Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wow its been hot in London these past few days, as a result I have been waking up early in the morning when it is cool and reading for an hour before tackling chores. Thanks to my early rising I seem to be ploughing through books, mind you none of them have been what you might call heavy literature.
Its too hot to rant today

READING: I've finished "She May Not Leave" by Fay Weldon, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Very much in FW's usual style with intertwining themes of women, marriage and motherhood, and the perfidy and gullibility of men. As ever, she writes in simple elegant prose which is in contrast to the deadly shafts of character assassination. I know some people dismiss FW as a "woman's writer", but although her themes are similar to some of those in chick-lit she is head and shoulders above that genre.
I have also finished "What The Chinese Don't Eat " by Xin Ran. This book is a collection of the weekly articles she wrote about China and the Chinese for The Guardian newspaper between 2003 - 2005. She covers a vast range of topics from food to sex education. I think reading this book and her earlier one "The Good Women of China" is one of the best ways of understanding how Chinese women feel about life, the world, and their own society. She has also started up a charity, The Mothers Bridge of Love to help western families who have adopted Chinese children and the children themselves understand more about their cultural roots.

RECIPE: My dear friend Sarah who lives in Jo'burg sent me Lynn Bedford Hall's book "Return to Corriebush" as a birthday present. It is a sequel to her earlier book "Fig Jam & Foxtrot", both books are tales of life, love and food in the Karoo
Both books are lavishly illustrated by Tony Grogan.

Amongst the many recipes in "Return to Corriebush" is one which I think is ideal for this hot summer weather, and I am going to make it for Friday evening.


Half a ripe watermelon
250mls (1cup) water
30ml (2 Tablespoons) sugar
Approx 15 new fresh mint leaves (don't use big old ones)
Extra fresh mint to garnish

This will make 4 large or 6 small servings
Use a melon baller to scoop the watermelon flesh into little globes, discarding the pips.
Divide the melon balls between glass dessert bowls or wide goblets, allowing about 1 cup of melon per serving.
Bring the water and sugar to the boil in a saucepan, stirring at first to dissolve the sugar. Boil rapidly for 4-5 minutes. The mixture will be very bubbly but only slightly reduced as it is a really light syrup - watermelons are so sweet that a heavy syrup would be quite wrong. Cool the syrup and then add the mint leaves, use an electric hand blender to mix all together, but don't blend too well, you want to see the flecks of mint.
Spoon 2 teaspoons of gin over each serving, then spoon 2-3 Tablespoons of the mint syrup over each. Finally snip extra mint over each serving. Cover with clingfilm and refridgerate for for about 24 hours.

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