Well, I’ve been a very bad blogger recently, haven’t I? In my defence, the past month has been a bit chaotic. A few weeks ago I did something horrible to my back and I’ve had trouble walking, cooking and sitting at my desk – more or less pre-requisites for keeping this blog ship shape.
By terrible coincidence, my Uparwali Chai partner, Laura also slipped three disks and has been flat on her back for a month. As we were both hobbling around like a couple of old codgers, we had to cancel a tea party – and as the weather is now getting a bit hot (it reached 40 degrees today) for any outdoor activity that doesn’t involve jumping in a pool I’m not sure when the next one will be.
I knew things were starting to look up, though, when my fruit and veg man delivered a basket of mulberries last week and I suddenly felt up to a bit of kitchen play. I love the very brief mulberry season: so sweet, voluptuous and indulgent yet perfectly democratic – the trees grow everywhere here – a quick shake of the trunk and you’ve got a glut on your hands. They have to be eaten quickly and locally – this is one fruit we’re never going to see in supermarkets in London – before they start to fall apart and ferment.
After I’d gorged on the softly fragrant berries, I made some fluffy buttermilk pancakes which will appear in next weekend’s Mint column. I still had loads left so I decided to make a simple granita for friends coming over for supper. It turned out to be a triumph, with a little lemon juice to counterbalance the intense sweetness of the berries. Removing all the stalks is a pain – but worth it – if only for the intense colour, and the fact that you could still be savouring mulberries long after the season has been and gone.
500g mulberries, stalks removed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon (nimbu)
Gently heat the water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the mulberries and cook for a couple of minutes. Press the fruit through a fine metal sieve to remove the the seeds.
Pour the mulberry liquid into a shallow plastic tub and put it in the freezer. Every hour or so, take out the tub and rough the granita up a bit with a fork. Do this a few times, until it is completely frozen.
Well, I seem to have got my va va voom back – no more excuses now!