Summer has certainly crept up on us quickly - what a change from last week's rain. Thankfully, during the cooler days we planted most of our garden with the seedlings, and then the lovely heavy rains came directly after, followed by these gloriously hot days this week. Now, in the early hours of the day, we are trying to do the rest of our planting. We've started a new permaculture garden around the strawbale addition, a vacant space in the yard that has been calling to us for several years but we needed to bide our time waiting for the right opportunity. Now that the house construction is completed we can safely put in the fruit trees and berry bushes, and start establishing permanent beds in this area - these will include blueberries, elderberry, currants, ground cherries and herbs...hopefully all which will continue to be our perennial harvest. Also, for this first time in this yard there is room for a large watermelon patch! Plus, pie pumpkins, beans, corn, and purple heirloom potatoes, all of which will start to act as a living mulch over the ground and help build up the soil here slowly. So exciting to have another large extension like this to our garden production!
We are still eagerly working with wild harvested foods, and yesterday's recipe was a luscious sweetly scented honey and lilac icecream. We used local goatsmilk, added egg yolks for additional fat content, arrowroot to help stabilize the icecream (apparently this helps to prevent ice crystals from forming on the icecream, however there is probably little chance of that as it will be all eaten in a few short days!), raw honey as a sweetener, and whole vanilla bean steeped with the lilac blossoms...mmm. We've had a hand-crank icecream maker sitting in our pantry shelf for quite some time, and this was the perfect chance to try it out. A bit of work, but worth it. You can make this icecream in a regular icecream maker, or (if you are not too concerned about a creamy texture) even just freeze it in a container stirring up every few hours as it sets.
Honey & Lilac Goatsmilk Icecream
3 cups goatmilk
1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
2 cups lilac blossoms
3/4 cup raw honey
4 egg yolks
1 Tbsp arrowroot
1) Gently heat milk with scraped vanilla bean and lilac blossoms. Then add honey and stir to let honey melt completely.
2) Beat egg yolks and arrowroot powder in a small bowl until smooth.
3) When milk is hot (but not boiling) strain the vanilla and lilac and reserve milk. Add egg yolk mixture and whisk until combined.
4) If you want a very smooth texture you can sieve the milk once more, but otherwise the flecks of vanilla pod are quite lovely.
5) Chill at least 2 hours until firm, then prepare in icecream maker according to your machine's instructions.