coconut ice cream single

On a regular daily jaunt, why is your level of perception heightened one day, and virtually non-existent another?  Perhaps I was not as pre-occupied with my thoughts (as I typically am).  On this particular day, while strolling to my bus stop one morning, I was taken aback by a small flock of crimson Rosellas

I paused for a moment to soak up their vibrant splendour.  The bright, colourful, iconic native bird, once a common sight in my childhood, but less so recently.  As I continue to walk, I am overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia.

Not long ago, the customary afternoon summer thunderstorm in Queensland gave way to a practically rain free existence.  A drought.  But now, a few years on, the rain has returned (at least for now), and along with it a few old familiar sights.  The lush, fluorescent green grass (replacing the recent dusty, burnt brown ground covering).  Plants in full bloom, heavily perfumed and majestic in appearance (no longer scratchy and struggling).  And it looks like the birds may have returned, too.

You never know when the rain will disappear again, officially labelling the area in drought once more.  Until then, I will be on alert for all the small pleasures that have returned.  Like the regal Rosella birds.

Inspired by their colourful plumage, comes a bold tropical dessert.  Mint syrup soaked lychees, served with coconut milk ice-cream.  Using a blend of cream and coconut milk as the base for the ice-cream, the overall flavour is not exaggeratedly sweet, perfect for the sugar rich lychees.

lychees set

{ Lychees in mint syrup with coconut milk ice cream } original recipe by Julia @ Mélanger

This dessert is not only simple to make, but all the components can be prepared ahead – the ideal dessert menu selection for easy summer entertaining! 

{ Mint syrup soaked lychees }

* Ingredients *
500g / 1 lb lychees
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves

* Directions *
Peel all the lychees and set aside.  Bring the sugar and water to the boil.  Add half the mint leaves.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Continue to boil for 1-2 minutes and remove from the heat.  Cool and then pour mixture through sieve discarding the mint.  Once the mixture is completely cooled, add the lychees.  Finely chop the remaining mint, and add to the fruit and sugar syrup.  To serve, ladle a few lychees in a bowl or cup and top with syrup.

{ Coconut milk ice cream }

* Ingredients *
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 1/2 cups coconut milk
8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

* Directions *
Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar.  In a saucepan, gently heat the cream until bubbles appear around the edges.  Remove from heat.  Meanwhile, prepare an ice water bath and set aside.  Slowly whisk the heated cream in a steady stream into the yolk mixture to temper.  Once it has been completely mixed, transfer the mixture back to the saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Remove from heat and mix in the coconut milk.  Pour mixture through sieve, and set into an ice-water bath.  Chill mixture overnight in the fridge.  The following day, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for a further 1-2 hours to firm up the texture. 

Makes 1 1/2 litres/quarts