Monday, 7 June 2010

Blowing hot and cold.

The Partridge came around for supper yesterday. As it was exceptionally hot earlier I decided to produce a menu that did not require me being in close proximity with an even hotter oven for an extended period. The first course was a simple Waitrose recipe I found online called “Mini Melon Medley with Prawns in a Ginger Dressing.” It involved carefully removing the flesh off a small Galia melon before cutting and dicing. The pith and membrane were removed from a ruby grapefruit and added to the melon flesh. This was all finished off with grated ginger, two tablespoons of honey and the cooked and peeled king prawns and the mixture placed back in the empty melon cases. I was supposed to add shredded rocket lettuce but forgot. I have to say the results were very pleasing. I then cobbled together a main course of pan-fried salmon fillets marinated in lemon, chilli and tarragon from the garden, the shops being empty of lime and fresh coriander. I also pan-fried halved cherry tomatoes and spinach in the resulting juices. I served new potatoes with the dish, which had been microwaved rather than fill my kitchen with oppressive steam from a boiling saucepan.

What I was most pleased with was my own creation: semi-freddo pina-colada. Unlike an ice-cream the semi-freddo does not require constant removal from the freezer so that it can be beaten to remove the ice crystals that inevitably form. Thus I simply folded together whipped double cream infused with the seeds of a vanilla pod, fresh pineapple marinated in Malibu, sugar syrup and whipped egg whites and placed in a loaf tin lined with enough cling film to cover the top as well. I placed the prepared semi-freddo in the freezer overnight.

The Partridge suggested I place the tin carefully under running cold water to help me dislodge the frozen dessert within. Her tip worked a treat and I slid the log on to a Victorian blue and white china platter she had once given me as a Christmas present. After a few minutes further defrosting the log was ready to be sliced into segments and served. If I say so myself, and fortunately the Partridge fully concurs, it was rather marvellous, the more so eaten on such a sultry evening. Sadly I did not have any glace cherries or tiny umbrellas to hand with which to decorate the pudding, items I would surely miss if presented with a true pina-colada cocktail.

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