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Recipe - Christmas Recipes by Janesse

Summer is such a beautiful time for fruit. There are so many scrumptious fruits out there.

I think if you are having Christmas lunch or dinner it is lovely to have lots of fruit around, whether it be on platters or just in bowls for people to help themselves.

I know Christmas puddings are traditional but after a heavy lunch or dinner I think it is nice to serve a fruit platter or a fruit salad. Then what I find is you have room to indulge in some lovely chocolates and you don’t feel as guilty as you have eaten all those good fruits!

Thought I would give you a bit of a buyers guide to how to pick the best fruit. My partner has worked in the organic fruit and vegetable industry so he has good knowledge of this and has helped me compile it.

ROCKMELON - locate the picked side of the fruit by looking at both ends. One end will be smooth the other rough. On the rough end which is the picked end look for cracks around the stem or where the stem would be. I know that sounds weird but what it means is that the fruit has been on the vine long enough to ripen.

These days a lot of fruit is picked way too early and it might be hard to find cracks because of this. If you can’t the next best thing is to smell the rockmelon. Find one with a strong pleasant aroma.

WATERMELON - you need to tap on the watermelon lightly and listen for a full drum like sound. You don’t want it to sound at all hollow. The outside colour of the watermelon is not indication of the flavour, it doesn’t matter if it is pale or dark.

PEACHES and NECTARINES - you need to feel how heavy each fruit feels, the heavier it feels the better it is.

MANGOS - you can buy mangos when they are green and wait for them to ripen, or if you want a mango to eat straight away you need to smell it and make sure it has a strong aroma. Also look for a good colour and unblemished skin.

PINEAPPLES - Pineapples should not have too much green on the body. Look for a nice yellowy colour on the body.

BERRIES - Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries can be hard to pick. They are very fragile and can go off quickly. As they come in plastic containers it can be hard to see the fruit. Strawberries: try to see if tip leaves are nice and green. Blueberries: should not be wrinkled but smooth and round. Raspberries: make sure to check the container thoroughly for mouldy ones.

Now for some recipes using lovely summer fruits.

As I said I think a lovely cold fruit platter or salad is fantastic but if you want something a little more here are some recipes.

SPARKLING STONE FRUIT AND RASPBERRY JELLY

    * 3 cups sparkling sweet white wine
    * ½ cup caster sugar
    * 11/2 tablespoons gelatine
    * ½ cup water
    * 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    * I med nectarine sliced thinly
    * 2 small apricots sliced thinly
    * I white peach sliced thinly
    * 200g fresh raspberries (you could also use blueberries)

Combine 1 cup of the wine and sugar in a small saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, reduce hat simmer uncovered for 5 mins, remove from heat.

Sprinkle gelatine over water in heatproof jug or bowl, stand jug in a medium saucepan of simmering water, stir until gelatine dissolves.

Add gelatine mixture and lemon juice to wine mixture. Whisk to combine. Stir in remaining wine.

Divide the fruit evenly among six serving glasses. Pour the mixture over fruit. Cover and refrigerate overnight or until set.

Below is a lovely refreshing drink that is much better for you than commercial soft drink!

PASSION PUNCH

    * ½ cup unsweetened pineapple juice
    * ½ cup orange and mango juice
    * 1 mango flesh chopped.
    * 1 pineapple chopped into small pieces
    * Pulp of 1 passionfruit
    * Soda water to serve.

Place all ingredients into a blender blend until smooth then pour into glasses and top with soda water.
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