When considering running away to paris, be aware that you will face the dilemma of prioritising your worldly possessions. When considering running away to paris to write a food blog, be aware this will mean prioritising your kitchen equipment, and most likely leaving much of it behind. All of it, in fact: favourite knives, pots, pasta roller, sausage gun. While that last one was probably packable, the thought of explaining what it was to customs officials was not particularly attractive though it did lead to a solid hour of immature jokes involving penises and holding up banks. Yes, you really start to miss your own equipment when you are apartment hopping. The first thing we check out in every place we have stayed is the kitchen, and generally they are crap. Pokey, cupboard-sized architectural afterthoughts that even the best real estate agent would struggle to define as a kitchen. And more often than not they are equipped like a 1970s caravan kitchenette. You know – the non-stick frypan that’s been used as a chopping board, the can opener that requires half a day of youtube tutorials before you can use it. Other useful items like a fairy floss maker with no plug, a set of 11 funnels in different sizes and a half-opened packet of straws. You get the picture.
So when paris turns on a week of 40 degree weather and the internet explodes with quick and easy recipes to cool down, the thing you miss most of all is your ice cream maker. Even if it was a broken arse piece of junk that generated enough heat to melt the arctic ice cap while it was producing something a polar bear would eat (ice cream, that is. Not penguins). Lucky for us this explosion of recipes included a million and one ways to make delicious frozen things without an ice cream maker, even if it meant churning everything by hand like a medieval milkmaid. We weren’t convinced. But then again, we were desperate.
And then we found these things. White apricots. Never heard of them. Like normal apricots, but white inside, more delicate and super sweet. A reasonably friendly conversation with the farmer revealed them to be vanilla-cots, a newly bred variety which blends old and new fruit. If you think that sounds like genetic modification, you would be right. To a point. Hybridisation via cross pollination is what gave the world good things like nectarines and labradoodles and jessica alba. Not to be confused with genetic modification in a lab, which gave the world other things like gigantic flavourless strawberries and dolly the sheep and michael jackson.
Long story short, they tasted amazing and we immediately thought they would make a pretty killer sorbet. So we experimented a little with recipes that require no gadgets or paraphenalia. Just time. And a freezer.
1 kg white apricots
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup water
10 stems of edible lavender
Halve the apricots and remove the stones. Place the apricots in a pan over a medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then to make sure they don’t catch. When they have softened, remove from the heat and stir in half the sugar until fully dissolved. Push the apricot mush through a sieve with the back of a spoon into a deep glass bowl to remove the fibres from the flesh. Leave to cool completely.
When cooled to room temperature, place in the freezer. Every half hour, remove the sorbet from the freezer and stir vigorously, scraping any frozen bits from the sides of the bowl. After a few hours of this, the sorbet will seize up and become harder to stir. When this happens, leave the bowl in the freezer to solidify (overnight will do it).
To make the lavender syrup, heat the water in a pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and 5 of the lavender stems. Bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes and then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Make sure not to stir or agitate the syrup during this process, otherwise it will crystalise and not be very syrupy. When the syrup has completely cooled, strain through a fine sieve or a tea strainer.
When you want to serve the sorbet, take it out of the freezer to soften for 5 minutes or so and it will be smooth and creamy. Serve the sorbet with a few spoonfuls of lavender syrup and sprinkle the remaining lavender flowers over the top.
If you like, you can also garnish with pieces of fresh apricot. We used regular apricots in our photos because we got too excited and ate all the leftover white ones while the sorbet was chilling.