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

PROMOTED VIDEO
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
News
i100(More than you think)
Arts and Entertainment
John Hurt will voice Prince Bolkonsky in Radio 4's War and Peace
radioRadio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
News
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
arts + ents
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

    h2 Recruit Ltd: Sales Manager - Holiday Homes - £100,000 OTE

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + £100,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: Birmingham, Derby, L...

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?