When I was asked to pay gay ice cream parlour ‘Queens of the Dessert’ a visit, I was surprised to see their location was the rather conservative Covent Garden, rather than the racier neighbourhood of nearby Soho. Unsure of what to expect from the world’s first gay pop up ice cream bar (open from now until September 30th), I was impressed to see a carnival of campness. Upon arrival I was greeted by the ultimate in gay fantasies – a scantily clad Adonis, pole dancing in the shop window and suggestively devouring the contents of a cone - certainly enough to send anybody’s heart a-flutter. The staff inside are equally easy on the eye – indeed my mouth was agape before I’d even considered the array of ice creams on offer.
As well as serving ice creams with innuendoes aplenty – try Brokeback Mountain or Whornetto for size - there are resident ‘Vice Cream’ masseurs on hand offering complimentary massages and ice cream facials – certainly not for the faint hearted! The ice creams are – naturally – creamy and indulgent and certainly worth a try, but if you’re after something with a bit more of a kick, I can also highly recommend their cocktail list. I tried the Molotoffee – a mix of chilled banana syrup and cloudy apple juice topped with Dulce De Leche ice cream & insulated under a pillow of soft meringue. Blow torched at my table, it’s every bit as saucy as it sounds.
And so, for those looking to celebrate the final Bank Holiday of the year a little differently – Queens of the Dessert is certainly worth a visit. If, however, you don’t wish to venture out in the relentless rain that has become expected on all British Bank Holidays, might I suggest that you try our recipe for Lavender Ice Cream at home? Gyrating hunk optional…
Lavender Ice Cream
- 3 heads of fresh lavender
- 300ml whole milk
- 3 medium egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 150g of mild runny honey
- 250ml of chilled double cream
- Chop the lavender into 1cm pieces using either a knife or scissors. Place in a heavy bottomed saucepan together with the milk and vanilla essence and allow to infuse. Heat until just below boiling, then remove from the heat and cool.
- Taste after ten minutes. You want the flavour to be distinct but not remotely bitter. If it’s not strong enough leave for another 5-10 minutes (if you want a stronger flavour you can leave the mixture in the fridge overnight).
- Pour the milk mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard the lavender.
- Return the milk to the cleaned saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until hot.
- Whisk together the eggs and honey in a large bowl, then add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking.
- Pour in the remaining hot milk mixture to the saucepan and cook over a moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until it’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon – usually about 5 minutes (don’t let it boil) to create a custard mix.
- Leave the custard mix to cool.
- Once cool, stir the double cream into the custard. At this point you can either transfer the mix to an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Or if you don’t have one, lightly whip the cream and fold it into the custard. Pour into a shallow container, freeze for about 20 minutes and then stir. Repeat the process three more times, or until the ice cream is set.
The ice cream is best eaten fresh, but can be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks. Enjoy!