As we approach the festive season I am feeling very nostalgic because this year I will not be visiting my family in Mauritius over the festive period. I will miss them all so much but hey that’s life, like my dad would always say no matter whether you are far or close it’s all about being firm to your commitment and this year my work commitment takes over. Instead of flying to Mauritius I thought of sharing some of my fond memories while you travel with me.
Let’s talk about Xmas Spirit in Mauritius where the heart lies. Ile Maurice being a tropical island we are used to enjoying Christmas celebration in a summery hot weather of plus ºC. Tropical fruits are at their best, mangoes, litchis; longan (dragon eye fruits), sweet small pineapple, watermelon and many more including several citrus fruits.
My memory of Christmas in Mauritius still resounds in my eyes and my heart, seeing lively shops, street markets selling toys, firecrackers, clothes, balloons as they fill the street with such a buzz until late evening. My dad was an entrepreneurial person, another one of his little side business, having market/street stalls selling firecrackers, balloons till late evening especially Xmas and New Year‘s Eve as it was the busiest time and of course most profits made, astute business man he was. But before he headed off to his stalls dad would make sure our Christmas tree had been delivered safely and he would instruct us to decorate the tree ready for when he comes back home late evening.
In Mauritius most people would decorate and put their Christmas tree on the Eve of Xmas. I recall my dad would instruct his men to cut a big tree (Natural pine) and drop it to our house the day before Xmas. We kids would start getting excited because the house would be all clean and ready to get the decoration going. Christmas tree would be decorated, light and tinsels around the house while we patiently wait for our presents. Just like in most countries, gifts are exchanged on the Xmas Eve with an array of fireworks at midnight.
When I was in Mauritius Christmas was always a double celebrations, as it was also my papa’s birthday Xmas Eve. We all used to get together to celebrate two special occasions – the whole extended family sitting around the table with a couple of roast chickens lovingly prepared by my eldest sister (my Appa). It was my papa’s favourite which he would happily tuck in, not with the usual roast spuds but with white French baguette and homemade mayonnaise made my mama. The table would be laid with a good mix of different dishes to include fish, octopus curry or “vindaye”, vegetable gratin and plenty more.
A real feast to cast your eyes on, eating dessert under the longan tree – and dessert surely not Xmas pudding but instead it would be ice-cream or crème caramel (my mama’s favourite dessert of all).
Living on such a tiny island we are blessed not just by being surrounded by beautiful landscapes but also being able to experience some of the most delicious food. If you are planning to visit the island over the festive period you will have the privilege to experience Christmas on the tropical Island and tasting Mauritian multicultural cuisine.
Nowadays we can find almost all kinds of food in the shops/supermarket. Mauritians travel the world; the introduction of more traditional western food is becoming more popular on the island, such as the roast Turkey, Christmas cakes, “Bûche de Noël” and many more.
As it’s Christmas and I am talking about Mauritius I will share with you something tropical, cold and tasty. I have chosen one fruit that is very much a favourite of many – mangoes which is in full bloom in Mauritius. I have put it together with yet another favourite of all times perfect for the season…… my mango ice-cream. No panic, this is extremely easy, once tried and tasted you would crave for more.
Egg free, Homemade Mango Ice-cream
Like most people I do like a good creamy ice-cream but I must admit I prefer egg free ice-cream anytime. I have recreated this flavor from one of my old recipe – and woooow this is totally scrumptious. Making homemade ice-cream has always been on my bucket list of recipes to create and try out and to try out different flavours too.
Despite having an ice-cream maker I must admit I don’t use it as much as I intended to use it, instead I have been making no churn ice-cream all throughout last summer. It is so easy that I have NOT bought any ice-cream last summer. This is a no-churn, eggless ice cream that can be made in no time using a mixer. The first time I made it I was overwhelmed by how easy, simple it was the ice cream is rich, creamy and outrageously good! Yet so simple to do.
I know mangoes are in full bloom in Mauritius at the moment, and I also know it is the kind of fruit that many absolutely adore. It was one of my papa favourite fruit; he would munch away all the time when they were in full season. Having tried this ice-cream several times and loving it my pleasure to share it today as it’s a special day.
Ingredients Serves 6-8
- 500 mls puree mango
- 1 tin evaporated milk (or condensed milk, I strongly advise to reduce the amount of sugar)
- 3 Tbs castor sugar (or as needed depending on how sweet the mangoes are)
- 125mls double cream
- Peel, stone and place the mango flesh in a blender, puree to smooth paste, keeping aside. In a bowl add the double cream whisk until thick, empty the evaporated milk into the cream mixture, add sugar to taste. Using a hand mixer blend till well combined. Taste and add more sugar if needed (Remember once food is frozen it tends to reduce the sweetness of a dish therefore do taste the creamy mixture and adjust as necessary).
- Add the pureed mango and mix well.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into a freezer safe bowl. Cover and freeze for 1-2 hours till the edges begin to freeze (I leave mine overnight, leave to stand on the counter for ten minutes before attempting to whisk again).
- After 2 hours take the ice cream out, put it back into the bowl and whisk till creamy and return to the freezer bowl.
- You can repeat steps 2 & 3 times, but I find this is not necessary. I tend to do this process only once and end up with a very creamy ice-cream.
- To serve let the ice cream stand on the counter-top for 3-4 minutes before scooping and serving.
- Serve with on cones or a few scoop topped with fresh chopped mangoes or sweet mango puree.
Brinda’s Note: Condensed milk is a great ingredient when making no-churn ice-cream, it’s really creamy and smooth but as you may have noticed I used evaporated milk instead and trust me it’s just as creamy with less sugar – you can use either one of them.