sugar to the saucepan and stir through
- Put the dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or so, add to the saucepan and stir through
- Warm the 80ml of rice milk and add to the dried apricots. Using a hand blender or liquidiser, blend it to a pulp.
- Add the apricots to the saucepan
- Add the Cointreau. Add more if you want!
- By now the mix should be cool enough to put into your ice-cream maker, but if it isn't, you could chill it for an hour or two in the fridge. When you feel the time is right, put the mix into the ice-cream maker and leave it to churn happily
- When it is thickening and starting to go icy (about 40 minutes depending on the machine - do check the handbook), pour it all into a freezable container and place in the freezer
- Freeze at least overnight, but 24 hours is better
- Because of the xanthan gum and the apricot pulp (at least I think that's why), this does not freeze rock hard like most home-made ice-cream. This means you can get it out and serve it straight away. Hurrah!