This particular Saturday in June we find ourselves in the beautiful coastal town of Kinsale, it was bustling as it always seems to be at the weekends, come rain or shine, I have never really known this place to be quiet. Simon and I took a spin out to meet the lovely Stephanie Ayres of Iswari Ireland, who gave us some wonderful Iswari superfood goodies to experiment with in the kitchen. Since it is supposedly summer here in Ireland I thought about making some vegan ice cream, the well known nanaicecream. I love to make this as it is so versatile and easy, you can make almost any flavour that you like and the best bit…..its good for you! None of those saturated fats or processed ingredients that your tongue cant quite get around to pronouncing, just good old bananas and your fave superfood ingredients. The times I most like to eat ice-cream are on hot summer days when no amount of water can cool you down and on cold winter nights, curled up with a blanket, the fire (an imaginary one in my case as we don’t have one!) and a good movie or book.
So I decided on a classic Neapolitan, traditionally this is strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream. I think we all have memories of this sandwiched between wafers as kids! For the healthy version I used Iswari açai, lacuma and cacao powders.
I probably mentioned in a previous post that my own personal switch to Iswari superfood products was to supplement my diet in a bid to lead a healthier lifestyle. Like most people I have an awful sweet tooth and my old habits had me filling up on empty calories, munching my way through plenty of chocolate bars a week which had no beneficial nutritional value at all. As a result my daily intake would leave me short on essential nutrients and my body knew all about it! It’s no surprise that Raw Cacao Powder went down a treat with me! This was one of the first Iswari superfood products I began exploring when I embarked on my healthier lifestyle, there is always a pouch of it sitting on top of the fridge nestled in among other pouches of exciting powders! I have to say Iswari raw cacao powder is one of my faves as it is tasty, good value and really versatile! So far I have used it to make cacao porridge, hot chocolate, chocolate sauce, chocolate brownies, nut butter cups and chia pudding! Although the cacao powder is not sweet in itself I find that adding some Iswari Coconut Sugar helps to add some sweetness to it, this is low GI in comparison to regular granulated sugar and also contains zinc and iron! So why cacao powder over chocolate? Well, adding raw cacao to my food provides a source of Iron and fibre as well as minerals such as zinc, magnesium and potassium. It is also antioxidant and vitamin rich so I know that any time I am indulging in this product that it is actually giving me something my body needs!
Lacuma and açai are both a new experience for me so I was quite excited to experiment with these products. It is easy to fall in love with the rich vibrant purple hue of açai powder, the colour alone made me want to eat it out of the packet! Don’t do this though, I wouldn’t recommend it on its own, although, while making the ice creams I did knock a spoonful of it on to the floor. Cursing, I then laughed as Alfie (dog) came in and licked it up off the floor, he loved it! Açai powder comes from the açai berry and has a very high antioxidant content and a great source of vitamin C making it great for the immune system, the perfect winter supplement I would say! Finally lacuma powder is also a mineral rich food which has a source of iron,calcium and carbohydrates. Its also known for regulating hormones and aiding digestion too!The colours of these superfood products not only gave me a close match to the traditional Neapolitan colours but also gave some wonderful textures and flavours too! So here is everything you need to make your own super healthy Neapolitan ice cream………….and complimentary chia pots too if your really in the mood for food!
You do need a good blender for the nana ice cream, my blender from Argos didn’t quite cut it but i used a stick blender instead, this can be a little messy but it does the job just fine :). These ingredients will make two rather moorish and very satisfying pots of Ice cream. Make sure you have a plastic jug if using the stick blender and also, 3 jars with lids for the chia puddings.
For the Nana Ice Cream (3 flavours)
6 Frozen Bananas (chop them up before freezing it makes the easier to blend)
50-100 ml almond milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbs almond butter
2tbs Iswari Raw Cacao Powder
1-2 tbs Iswari Lacuma Powder
1 tbs Iswari Açai Powder
Handful of frozen blueberries
Handful of Almond slivers toasted
For the Chia Pudding (one portion- just repeat for each flavour)
3 tbs chia seeds
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tbs of either Iswari cacao, lacuma or açai powder depending on which flavour you make
1/2 tsp Iswari Coconut Sugar or vanilla essence (Optional)
For the Chocolate Sauce
1/8 cup of Iswari Raw Cacao Butter
2-3 heaped tbs of Iswari Raw Cacao Powder
1 tsp Iswari Coconut Sugar
Pinch of Salt.
Get all of your ingredients together, don your apron or just your comfy trackie ends and tee shirt as I did and put on some of your fave music, I like to move when I do things 🙂
For the Chia Pudding Pots Make these the night before or at least 6/8 hours before you want to eat them)
Take out your three jars, to make a small batch of each chia pudding but 3 tbs of whole chia seeds into each jar, then put one tbs of Iswari Raw Cacao powder and 1 tsp Iswari Coconut sugar into one jar, 1 tbs Lacuma powder and a 1/4 tsp vanilla essence into another jar and 1 tbs Iswari açai powder into the last jar. Add 3/4 cup of almond milk into each jar. Just to note, I always use unsweetened almond milk, if you use the sweetened kind, well, your puddings will be sweeter and you may not need the coconut sugar. Give each jar a very thorough stir, screw on the lids and then give a vigorous shake. You want to make sure the seeds are well mixed with the liquid, if they don’t you will get a large gloopy mess in the middle of your pudding and you don’t want that. Put the jars in the fridge and leave to set giving a stir after about 3 hours or so.
I made one batch of Ice cream at a time, putting each one into the freezer while I made the next one. First up Lacuma Vanilla Ice Icecream! I am not apoligizing for the musical pun there, gotta love puns. So take two frozen bananas, If using a stick blender but the bananas into a plastic jug, then add a dash of almond milk, 1 heaped tbs of Iswari Lacuma Powder and a tsp of vanilla essence, I use Nielsen Massey brand because its real! None of that fake vanilla stuff in there. The benefit of using a stick blender is that it gives your biceps a good work out too, I suggest alternating arms for an even work out, so yep blend un till you get a smooth ice cream consistency. You do not want it to be too runny, keep it quite thick. Have a little taste and add either more Lacuma or vanilla depending on your preference, the lacuma powder gives a wonderfully creamy and sort of biscuity texture and flavour, it really is great for ice cream! Scoop into a container and put it straight into the freezer. Clean out the jug and get ready to make you next batch. So this is pretty much the same, put your bananas, dash of almond milk into the jug, add 1 tbs Iswari açai powder and a handful of frozen blueberries, this is just a lovely compliment to the colour and flavour of the açai powder and blend, you may need a little more almond milk for this one as the frozen blueberries will make the ice cream thicker. Again scoop out of the jug and into a small container and stick it straight into the freezer, nearly there. Save the best till last, this is my fave, the choconut ice cream! So, two frozen bananas, 2tbs Iswari Raw Cacao powder, 2tbs almond butter and a dribble of almond milk, again you may need a little more milk here as the almond butter thickens up the icecream, if your chosen nut butter does not contain salt, add a tiny pinch to the ice cream mix, blend, taste, and put in freezer.
For the Chocolate Sauce
I posted this method in a previous post Devilishly Dark Nut Butter Cups but here it is again anyways. Bring a small pan of water to simmer, pop the Iswari Raw Cacao Butter into a bowl and place over the simmering water to melt. Use a fine sieve to sift in the Raw Cacao powder and the Coconut sugar, add salt to taste. Keep tasting the mixture until it is as sweet/salty as you want it.The coconut sugar will not completely dissolve so if your using this as a chocolate sauce you may want to give it a good stir before you pour as the sugar will settle to the bottom.
Finally, you are ready to serve! Take the chia puddings out of the fridge and put into little pots, you can put one flavour into each pot or be adventurous and put all three in together! Get the ice cream from the freezer and scoop into little tubs, we used these adorable tubs and spoons from Tiger Stores. The ice cream may be a little melty, I could have left mine in the freezer for a bit longer but I was too excited, sprinkle with toasted almonds, drizzle on some raw cacao sauce and get stuck in! I really can’t say how tasty these were, the three flavours compliment each other wonderfully as the rich creamy texture melts in your mouth, hints of nutty chocolate and smooth biscuity vanilla merge with the slightly zingy fruitiness of the açai and blueberry. Oh so good! I really hope you enjoy, you can find out more about Iswari and their wonderful products from their website at www.iswari.net and www.facebook.com/pages/Iswari-IrelandUK/140976672602672?fref=ts