There was an old chap from Pwllheli
Who concocted a gin-lemon jelly
It wobbled and shivered
Shook, trembled and quivered
As did he when it entered his belly.
Yes, it rained so hard on Bank Holiday Monday that I decided it wasn’t worth venturing outside at all, not even in the car, not even to go to the pub. It wasn’t just the rain of course; there was the wind to contend with as well. My part of
can be such a windy place, windy and grey and very wet. Of course on a good day
it is a wonderland, but today was not a good day at all, one of those days
where the electric lights in the kitchen are not turned off and one of those
days where time is filled with indoor stuff rather than the other stuff like sketching,
sitting on the beach, and whistling a happy tune.
What to do, what to do? Even the birds, who usually brave the weather to come to the feeders, resolutely refused to venture out - so no entertainment there.
Rifling through the fridge I found half a pack of wilting watercress and an hour or so later I had my version of vichyssoise which I had no intention of eating cold. I hate cold soup. Cold soup is wrong. Cold soup is as wrong as soft biscuits, potato waffles, and cheese string. No, I’d be eating it hot with an island of gruyere cheese on toasted French bread floating on the top and afterwards a simple mustard glazed pork chop.
That done I turned to the dry food store cupboard in search of pudding and entertainment. Honey, treacle, flour, Demerara, raisins, capers… ah, here it was… jelly; lemon jelly to be precise. Okay, time for some fun.
I like jelly; I always have since I was a kid. I guess most of us have happy memories of childhood birthday parties with egg sandwiches, lemonade, birthday cake (which almost always seemed never to get eaten), and best of all – jelly and the obligatory ice cream. My favourite jelly used to be strawberry or raspberry, but over the years my taste has matured through cherry and blackcurrant and these days it’s the citrus I like best. Lemon and lime, but not orange – orange jelly is like the Rowntree orange fruit pastel - unnecessary.
Anyway, back to my lemon fruit jelly - slightly out of date but perfectly serviceable, eight squares of tangy yellow wobble, bursting with flavour, all set to make a wibbly-wobbly feast. Yes, I love jelly but these days, just as I love the tangy lemonyness of the jelly, I like mine with a bit of a twist.
So, taking my jelly and breaking it into individual squares, I added a tiny amount of boiling water and stirred until I had a thick viscous liquid. I wanted as little water as possible because I was going to top it up to the full pint with Gin and Tonic – yes Gin and Tonic jelly… oh, naughty me. To the less than a quarter pint of water I added half a pint of tonic water, not diet – I hate diet, and not a cheap one, cheap ones don’t have enough fizz – then I added a quarter pint of gin and the zest from a lemon which I grated using my favourite grater.
A quick stir, a naughty taste, into the mould, then –brrrrrrr- into the fridge to set. Now for the hard bit… the waiting! Two hours and twenty checks later my jelly was set and the result was… well, let’s just say that not only did it taste good and look good it also had the effect of wobbling my mind and making me wibble… sorry, giggle.
Now, that’s what I call a party jelly.