2020: another week; another ecancelled event; this time Wimbledon. And, although I wouldn't have been queuing in my tent in SW19 to sit on Henman Hill, there's nothing like getting home from work and watching several hours of sweaty sportsmen while sipping Pimms in your pants. To be fair, I don't need the tennis on TV to do that, but you get my point.
While there might not have been any sport to watch, there were still strawberries to eat. Apparently approximately 27,000 kilos of strawberries are eaten during the Wimbledon Championships, together with 7,000 litres of cream - with many English strawberries grown specifically to be perfectly ripe for those two weeks at the end of June. And I didn't want any to go to waste.
Ie cream may not be the first strawberry desert I would normally think of, and it appears that San Francisco-based frozen desert specalists Humphry Slocombe - whose shop we visited on our honeymoon, many moons ago - feel the same. Demonstated by the fact heir plain strawberry ice cream is named 'here's your damn strawberry ice cream' and only was only offered for sale in their shop on one occasion, when they had leftovers after making sundaes for SF Pride.
While the original recipe has made it into their book, they also offer two alternative, and far jazzier, versions. One with candied black olives and one with candied jalapenos. Although the recipe includes a method to to candy your own chillies I had picked up a jar from our local farmer's market (our favourite place to hang on a Saturday during a pandemic) made locally by the Salsa King. Sweet but with a decent capsaicin kick.
Unlike the majority of their recipes this is a no cook, no trouble method that uses simply pureed fruit, double cream and condensed milk The sweetness balanced, like a good fish supper, with a touch of salt and vinegar. It also tastes of berries, rather than the odd chemicals that strawberry ice cream often tastes of.
By pureeing the fruit, as per the recipe, you won't get the mottled appearance of the ice cream in the book, but the chunks of candied chilli add a little extra colour that stops the churning mixture appear quite as disturbing similar to the pink goo that, according to urban legend, McDonald's chicken nuggets are made from.
Best enjoyed heaped in a sugar cone while reclining under a parasol, licking rivulets of melted ice cream as they drip down your wrists in the heat. Or, if you're in England, inside with your nose pressed against the window, dreaming of sunnier afternoons while waiting for the drizzle to stop.
Here’s Your Damn Strawberry Ice Cream with candied jalapenos
Adapted from the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
500g fresh ripe strawberries, hulled and halved
1 1/2 cups double cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp chopped candied jalapenos
Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor and process to a smooth puree. Strain into a bowl using a fine mesh strainer to remove the seeds (you can also leave it unstrained, but your strawberry ice cream won't be as smooth).
Once the strawberry puree has been strained into the bowl, add the double cream, milk, condensed milk, sugar, salt, and red wine vinegar and whisk together until the sugar has dissolved.
Place the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour, or until throughout chilled (this helps the ice creamy freeze quicker when churning, giving a better texture).
Transfer the chilled mixture to an ice cream maker and spin according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Just before the ice cream is ready, add the pickled jalepenos and stir through thoroughly.
Eat immediately, or transfer into an airtight container and place in the freezer until fully frozen if you prefer a firmer texture.