I have been wallowing lately. About a ton of stuff. But I just thought, what the heck? It is the 1st of February (and my Dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday!). It is time to shake off those Winter Blue’s and embrace the New Year!
To be fair, in the Winter I really have nothing to wallow about, per se. I live in a ski resort. Most people pay thousands of their hard-earned cash to come here for a week of sunshine, snow, melted cheese, sore feet, hot wine, open fires, bubble baths, cured ham and all night parties! But I do have to say, that when you live here all year round, melted cheese really does lose its appeal! As does hot wine ……. mostly (There are odd exceptions, however, when a plastic cup of steaming, spiced red wine does warm the cockles! – Two recent memories are both of kid’s birthday parties in the snow – all the parents huddled around flasks of hot wine, while kid’s zipped by on sledges / go-karts / plastic bags - you get the idea).
So there it is, the shortest day of the year (for us Northern Hemisphereans), Christmas Chaos and New Year madness has past, the sun is shining, the snow looks like crystals, my house is at last clean again and the laundry done. Feng shui gives me the divine right to type and edit ……..
I wanted to make something light and fresh – to banish all memories of the dreaded melted cheese and dried meats – something that sang out ’Summer is coming’ to me!
My inspiration came twofold: firstly, from a gorgeous post by David Lebovitz on sparkling wine cocktails, and the merits of tasting various different wines to be sure you have exactly the right flavour for your recipe! And secondly, from my hubby browsing though some old cookbooks that have been sitting on the shelf, almost long forgotten, classified as ‘out-of-date recipes’. It was amazing looking through at recipes that sparked memories of where we were working and who was eating the food! Cory said “OMG, chicken and raspberry salad” and we were both instantly in peals of laughter, transported back to the days in the sunny South of France, working on a yacht. I can feel the smooth, warm teak decks under my bare feet as I carry the plates up to the top deck to serve to the owner’s and their guests – who have , by the way, been drinking white wine since 11am – so was their routine every day. A couple of bottles with lunch, a nap, afternoon tea ….. then back into the pre-dinner drinks and lots of wine with dinner! If I wasn’t quick enough with the wine, they had a doorbell system set up, so that there would be a loud BING BONG down in the crew quarters and I would scuttle up with a fresh bottle of icy cold dew! Aha, those were the days! We were all mini skirts and pedicures and long tanned limbs (well, the girls were at least), the boys in standard issue of polo shirts and shorts with logo’s emblazoned across their chests.
So, Champagne Jellies it is then.
I nipped down to my supermarché and came back with leaf gelatine, Prosecco (budget not stretching to Champagne today), berries and lemons.
I used the recipe from our walk-down-memory-lane cookbook.
I modified it in as much as the recipe called for 1 litre of the bubbly stuff, and I was only prepared to open one bottle. So I did a few speedy calculations there. Also I used leaf gelatine as that is what is readily available here, and clementines instead of oranges at this time of year!
It took minutes to make, literally, and pour into jars. Then I popped them into the fridge overnight, and hey voilà.
You may notice that I put it in a jar, as nothing seems trendy these days unless it is in a jar, or has at least been upcycled in some way!
So that’s it, a quick bite of lunch (tofu burger on seeded baguette with tahini, avocado and spinach and a cranberry juice with fresh lime) and off to pick the kids up from creche. A bientot!
Recipe for Prosecco Jelly, modified from Cool Food
750mls Prosecco (or other bubbles)
9 sheets leaf gelatine
4 strips of lemon zest
4 strips of clementine zest
Pour half the Prosecco into a bowl and allow the bubbles to subside. Pour the other half into a saucepan with sugar and zests. Warm through for a few minutes. Meanwhile soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes. Add the squeezed gelatine and the cold Prosecco to the pan and stir until the gelatine has completely dissolved. Allow to cool. Pour into jars and chill for at least 6 hours until set. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Makes about 5 or 6 glasses.