This post is a recipe for a thick, spiced syrup glaze for fruit salad. It comes from one of my great Oxfam second-hand cookery book purchases: The Prawn Cocktail Years. The authors, Simon Hopkinson and Lyndsey Bareham, have been writing cookery columns and publishing recipe collections since the mid-90’s, racking up scores of books and a great library for the ordinary family cook. This particular book deconstructs British bistro and restaurant fayre from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and then tells you how to make the dishes properly, so if you ever want to know how to make authentic spag bol/weiner schnitzel and a host of other favourites that many of us grew up with, then this is your resource. Nostalgia, only much better than you remember…
Ingredients (makes more than enough for a large bowl of salad to serve 6):
- 300g/1.5 US Cups Granulated Sugar
- 200 ml (6.75 US fl oz) Water
- 100 ml (3 1/3 US fl oz) of a fruity White Wine (I used a Muscat dessert wine, it was truly wonderful)
- 3 Cardomom Pods
- 2 small Bay Leaves, torn
- 2 Cloves
- Blade of Mace
- The original recipe has 4-5 strips of pithless lemon peel, I did not use this but put in a squeeze of fresh lemon instead, again, it was fab.
Put all of the ingredients into a heavy-based teflon or similar coated pan on the stove (the mix can react with aluminium uncoated pans), whisk together and stir over a low heat until mixture comes to the boil (only five minutes or so) and then simmer for a further five minutes, keeping an eye on it and stirring as necessary. Take off the heat and leave covered to cool, and then strain through a seive into a jug. Serve over mixed fruits, which you can prepare in advance of the rest of dinner…
Any excess can be stored in the fridge in a sealed container for a very, very long time. I would be happy to store this for a couple of months or more.
Fruit Salad Combinations that Work:
The authors say “less is more” with fruit salad, and I tend to agree. Balancing cost and taste, three fruits in combo seems just about right to me. I also never use apples in fruit salads, but that is probably just my prejudice. In truth, simple ripe pears with this syrup glaze would be just as lovely.
Very Berry Fruits: Strawberries, Cherries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Seedless Red Grapes, Pears, Sweet Plums
Tropical Fruits: Lychees, Pineapple, Melon, Kiwis, Grapes, Passionfruit, Watermelon, Peaches, Mango chunks, Papaya, Banana (cut and add slices at the last minute; if you expect leftovers, then don’t use banana at all as they dissolve into brown slimey mush)
Luxury Fruits: Figs, Melon, Seedless Green Grapes, Pipless Orange / Clementine Segments, Apricots
“The Prawn Cocktail Years” is still available from amazon in the paperback version for only a couple of pounds/dollars: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Prawn-Cocktail-Years-Simon-Hopkinson/dp/0333725948/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1310136023&sr=8-2