Clear winners: Mark Hix moulds jelly for grown-ups

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

It's retro, refreshing and it's this summer's most fashionable dessert

I've always been obsessed with the wobbly stuff and I love the idea of suspending food in a flavoured jelly – in a grown-up sort of way, of course. Jelly has a wonderful retro appeal and makes a really refreshing summer dessert, so it's great news that it finally seems to be back in fashion again. If you're prepared to be a bit creative, you can have great fun making visually appealing sweet and savoury jellies. Adding a touch of alcohol always goes down well at a dinner party, and it's also a great way to perk up your guests if they are being a bit boring!

Noval white and black jellies

Serves 4

A few weeks back I visited the leading port house Quinta do Noval in the Douro region of Portugal. And while I was tasting some of their heavenly vintages, I started to think of ways that I could incorporate some of them into a pudding.

I was particularly impressed with Noval Black, a seductively deep, raisiny and spicy vintage. It costs £14.99 and will be starting to appear in specialist outlets in the UK over the next few months (for stockists, telephone 01707 274790). I have used it with white port to make this eye-catching, two-tier effect jelly. If you want more of an alcoholic kick, just add more port and cut back on the sugar and syrup.

200ml water
170g granulated sugar
5 leaves of gelatine
100ml white port
100ml Noval black or ruby port

Bring the water and sugar to the boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.

Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes and then squeeze out the water and stir into the hot sugar syrup until dissolved. Leave the mixture to cool but do not let it set.

Divide the sugar syrup in half, add the white port to one and the Noval black port to the other.

Pour the white port jelly into moulds, such as small pudding basins or cups, and refrigerate until they are set. Then pour the black jelly on top and return to the fridge to set.

To serve, dip the jellies briefly into boiling water and then turn them out on to dessert plates. Serve with a spoonful of thick Jersey cream.

Wild strawberry and Pimm's jelly

Serves 4

This is a good way of using up a small harvest of wild strawberries if you are lucky enough to be growing them in your garden.

If you can't get hold of wild strawberries, then use sliced or quartered normal strawberries instead.

400ml water
125g caster sugar
A few sprigs of mint
The peel from one-third of a cucumber
The peel and juice from a lemon
The zest from half an orange
200ml Pimm's
4 gelatine leaves
A few borage flowers
100-150g wild strawberries

Put the water, sugar, mint, cucumber, lemon juice and peel, plus the orange zest into a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer very gently for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for an hour, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for about 2-3 minutes until soft, then squeeze out the excess water. Meanwhile, bring 100ml of the strained liquid to the boil, add the gelatine and stir until dissolved. Stir into the rest of the strained liquid with the Pimm's.

Pour half of the liquid into either small savarin moulds or individual pudding basins, then distribute half the wild strawberries and the borage flowers. Place in the fridge to set for about 30-40 minutes. Once set, top up the moulds with the rest of the jelly and strawberries and return to the fridge to set. Serve with ice-cream or whipped Jersey cream.

Bloody Mary jelly shots

Makes about 8-10

150ml vodka
3tbsp Worcestershire sauce if you wish
The juice of 3 lemons (approximately 90ml)
2-4tsp Tabasco, depending on how spicy you like it
800ml tomato juice
2tbsp freshly grated horseradish
Celery salt
5 leaves of gelatine

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together, except the gelatine, and leave to infuse for about 45 minutes, then strain through a very fine-meshed sieve. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 3-4 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water. Bring about 100ml of the liquid to the boil and stir the gelatine leaves in until dissolved; then stir into the rest of the liquid. Pour into shot glasses or similar and leave for about 45 minutes in the fridge to set.

Sea trout and cider jelly with summer vegetable salad

Serves 4

You could serve this as a cold buffet dish, a summery starter or as a main course if you increase its size. There has been a fair amount of wild sea trout around this year which is great news for those of us who are anglers and cooks. I tend to use the commercial brands of cider for this dish, as some of the real farmhouse ciders tend to go a little cloudy when the gelatine is added.

A 350-400g piece of sea trout, on the bone
300-400ml fish stock
6 black peppercorns
A few sprigs of wild or cultivated fennel ferns, stalks removed and reserved
250ml cider
3 leaves of leaf gelatine
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the summer vegetable salad

40g cooked peas
60g podded weight of cooked broad beans
8-10 green beans, cooked and cut into 3cm lengths
A handful of small salad leaves and herbs (land cress, silver sorrel, pea shoots, chervil, flat parsley, chive tops, etc) cut into 3cm lengths
1tbsp olive oil
2tsp cider vinegar
Homemade or good-quality mayonnaise to serve

Put the sea trout in a saucepan and cover with the fish stock (add a little more if you need to). Add the peppercorns, stalks from the fennel and a couple of good pinches of sea salt. Bring to the boil, skim and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes, then leave to cool for about 45 minutes in the liquid. Once cool, remove the sea trout and carefully remove the flesh from the bone; then remove the skin and any small pin bones down the centre of the fillet. Strain about 200ml of the clearer liquid from the surface of the stock

through a fine-meshed sieve into a bowl and discard the rest of the stock. Heat about 60ml of the strained liquid in a small pan. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for a few minutes, then squeeze out the water and stir into the heated cooking liquor until dissolved. Add the heated liquid to the rest of the strained cooking liquid and stir in the cider.

Put cm of the liquid in the bottoms of 4 ramekins or tea cups and let it set. Take 4 good-sized chunks of the sea trout and place in the set jelly with a couple of sprigs of fennel and a futher tablespoon of the jelly liquid, then place in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes. Once set, add the rest of the pieces of sea trout, fennel and stock. Place in the fridge until set again.

When you are ready to serve them, dip the jellies into hot water for just a couple of seconds, making sure that they don't melt. Carefully push the jellies around the edges a little with your fingers and turn out on to serving plates.

Mix the cider vinegar and olive oil together and toss with the leaves and vegetables, then arrange in a pile with the jellies, or around them. Serve with the mayonnaise on the side.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution