It’s probably needless to say, but I get very excited about food. My mind predominantly revolves around it, and when I dedicated two full weeks to recipe testing for the site at the end of June, I was consumed by it more than usual. It was a really fun and rewarding period, and I was amazed by the amount of creative thoughts that flowed into my brain at all hours of the day (and night), giving light to some pretty delicious recipes, including these amazing matcha affogati. Excitement aside, it was also a little bit exhausting and I gained an immense amount of respect for anyone who has ever written a cookbook. Bringing so many ideas to life in a short period of time can be really consuming and can make you overthink and stress about what you love the most. Towards the end of recipe testing, when I was so sure I was all maxed out creatively, I went for a lazy walk to the beach. That’s where I saw an ice cream van serving affogato, a scoop of ice cream topped with espresso, and that’s when the idea for these magic guys hit me – vegan vanilla ice cream swimming in creamy matcha latte. No biggie, but this might actually be my favourite thing I made in those two weeks, and maybe even all year…
Matcha! I’m not going to lie, the whole matcha conversation has always confused me. So it has caffeine? More than coffee? But its effects are different? To be honest, I mainly drink the stuff because coffee makes me giddier than a six year old on a Haagen Dazs, and I really like the earthy taste. Yes, pure matcha powder and tea are potent sources of antioxidants, but no one food or product is a miracle food, especially when consumed in lattes and baked goods (or with a generous scoop of ice cream…), as opposed to in its more natural state, brewed tea in the case of matcha. So, if you like it, drink it! If you don’t and feel better with a cup of coffee, don’t feel like you need to drink it for its “magical benefits”. Either way, paired with ice cream it’s pretty banging, so give it a try!
Vanilla Ice Cream (makes around 1/2 litre)
1 1/2 cups cashews, soaked for 4-8 hours
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 vanilla beans, scraped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
Note: If you’re using an ice cream maker (worth it), place the churning bowl in the freezer the day before making this. If you’re not using an ice cream maker, just transfer the mixture to a freezer friendly container with a sheet of parchment over it, and every hour or so for about 6 hours, remove the ice cream and whisk it for about 1 minute. After 6/7 hours it should be fairly firm, and this point leave it in the freezer to firm completely until you want to serve it. It won’t be as creamy, but it’s how I managed for a couple of years!
To make the ice cream, combine the drained cashews, coconut milk, maple syrup and 3/4 cup water to a blender and blend on high for about 3 minutes. Add in the vanilla beans, extract and salt and blend for another minute.
At this point, if using an ice cream maker, transfer the mixture to the chilled churning bowl, for about 45 minutes. I added some brownie chunks at this point, but it’s completely optional. Transfer the ice cream to a container, preferably overnight, but for at least 6 hours. If you’re not using an ice cream maker, follow the instructions I mentioned before.
Matcha Latte (makes 1/2 litre)
1/2 litre unsweetened non-dairy milk
1 1/2 tbsp matcha powder
Pinch of vanilla
Bring the milk to a bare simmer over medium-high heat. When heated, whisk in the matcha powder until fully incorporated.
To make the matcha affogato, place a spoon of ice cream into each glass, and top with the freshly brewed matcha latte.