The time is ripe: Mark Hix makes summer last a little longer with these refreshing melon recipes

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

I've been to the South of France twice in the last month or so and I have become pretty hooked on the various types of melon on offer. When melons are perfectly, naturally ripened in the sun, in terms of their flavour and texture they can be worlds apart from some of the sad specimens that grace our supermarket shelves over here, which have probably ripened in a dark cooler for months before hitting the shelves. A melon is one of those great fruits that you can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and if you keep it in a coolbox it makes a refreshing chilled snack. It can be hard to tell quite how good your melon is going to be, but smell is often the best indication, so have a good sniff before you buy.

With some of the larger melons such as watermelons, their size means that they can often be a bit of a struggle to finish before they go past their sell-by date – but blended and popped in the freezer they make a great granita or even the base for a chilled cocktail during our (hopefully) Indian summer.

Melon salad with mint syrup

Serves 4

The fresh tastes of melon and mint combine beautifully; you can use a selection of one or two varieties of melon here, depending on what's available. The skins from this dish can be used to make the candied melon skin recipe below.

A selection of melons

For the syrup

The skins or rind from the melons
150g caster sugar
A handful of mint leaves and stalks

Cut the melons into quarters or eighths then remove the rind, leaving about – 1cm of the outer flesh on. Cut the rind into rough 2cm chunks and place in a saucepan with the sugar and mint stalks and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the skins with a slotted spoon and put to one side for the candied melon skin recipe.

Simmer the syrup until it has reduced by about half and leave to cool. To serve, cut the melon into bite-sized chunks and transfer to a serving bowl or bowls. Scatter the mint leaves over and spoon over the syrup.

Three-melon granita

Serves 4-6

This is a really refreshing starter, intermediate course or a cleansing dessert. All you need is good ripe melons, a blender or food processor and a freezer. This is the kind of dish that the children would love to be involved in – but keep an eye on the freezer or all that hard work could be scoffed in seconds.

1 medium-sized orange melon such as a rock or Charentais
1 medium-sized yellow melon such as a Cantaloupe or honeydew
1 small (or half of a) watermelon

Peel all of the melons and remove the seeds, except in the case of the watermelon where the seeds can be blended. Individually blend each of the melons in a liquidiser, then pour into separate containers and place in the freezer for 4-5 hours or overnight until frozen. Once frozen, break up the melon with a knife or place in a strong plastic bag and crunch with a steak hammer or the back of a small saucepan, and return to the freezer until required.

To serve, spoon the granita into chilled martini glasses or similar in three layers and serve immediately.

Melon and ham

Serves 4

This classic restaurant dish would have been on almost every menu in the late Seventies and Eighties and it was traditionally viewed as a safe choice. But in a simple dish like this with only two ingredients, both must be of impeccable quality for it to work. I used a piece of vacuum-packed ham that's been in my fridge since my trip to the Douro Valley in Portugal in June. It was a cut from the shoulder and smoked at a fairly high temperature and it came from the local butcher who cures and smokes every part of the pig so it was more or less cooked. It worked a treat with a succulent Charentais melon. I'm not going to give you a recipe for this dish, but just encourage you to shop a bit harder for some really good ham and a decent melon – that's it.

Candied melon with chilli

This is a great way to use up the melon skins from the recipes above. Serve just as a snack, with cured meats or with cheese.

500g sugar
10 or so dried red chillies, chopped
Melon skins from the melon salad recipe

Put the melon skins into a saucepan with the sugar and chillies; cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 40-50 minutes, the melon should be translucent, the skins soft. Transfer to an airtight container; store in a cool place.

Mark Hix will be running a game masterclass with Ben Weatherall at the Oyster and Fish House, Lyme Regis, on 16 September. Tickets are £37.50 and include a 3-course supper. For more information, contact 01206 756388

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas