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

Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
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
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

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Investigo: IT Auditor

    £60000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: A global leading travel busi...

    Recruitment Genius: Chef De Partie x 2

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This charming and contemporary ...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £20,000 Uncapped

    £15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Day In a Page

    US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

    Immigration: Obama's final frontier

    The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

    Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

    Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

    You know that headache you’ve got?

    Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

    Scoot commute

    Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
    Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

    The Paul Robeson story

    How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
    10 best satellite navigation systems

    Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

    Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
    Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

    Paul Scholes column

    England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

    Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

    Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
    Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

    Frank Warren column

    Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
    Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

    Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

    Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
    Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

    'How do you carry on? You have to...'

    The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

    Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

    'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

    Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
    Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

    Sir John Major hits out at theatres

    Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
    Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

    Kicking Barbie's butt

    How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines