Lavender Ice Cream - gluten-free and vegan

Lavender Ice Cream is so heady with the wonderful scent and flavour of lavender it is summer on a plate. Lavender is such a relaxing scent which makes this the perfect end of the day desert to relax with. I first encountered the amazing the scent and beauty of lavender flowers and hedges on a training camp when I was about 13. I had never seen or smelt such beautiful hedges that were full of fantastic flowers. I adore the scent even now and really don’t associate it with grandmothers and mothballs – as some do.

Lavender Ice Cream is easy but it takes time to make – soaking the cashews over night and freezing for four hours.

Lavender Ice Cream is perfect to end any meal and quite grown up for a dinner party.

Lavender Ice Cream is gluten-free and vegan as well as… celery free, coconut free, garlic free, lupin free, mustard free, nightshade free, onion free, peanut free, sesame free, soya free.

If you are lucky enough to have lavender in your garden you can pick your own lavender. Otherwise you can buy food-grade lavender online.

You can substitute the almond milk for another non-dairy milk.

If you have an ice-cream maker you can use this. The texture will be smoother with an ice-cream maker.

The best container to use to freeze is a freezer-proof container with a lid.

Difficulty
Serves 4-6
Preparation time 30 minutes (excluding overnight soaking time)
Cooking time 4 hours

Ingredients
600 millilitres almond (or other non-dairy) milk
600 grams cashew nuts
20 grams lavender flowers and buds (about 8 large sprigs)
100-150 millilitres agave nectar
1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
1. Place the almond milk and cashew nuts in a container and place in the fridge overnight
2. Strain the almond milk in to a small pan and place the cashews in to a food processor
3. Put the saucepan on to a medium-low heat until it just begins to boil. Add the lavender flowers and buds (keep a few lavender flowers back for decoration). Cover and remove from the heat. Steep for 20 minutes
4. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Pour the almond milk through the strainer to remove the lavender. You may need to press the juice out of the lavender – it can get very thick
5. Blitz the cashew nuts in a food processor until smooth. Scrape down the sides and blitz again, slowly adding the infused almond milk, followed by 100 grams of the agave nectar and vanilla extract. Taste the mixture – add more agave if required
6. When totally blended place in a freezer-proof container with a well-fitting lid and place in the freezer. Freeze for 90 minutes and mix with a whisk or a fork to break up and incorporate the ice crystals. Return to the freezer
7. Mix the ice-cream every 45 minutes to an hour for four hours to break up the ice crystals. Stop mixing when the ice-cream is firm but you can still scoop it. Scatter the surface with the remaining lavender flowers and store in the freezer for up to one month
8. To serve remove the ice-cream from the freezer 20 minutes before serving and serve on its own, with mint or with rhubarb.