To my mind, jelly was something relegated to kids parties - in a plastic rabbit mould and undoubtedly mashed with a 7-year-old's sugar-crazed delight into blocks of Cornish vanilla ice cream, or (and this is something I admit with my head bowed), eaten in cubes straight from the packet when my throat felt like it contained two spiky golfballs instead of tonsils.
However, the Bompas and Parr Jelly book has illustrated just how classy and inventive jelly can be. It makes really good reading, and has got both me and Matt really fired up about making jelly, not only the recipes featured in the book, but also creating our own. As Bompas and Parr note, anything liquid can be made into jelly. Take a moment and think about the implications of this. Your favourite cocktail - that can be jelly. Custard - yep, jelly. Any foodstuff that you can liquidise, you can then jellify. How flippin' exciting!
We've already been flinging such genius ideas as 'beer jelly' and 'gravy jelly' (!) around, with a maniacal glint in our eyes, but we decided not to run before we can walk, and started off with the delicious (and actually fizzy) lemonade jelly from the book.
Zingy, Fizzy Lemonade Jelly
Being jelly novices, we've stuck very closely to the recipe here. This jelly doesn't need to be left for a huge amount of time, as it is served in wine glasses, rather than being unmoulded and having to stand on its own.
Ingredients (serves 4)
100g caster sugar
100ml water (and then some more)
3 egg whites
4 sheets of gelatine
- Zest and juice the lemons into a pan.
- Add the sugar and water and heat to a simmer, hold at a simmer for 5 minutes.
- Sieve into a measuring jug and make up the volume of liquid to 500ml
- Cut up the gelatine (6-8 pieces per sheet) into a heatproof bowl and pour over enough of the liquid to cover, leave for 10 minutes to soften.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat until the gelatine has fully melted.
- Once melted, take off the heat and add the rest of the liquid.
- Set up a new bowl inside an ice bath (a larger bowl with ice water in it) and add the egg whites to it.
- Sieve the liquid into the egg whites and whisk the mix with an electric whisk. As the liquid cools, it starts to thicken and the whisking builds up a significant head of froth.
- When coolish, to the inquisitive finger, split the liquid between four glasses and place in the fridge (for at least 3 and preferably 4-5 hours).