The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

French tarragon and olive oil ice cream

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I wonder how many of you in the UK have come across those large delivery lorries with a “3663” logo painted on the sides and wondered what just what the “3663” represented.

Well, for those of you who don’t know, 3663 is in fact a UK-based food supplier (“3663” is the number that you type in if you try to spell the word “food” on a telephone keypad).

The company is owned by the multinational Bidvest Group, which is based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

In the UK, 3663 operates out of four regional centres, delivering pre-cooked food to the pub and restaurant industry, as well as to schools and hospitals. This is big business – the company has an annual turnover of over £2 billion

A glance through their current catalogue of products reveals that 3663’s range is quite extensive, including dishes of varying levels of complexity from pre-cooked omelette and risotto through to more sophisticated dishes like slow-cooked British pork belly with apricot and thyme, jambalaya, beef rendang, and even some fancy sounding vegetarian dishes such as mushroom, brie, hazelnut and cranberry wellington.

No doubt, most of the customers who purchase these dishes in pubs or restaurants have no idea that the food they are eating was not prepared, let alone cooked on the premises, merely re-heated in a microwave.

Ironically, some of those customers may even have gone out for a change from eating ready cooked microwaved meals at home.

So next time you go out for a meal, it might just be worth politely enquiring whether the food has been prepared and cooked on the premises, especially if you’ve spotted a 3663 lorry in the vicinity.

Let’s move on to some wholesome, home prepared food.

This one is another in my occasional experiments with vegan ice cream and slightly left field flavour combinations.

I first came across the idea of using olive oil in ice cream through Claire Kelsey of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, whose brilliant book of ice cream recipes, “Melt”, included a wonderful olive oil and smoked salt ice cream recipe, which simply blew me away.

Make sure you use French tarragon when making this ice cream. The Russian variety is inferior and won’t work anywhere near as well. In addition, the olive oil needs to be extra virgin and good quality.

This beautiful ice cream needs to be savoured slowly, to allow your tastebuds to luxuriate in its subtle fruity, grassy and mildly aniseed tones. A delight!

French tarragon and olive oil ice cream


400ml (1 can) organic coconut milk
160 ml organic coconut cream (in liquid form, not a block)
100 ml organic maple syrup
140 ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
15 g fresh French tarragon leaves


1. Put the tarragon leaves in a saucepan with the maple syrup, coconut milk and coconut cream Place the pan on a low heat and bring gently to the edge of a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse.

2. When it has completely cooled, use a food processor or stick blender to blend into a smooth paste. Add the olive oil and whisk well to combine.

3. Pour the ice cream mixture into an ice cream maker and churn. Once it is starting to set, tip the ice cream out into a freezer proof container. Cover the container with a lid and freeze for at least 4 hours. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and leave to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Categories: dairy free, gluten free, vegan


10 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Thebellbottoms and commented:
    This looks amazing.

  2. Mmmmm such uniquely delightful combinations!!


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