Victoria used to think that sorbet was nothing more than a “cold, wet yawn”. For her it t embodied everything that was wrong in the culinary world: the dessert of choice for the dull or diet conscious. Discover what helped to change her mind!
Bank Holiday comes six times a year
Days of enjoyment to which everyone cheers
Bank Holiday comes with a six-pack of beer
…Then it’s back to work A.G.A.I.N
(Blur, Bank Holiday from Parklife, 1994)
17th June 1995: I was at the very front of the crowd, ribs bruising on the barrier, jumping up and down to Blur Live at Mile End Stadium. It was a cracking gig, too literally for one girl, whose leg was broken under the weight of the crowd falling like dominoes on her at an awkward angle. I landed somewhere on top and heard a CRACK. It was the only low point of an otherwise awesome day.
It was so hot that steam was rising off the sweaty crowd and, just shy of 5 feet and five inches in my Adidas Gazelles, I found out the disgusting way that my face reaches armpit height on most vaguely tall men. What I wouldn’t have given for a cold six-pack of beer – if only to press against my overheated brow.
It’s both amazing and horrifying to think that that was 18 years ago. Whole adult humans have been grown in the time that has passed, but one thing still remains true: Bank Holiday comes six times a year. Well, give or take. This weekend marks our last of the summer. And it’s going to be a hot one, folks!
Now that I’ve reached a slightly riper age, I’m happy for you to keep your six-pack of beer. Long gone are the days when I’d sit in a park, drinking from a can, pretending I was enjoying it. I’ll take a glass of chilled Chablis or a refreshing Mojito over a Red Stripe any day, and I don’t care who knows it.
Until a few years ago, I would have been happy to scoff from the rooftops that sorbet is nothing more than a cold, wet yawn. No exceptions. In my view, it embodied everything that was wrong in the culinary world: the dessert of choice for the dull or diet conscious. That all changed I went to visit friends living in Paris and all sorbet prejudice dropped from my eyes.
We went for dinner at a Socialist co-operative restaurant called Les Temps des Cerises on Rue Butte Aux Cailles, when my friend, Lily, opted for an apple sorbet with Calvados. I stuck my nose up at her choice and puffed out my chest while ordering something rich and indulgent, probably involving chestnuts or chocolate, or both. She insisted I try some and from this day forth, I have been more than happy to eat my words. It turns out, not all sorbets are cold, wet yawns. Some sorbets deserve more credit, and not just as a palate cleanser in between other, more interesting courses. Sorbets can be awesome, but generally only when doused in booze, and I’m making no exception to that rule here.
Mojito sorbet ticks all the boxes for a hot, sunny day. It’s refreshing, zingy, ice-cold and full of booze. And it’s now my Bank Holiday pudding of choice after an afternoon
six-pack of beer barbecue. And, better still, it’s gluten and dairy free too.
375 g caster sugar
500 ml water
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
250 ml freshly squeezed and strained lime juice (about 12 - 15 limes)
A generous bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
Several fingers of white rum
Place the sugar and water in a saucepan with a few pinches of the lime zest over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, let the syrup come up to the boil, turn off the heat and leave to cool completely. Once cool, stir in the juice and remaining zest and pop the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour, before pouring into an ice cream machine - follow your specific model’s instructions.
Once it begins to set, chuck in the chopped mint. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, just pour the lime syrup into a Tupperware box and stick in the freezer, stirring vigorously every half hour, or so, to prevent ice crystals forming. It will take at least four hours to set. Take the sorbet out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving, scoop into glasses and pour over a generous glug of white rum.
Inspired? For more sorbet recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.