There are some recipes that stop you in your tracks and require few words. This is one of them – a ‘genius recipe’ in the new column by Kristen Miglore, senior editor at food52.com where weekly, great recipes are unearthed from the worlds cookbooks.This recipe thrilled me to no end because
- Daughter #1 is crazy about strawberry sorbets and lemon sorbets so this was right up her alley
- A few weeks before I’d bought 3 River Café cookbooks for a tenner – going out on a flea market limb and boy am I glad I did.
- Simple recipes which exalt the lemon from humble citrus to outstanding are perpetually intriguing to me.
And so here we are again. Fruit, sugar and cold – the result, a sweet, fruity sorbet with incredible depth of flavour.
The sorbet was wonderful on its own. And it made its way into other things, like a refreshing milk cocktail. With alcohol…..and for adults only.
And then I tried using the whole fruit technique for a couple of other recipes – just to see what would happen.
A small diversion though, with a question. As a food blogger or lover, do you get a lot of people thinking you are the best cook? Well, I do. At my children’s school potluck events and in the office, I find that parents and colleagues who know I have a blog are super curious to see what I’ve brought, and also to give it a try. Often, I will be rewarded with compliment after compliment (not if the cake is sugarless by a small oversight on my part or ‘wet’ and gummy to taste). And then, there will be reciprocation – an offer of a slice of cake or a bit of pastry will be made from said parent or colleague, but that will be punctuated with comments and questions like ‘I am curious to know what you think’; ‘Is it good?’; I know you are a really good cook’ and on and on. My response is unwavering and I almost always say ‘I’m not the best of cooks but I LOVE to cook’.
And through that love of standing behind a hot stove or oven, I’ve learnt many a thing. For instance….a plain Sicilian orange cake with citrus zests which garnered rave reviews when re-modelled using whole orange and lemon and renamed Sicilian orange (with only a little lemon) raspberry cake was…..ok.
Sometimes the best of intentions will not yield a great recipe. Even if the raspberries and lemon turned a wonderful pink with such depth of colour which baked through quite well (leading me to believe that citrus juices and citric acids strengthen the colours in food and maybe other things).
On a good note, I loved the inner pinkiness of the cake, and the clear raspberry flavour with a hint of lemony bitterness but it is definitely back to the drawing board on this one.
Another trial subbing whole lemons in a Meyer lemon tart ended up looking good. However, unlike the sweetness typical of Meyers, this tart ended up as a bitter lemon one. To sweeten things up, I put some sugar over the top and broiled in under a hot grill. Wrong…..the sugar turned a dark unappetizing brown but did take on the crunch of a creme bruleé topping – I need to get me a proper blow torch. Armed to have dinner with friends and half of it was gobbled up in spite of my cries of ‘bitter, bitter’. And to be honest, served with whipped cream it wasn’t that bad.
This sorbet overall was very well received, even by daughter #2 who is ambivalent on a number of things, lemon and strawberries included. But of course, the fact that it had sugar, which she holds dear had her clamoring for some. Reviews of the recipe by a handful of food52ers love the use of the whole lemon but have found it somewhat too sweet. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, I’d dial the sugar back a bit.
What absolutely has me with this is the glorious, deep shade of red the blended mixture of strawberries and lemon results in.
The River Café’s Strawberry Sorbet
From London River Café Cook Book by Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray
Makes 1½ quarts
2-3 lemons, 1 seeded and roughly chopped and the others juiced
2 cups sugar(some people have found this too sweet and have reduced the sugar by the half)
About 900g (2 pounds) strawberries, hulled (some people have used frozen berries, with good results)
Place the chopped lemon and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until combined and the lemon is finely chopped. Be patient with this step – some people found their sorbets chunky, with bits because they hadn’t blended the mixture for long. If you are into textured sorbets – then by all means ignore me. Transfer this mixture to a bowl.
Purée the strawberries in a food processor, and add to the lemon mixture, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Taste and add more juice as desired.
If the mixture remains soft, then freeze it covered till it is firm. If it is hard when you’re ready to have some, defrost for 10 minutes to soften.
Strawberry Milk Cocktail
Ingredients1 cup cold (half-fat) fresh milk
1/2 cup Tiburon Tropical rum flavoured batida’s
Strawberry and lemon sorbet (I used the River Café sorbet)
Set two regular cocktail glasses, or several smaller glasses, with 125ml capacity, pictured. Place small scoops of sorbet into the glasses.
Combine the milk and the Tiburon liqueur and pour into the glasses (with the sorbet). Watch it float :-), without the classic bubbles of the famous root-beer float.
Top with a touch more sorbet, placed in centre. Serve with straws.