This is one of my easier blogs to write as on the 29th May at 4.52am my husband and I were blessed with a gorgeous little boy. We named him Sebastian George Jackson Rolt and he weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds 5. He didn’t waste any time arriving; he clearly wanted to make his mark on the world and say hello to his mummy and daddy.
We were looked after beautifully at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, so much so that I asked the midwife if she might like to come home with us for the week and help us settle into our new family life.
It is the strangest thing going into hospital just the two of you and leaving as a three. Your prize possession wrapped up in a blanket, snuggly sitting in the car seat, sleeping soundly and totally unaware of just how precious they are to their new slightly shell-shocked parents.
We got away with a smooth and quiet journey home in the car, in fact, thinking back, I’ve never seen Will drive quite so slowly! We placed the car seat in the middle of the living room and just stared at our little boy… and stared and stared. Then the realization set in that he was going to wake up soon and need feeding, changing and a lot of cuddling.
It’s been an all-consuming first couple of weeks. Never ending questions between you and your other half asking if you are doing the right thing, but you muddle through learning as you go. And hopefully over the weeks we’ll stop checking that he’s breathing every 10 minutes!
Seb has been thoroughly spoilt with endless clothes arriving in the post almost daily. Friends and family have dropped by to meet the little chap and I even managed to squeeze in knocking up a quick banana cake when Seb was having some cuddle time with daddy.
And today, whilst he snoozes in a pram in the garden, it’s given me a chance to get out the laptop and post up a recipe I made just before he arrived. It’s quite an appropriate recipe for today as it’s baking hot and the day definitely calls for some celebratory ice cream.
I came across this recipe in the ‘What Katie Ate’ recipe book and loved the addition of basil to the ice cream. I’m a huge basil fan and my mum makes a great basil ice cream so I thought combining it with strawberries would be a fabulous combination.
I didn’t really change anything in regards to the recipe other than adding in some crushed meringues I had left over from an Eton Mess I’d made for lunch when we had some friends over for Sunday lunch.
The combination of strawberry and basil was just delicious as was the sweet chewy crunch coming from the meringue. But what really made the ice cream stand out was the black pepper that gave it an unusual hit at the back of your mouth that was delightful against the creamy flavours.
This really is a perfect summer ice cream showcasing some great fresh ingredients that work together into one delicious afternoon treat.
Now I better get back to cuddling our little man.
Strawberry meringue, basil and black pepper ice cream
Inspired and only a small amendment from What Katie Ate Recipe book
Makes 1 litre (Carte D’or size tub)
20g of crushed meringues (recipe for meringues can be found here)
115g strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
110g caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Large handful of basil leaves
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
125ml whole milk
165ml double cream
85ml whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
Place your strawberries in a bowl with a 1/3 of your caster sugar (33g) and add your lemon juice. Mix well together before covering the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
Once chilled, add half of your strawberries, all your basil leaves and black pepper to a food processer (or use a hand blender) and whiz for a few minutes to form a juicy pulp.
With the remaining strawberries mash and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and remaining caster sugar for a couple of minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Add both creams, along with your strawberry pulp and vanilla seeds and gently mix together.
Place the mixture in the fridge to chill for 6-8 hours or overnight if possible.
Using your ice cream machine, churn the mixture as per your machines instructions. Before the ice cream has set (about 10 minutes before the end) add in your crushed meringues and mashed strawberries.
Spoon your ice cream into a tub and leave to set properly in the freezer overnight.
Serve in a bowl with extra strawberries or enjoy in a cone when the sun is out.