To make this, you’ll need to plan ahead, as it works best when some of the ingredients have been frozen overnight. If you like, you could add some frozen strawberries to make the ice cream a delightful pink. Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk but contains less water. It is dairy-free, so is helpful if you are trying to reduce the amount of dairy you eat, and it is widely available in supermarkets.
Find this recipe in my book, The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food.
1. The night before, empty the can of coconut cream into a bowl and put it in the fridge to harden. In the morning, there should be a thick layer of cream on top, with some liquid as well.
2. Slice the bananas and freeze them overnight. Don’t make the pieces too big, as they can be hard to break up.
3. Put half the frozen banana, the ginger, vanilla and coconut cream in a food processor. Pulse at first to break the fruit up gently, then blend until most of it has been broken down and you have a frozen paste.
4. Add the pecans and the rest of the banana in 3 lots, stopping when you reach the right consistency. By now the mixture should be nice and thick but, if necessary, you can add a little dairy-free coconut yoghurt to loosen it up. Don’t add too much as the mixture can go to liquid easily.
5. Taste it and add a little maple syrup or honey if you want it sweeter, though this isn’t usually necessary with the sweetness from the crystallised ginger and banana.
6. The ice cream is best eaten there and then, but if you want a firmer consistency, transfer it to small ramekins and put it in the freezer for 2 hours. When you are ready to eat, serve it straight from the freezer. It should be soft enough to scoop out with a spoon. You can also put the mixture into ice cream or lolly moulds and freeze it for around 4 hours.
Together, over 5 years, Alice Mackintosh and I developed recipes that put around 150 nutritional studies into practice. They’ve helped me to become more energised, less anxious, clearer thinking, more balanced and a better sleeper. Our conversations and experiments led to our book The Happy Kitchen: Good Mood Food.
In it, I share in detail what I have learnt about eating for happiness. By harnessing the power of food to boost my mood, not just on melancholy days, I have been able to stabilise my feelings. Nutrition has become an important element in my holistic approach to staying well.