When I look over recent postings I realize that I really have become obsessed with food. But it is so difficult to live here and not be. And though many of the things I once regarded as exotic have now become everyday I am constantly discovering new tastes and ways of preparing things.
And once again I stress the seasonality of things - Kaki are now back in the market, those great orange, squishy balls of custardy goodness that I will gorge myself on until late October. And just last week watermelon or anguria season was here and I discovered a wonderful Sicilian desert while having tea with my friend Simonetta and our Ballet magazine publisher Alfio. We had stopped in at Dagnino, the place to go for Sicilian sweets and goodies. As we cast our gaze over the incredible array of cannoli, cassati, biscotti and torte my eye was caught by a pinkish coloured desert flecked with bits of chocolate. At the same time Simonetta let out a delighted, "Oh look they have Gelo ri Muluni!" "What the hell is Gelo ri Muluni?" was my immediate response. "Its Sicilian for Gelatina di Anguria," she replied in a tone that suggested that anyone who could translate the latest reviews for Ballet2000 should really have known that.
Watermelon jelly? Hmm this didn't look like any watermelon jelly I had seen in those canned fruit studded moulds so beloved of the ladies at Alderwood Presbyterian Church dinners. Or the wobbly, shinny cubes of sugary day-glo stuff they fed us at the school cafeteria. It was shiny but had a creamy look to it and definitely wasn't going to glow under black lighting. So as Alfio and Luca indulged in Cassata we tucked into our Gelo ri Muluni.
And it was wonderful - so wonderful I bought several to take home for after dinner that evening. Then, even though it was going to possibly involve gelatin, that most difficult to work with ingredient, I went searching for a recipe in several Italian cookbooks but without success. A quick search on the Internet turned out one recipe and ... no gelatin! Over at Sicilian Cooking there was a recipe that was pure simplicity itself.
2 1/2 lbs watermelon (without skin)
1/2 lb sugar
1/2 cup chocolate shavings or chips
1/2 cup toasted pistachio nuts
1/3 cup corn starch
1 pinch of cinnamon
Not a gelatin leaf in sight, just some things everyone has laying around the kitchen. So I got everything together and thought I'd try my hand at making some with an eye to including it as a dolci at Thanksgiving (Canadian) dinner this weekend.
What's that you say? There's an ingredient missing! Oh you mean the watermelon! Well yes, you remember how I keeping going on about seasonality? Well guess what? Watermelon season is over and there's not one to be had in any of the markets!
The Gods do like their little joke don't they?
But here's the recipe anyway just in case there is still watermelon in your part of the world: Gelo ri Muluni (Watermelon Jelly). And I shall arise bright and early tomorrow morning and head to the market just in case there is one - even one - left for ready money.
08 ottobre - Santa Reparata di Cesarea di Palestina