Saturday, 1 September 2007

Dairy Free Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

A quick (non-predatory) peer at the genitalia of a newborn naked girl next to a newborn naked boy, should tell you all you need to know. Boys and Girls are very different. So I have no idea why it took me so long to realise that my gorgeous little boy is very different to my gorgeous little girls.

As a weeny baby, he was very similar to the girls, except he ate more. By the time he could toddle, he was a bruiser. Beautifully chubby and stocky, he would throw stuff and push. When he was only one, he wanted his elder sister out of the way, so he picked her up and threw her on the floor. We all gasped in amazement, my husband nodded ruefully, ‘Ah yes, testosterone’.

Testosterone meant that when he was bored, he didn’t sigh, get out some colouring pencils and amuse himself. It meant he would pick all the fridge magnets off the fridge and chuck them on the floor. Then kick them for good measure.

Testosterone demands that I wrestle with him on the sofa, the rougher the better, and again and again. Testosterone means he likes to run, and run, and kick balls, and play catch. And when he’s finished doing that, he will consume more pasta than I could eat in one sitting.

My little boy is often mistaken for a cherub. He has curly hair and enormous blue eyes. He is an enigma to me; he can have moments of alarming aggression, then sob and sob if his feelings are hurt. He will sit and talk animatedly with me, wide-eyed with wonder at something he has discovered or seen. Then later he’ll grunt at me because he’s absorbed in the telly and I’m in the way.

He starts school in two days time. He is excited. He wants to be dropped off with his sisters, he wants to wear his new uniform and go out to play in his clumping new school shoes. I hope it goes well for him, I think it will. Yet how will my free-wheeling boy deal with sitting on the carpet? How will he deal with being told what to do? This is the end of his unstructured days, a few days of pre-school, big pasta lunches and pottering with his toys in his room.

A few months ago we went to meet his Dad for lunch at La Défense. As we emerged from the station it was drizzling and my boy put on his orange raincoat. He ran back and forth in front of the pram, his hair tightening into corkscrew curls, his coat glistening, and his chatter and smiles entertaining me. The men and women of La Défense were coming out for their lunch. A purposeful, serious mass of dark, dark suits. L was still running, a bright splash of colour, happy, carefree, excited. I looked around at the over-worked movers and shakers, the strain and fatigue showing on their faces. I looked carefully at the men. Is this the future for my son? Will this free, free spirit eventually knuckle down and work a 60 hour week? Spend hazy days in distant airports, not really knowing the day or the time, but grinding away on his laptop?

I can’t know which path he will choose, and I can’t know how the world will mark him. I’ve cuddled him more this summer, played a lot more ball than I normally would. I’ve watched his face concentrating fiercely on his latest Lego creation, and I’ve felt really, really sad. I don’t like it when my children start school; it’s the end of a stage, a little loss of their freedom.

Still, I shall send him forth with his homemade, hand embroidered PE bag (Spiderman ‘boy’ colours, so he won’t be bullied), cheerily wave him off and briskly reassure him if he wobbles. I shall meet him at the gate in the afternoon, hand out the snack, and take the exhausted tantrums on the chin. I’m sure within no time we’ll both be loving it.

My hungry man views the culinary creations for my blog with suspicion. True, there was one, golden day when he raced excitedly into the kitchen, ‘Mum! Mum! Can I have some of that lovely smell?!’, but in general he doesn’t do the cake. Or too many homemade biscuits. Or vegetables done in ‘funny’ ways. He does, however, do ice cream.

So this one is for you L. Keep your hands to yourself, don’t talk when others are talking, no running in the corridors, no picking your nose, and the best of luck in Reception.

Mummy's Best Vanilla Ice Cream

We had a few false starts with the vanilla ice cream, but when I finally got it right, L yelled 'Mummy! Mummy! I want you to call this 'Mummy's Best Ice Cream'!' I've added the 'vanilla' so I can be found on a Google search ;-). I'm glad I got it right so I can tell you about the Vanilla I don't normally do 'fancy' products, I prefer ones I can grab in a supermarket, but this vanilla is seriously delicious. It tastes ooodles better than anything I've ever tasted, I'm definitely hooked. They'll deliver to your door, and when you've done it once, you'll have to go back for more. The lovely Sakina even called her supplier in Madagascar for me, to check that all their products are gluten-free. Now that is service!

For the Vanilla Ice Cream:
100g block of coconut cream (the kind you 'melt' by mixing with hot water. Or you could try it with a can of coconut cream, use 100g-ish, it shouldn't make any difference to the end result, but I've yet to try it)150 ml boiling water
150ml rice milk & 2tbsps extra
3 vanilla pods
2 tsps vanilla essence
1 tbsp gluten-free custard powder
0.25 tsp xanthan gum
5-6 tbsps sugar depending on taste
  • Put the block of coconut cream into a bowl and pour over the boiling water (check the packet instructions, the quantity of water may vary according to the make of coconut cream)
  • Put the rice milk into a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pods in half, add them to the rice milk and gently heat
  • When the rice milk is steaming, remove the softened vanilla pods. Slice them lengthwise on a plate and scrape out the seeds. Put the pods and seeds back into the rice milk
  • Take the rice milk off the heat just before it boils. Set aside
  • In a jug, mix the gluten-free custard powder with 3 tbsps of the sugar, the xanthan gum and 2tbsps rice milk. Mix to make a stiff paste
  • Pour the hot rice milk into the custard paste and mix, whisk if necessary to get rid of any lumps
  • Pour it all back into the saucepan and heat very gently stirring / whisking all the while
  • When it has thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat
  • Add the coconut cream to the custard and stir to combine
  • Add the vanilla essence and the rest of the sugar
  • Press cling film down onto the surface of the warm custard - to prevent a skin forming - and leave to chill completely
  • When cold, place in an ice cream maker (still haven't bought one? Tsk, read this, it may convince you) and set it a-churning. For how long will depend on your ice cream maker, but about 45 minutes?
  • Put it into an ice cream container and chill for at least 24 hours
  • Caution! You will need to remove this about 20 minutes before serving
For the chocolate sauce:
60g gluten-free dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
2 tbsp water
1tsp golden syrup
  • Put the chocolate and water in a cup and place in the microwave
  • On medium power heat for about 20 seconds, remove, stir, heat again, keep doing this until the chocolate is melted. Mix well
  • Add the golden syrup, mmmm, yummy
  • Pour on top of your ice cream
  • Clean out the cup by means of your index finger
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007


mare said...

what a lovely post!

elizabethm said...

Hi, I've come onto your blog to print out the courgette cake recipe to make today. This is a gorgeous blog too. My little boy who used to run and jump in puddles and play football for hours and watch too much tv is now an adult, a medical student and the kindest, funniest most lovely man you could imagine. How did that happen? When I was ill (blogged about it and put it away) he was an absolute rock, supportive not only to me but to his stepfather and brother and sisters. Enjoy it now because it passes but having adult children is a joy.

beta mum said...

Such a sweet picture of a boy that could have been my son at that age.
Mine found it very hard to sit still on the carpet and listen, was forever fiddling (still does to some extent) and exploded into the playground at break times.
He's 8 now, has settled into the rigours of school life (eventually) but still has energy levels that leave me reeling.

Mya said...

Another recipe that has me drooling over the keyboard. There was a fascinating programme on Arte yesterday (Fork & Sac a dos) all about vanilla growing in Polynesia. Good luck for L's first day at school - mine ended up 'au coin' in his first week! Lovely post.

Mya x

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

I got a lump in my throat reading this post (nothing a good temper tantrum from a child wouldn't sort out I'm sure!) My youngest starts pre-school next week. An end of an era indeed. Good luck for L's first day (to both of you).

Akelamalu said...

That was such a lovely post. Your boy's first day at school - hope it goes well. You forgot to add that when you leave him there you will cry all the way home! :(

lady macleod said...

*sniff, sniff* That's lovely that is. There are so many good-byes for us mothers aren't there? My daughter is 23 and they have not ended, and the same fear as they head out is still there. It is a lifetime commitment is it not? How lucky are we to have it? Good luck to the little guy!

Potty Mummy said...

My oldest boy doesn't start school until next year but that blog still brought tears to my eyes... Of course I was brought swiftly back to earth by the screaming and yelping as the two of them argued over who gets to use the Thomas push-along next. Obviously the younger one won.

Mrs Steinway said...

Blimey - I remember the day in the soft play place when you broke the news that you thought you were pregnant with L. How time flies. Lovely reading that picturing him. Yummy looking ice-cream. Is it even better than Lidl's vanilla ice-cream?? Need to find out more about the first day so will e-mail you.....

mutterings and meanderings said...

Hope it all went well (for you both)

muddyboots said...

boys, they are more steadfast than girls perhaps as they grow older.

Miss Thistle said...

Hi Pig, Hope L's first day went well! Testerone is to blame for many things in my opinion, including my son's broken arm. He couldn't just use the monkey bars like my daughter. He had to jump to the 4th bar - from the platform and failed. Hence greenstick fracure of left wrist - and no swimming, football, bike riding, climbing, running etc for 3 weeks of the holidays!! On the plus side he only managed to dip the cast in the bath once - I hastily dried it with a hairdryer (carefully, on a cool setting, not really recommended!). Hope L had a good day, and that you are not too bereft. Love Miss Tx.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Mare, thank-you!

elizabethm, am very excited that you came to print off the recipe, I hope it worked out (all feedback welcomed!). Your son sounds wonderful, it must have happened because of you, don't you think? I do my best to enjoy my children, i've had so many older women tell me it passes so quickly, so I do try to focus on the good bits. I hope my children will still like me when they're adults...

betamum, your son sounds very like the boys i watched after school today. they walked up to meet their mums then spent the next 20 minutes running...round and round, up and down, it was very interesting to watch. They were like springs that had just been released!

mya, glad it made you drool, you know you could skip making the ice cream and just make yourself a bowl of chocolate sauce! The vanilla prog sounds cool, vanilla is so beautiful. L's first day has passed and went well...those nasty teachers sent your boy to the 'coin'? How enlightened, did they hang a 'D' sign around his neck and make him wear a pointed hat?

Amanda@LF, tears and tantrums are two sides of the same coin i reckon. Hope your boy's pre-school went well, L's first day has been fine!

Akelamalu, I did shed a couple of tears, but then my 2 year old claimed my attention. His day went fine, he told me he only cried once because he didn't like the singing!

Lady M, so true about the lifetime bond, and so many things to worry about!

Potty Mummy, it is a strange day when they finally go, but it seems to have gone well. I wonder when he'll realise that he's now condemned for the next 13 years?! (The younger ones always win the fights!)

Mrs S, yes indeed, the boy has gone off to school, very proud of himself, 'I'm a schoolboy now'! How very dare you mention my ice cream and Lidl's ice cream in the same sentence?!

M&M, yes, all went well, I was very brave!

Muddyboots, wise words, do they get better at tidying up too?

Miss T, what bad luck for you and your son! Didn't the cast go a bit sticky under the hairdryer?!
I am not feeling too bereft, and L's first day was fine, thank-you.

debio said...

Made me cry, PITK - who know what the world holds for these little ones.

Life seems to be a succession of goodbyes.

Stay at home dad said...

How touching (and frightening!). Yes I often think life is all goodbyes and memories.

Well done on remembering the smell-eating, my daughter said something which made me laugh this evening and I've forgotten already.

Rebecca said...

I've got four boys so forgive my ignorance...but do girls NOT pick the fridge magnets off the fridge and throw them around the house???! Do they really sit down and draw when they're bored?

I want one of those. *sob*

Alisa said...

Absolutely awesome, I mentioned it on my blog in one post, and then tagged you for a meme in the next -

Not that you probably haven't received a ton of these!

Suffolkmum said...

What a fantastic post. I nearly cried, thinking of my own boy at that age. They are in some ways so much more robust, yet in other ways so much more fragile, than their sisters, I agree. Now my boy is in that middle stage of childhood where he's serious and sensible one minute, then gruniting into a penknife the next. I hope his first day went well - my girl started today too - sob.

Frog in the Field said...

Oh Pig, what a fantastic post this is! Brilliantly written, of course.
having girls, I am very aware boys are completely different, I don't think I could wrestle on the sofa, have enough trouble with darling husband!

Jess Poskozim said...

Dairy-free ice cream, yahoo! Pig, you Rock my little girl's world!

Brom said...

My you are getting good at this!!

farming-frenchstyle said...

Sat in the car and cried after leaving my daughter at lycee - she's 18, hates it and it doesn't get any better. See farming-frenchstyle 4/9/07. Will see her next week now as she goes to her dad's this weekend. Oh joy!

Stay at home dad said...

Yes, they really do Rebecca!

Elsie Button said...

oh what a lovely description of your son - he sounds very spirited, which is great! it must feel very strange when your child starts school, very emotional. I am already dreading it!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Debio, kids tug at the heartstrings don't they? And thinking about their future is too worrying...

SAHD, goodbyes and memories, that's a good way to put it. I only remembered the smell eating because I'd written it recently in his baby journal. You need to start one!

Rebecca, welcome. i'm sorry, I'll try to let you down gently, but yes, girls do tend to sit down and be creative! Fridge magnets get neatly arranged from cutest to most beautiful.

Hello Alisa, thank you very much! At the risk of sounding it ok if i dont do the meme...i've done it once and i'm not being coy when i say, I have nothing interesting left to say! But thank-you.

SuffolkMum, thank-you. My boy is so much more sensitive than my girls, I find it a little confusing. At what point does he turn from this gentle boy into the Ug Neanderthal he's supposed to be? Hope your girlie's first day went well. (think of all that free time you have now, i'm rather jealous!)

FITF, yes you must have less fighting in your house, but much more cattiness I suppose. I keep anticipating hormone hell in the teenage years. As my husband very kindly pointed out, when the girls are going thru puberty, I'll be going thru the menopause.

Jess P, COOL! I'm glad i can still rock someone's world ;-)

Brom, thank-you kind sir.

F-F, oh i'm really sorry, i've visited your blog and left a comment. 18 sounds so old doesn't it? But i'm 30-@?*!!% and i still want to go home to my mum at times, so I can well believe the angst of an 18 year old...

SAHD - aren't we rubbing her nose in it a bit?!

Elsie B, i do hope you have recovered from your lurgy. Yes, spirited is a good description (hyper, wild, bonkers, those could be other ones), and yes it is sad when they start school, but you have a good few years yet!

Marianne said...

Your love for your children shines through PITK, They are lucky to have you and I'm sure they know it.

It is hard to let them go into the scary wide world, but I do agree with elizabeth that grown up children are a joy too.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Marianne, you are very sweet, I hope they know I love them, even after I've lost the plot and shouted at bedtime. I wish there were diplomas and degrees for looking after your children, it would be so comforting to know I was in fact doing it ok.

Rachel said...

Hello, a year after you posted this but I've only just come across it! I wondered what size ice cream maker you used. Would a 1L size be okay for this recipe?