Tag Archives: recommended book

Kir Royale Jelly

I am reading a lot at the moment. Since I returned to the UK I have been living at Fanny’s surrounded by Mrs Beeton cookbooks and spiders webs.The only thing to put me off stamping all over the arachnids has been to take up reading.

One excellent read is the Fat Duck Cookbook by Heston Blumenthal. He really is highly inspiring and in a quest to expand our own gastronomic vocabulary I have been reading it avidly and I highly recommend you get a copy if you want to expand your own viewpoints. He makes one think about the challenge of accepted ideas- eg crab ice cream – is it sweet or savoury… I won’t dwell on these preconceptions now – the book explains it all in much more detail and Heston makes it far more entertaining that I can.
kir royale fizzy jelly recipe

He does give a recipe for fizzy jelly however and I am always a sucker for bubbles and alcohol. I have adapted it slightly as I found my own method deemed to work more successfully, and I have added a bit of detail where it was missing in the original version. So give this a try, it will appeal to young and old alike.

Please bear in mind that it is critcal to be observant about temperatures with this recipe.

One 75cl bottle of sparkling white wine, cava, champers etc. Our wine was a cava at 12% alc.
7 gelatine leaves
150 g sugar
100ml creme de cassis


(Half an hour) In Advance:
Put 6 champagne glasses in the freezer
Place the bottle of wine in the freezer for half an hour. Don’t forget it’s there!

It is critical that the wine is very chilled.
Soften the gelatine leaves in a small pan of cold water
kir royale jelly - a lovely light summer's treat

Pour 75 ml of the wine into a small pan and reseal the bottle immediately to retain the fizz.
Add the sugar and the cassis to the pan and heat it gently

Now take your softened gelatine leaves and squeeze out the excess cold water.

Add the gelatine leaves to the cassis and stir until dissolved.
This will happen quite quickly and when it does take the pan off the heat and leave it to cool.

Now the next step requires some care:

Take the cooled mixture and add very carefully and slowly the rest of the cava. You do this not only to retain the fizz, but to prevent too much of a head forming. (The head looks nice at this stage but once it subsides as the jelly cools it will leave a residue that is less fabulous!) So be patient and pour it slowly.

Take the glasses out of the freezer

Then very carefully pour the combined jelly mix into the glasses and stir them.
Replace the glasses with the jelly in the freezer for an hour, then store in the fridge until ready to serve.

This is a delicious soft set jelly which is wonderful on a hot summer’s day in the garden.

quite wonderful kir royale fizzy jelly

Watermelon Granita

watermelon ice granita recipe

This is a superb recipe by Dhruv Baker and recently featured in The Times. He has a new book out called Spice which I have sitting in front of me as write. This recipe is like the book – it’s stunning and the book is beautifully illustrated. We have now tried a few recipes for our own delectation and I highly recommend that you get a copy for your library. As it’s summer and hot, this will be the perfect antidote for those sticky days. We adapted it slightly by adding star anise.
watermelon ice granita recipe
40ml water
100g caster sugar
5-6 slices peeled ginger
1 kg Watermelon chunks- skin and pips removed ready to blitz through a word processor
Juice of 2 lemons
1.5 tbsps of finely shredded mint leaves
1 star anise

watermelon ice granita recipe
Add the ginger,sugar,water and star anise to a pan and place it over a medium heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has dissolved and then allow it to cool.

watermelon ice granita recipe

Put the watermelon through the food processor, and then press the resultant pulp through a sieve. Add the lemon juice and make sure you have no pips.

watermelon ice granita recipe

When the syrup is cool, remove and discard the ginger and star anise and stir the syrup into the watermelon. Add the chopped mint leaves.
watermelon ice granita recipe

Pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze it for a few hours. Run a fork through the mixture every hour or so to break up the ice crystals. Serve in small glass bowls. Or glasses. Or bowls! Whatever.

watermelon ice granita recipe

As I said earlier in this piece, this is a fabulous recipe from a fabulous book. Try it you’ll be blown away. And when you do, you’ll then want the book.

Even people of my prodigious talent sometimes go wrong

Yes quite my dears I know it’s hard to believe. I was handed a recipe by Fanny who suggested that we might like to try it. It involved a leg of lamb, and as I have subsequently learnt, you either roast it fast and hot and have some delicious pink meat if you want it that way, or you cook it long and risk dry grey meat as the end result. Despite following the recipe to its fullest, Fanny and I ate part of a very dreary leg the other day and it was desperately miserable. Staring at Fanny as she chews is not a fabulous experience at the best of times  I can tell you.

An experience like this is the learning curve for any budding cook, but remember disappointment should make one strive to kick out and achieve more! Kicked out I did and in the process I  caught Fanny on the shin which did not please her one iota. I wish I had referenced Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s book on Meat beforehand because I certainly turned to it in the aftermath! In this sizeable tome he rightly states just how dry a leg of lamb can be in a long bake. This man knows what he is talking about! Thus, having agreed with his findings,  I decree that this an excellent book and suggest you get a copy if you’re serious about cooking meat well.

cook well knowing your meat

meat – learn about it and cook well