‘Cooking means carefulness, inventiveness, willingness and readiness of appliance. It means the economy of your grandmothers and the science of the modern chemist; it means much testing and no wasting; it means English thoroughness, French art, Arabian hospitality’ These are Ruskin’s words, as true and inspired today as they were when he wrote them eighty-five years ago.’
So begins The Blender Book by Gwen Robyns, first published by Hamish Hamilton for Thorn Domestic Appliances in 1971.
I have to quote some more of the intro:
‘Early in my married life, as a time-pressed journalist, I learned to use my blender to the full. All I wanted then was a foolproof gadget that would fit into a galley-sized kitchen and work a miracle at the end of the day when my temper was frayed. The blender… added a zest and glamour to quick, inexpensive food and, for that matter, my life.’ [Someone tell this woman about wine. Her mind will be blown.]
This book was generously given to me by one of the best cooks I know (she also gave me a smashing Prue Leith, which I will also be trying in due course), saying something along the lines of ‘Everything in here is horrible’, which I took to be a challenge.
She was mostly right:
Still I thought double apple salad would be edible:
I changed the method slightly in order to make up the gelatin in the way instructed by the packet. The apple, lemon juice and ginger were pureed, the gelatin added and left to soak, then the hot apple juice was added and then the whole lot blended until smooth. It was green slop.
After a night in the fridge in a lightly oiled plastic tub (wooo, glamourous!), I shook the slightly sticky mass out onto a plate, where it promptly lost what little shape it had had. I’ve never made jelly from scratch before (I refuse to call this a salad, anything which involves 2 ½oz of sugar has clearly moved from salad into pudding territory, even according to my loose grip on the principles of nutrition). I was happy with the extent to which it had set – neither too rubbery, nor too liquid, although it has shreds of apple suspended in it which I would have found disgusting if it had been savoury dish, but which was acceptable in combination with the clean and tangy flavour.
Although edible, this was quite a lot of work to make something which tasted like slightly springy apple puree.It was quite nice as a jelly, but I ended up whisking it up with some more juice and freezing it – it’s much better as a sorbet. I will definitely make jelly again, but perhaps choose a less wholesome flavouring (i.e. port).
Gelled by Elly