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Sunday, 26 June 2011

The Raspberry Song

I love the hot weather, don't you? Opening the car door to a wall of super heated air.

Luckily the material used to cover car seats now is different from the stuff used  in the 60's and 70's. Many a time I've had my gonads parboiled as I sat in the drivers seat with the flesh of my upper legs fused to the material.  This is why fornication took place in the rear - that and the gear stick which could also get extremely hot in the summer.

Today I raised a little finger and lost 90% of my body weight in sweat. I was, of course, down the allotment inspecting the serried ranks of vegetables, ensuring that they were all ship shape and Bristol fashion. Well after the recent tumultuous downpours the best way around the plot was in a coracle. Happy to report that all the veggies are A OK and bursting with sweetness and light.

This time of year it's the inundation of the raspberries. Why is the fruit so expensive in the supermarkets? The little blighters will throw up new growth everywhere. I had one small plant last year, I now have a bed densely populated with the damn things. My gooseberry plants manfully struggle for Lebensraum - they're a Germanic strain and have invaded the edges of the strawberry patch. But raspberry expansionist policies pushing from the East are threatening my cabbages and Hungarian and Polish sensitivity are deeply hurt.

There is only one thing for it. Take down the raspberries! Luckily the recent weather has made them ripe for the picking. And raspberry ice cream......Just think of this: ice cream make from raspberries picked not half an hour ago. Life doesn't get any better. O.K., alternatively skinny dipping with Angelina and Marilyn and eating caviare out of Fran├žoise Hardy's  belly button runs a close second - I'm nothing if not a child of the 60's.But home made ice cream - that just conjures up so many images.

My dad used to run a small cafe in Hove and above it he made his own ice cream. I don't suppose it was anything exotic- dried cream, water, vanilla, fruit flavours and loads of sugar mixed in an industrial  food mixer. But to me, a 6 or 7 year old, it was alchemy - the bestest, best ice cream in the world. I can still feel the shock on learning that he'd started buying in "Eldorado" ices. It was a sell out.

OK the recipe. It's an ancient Delia Smith from one  of her early books - where you had to go to an authentic Italian deli in Soho's Old Compton Street to get Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients: 1lb of raspberries, 6 ounces of sugar, 120 mls of water and 260 mls of double cream. That's it.

Vorsprung durch Technik:

Press the raspberries through a fine sieve, into a large bowl - Delia uses a plastic sieve since she says metal taints the juice ( it did in her day - they were made of cast iron) - until all you have left in the sieve is seeds and irreducible pulp and jus in the bowl. This is the hardest bit.

Put the sugar in the water and bring to the boil letting it boil for three mins - no more. I have no idea why three mins, something to do with the crystallisation point - but anyway just do what she says. Take the sugar solution off the boil and stir into the raspberry jus.

Whip up the double cream. Not too violently, we don't want it stiff.....just hanging loose.

Once you've blended in the cream with the jus, pour the mixture in a plastic container - again Delia has a downer on metal - and place in the freezer. After 3 hours take it out and stir comprehensively. Put it back in the freezer for another three hours after which it's usable..

The first time I made this, and stirred it after 3 hours I had to stop myself from eating the whole cha bang: it was so tasty. But wait and take it out a half  hour before you serve it so it softens.

It's simply raspberries and cream  -  frozen, but then some.

Fran├žoise, is that fluff in your belly button?

1 comment:

Steve said...

I don't do raspberries but I do do broad beans. Got a batch ready at the end of the week I reckon. Little green beans of gloriousness.