Friday, 20 July 2007

Orange Sorbet (Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free)

There are perhaps just a few times when it all comes together. Career, house, garden, neighbourhood, town, amenities, rail links to London, pre-school, School, friends – all these things conspire to make you happy. Before our rather reluctant move to France, things were going well, and we were all very happy with our lives. We have limped through our first year in Paris, but as school broke up, we were very excited to be heading home for a brief respite.

It was therefore no surprise that the Pig family bus was filled with happy, happy smiles as it hurtled up the M20 a couple of weeks ago. The children whooped and shrieked from the back,

“We’re in the country we used to live in!”
“I can speak my own language and everyone will understand!”

Was it my imagination or was there great excitement in the Garden of England as we made our entrance? Were those Seven Oaks waving as we passed by? Did those flowers turn their heads to wish us happiness for the days ahead? Did they really put on that grand bicycle race in honour of our return? There really was no need.

Our thousand mile round trip took in the South East, London, the Midlands and the South West. It was a frenetic, hastily-arranged time of contrasts.

See me tottering along an urban street with fantastic Fran and the girls, eager to drink and giggle our way through a meal.
Watch my children bounce themselves to exhaustion with Jo’s lovely boys, whilst I watch her dig up the new potatoes that we will eat for our tea in her quiet, rural idyll.
Stand with me and admire the original art hanging in Sean and Erin’s beautiful Islington home, and pull up a chair to their Aga, it’ll warm you in this chilly month of July.
Sip some red wine with me and gaze at the sea and rolling hills that you see from Ali and Ian’s wooden house. If you stay long enough, Ali will pick you some raspberries for your lunch and Ian will share a sneaky fag with you.
Come for tea at Vicky’s. Anne is coming and it’ll be just like old times as we hide in the kitchen and drink Pinot Grigio, and the kids scamper around trying on every dressing-up item in the house.
Finally, come and run through the Kentish wheat fields and try and catch up with zippy Caroline. She’ll have you out running and home again before it’s 10am. Then she’ll make you some coffee and your children will disappear into her enormous house and we might not see them for hours.

Despite the different backgrounds, nationalities, locations and houses, all my friends had one thing in common. Within a very short space of time they were reaching for the corkscrew and proffering wine. Red, white, fizzy, we drank it all. We giggled, we debated, we watched telly, we ate, and we kept on drinking.

Unfortunately, it all had to come to an end. The Pig bus was dirtier, slightly more scratched, a bit smelly and dishevelled, and very downbeat as it emerged from the tunnel into the French sunshine. It drove in silence for much of the long journey and the children stared glumly out of the windows.

However, I am trying to be upbeat. We have unpacked our bags and are forging ahead with the summer holidays. I came back laden with supplies and goodies and I’m eager to get back to my cooking. I also came back laden with a little extra fat. I suspect it is not only around my middle, but also around my liver. I will be staying off the sauce for a while, and have made this pure and cleansing sorbet to get some of those streaks out of my bacon. I really hope it works. Cheers!

Cleansing Fruity Sorbet
This sorbet does not require an ice-cream maker, but to make your life easier, it probably requires a juicer. I never have a problem buying gadgets for the kitchen, it comes very naturally. If you need some justification for your juicer purchase, look at this interesting piece of writing which clearly shows that the urge to shop has very primeval origins. If that fails to convince you, you'll need a reamer.250g sugar
600ml water
4 oranges
1 grapefruit
1-2 lemons (I used one lemon plus 2 extra tbsps of juice, you may want more or less, it depends on your taste and doesn't affect the final outcome)

  • Place the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat until it boils. Leave on a rolling boil (I do like that term) for about 5 minutes, to reduce it slightly, then turn off the heat and allow to cool
  • Remove the peel from the grapefruit and lemons and chop the flesh into chunks. Cut the tops off the oranges and carefully cut all the flesh out so that you leave an orange peel cup in which to serve your sorbet
  • Feed the chunks down the funnel of your thirsty juicer and catch the resulting juice into a jug. My lovely eldest daughter helped so well with this, she bustled around the kitchen bossing me mercilessly, where does she get that from?
  • Add the juice to the saucepan of cooled sugar syrup
  • Taste it to see if it needs more sugar / more lemon juice, and then place in an ice-cream container
  • Put the container in the freezer, and freeze overnight
  • Prior to serving (about an hour) remove the sorbet from the freezer, it will have crystallised and needs to be softened up. Place the sorbet into a liquidiser. Whizz it up until it is smooth, it may need a few goes. Scoop the smooth sorbet into the orange cups and then return them to the freezer until you are ready to serve them
  • Feel very cleansed
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Stay at home dad said...

Welcome back Pig, although you've left. If you see what I mean. Nice to be able to have reverse holidays and the opposite of homesickness, if confusing...

debio said...

So welcome back, Pig. Has the UK wet weather extended as far as your neck of the woods?

dulwichmum said...

Welcome back lovely Pig. It sounds as though you enjoyed your holiday. Your family sounds so very sunny and happy, don't your kids ever have tantrums? What am I doing wrong...

Can we swap?

Mrs Steinway said...

Ah Pig, How lovely it was to see you and 3 of your 4 little pigs. Drinking wine before 5pm whilst Superman and Batman charged around the garden. Just like the old days. Come back to Blighty again soon and bring Mr Pig with you. Missing you....

Around My Kitchen Table said...

So glad you're back.
When I wrote my last comment I was under the impression that you lived in England and were going on holiday to France, not the other way round. Far from trying to write in French, I should first learn to read English!

Mya said...

HOORAH! You've returned to your French sty! Bienvenue. Your cleansing sorbet sounds very tempting - I'm returning to France (from Blighty) in the next few days and will certainly be needing emergency d-tox. Now where did I put my milkthistle?

Mya x

Pig in the Kitchen said...

hello SAHD, yes my holiday was good, but now i'm homesick all over again and also feeling confused?*!?

Debio, the wet weather is remarkable isn't it? I caught the tail end of the news yesterday and saw mad scenes of flooding in the UK, i guess the sky is weeping because I have left's all dry here for the moment, but v. chilly.

Hello dulwichmum, my family has sunny moments, but also regular squally showers, gale force 10 reaching 12 later. Stormy weather likely, especially before 7am. German dogger bite. I don't think you'd REALLY like to swap!

Mrs S, stop, you'll make me cry!

AMKT hello, I'm sure I had a hand in confusing you, blame me! Will pop over later to see you!

MYA, I am indeed back! Now aren't you based somewhere in the massif central? It was looking very stormy yesterday... I can vouch for the cleansing properties of the sorbet, I just have to resist the urge to drizzle it with Cointreau! Is Milkthistle for detoxing then? Ha, might have to try and get some!

Akelamalu said...

I just got back too. Glad you had a great time.

Belle said...

Hello Pig, I'm a new visitor and absolutely love your blog. Don't miss England - we want to do what you've done after a night of horrible drunk British rugger buggers throwing bottles off their balcony onto our road. Vive la France I say! x

Lizzie said...

Welcome back to landofblog Pig!
At least you are in happy sunshine by the sound of it, not surrounded by 4ft floods & torrential rivers (and fields and roads). Happy cooking.

Lizzie x

rilly super said...

glad you're back PITK and have taken time from unloading the contraband marmalade and teabags from the secret compartment under the spare tyre to put one of your yummy recipes online...

Lee said...

Welcome back! Glad to hear your holiday was wonderful in exactly the way holidays should be!

Brom said...

Sounds fantastic and good fun.

Glad you had a good time. I have not even started planning ours yet.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Akelamalu, hope you also had a good one, I'm slowly catching up on my blogging visits, i'll be over soon!

Bonsoir Belle, and very welcome to you and your kind comments. You are right, I should not miss England and should be happy with my lot. should be happy with my lot. Should be happy with my lot...

Hello Lizzie, sporadic sunshine here in France, a brisk wind, but no flooding thank-goodness. Am on my way over to you sooooon!

Rilly, hello darling, how on earth did you know about my secret compartment? It even fooled the sniffer dogs at eurotunnel...the smell of Marmite deterred them i think. I did get some rather lovely thick cut marmalade, how did you know about that too? I think you are possessed of special powers...

Hello Lee, yes, holiday was lovely, back to the grind...sigh!

Hey Brom, good luck with holiday planning...what about Belgium?

mutterings and meanderings said...

Good to see you Pig! Glad you had a good time...

Sorbet looks fab too

Suffolkmum said...

Welcome back! Nice to read such a celebratory blog of damp, waterlogged England! At least you will presumably be heading back to a little more sunshine.

lady macleod said...

It sounds a wonderful trip, but I am so glad to have you back.

Thank you for sharing the memories..

Marianne said...

What a lovely holiday and vivid descriptions - wish I could have joined you! You must have passed close by me on your way in and out. If you ever fancy a visit to the orchard and conservatory, let me know...

Pig in the Kitchen said...

M&M, thank-you! Good to see you toox

Suffolk Mum, have just spoken to a water-logged friend, hasn't had water for a week..can this be the 21st century? Sun is proving rather elusive here in france

Bless you Lady M! I do hope your head has cleared, I shall pop over this weekend to find out. Put some mint tea on for me, there's a love.

Marianne, would have loved a wander in the orchard, and I might have seen the pink-shirted man in your conservatory...will HAVE to stop by next time!