Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Lemon-Melon Sunshine

It's not often that we are blessed with hot, sunny Summer's days here in London. So when they do roll round for a few weeks a year, we try and squeeze as much enjoyment from them as we possibly can. For the past couple weeks this was exactly the case, and to celebrate this glorious weather I decided to borrow the ice-cream machine from work and fill my freezer with tubs of frozen delights!

At work I make a lot of ice-cream, but all of them are custard based and very high in fat. At home I wanted to revisit the beautiful days I spent in the sunny, fountain filled squares of Roma, eating tub after tub of heavenly Gelati. So, for my and my family's own consumption, I decided to make delicately sweet and fruity sorbets that would really make the most of the Summer's abundance.

After a few hours of Internet research, I realised that nothing could be simpler than making the base syrup for your sorbet and that the flavour possibilities were indeed endless. With my head full of ideas, I headed down to my local green-grocers and could hardly choose from all of the amazing fruits on offer. Although I could happily eat my way through several punnets of red, blue and black berries and I'm certain that all of them would make delicious sorbets, I wanted to try out more exotic flavours for my sorbets. For this reason, I picked up an amazingly fragrant, bright orange Cantaloupe melon and could not resist the baskets full of sunshine yellow lemons, coincidently my two favourite flavours from the Gelateria we frequent.

Back in my sunny kitchen, I got the churner freezing and started making the base syrup for the sorbets, mixing equal parts caster sugar and water in a saucepan. As the sugar was slowly dissolving over a medium heat, I scooped out the little seeds from the soft, juicy melon and cut it into haphazard cubes. Next up was finely zesting one of the lemons and squeezing every last drop of zingy juice from the fat little fruits. With the sugar syrup ready and slightly cooled, half went into the blender to pulverize the melon cubes and the other half was mixed in with the lemon juice and zest. Both mixes were popped into the freezer for a few minutes to quickly cool down and then I churned each mix to that soft, smooth, icy consistency that makes the perfect sorbet.

As my husband and I sat watching the sun setting on another glorious day and licking our ice-cream glasses clean, I was already contemplating the next batch of flavours to try out and will now be off to the green-grocers again :)