The other day I heard the old familiar tune of Greensleeves in the distance and then a brightly coloured Mr Whippy van appeared around the corner. I ran out of my restaurant onto the street and, when I got to the van, saw the choices on offer hadn't changed since my childhood. It made me think about all the great, frozen things you can make at home to cool down on a hot day.
There are many frozen desserts to choose from, and they're mostly quite easy. They include semifreddos, made with a kitchen mixer, and granitas, which need only a saucepan and a tray.
Granitas are the most refreshing of the choices because they contain no cream or milk. They are really just fresh ice crystals flavoured with vibrant fruit juices. But there are more adult options, such as the recipe on the right, which features coffee and a healthy dash of rum.
The second recipe is a variation on the traditional Spanish dessert creme Catalan. It has a richness that complements the intense flavour of the coffee granita.
500ml espresso coffee
250g castor sugar
900ml sparkling mineral water
Make the espresso coffee and dissolve the sugar in it while it's still hot. Add the rum and mineral water. Pour into a shallow 30x24cm stainless steel tray and put in the freezer. Every hour, take a whisk and rough the mixture up until even ice crystals have formed. Store in an airtight container.
1 litre cream
120g castor sugar
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 oranges
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
5 gold-strength gelatine leaves, soaked in cold water until soft
Bring cream, sugar, zests and cinnamon sticks to a simmer over a medium heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Cut vanilla pod lengthways and scrape seeds into the liquid. Add pod as well. Return to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Remove vanilla pod and cinnamon sticks. Add softened gelatine and stir until dissolved. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a jug and then pour into moulds. Place in fridge and set overnight.
BANANA AND CHOC-CHIP PARFAIT
650ml pouring cream
150g castor sugar
125g egg yolks (about 8 eggs)
1.5 titanium-strength gelatine leaves, softened in cold water for 5 minutes
300g banana, pureed with a squeeze of lemon to prevent discolouration
100g roughly chopped chocolate
Whisk cream in an electric mixer until soft peaks form (2-3 mins), then refrigerate until needed.
Stir sugar and 70ml water in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve, bring to the boil and cook without stirring until mixture reaches 114C on a sugar thermometer (3-4 mins). Whisk yolks in an electric mixer until pale (2-4 mins). Gradually add sugar syrup to eggs, whisking continuously until incorporated, then squeeze water from gelatine and add to yolk mixture. Whisk until cooled to room temperature (5-7 mins), then fold in banana and chocolate.
Fold in whipped cream, incorporate well. Pour into a container and freeze until firm. Serve with sliced banana and maple syrup.
Barcelona-born Frank Camorra is chef and co-owner of MoVida Sydney and Melbourne's MoVida Bar de Tapas.