28 Jul 14

26 Jul 14

Since this–the snapshot to the left–is my one zucchini aka courgette plant which is going crazy, every so often I might be posting recipes using these little green squash. This foto was taken last week and the plant is another third its size. It has overtaken the celery and climbed up into the acorn tree behind it. I don’t know where it is headed, but I do know that every morning it offers me a handful of long green zukes. If i dare miss a day, the next day I have a monster–or two–on my hands and my life is a little more nerve-wracking. I wish I had neighbours who would accept a basket of zucchini, but I don’t know: they don’t seem to be a vegetable-eating bunch. Its up to us to eat our way through the garden now. And I know, I know, we can do it.

Tonight, for instance I made this “pie” of shredded zucchini, bound with eggs and cheese and baked in olive oil; and it is so good I had to snap its picture before we even had seconds, then sit down to blog this.

zucchini from the garden, about 8 of em, coarsely grated and lightly salted to get rid of the bitterness (my zukes are, alas, bitter). Mixed with about 8 oz shredded white cheddar, 3 eggs, beat together then add enough flour to hold it together in a thick batter consistency: maybe 1/4-1/2 cup, 4-8 tablespoons; stir in several handfuls fresh basil, coarsely chopped. Prepare a pie pan, about 12 inches in diameter and 3-4 inches deep by drizzling the bottom and sides with olive oil. Place in 375 oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until the mixture puffs up, then falls back down, and feels softly firm to the touch. Good hot, good at room temperature, and i’m sure leftovers will be good cold, tomorrow.

26 Jul 14

Thai spicy turkey salad, a sort of streamlined version of “larb”, low carb and so fresh. That little yellow sungold cherry tomato grew in my front garden just this morning! so sweet and fresh. Romaine, cucumber, carrots, fresh mint from right next to the tomatoes…..

Interesting dressing: Thai red chile paste mixed with rice vinegar and miso. very streamlined, but good nonetheless. the sort of thing you eat and say: oh god i really needed that!

25 Jul 14

The other day I was whipping up Mridula Baljekar’s  kela na sambhariya, or spicy stuffed bananas, and I had leftover chickpea flour filling; usually when I have extra spicy chickpea flour I add a little water, make a batter, then throw in vegetables for pakoras: chopped or sliced onions for my fave onion bhajis, whole leaves of spinach or mustard greens for spicy spinach fritters, sliced zucchini or sweet potato are wonderful too. This time, however, I don’t know: I didn’t feel like chopping vegetables, I didn’t even feel like eating pakoras. What I felt like was a thin pancake, something on the order of socca, the olive oil-browned chickpea pancake of Nice, France.

My mixture of toasted chickpea flour mixed with cumin, coriander, chile and cilantro was ready, i just stirred in enough water to make a pancake batter-like consistency, heated a tablespoon or two of evoo in a nonstick frying pan, and ladled in the batter. It cooked on one side, I flipped it and it cooked on its second side. It was delicious, tasting at once of France, at once of the Mediterranean, and at the same time, like having dinner with Mridula.

1/2 cup/2 oz/50 g chickpea flour (besan)

1/2-1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed

About 1/2 fresh chile, depending on its heat and your preference: a mixture of both green and red looks nice, but you can use either, or none, as you like

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1-2 tablespoons coarsely chopped coriander/cilantro leaves

About 3 tablespoons evoo

25 Jul 14

Szechuan-ish Cucumber Salad
i’d like to say serves 4, but two of us ate it for lunch

1 english cucumber or 4-5 small persian/japanese cucumbers, unpeeled, and cut into spears about 3-4 inches long, half to 1 inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
1 big fat garlic cloves (or two modest ones) chopped
1 teaspoon Chinese hot bean paste, or ordinary bean paste/brown bean sauce/or even miso
2 teaspoons to 1 1/2 tablespoons Szechuan chile paste, the kind that is deliciously oily–amount depends upon heat of your brand
1/2 teaspoon coarsely crushed toasted szechuan peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon wine vinegar

Toss together the cucumber, salt and garlic; mix well and leave for about an hour.
Add everthing else, mix well, and eat or chill until ready to eat.

Optional: add a spoonful of chile oil, either commercial or from the chile-oil-paste

24 Jul 14

Those who know my husband, know he can’t resist a bargain. Thats how we ended up, this evening, with our kitchen table piled high with carrots. No room in the fridge, which is a long story in itself because our fridge is the tiniest mini-fridge in existance and our owning/depending on it rather than a nice big ordinary fridge is the stuff spun from bad decisions made under the influence of jetlag.

So we have a mountain of carrots, and we’re having a heatwave, and we need to eat things quickly before they rot. Until the temperature dips back down to normal our lives are a race against time–the time it takes for stuff to decline from moist-plumpness into decay.

Which finds us tonight eating carrot soup. My husband has fond memories of carrot soup I made for him, but it involves a myriad of other vegetables, too. I just wanted to simmer some carrots and get out of the kitchen before I passed out. We do not have air conditioning.

I thought: a nice COOL carrot soup, one as easy to prepare and it is soothing and refreshing to spoon up. I had no idea where the flavour direction would go, however, so I started by making a light little puree of carrots; after that, I reasoned, I could turn it into a soup.

To start, I simmered a lot of sliced carrots and a small handful of rice with a mixture of water and chicken broth until tender. The small amount of rice thickens the vegetable lightly, without interfering in the character of the vegetable, or making the soup too heavy, like flour or potato can do. Next, I pureed the carrots, stock and rice until smooth; I used a hand held stick blender but you could use a food processor or jar blender if that is what you have in your kitchen.

When I tasted the lovely oranged-coloured mixture, I thought: garlic. (This might have just been me, I usually think: garlic), so i stirred in one chopped garlic clove. The soup was hot, the garlic didn’t exactly cook but its raw fiery taste was tamed a bit.

I let it cool to room temperature and then decided how to finish it off. It was hard to decide, in that way when the weather is really really hot, and it is hard to think or decide about anything….and while there were only two of us, I had enough for at least 4 bowlfuls. We could eat it two nights running, flavoured completely differently each night.

The first night, we ate it at cool room temperature with a bit of cream,  swirled but not completely stirred in, as well as a scattering of fresh tarragon and some chopped toasted hazelnuts. It was wonderful, sipped in the garden as the evening cooled somewhat.

Carrot Puree:

If you want to make the carrot puree, and do as we did, eat half one way and half the other, here is the basic recipe; if you want to make the basic carrot puree and then come up with your own way to go seasoning and flavouring and character wise, here is the basic recipe. Otherwise, each of the recipes include this step of cooking and pureeing the carrots.

About 10 nice plump firm carrots, peeled and sliced

2 -3 tablespoons raw rice

About 1 litre/6 cups liquid: I used a mixture of half water and half chicken stock

1 clove garlic

Combine the carrots with the liquid and rice; bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook until the carrots are tender and the rice is soft, about 10 minutes.

Puree using a food processor, blender or hand held stick blender.

Chill until ready to use.

Creamy Cool Carrot Soup, with Tarragon and Hazelnuts

Serves 4

About 10 nice plump firm carrots, peeled and sliced

2 -3 tablespoons raw rice

About 1 litre/6 cups liquid: I used a mixture of half water and half chicken stock

1 clove garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

About 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

About 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped

About 4 tablespoons toasted, chopped, hazelnuts (see end of recipe for directions)

Combine carrots with the liquid in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Cook over medium heat until the carrots are tender and the rice is soft, about 10 minutes. Puree until smooth in either a blender or food processor, or use a hand-held blender.

Leave to cool or chill, and ladle into bowls, then pour or spoon in a few tablespoons of cream per bowl, and sprinkle generously with the tarragon and hazelnuts.

Cool Carrot Soup with Turkish Flavours: Cumin, Dill, and Yogurt

Serves 4

About 10 nice plump firm carrots, peeled and sliced

2 -3 tablespoons raw rice

About 1 litre/6 cups liquid: I used a mixture of half water and half chicken stock

1 clove garlic

About 6 fl oz/ 175 ml Greek yogurt, enough for several tablespoons per bowl

Large pinch ground cumin

Large pinch smoked paprika

2-3 tablespoons coarsely chopped dill

A drizzle of evoo per bowlful

Ladle the cool/chilled carrot puree into bowls and top each with a big spoonful or two of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle the top with cumin, paprika, and dill, then drizzle with evoo.

Sit outside in the garden and enjoy.

23 Jul 14

These are great dumplings: first of all, sniff the air around them: that fresh starchy smell of just-steamed noodle: inside are spiced leafy greens chopped finely into an intense vegetable paste; next to it on the plate you see a puddle of Szechuan chile paste, already smudged because i’ve dipped the first dumpling (see the empty space on the plate) into it. On the other side of the plate is cloud ear fungus though it might have been braised fresh shiitakes, simmered in its savoury sauce . But more about dinner a bit later in the blog: How I got to this plate of dumplings goes like this:

19th-28th May 2014 The World Gourmand Bookfair and Best in the World Awards for cookbooks, food television, food and drink books were to be held in the rural-ish outer borough of Bejing (fifth ring road) called Daxing.

In recent years, Gourmand Bookfair and Awards Ceremony have been held in Paris where it is known as Paris Bookfair–last year it was held memorably, thrillingly, at The Louvre (where I made chopped liver on the cooking demo stage but thats the subject of another story). But Gourmand has moved around the world at various times–I discovered them way back when in Perigueux when I was sent by the BBC to interview Chinese cookbook author and tv cooking guru, Ken Hom, and have been somewhat of a devotee since, attending the events in Barcelona, the Loire, as well as an amazing gathering in a  completely different part of Bejing way back in 2009 where the Peruvians brought what seemed like vats of Pisco to what became a week-long party and the breakfast buffet was so filled with Chinese delicacies just visiting each morning was a lesson in regional Chinese cookery.  One year, marking Malaysia’s Truly Asia tourist campaign, the awards were held there, and journalists were taken to the far reaches of Malaysia, to open-air  palaces in jungles that we needed to get to by taking a boat upriver, eating tuna curry in a Terrenganu marketplace, and swimming in water so clear it was like swimming in a fish bowl, only it was for real: we were with the blue and yellow and rainbow of fish….just us, together in the deep blue sea. Oh, and learning the secrets to making a perfect rendang, too. Then there is the annual Frankfurt Bookfair in Frankfurt, Germany,  where Gourmand throws a party at Villa Bonn; once,  the potato gratin they served was so good I put its recipe into my cookbook Yummy Potatoes (Chronicle Books).

While I had no cookbook nominated for an award nor foreign rights to sell, ie nothing to draw me practicality-wise to the event  (and justify the expense of the trip), emails trickled in luring me: friends around the world who were going, up for awards, participating in the bookfair. Gourmand is the only world event, where material in all languages can be submitted and is awarded. There were little teasers to the schedule: the watermelon museum visit would co-incide with a watermelon festival and visit to Mr Song’s Melon Garden (post to come). (Daxing is China’s watermelon capital, famous for its sweet juicy melons).  There was promise of a Szechuan food festival, and you know, no one does Peking duck the way they do it in Beijing. I thought about the spicy cucumber salad and the dan dan noodles (jiang jiang mein).  I changed my mind: who needs an award (this time). It would simply get in the way by making me feel anxious ahead of time, and if i didn’t win, disappointed after. I would only take the fun stuff and go along for the ride!

Gourmand World Cookbook Awards’  and Paris/Beijing Cookbook Fair founder, Edouard Cointreau lives in Beijing where he is, among so many other titles, President of Honour of China Food Television as well as President of World Association of Food TV Producers, hence the choice of Beijing as a venue. Instead of the sophisticated, international hub of central Bejing, though, the gathering was to be held in Daxing, a rural district on the outskirts of the Capital. Daxing is local, authentic and utterly lacking in any pretentiousness. In the not too distant future, Daxing will have its own international mega-airport, which, combined with its space for offices, factories and international business; no doubt its quaintness and quietness will fade

But in the meantime, it was so unspoiled. So unspoiled. It was essential Chinese culture, circa 2014; my guess from the way people looked at me, and most of us, and how caring they were for our perceived delicacy, most had never seen a foreigner up close and in person before.  I felt like the belle of the ball. People were friendly, they were intrigued, they offered to help, they stared, they took out their phones for selfies posed with this exotic creature who had landed in their midst.  Our hotel which had never hosted foreigners before and they had a special group from the university hospitality and language dept to translate the needs and wants of these people who are so different.

Wherever we went, people were amazed. Life stopped the moment we walked in, and by we, I really mean me, because it happened even when I wasn’t in a group. My blond hair was like a flag, so different from their own, my pink and big red lips, they didn’t know what to make of me. They wanted their pictures taken to show family and friends: Look what/who I MET!  I started to really feel like a celebrity, especially when women would stroke my blonde hair and say: “preh-teeeee”. I fell in love with them, each and every one of them.

here i am at a boutique, the salegirls all wanting a picture with me!

I would look at these gorgeous women, with their gleaming black hair and usually trim figures, so young looking and energetic, and think: oh you guys, do you have any idea how adorable YOU are? any idea how LOVELY you make me feel?

a grandma on a bike saw ME taking HER picture, was burst into the biggest smile of delight, as you can see!

at the Great Wall, such a hot hot day, fanning myself to cool off and having my picture taken....

Meanwhile, back to the start.

I landed in Beijing’s Capital Airport and by the time I got to Daxing, Bejing being a huge city with a big traffic problem, it was time for dinner.

It started with the dumplings, and proceeded…..on to the next page, the next blog entry.

22 Jul 14

Cauliflower, sauteed with cumin, and served with garlicky, lemony tahina sauce is a classic Middle Eastern meze, but i’ve added a few embellishments here which makes the whole plateful  resemble a fauvist painting; of course the bright yellow plates help a great deal in that direction.

In Israel, a plate of anything with tahina will bring a garnish of olive oil, poured in a swirl, and a scattering of pickles. Usually it will be pickled cucumbers…..maybe peppers…….and so I’ve served the classic Middle East salad of tahina with cauliflower with pickles–but in this case, decorated all prettily with bits of pickled turnip–check out my pickle page, or buy a jar at an Arab or Middle Eastern grocers. The bright pink of the pickles looks jewel-like when it is cut into small pieces and balances the beige-ness of the cauli-tahina, while the sharp tanginess of these turnips perfectly balances the richness of the tahina and the blandness of the vegetable.

After I scattered the pickles, I looked at the plate. It needed something fresh, again, in the spirit of the Middle East where it might be a little parsley or cilantro/coriander. But when I went out to the garden to snip a little bit, the scent of fresh oregano pulled me towards it, so I plucked a few sprigs and put it on the plate. It was so good with the tahina, cauliflower and pickles. I felt like i was conducting a little orchestra of tastes and colours by now. I looked at the plate again, then thought: a little green onion? Instead I grabbed a leek and chopped a little bit, then scattered it around–the leek was great because it had a kind of crunchy, dry, texture, and didn’t blend into the rest of the ingredients the way the more moist green onion would have.

1 medium sized cauliflower, cut into bite-sized and smaller florets

2 tablespoons evoo, or as desired

Several generous pinches of ground cumin

Salt to taste

1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed

About 1/2 cup/ 125ml  tahini

Juice of 1-2 lemons

3-4 tablespoons water, or as needed

A generous pinch of ground coriander seed

A few drops of a delicious preferably garlicky hot sauce, any ethnicity will do–I use a Chinese or Vietnamese garlic-chile sauce often, which works really well; other times? Cholula!

Garnish–all optional, but pretty:

Several slices pink pickled turnips, storebought or made from my blog, cut into tiny jewel-like bits, or pickled cucumber or mixed vegetables (giardiniera), diced

A few sprigs fresh oregano, and a few leaves to strew around the dish

A little bit of chopped leek, again, for sprinkling

Precook the cauliflower in the microwave or steamed until it is nearly tender. Remove; you can do this ahead of time or not, as you like. Heat about a tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy frying pan until moderately hot, and add the cauliflower florets, cooking as you saute them, sprinkling them with cumin and salt as you go. You want to lightly brown them a little, which should only take a few minutes.

Remove from the heat. This, too, you can do ahead of time, up to a few days.

Make the tahina sauce: combine the garlic with the tahini and mix well, then stir in the lemon juice; the mixture will thicken considerably, then add a few tablespoons water, one at a time, until it thins out to the consistency you wish, which should be like thick paste. Taste for seasoning and add salt, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce to taste.

Arrange the tahina sauce on a plate and arrange the cauliflower on top of it; alternatively but less prettily, you can mix it all together.

Garnish with the pickles, a swirl of the remaining evoo, and serve with lovely fresh pita or crusty French/Italian/levain bread…..

16 Jul 14

Frankfurter Gruen Sosse, or green sauce from Frankfurt, Germany, is a thick, creamy mixture of as many herbs as you can find, bound together with chopped hard-cooked egg, sour cream, yogurt, and seasonings. It’s like the best party dip you could imagine, and it’s eaten on nearly everything: sold in delis, dabbed onto a plate in a traditional restaurant, dolloped onto plates in homes.

My first gruen sosse experience was at the Konstablerwache marketplace where my big fat potato pancake–aka latke– was served with a gigantic blob of this most luscious of substances. It was a cold autumnal day, apples were in season and an apfelwein bar was set up with long tables filled with drinking folks. It looked and felt like a Bruegel painting, and there i was, so looking the part: my blonde hair in braids, cheeks pink from the chilly air as well as apple wine, surrounded by happy townspeople sipping from their big glasses and eating wurst and potatoes.

I’m including two different green sauces here: the first an authentic one direct from Frankfurt; the second is the one that has evolved in my kitchen, one that keeps evolving depending on the herbs that are growing in my garden or the dairy products in my fridge. It is only a guideline, which is part of green sauce’s great charm. That, and the fact that it is so good!

Kartoffel mit Frankfurter Gruen Sosse

Hot Buttered Potatoes with Frankfurt Green Sauce

Serves 4

This recipe is from my book Yummy Potatoes, published by Chronicle Books; it is an adaptation of Rebecca Hecht’s who lives in Frankfurt and is kind of the queen of green:  gruen sosse that is. Her–and my– friend, ballet choreographer Noah Gelber–told me often about how good her version is, and how I had to taste it. One bite and I thought: this is the nirvana of green sauces. Rebecca tells me that a typical Frankfurter Gruen Sosse consists of seven different seasonal herbs and follows the season throughout the year. In spring these include parsley, sorrel, chervil, burnet, lemon balm, borage, chives, and watercress, while later in the season basil might make its fragrant appearance. (The potatoes its served on: young, old, tender, mealy, changes with the calendar too).

1 egg per person

1 ounce fresh spinach leaves, or about 6 tablespoons frozen spinach (you want to end up with cooked, chopped, and squeezed-dry spinach)

4 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons chopped watercress or arugula leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 to 3 teaspoons chopped dill

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup yogurt

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 to 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon mild Dijon or German mustard

Small pinch sugar

Salt and pepper

1 pound tiny baby waxy potatoes such as La Rattes, fingerlings, Pink Fir Apple, or assorted potatoes, unpeeled

Unsalted butter, for buttering potatoes

To make the Frankfurter Gruen Sosse: Hard boil the eggs, and run them under cold water for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel and coarsely chop. Set aside.

Cook the spinach leaves in a little water until wilted and darkened; remove from the hot water and set aside. When cool enough to handle, squeeze dry and finely chop.

Combine the egg, spinach, green onion, parsley, watercress, tarragon, and dill in a food processor and whirl to purée.

Transfer this finely ground green herby mixture to a bowl, add the sour cream and yogurt to taste, and stir well, then add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir together well.

Chill at least an half hour before serving; several hours is even better.

Cook the potatoes in gently boiling water until they are tender. Drain and place in a bowl.

Let your guests serve themselves, open up the little potatoes, dab them with a nubbin of butter to melt in, and then top each with a spoonful of the green herby sauce.

Summer in Waterlooville Green Sauce

Makes about 2 cups

Serve it with a bowl of cooled boiled new or small young potatoes.

About 200g raw spinach leaves, cooked down to 1 ounce fresh spinach leaves, or about 6 tablespoons frozen spinach (you want to end up with cooked, chopped, and squeezed-dry spinach)

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped, or as desired and lusted after (this is how i feel about garlic, you may be less….uh……passionate about it. Use less in that case, more if you, like me, feel the love).

About 1/3-1/2 bouillion/stock cube, grated or smashed, or melted in the vinegar below

1-2 green onions, thinly sliced or a handful of chives, chopped

3 tablespoons chopped watercress or arugula leaves

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 to 3 teaspoons chopped dill

2-3 teaspoons chopped mint

2-3 teaspoons chopped cilantro/coriander leaves

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/2 cup mayonaise

1 teaspoons white wine vinegar or to taste

Black pepper to taste

Combine the spinach with the garlic, crushed bouillion cube, then mix everything else in. Taste for seasoning and chill until ready to serve.

10 Jul 14

I always find that each season, each year, has its theme: like a song that you hear and you think: YEAH, that was from the summer of 1996 when each day was hotter than the next and my zucchini grew like insanity. To me, food and drink  does the same thing. For instance, last year–or was it the year before–was really my summer of Pimms, or faux Pimms, as we had a cheap knock off of Pimms which was really quite delicious nonetheless. I think it was called Austin, and I spent the summer gathered around that bottle and all the fresh fruit and mint i could gather from the garden, and don’t forget the cucumbers–anyhow, you can read about it in my blog archives.

This year, though, I had already started thinking Gin, Gin and Tonic, quite early on, while the weather was still cold and I couldn’t imagine how it would even feel to be warm: but closing my eyes, deep in imagination, I was thinking summer, sweltering, and ohhhhhh how refreshing a G & T would be.

The weather IS warm now, very warm. My zucchini is growing once again insanely, my cucumbers are happily threatening to take over this little corner of the forest. I was ready for my G & T.

But to be honest, I’m not the worlds biggest drinker and i need a bit of a push into the delightful world of refreshing alchohol. Usually this is accomplished by a lot of other people and a party. And you know, I live in a forest, I have no friends anywhere near, and it was unlikely that there would be a party, gin and tonic or not. So I figured, like with so many other things, something would happen. I’d get my gin and tonic,  I’d go to a cocktail party, I’d go somewhere, there would be a Gin and Tonic. But I didn’t think I’d spend my summer sipping, each evening, the most refreshing of drinks. And that is exactly what has happened.

It started like this. My friend, Jordan, had invited me to a swank cocktail (and canape!) party up in London. I tried to go, really I did, but you know, the train and all, and my forest, is far away.

So a few days later,  the doorbell rang. And there was a box. And inside: Gin. and tonic. and citrus fruit. I got ready for cocktail hour.

The tonic was lovely, my fave Fevertree; the citrus fruit were ready to be chopped into wedges and stuffed into the glasses. Oh and there was a glass just for ice and a fabulous ice…..spoon? shovel? what are those things called? (I should know as I LOVE ice). It was a very classy gift for someone who missed your party! And the gin: hmmmmmm Beefeaters, yes, but a very different one from my usual. Very fancy embossed bottle, and the number 24, what did this mean?

I had been thinking about what goes into gin, in general, before the box arrived, so I went online for info.  Beefeater 24: distilled in London like the rest of the Beefeater gins, within steps of the Cricket Pitch, The Oval. But what sets 24 aside is that it is infused with tea and added botanicals and citrus. Apparently Master Distiller Desmond Payne had long been fascinated by the idea of tea in gin, then discovered that the founding father of Beefeater Gin was a tea merchant to the Royal Household. He felt this was a good omen.

It took him 2 years.  To the classic Beefeater taste profile– juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root and seed, Seville orange peel, lemon peel, orris and almond–he added liquorice, grapefruit, and teas: Chinese green and Japanese Sencha. This was perfect: I started the summer thinking: gin would be nice. But I wanted a gin that was fragrant and refreshing with aromatics. One that would blend with beautiful artisanal tonic water like a dream, like a ballet, with the intertwining of fragrance, the bitter and the aromatic, all weaving a lovely pattern in my mouth, as I sipped. That is what I wanted from this summer, and Hey!  Universe!  Thank you for bringing it to me.

So, I’m not going to wait for a party, because I’ve discovered this: a G and T in the afternoon, when the heat of the day has kinda frizzled my world and I just want to kick back and ease my body and brain: really: its all the party I need.

So my summer of gin and tonic is segue-ing to a summer of gin cocktails. Even catching up on social media is better with a g & t alongside.  But this afternoon, when I sat down as my laptop, g and t in hand, I realized: there is a culinary world out there to be made with g and t.

I am thinking:  you know……..a G and T sorbet would be lovely.  And a G and T gelee, a lovely jellied dessert, a grown up jelly/Jello with that fragrant bitter edge of tonic, the aroma of gin…..yes!

4 hours later: the gelee is chilled, and it is delicious: refreshing and herbal, slightly bitter from the tonic, and not too sweet though you can adjust the sugar level however you like. I recommend you eat it with the fresh raspberries–their sweetness, tanginess and aromatic berriness is perfect with the gelee.

Gin and Tonic Gelee with Raspberries

Serves 2 in a dessert portion, up to 4 in a refreshing tasting portion

1 envelope powdered unflavoured gelatin (USA), i’m not sure of uk powdered gelatin, this recipe is going to evolve into gelatin leaves……

2 tablespoons hot boiling water

1 1/2 cups/350 ml water

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice, freshly squeezed

1/2 cup/150ml tonic water

2-3 tablespoons gin

Fresh ripe raspberries, as is, unless sour: then sugar than lightly

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water; let it soften.

Meanwhile, combine the water with the sugar and bring to a boil and stir so that the sugar dissolves.

Pour into the melted gelatin, stir in the lemon juice, and tonic water. Let cool.

Stir in the gin, combine well, cover and chill.

Serve with raspberries.