Monday, 26 June 2017

Rose and Elderflower Jelly

One of the classic puddings served in the Artists' Tent at the annual Stour Music Festival is a delicate and beautiful Rose and Elderflower Jelly.  The previous Queen of Puddings guarded her recipe with her life (and rightly so!).  Since taking over as Queen of Puddings, I have continued Jo's tradition, using my own recipe, which, as I have my own home made pink elderflower cordial, is a pretty pink colour.  This year, over the 2 weekends of Stour, I made 4 of these jellies!  Happy to report that not a scrap remained... Apart from using gelatine (and the vegetarian variety doesn't work as well), it is a useful recipe as it contains neither dairy, eggs nor gluten, so is perfect for restricted diets.

The recipe below uses leaf gelatine, as it gives a clearer result than the powder.  The quantity given is a suggestion, do check your own packet for the strength, as rubbery jelly is horrible and an unset one is a waste of effort!

Rose and Elderflower Jelly 
Elderflower and Rose Jelly
6 gelatine leaves (enough to lightly set 1.5 pints liquid)
3.5floz/100 ml hot water
8floz/225ml undiluted elderflower cordial
½ tsp good quality rose extract (if that – be sparing!)
1 pint/450 ml cold water

Soak the gelatine sheets in cold water until they are flexible (about 5 minutes), then squeeze off the water before dropping the soggy leaves into the hot water and stirring to dissolve the leaves entirely.   

Mix the elderflower cordial, rosewater and water in a separate jug.  Pour into the gelatine and stir well to combine it all – you don’t want a layered effect with a thicker jelly at the bottom.   Pour the jelly into a pretty bowl and leave it to set in the fridge for at least four hours.  Decorate just before serving with a fresh rose or elderflowers. 

Did you know that, if a jelly melts because it gets too hot, you can re-set it?  

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Lemon, Lime and Peppermint Sorbet

Summer's here!!   So I thought I'd share this fabulously easy and utterly delicious Jamie Oliver recipe with you.   One of my sons came back from a trip enthusing about some Mojito sorbet he'd eaten in Chile, which seemed to be a combination of these flavours.   Jamie's recipe totally fitted the bill, and one of my other sons, quite unknowing, said that the sorbet tasted just like a Mojito.   There is no alcohol in the sorbet, but the flavour is quite incredible.  I made this one for a special celebration lunch, so made an ice bowl as well.   It's also easy to make, it just takes a lot of freezer space and flowers...

Lemon, lime and peppermint sorbet
Lemon, Lime and Peppermint Sorbet

7oz/200g sugar
8 fl oz/250ml water
5 large lemons, zest and juice
5 limes, zest and juice
1 bunch of fresh mint

First make the stock syrup by putting the water and sugar into a pan and heating until the sugar has dissolved.  Simmer for 5 minutes, remove the saucepan from the heat and leave it to cool entirely (you can put it in the freezer!).   This keeps for weeks, so you could make double quantity and put half in the fridge for another time.

Add the juice and zest to the mixture, stir well and churn the mixture in an ice cream maker.   I found it worked best to put the mint in later, as it got stuck on the blades of the churn.   Alternatively, freeze in a shallow container in the freezer, breaking it up with a fork every half hour or so to stop large crystals from forming.   

This makes enough to serve 4 people, roughly a pint or so.  It is best served slightly less than rock hard. 

To make it more like a sherbet, add 1 egg white to the ice cream maker, or whisk the whites and fold them into the mix if you are open freezing it.

Ice Bowl
2 bowls
parcel tape and a couple of heavy tins 
cooled boiled water/mineral water (this helps keep the ice clear)

Choose two bowls with a similar shape - do I have to tell you to have one smaller than the other?  Thought not!  Pick pretty flowers.  Pour some water into the larger bowl, add some of the flowers.  Place the smaller bowl on top.  Push the rest of the flowers in round the edges, adding more water.  The second bowl will rise, so put the tins into it before strapping the parcel tape across the top to keep the second bowl level with the first and in the centre.   Fill up with the water - you might need to check the tape - and add another food tin.    Freeze overnight until solid.

To use - allow the bowl to defrost just a little before unmoulding it and adding the sorbet.  It will be a wonderful centrepiece - some people commented on how pretty the flowers were as they appeared as the ice melted.   Just make sure that the ice bowl is in a container that can hold the inevitable meltwater!