22 December 2009

Sarah Raven's Complete Christmas

Sarah Raven is a noted British writer of food and gardens. I am always pestering my friend, Sandra, to order me something from her gardening a catalogue and ship it "over the pond" as they say. Raven has written several wildly popular cookery books and a lovely book on growing a cutting garden. She is married to Vita Sackville-West's grandson, Adam Nicholson. Her daughters should not only have green thumbs but green toes!

She has assembled a fine book for Christmas entertaining. She takes the event in stride and lays out a system of planning so one can actually have a good time over the holidays. Of course, as I have mentioned before, taking on a trusted genre and keeping it at the same time traditional and fresh is a colossal pain. Raven has tried valiantly, but there are those detractors who say the book is just no "English" enough. Bah Humbug!

Here is a lovely, light dessert that is just what one needs after a roasted goose.

Blood Orange and Pink Grapefruit Sorbet with Limoncello

juice of 5 blood oranges (should give about 500ml juice)
juice of 2 pink grapefruits (should give about 300ml juice)
150g sugar
limoncello, to serve

Scrub and dry the fruit and, using a zester, remove the zest of the oranges. Dissolve the sugar in 200ml water in a small saucepan over a low heat. Add half the orange zest and bring to the boil for 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool and strain.

Squeeze the juice from all the oranges and grapefruits and combine it with the cold syrup and reserved, uncooked zest.

Pour into an ice-cream maker. Freeze/churn for 20-25 minutes and pack into a plastic container. Freeze for at least an hour before serving. If you haven't got a machine, pour into a plastic food container and freeze for 2 hours. Take out of the freezer and stir with a fork. Return to the freezer and repeat this process twice, stirring at two-hourly intervals.

Allow the sorbet 20-25 minutes in the fridge to soften slightly before serving. Put 2 scoops per person into a glass and pour a little limoncello over each one.

Divine! Simply divine.

Any book by Sarah Raven is a welcome gift, under the tree or for any occasion. Adam Nicholson is a fine writer, too.

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