see these ice cubes, see these ice creams

More ice cream! Am I obsessed with this stuff or what? Look: I had a can of lychees stashed in the freezer in the hopes of recreating this drink I had a Thai restaurant in Panmure. Without warning, in the middle of the day, the idea of lychee and cucumber sorbet manifested in my mind, eclipsed the previous idea, got the jump on anything else I’d been planning to blog about, and left me more or less unable to concentrate from then on till I could make it happen.

Saturday was spent catching up with close friends and family in fast succession (amazingly fun and good for the soul) but today, Sunday, stretched ahead with no real agenda. It was one of those monumentally rare, still blue-skied days in Wellington and rather than nuking myself in the afternoon heat, the cool shade of indoors was the ideal environment to make this fragrant, juicy sorbet. Because of the high water content it’s icier than most which is why – sorry – I recommend the double-blitzing in the food processor. That said it’s barely hard work to make, and if you do it all on one day, you can get away with washing the processor just the once. (We don’t have a dishwasher so most decisions that don’t revolve around how I can work more ice cream into my life tend to revolve around how I can minimise potential dishwashing.) All you’re doing is freezing then blending then freezing then blending. Then eating.

Yes, you’re putting a salad vegetable into your pudding, but something about cucumber’s chilled, melon-ish texture and the lychee’s perfumed slippery softness makes them ideal buddies to share a loving and iced existence together.

Lychee and Cucumber Sorbet

  • 1 can lychees in syrup (they only seem to come in syrup, so that’s what I used)
  • 1 decent-sized cucumber

Now, I’m guessing you don’t actually have to freeze the lychees beforehand, it really doesn’t add anything to the recipe, but as I said I started off thinking this was going to be something else.

So: freeze the can of lychees overnight, or longer if you’re like me and forget about it. Peel your cucumber, then halve it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon (I just ate them, felt a bit wasteful otherwise) before chopping into chunks.

Open up your frozen can of lychees and tip into a food processor (it’ll probably take some gouging and digging with a knife like mine, but it’s possible it could come out clean) along with the cucumber chunks. Process the heck out of it, pausing to spatula down the sides occasionally – this will take a while to get rid of any errant solid bits.

Pour into a container and freeze for a couple of hours before – I’m sorry – processing again till very smooth. You can leave out this step but it’ll be all chunky and icy and rough. Refreeze and then serve as and when you wish.

Making up new ice cream is one of my favourite ways to use my brain (and I know this is a sorbet, but I give the umbrella heading because “iced dessert” sounds way too corporate) and luckily for everyone around who has to deal with me, this worked out exactly as I’d hoped. There’s only so many ways of saying fragrant without sounding weird/awkward, so to be straightforward, this stuff smells sooo good and tastes just as wonderful: juicy and hydrating and sweet. The second blitzing gives it more of a frozen coke consistency, rather than a granular, tooth-fissuring grittiness.

Scraped by the frosty spoonful, its diaphanous minty green colour barely hints at the strength of summery flavour it brings. These photos were totally taken on my bed by the way. I try to keep my food photography as real-life as possible without too much tutu-ing round but that’s where the light was, and it’s really not implausible that I’d eat ice cream in bed.

Title via: That exercise in then-exciting minimalism, Drop It Like It’s Hot by Snoop Dogg and my then-crush Pharrell (the song’s still good and of course he’s still good looking, but I don’t have a poster of him on the wall or anything).

Music lately: 

We had such an amazing time at Nas and Damian Marley’s Distant Relatives concert on Wednesday night. Might’ve just been the atmosphere but every song felt really important and significant…like this one. 

The sadly gone-early Patsy Cline with Stop the World – this is a gorgeous live recording of her singing this song. She was what I guess you’d call a consummate performer, filling every word with genuine but not excessive emotion. 

Next time: I feel like it has basically been nonstop pudding lately so I’m hoping the next one will involve vegetables a-plenty, and not by putting them into a sorbet, either.</p>

11 thoughts on “see these ice cubes, see these ice creams

  1. Millie @ Gusty Gourmet says:

    I've been liking cucumber a lot this summer, in salads and by itself but also in water and sweet drinks, so making the leap over to dessert isn't that much of a stretch – yum. Also with the number of (equally delicious-looking) ice creams/sorbets you make you could pretty much open an ice cream shop!

    ps. I would never have guessed you took these photos on your bed. awesome 🙂


  2. Hannah says:

    Laura. You are just entirely brilliant. I had cucumber water for the first time at a spa after a massage a year ago, and it blew my mind. I also love lychees, and have no ice cream maker. As soon as I have room in my freezer…


  3. Vanille says:

    A very original combination of flavours, I like it ! Sweetness of lychee with freshness of cucumber…and the weather has been perfect lately to enjoy such an icy treat !


  4. Rebecca says:

    ahh the much-maligned cucumber gets its day in the sun! (so to speak)
    hey I tried to text you earlier but think I have an old, pre-fancy-phone number for you
    😉 Anyway what it said was:
    Been to Pipitea, they said they need rubbish bags, sanitary wipes, buckets and non-perishables. I realised the stuff is mostly being sent to Chch not used here. Also realised after giving them the stuff and talking to the nice ladies that I hadn't found out whether they needed baking or not. oops. I don't imagine they'd say no though.
    Cheers lovely


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