Saturday, 26 April 2008


I don't know if it's common for new food bloggers to desperately cram three pretty unrelated stories into one but here we are.

Despite being assured by weather experts that it's a lovely day everywhere in the country, this morning in Edinburgh it's bleak, grey and drizzling. To be honest there's a wee part of me who secretly likes it when it's like this because I can happily potter around in the kitchen for hours without a shred of guilty conscience about missing the sunshine outside (and rest assured this happens quite frequently in Edinburgh). So to compensate for the lack of summer, I decided to create some of my own in the way of a Campari Sorbet from Puddings, Cakes and Ice Creams, a River Cafe Pocket Book by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

After making a sublime Calvados-soaked Raisin ice cream (thank you Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall) by hand at Christmas, I was given an ice cream maker as a gift. It's a cheap and cheerful number which is great for those impulsive moments when only homemade ice cream will do. It doesn't quite take it to the point of frozen enough to scoop, but rather takes it to a point where it resembles softly whipped cream. I'm happy with that though because I have to admit to really quite enjoying the process of making ice creams and sorbets entirely by hand, complete with repetitive trips to the freezer for the obligitory breaking up of ice crystals. It feels more like I made it that way, and adds to the general feel of alchemy which is such an essential part of cooking. Anyway, the point is the ice cream maker comes in particularly useful when making sorbet as it takes it to a lovely slushy point before going in the freezer.

This sorbet would be perfect as a palate cleanser after a heavy meal, or as a refreshing respite on a hot summer's day. If like me, you love the bitterness of Campari and the cold iciness of sorbet, you'll love this.

CAMPARI SORBET from Puddings, Cakes and Ice Creams by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers
Serves 10

200ml Campari
1 litre grapefruit juice
400g caster sugar
juice of 2 lemons
juice of 2 oranges

Whisk together the grapefruit juice and sugar. Add the Campari and the lemon and orange juice.

Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen, or freeze in a suitable container.

It would appear to be de rigueur amongst food bloggers to lay bare the contents of their fridges. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in my fascination of what other people eat. I have to confess to having a surreptitious nosey in friends fridges when I am visiting. Well, not always so surreptitious to be honest but to be fair they tend to just let me get on with it. I think this must be the food-lovers equivalent of looking in peoples medicine cabinets.

So here goes:

From the top:

jar tahini
jar kalamata olives (in olive oil)
jar cornichons
Cauldron organic beech smoked tofu
undyed smoked haddock
tupperware full of ground coffee
fresh parmesan (what's left of it)
organic free range eggs
Total Greek yoghurt (mmmmm)
pot of Activia youghurt with prunes
President unsalted butter
2 cans of Red Bull
goose fat
free range turkey breast steaks
Italian sausages
bottle Sauternes
bottle Tokaji Aszu (best dessert wine ever mmmmm)
purple sprouting broccoli
chestnut mushrooms
raw beetroot
tomatoes on the vine
2 cucumbers
fresh oregano
fresh lemon thyme
large fennel
little gem lettuce
3 courgettes
birds eye chillies
balloon shallots
red onions
shed loads of garlic
fresh ginger
tube of tomato puree
assorted nail varnish (keeps them nice and runny)
jar Bonne Maman blueberry preserve
jar green fig conserve
jar rhubarb and ginger conserve
Marmite with Guinness (love it)
illy ground decaf coffee
coconut block
jar beetroot and horseradish relish
jar red harissa (mmm)
jar Maille Dijon mustard
jar capers
jar jalapenos
jar lime pickle
HP sauce (of course)
Heinz tomato ketchup
bottle organic ginger cordial
bottle S.Pellegrino
organic milk (semi-skimmed)


Incidentally, I love a good sticky beak in other peoples trolleys too. I especially have a morbid fascination with the trolley of the exasperated woman with three screaming children and a trolley full of biscuits, frozen Findus Crispy Pancakes and the obligitory 8 litre bottles of brightly coloured fizzy pop.

And speaking of fizzy pop, I saw these pictures in yesterday's press of 1,500 students in Belgium simultaneously dropping Mentos into bottles of Coke, creating so called 'Mentos Fountains'.

Who knew?

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