There is never a dignified person in the room when a tub of ice cream is cracked open and passed around. I am not going to sit here and deny that I can demolish an entire tub of Ben and Jerry’s without breaking a sweat. I’m also, however, not going to sit here and tell you that it is something to be proud of. It is the opposite. It is dangerous and threatening - not only to our thighs but to our overall wellbeing. If you think about it, it’s all a bit wrong. Fake, chocolate fish (spelt wrong) swimming past lumps of uncooked baked goods in a pool of colourful, sugary cream, all concealed behind psychedelic logos and hypnotic wordplay. What we shouldbe eating, and what will undoubtably make us feel a million times better than gorging on artificial stuff, are wholesome, antioxidant-rich and guilt-free alternatives.
Ice cream is something I could not easily live without, but I have always been wary of its fat, sugar and dairy content; it is after all just sweet cream. Thankfully I was recently introduced to Booja Booja, an organic, dairy-free chocolatier also excelling in ice cream. Their products are far creamier and more flavoursome than your average-joe Mr Whippy, yet all this is achieved using only four natural ingredients. It seemed so simple and it was ice cream weather in the Capital, so I set myself the task of creating a healthy, nutritious version of my own, made using whole, organic nutritent-dense ingredients and no bad stuff whatsoever.
To achieve an adequate creaminess I used coconut milk, coconut oil and avocado. Both coconut and avocado are examples of good fats, and are very high in fibre, which helps improve digestive health. They also contain lots of vitamins, minerals and amino acids and have incredible antioxidant properties, which help counteract attacks from free radicals in our bodies.
The only sugar in this recipe is natural and comes from the sweet potato, as well as chopped organic blueberries, if you choose to include them. Sweet potatoes have a low GI which means their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, and avoiding blood sugar spikes. Cinnamon also stabilizes blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin receptors, and helps aid digestion, which is why I include it in most of my recipes, sweet and savoury.
1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and baked
2 Tins Coconut Milk, using only the solid part
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
1 Organic Egg Yolk
½ Large Avocado
Organic blueberries, chopped
Raw Cacao Powder (optional)
Vanilla Seeds, Powder, Extract or Protein Powder (optional)
Either bake the sweet potato in its skin for 45 minutes to an hour, or peel and chop it into cubes and boil it for about 20-30 minutes. When it is completely soft, leave it to cool. Once cooled, put the sweet potato into a blender or food processor along with all the other ingredients, apart from the blueberries. (Add the blueberries too if you want them combined into the ice cream and to add flavour and sweetness). Blend until completely smooth. It should be thick and creamy. You may not need all of the coconut milk; make sure it is not too runny.
Pour into a container and add the chopped blueberries. You could alternatively add raspberries or mashed banana to create different flavours. I have also added Raw Cacao powder and vanilla whey protein to create a chocolatey flavour which worked really well.
Whisk one last time before placing in the freezer. If, like me, you don’t have an ice-cream maker, whisk the mixture every 15 minutes to separate any icicles forming at the edges and to keep as much air in the mixture. Make sure to remove from the freezer about 20 minutes before serving as it tends to set quite stiff.