Sabrina Ghayour - absence makes the heart grow fonder

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham

Sabrina Portrait (c) Kris Kirkham - Credit: Archant

Travelling for work means that Sabrina is missing the Yorkshire countryside

It's been a while since my last trip home to Yorkshire and I am truly missing it. Anywhere I go, the air doesn't feel or smell the same and I'm having to settle for pictures of my ridiculously overgrown garden, sent to me by friends who live nearby, with grass so long it could tickle your knees. Its once manicured glory is long gone and the plot fast becoming a candidate for North Yorkshire's first miniature jungle. Having said that, rugged beauty was what first made me fall in love with 'God's own country', rather than tidy hedgerows. But, if truth be told, I find order in a sort of organised chaos where everything is as it should be, even if I am the only person who can make any sense of it all. I have been feeling a little disconnected lately, there have been many journeys on trains, planes and automobiles, many different languages, time zones, currencies and schedules to contend with. I long for the familiar path that leads to my front door, the smell of the farms, the late afternoon loud chirping of the blackbird performing its own concert to the other birds in the area. I miss my garden and can't wait to come back to enjoy the final days of summer with the smell of the barbecue and the sound of laughter in the background. Not to mention the taste of sweet, cool ice cream enjoyed outdoors in the sunshine just before the sun goes down. I have the perfect ice cream recipe for the job, this exotic summer stunner, creamy, rich pistachio and orange blossom ice cream, served in a cone or cup or sandwiched between two wafers, or even better, two chewy cookies or atop a nice shortbread biscuit. Just the thought of it is keeping me going as I write this from the middle of the Baltic Sea, having just left Denmark to head to Finland, Russia and finally Sweden. I'm lucky to get to see these countries as I work, but the only place on my mind is Yorkshire.

Pistachio, Honey & Orange Blossom Ice Cream

There is something wonderful about the process of making ice cream, especially when there is an ice cream maker involved. It makes life so easy and I am always astounded at how simple the process is. This particular ice cream captures all the flavours of the Middle East beautifully and is sweet and delicately floral with notes of orange blossom. The crunch of pistachios is delightful. What's not to love? Served with or without a cone or - even better -wedged into a sweet brioche for the ultimate ice cream sandwich, this is heaven.

Serves 4-6


200g (7oz) pistachio nut slivers, plus extra to decorate

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150g (5½oz) caster sugar

600ml (20fl oz) full-fat milk

600ml (20fl oz) double cream

3 tbsp clear honey

200ml (1/3 pint) orange blossom water

400ml (14fl oz) unsweetened evaporated milk

finely grated rind of 2 oranges

Blitz 150g (5½oz) of the pistachios along with the sugar in a food processor until finely ground.

Put the milk into a saucepan, add the cream, honey, orange blossom water and the pistachio mixture and bring to a gentle boil. Over a period of 20-25 minutes, "the liquid by a quarter, stirring regularly to prevent it from bubbling over. The more you stir, the more the pistachios will release their oils and flavour into the ice cream base. Set aside to allow the mixture to cool.

Pour the evaporated milk into the pistachio-and-cream mixture and stir in the grated orange rind and the remaining pistachio slivers. Mix well, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Once chilled, pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn for 25-30 minutes (or according to your manufacturer's instructions). Alternatively, pour the mixture into a large shallow container and freeze for 2 hours. Remove the container from the freezer and fork through the mixture to break down the ice crystals, then freeze again until firm. Serve in scoops with a sprinking of pistachio slivers.

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