Dairy free ice creams are not hard to come by these days – there’s plenty to choose from at any supermarket – but I normally find them way too sickly sweet.  So I’ve often been tempted to make my own – results have varied but the main problem is that home-made ice cream becomes too icy and can be difficult to serve.  I’ve definitely never made a vegan ice cream that I could feel confident serving to anyone except Nik, who greets all of my new creations with the unwavering “delicious”, mumbled through a mouthful of whatever it is!

So, what the hell was I thinking of a couple of weeks ago (I mean when it was still hot), when I decided to embark on a brand new quest for the perfect nut-based ice cream hours before friends were due for dinner?  Thankfully my efforts were well received and so here’s the  recipe; if you have a sweeter tooth you might need more honey.  This was easy to serve on the evening of making (after freezing for about 6 hours) but to serve the remaining couple of scoops a few days later I had to take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before serving.

400ml creamy oat milk (e.g Alpro)

200ml oat or soya single cream

380g cashew nuts

1 tbsp. perfectly smooth cashew nut butter

4 tbsps. runny honey

½ tsp ground vanilla bean

1 tbsp. vanilla bean extract

1 tsp lucuma (optional)

35g dark chocolate (90%), finely chopped

1 tsp. sea salt

Soak the cashew nuts in cold water for at least 4 hours but preferable overnight.  Drain the nuts and discard the soaking water.  Add the nuts, dairy-free cream and oat milk to a high speed blender and blend for several minutes (I have a beast of a machine but if you have a less powerful blender you are going to need to work it!).  Ideally you want to blend in lots of air and you also want your nut cream to be completely smooth so, if in doubt, blend longer.  When you think the mix is smooth enough, add the nut butter, honey, vanilla, lucuma and salt.  Blend, blend, blend some more, then check the taste.  When you are happy add the chocolate pieces and pulse ONCE – anymore and you will just have chocolate ice cream! Pour into a container and place in the middle of your freezer so it cools quickly.  After a couple of hours give it stir, moving the frozen outer edges into the centre.  It will be ready to serve after a total freezing time of 4-5 hours (depending on your freezer settings).

I served mine with sliced nectarines and apricots plus a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.