Treats & Snacks, Vegan &/or Raw, x For Freezer x

Sea Salt & Banana Ice Cream

freezing bananas for nice creambanana ice cream

Did you know we can arm our brain with certain nutrients to get our neurotransmitters raving?

This ice cream nails it.

“In every great production, there are hundreds of people behind the scenes that support the main players” writes Dr Hyla Cass, former Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School.

“The same is true with your brain. These are the vitamins and minerals. They help build and rebuild the brain and nervous system, and keep everything running smoothly. They are your brain’s best friends.”

Of particular interest to Cass are the B group vitamins.

A deficiency in B6, she notes, raises our risk of developing depression and can antagonise mental health problems such as schizophrenia or dementia for example. B6 plays a critical role in the production of feel-good hormones in our body called serotonin.

No serotonin, no samba.

Not sure I like the sound of that.

The good news? B6 is found in bananas, chickpeas, beans, nuts and wholegrains like millet. These are your new BFs.

 

Nice cream conenice cream vegan cone

 

Banana & Sea Salt Ice Cream

This isn’t an ice cream. This is an experience.

Kids love it. BBQs want it. Mothers dream about it.

Instead of white sugar and dairy, we’re using frozen banana to achieve the same sweetness and creaminess. Trade secret of the vegan pantry.

 

4 bananas, peeled

Trickle of cow’s milk or any plant-based milk such as almond

Smattering of sea salt flakes

 

Before freezing the banana, chop into small discs, and freeze on baking parchment making sure each slice does not lovebomb its neighbour. When they freeze successfully, you can store them in a freezer bag until an ice cream craving hollers.

At this point, you’ll need to blend the frozen fruit on the highest setting you have. A Vitamix or Omniblend will do this in 5 seconds, a regular blender 15 seconds. You’ll need a splash of milk to give it some momentum.

That’s it! Scoop into pre-chilled tumbler glasses, tickle with sea salt flakes and tuck straight in. Leftovers don’t refreeze very well. I doubt you’ll hate me for it.

Breakfast, Lunchbox, Salads & Suppers, Sides

Chilled Mango & Egyptian Gibna

I am snooping around the city for my supply of Indian and Pakistani mangoes, like a crazed version of an only slightly less bonkers self. Every store I go to, they’re sold out. These chaps are the Imelda May of mangos – perfumed and honeyed with inimitable attitude. Intoxicating stuff.

Generally, Pakistani and Indian mangos arrive on our shores ready to eat, as opposed to the solid Brazilian Kents that assault our supermarkets. The Alphonsoes in particular are cheaper, sweeter and jellier than any other mango I’ve tasted – you’ll need to sit in a bath tub just to eat one. Licky-sticky-yummy. Admittedly, they are quite the adventure to find. Your best bet is in a local Asian grocer or Halal store.

Although mangos are high in natural sugars – 30g on average – they service our system too. Good news for sugar junkies. Expect to get a shot of beta-carotene, zinc and vitamin C with each mango session. These particular nutrients are associated with luminous skin, without the price tag of La Prairie.

And get this. Mangoes are a surprisingly good source of vitamin B6. This vitamin helps our brain manufacture happy hormones called serotonin. Fist. Bump.

 

Gibna Mango Chilli

 

 

Feta – sheep’s and goat’s milk

Feta is practically giddy with calcium. This is the mineral responsible for sturdy bones and radical dance moves. Now that we know calcium-supplementation can carry some negative side effects (such as contracting artery walls), it might be wise sourcing calcium from our diet rather than relying on pill-popping.

 

feta cheese

 

If you’re not mad on feta, Irish goat’s cheese is unreasonably delicious. We have a special temple built for Bluebell Falls and Ardsallagh goat’s cheese in our fridge. It’s a brilliant vehicle for Green Leafy Veg, especially with toddlers, husbands and other contrarians. I’ve rapidly learned that if I put goat’s cheese on (insert healthy food here), all manner of boy will eat it.

Goat’s milk and sheep’s milk has a particular pH level that seems to excite ‘alkaline’ eaters such as Sienna Miller, Victoria Beckham and Robbie Williams. The Alkaline Diet is a scorching trend among the gorgeous brigade of London and New York. Apparently, alkaline foods help with the absorption of calcium from our foods. These include all fruit, veg, millet, and sprouted nuts, seeds and beans. On the opposing side sits acidic foods – beer, meat, chocolate, bread. Advocates believe that acidic foods interfere with the proper absorption of calcium.

Interested? Check out The Honestly Healthy Cookbook penned by Sienna Miller’s stepsister Natasha Corrett. It’s good. You’ll need to resuscitate that roll of litmus paper from biology class. And that day-glow exercise leotard. Good luck!

 

mint gibnamangos alphonsos

 

 

Chilled Mango & Egyptian Gibna

Gibna is a soft, white, salty cheese similar to feta but distinct to Egypt. It may not sound terribly exciting, but your veins will think otherwise. Chilli revs up your heart rate and metabolism, and helps release a cavalry of feel-good endorphins.

Socialise it with some licky sticky mangoes to experience alarming amounts of pleasure.

 

2 very ripe mangoes

200g gibna beyda or feta cheese (there’s a cracking recipe for pine nut ricotta on page 111 of my cookbook for vegan pals)

1 teaspoon lime juice

4 tablespoons tahini

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6-8 medjool dates, stoned and chopped

Large handful of fresh mint leaves

Freshly cracked black pepper

 

De-stone each mango. To do this, cut the cheeks from each side of the stone. Slice these into strips, like melon, removing the leathery skin with a sharp knife. Try salvaging as much flesh from the stone as possible, but we usually resort to sucking this while we read the remainder of the recipe.

Arrange the mango slices on a breadboard, and leave to chill in the fridge.

Using a fork, mash the cheese into your lime, tahini, olive oil and cayenne pepper. Finely chop the medjools and mint leaves. Let them loose with the crushed feta. It won’t need salt, but a few cracks of the black pepper mill will bring it up an octave.

Taste, and add more chilli or mint to suit your mood. Serve in a small bowl beside lashings of fragrant mangoes and flat bread.