This has definitely been my year for growing mint. It came in early, and flourished out into thick leafy bounds, spilling onto the concrete. That was early September and through an interstate move (and a 12 hour drive in the back of a trailer), a cyclone, an unprecedented rain event and the hottest temperatures recorded for February EVER!!, it has just kept on growing. Luscious green leaves, scrabbling everywhere.
I was abundant in mint leaves.
They went in flavoured water every night at dinner, they went in salads, pilafs, in vases around the house. It felt like I would never keep up, and truth be told I didn’t even really like mint.
And then the flowers came in, delicate little clusters of white, you could pinch them off to keep the plant growing thick and full, but they were pretty and dainty with a subtle mint flavour, I was in love. So into desserts they went. My pannacotta is one of those recipes, find it here.
The flowering ended, almost exactly when summer did and with it so did the plants will to live. I was left with a straggly mess of faded and marked green. It was time for the big prune. As devastating as it looks, chopping the plant to ground level is in fact the best thing you can do for it. It’s been 2 days and already I have new shoots sprouting upwards.
But then I was left with the less that perfect twigs of minty freshness, I couldn’t bare to compost them, so it’s mint ice cream, where all the flavour is used but thankfully no one will ever see the sad and sorry mess that made it.
And what better ice cream flavour than the age old classic mint and choc chip.
I did say however there was a secret twist. Totally unconventional, but not completely insane. It’s one of mints best friends and has been combined in cookery for centuries.
Yep Peas, sweet little baby peas. You don’t actually taste the peas, they have been used in this recipe as a natural green food colouring. They also add extra body to the mix.
Try it, it’s delicious. I promise.
Mint, Choc Chip and Pea Ice cream
1 1/4 cup Milk
1 Bunch Mint
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
120g Caster Sugar
1 cup Frozen Baby Peas thawed or 3/4 cup Fresh Baby Peas blanched
1 1/2 cup Thickened Cream
100g Dark Chocolate, chopped fine
Pick the leaves from the mint sprigs and chop roughly but thoroughly.
Place milk and vanilla into a Saucepan on medium low heat until just below boiling. Add the mint leaves, stirring to combine. Leave to infuse for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to release the chlorophyll from the mint.
Meanwhile combine the eggs and the caster sugar and mix until pale.
Once infused, strain through fine sieve, and return to sauce pan. Bring the milk back up to just below boiling.
Add half the hot milk into the egg mix and stir to temper the eggs. Now pour the egg and milk mix into the remaining milk and stir constantly until it thickens into a custard, never letting the temperature rise above 86C. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Place peas into a blender or whiz with stick mixer until a puree. Strain through a fine sieve into the custard mix. Add the cream and combine.
Place Custard into the refrigerator until cold. approx 4 hours.
Churn in an ice cream machine as per instructions. Add in the chopped chocolate half way through.
Freeze and then serve.
You don’t have to chop the mint, but chopping helps the amount of green (chlorophyll) that is released into the milk.
If you don’t have fresh or can’t get fresh mint, use 2 -4 tsp of mint tea depending on how minty you like you ice cream.
On a bit more information on my ice creams or how to make without ice cream maker look here.
If you don’t have peas or that’s a bit too crazy for you, perhaps use an avocado instead. (but trust me you don’t taste the peas) or leave them out altogether and add a few drops of green food colouring.
If you can’t get baby peas just use regular peas, they still have the same effect.