Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Whisky melon

To date, the best discovery I have ever made in my whole life is this little (yet important) gem:- melon goes exceedingly well with a good malt. Laphroaig is amazing because in a melon based fruit punch, all of the Islay peat flavours come to the fore, leaving the alcohol behind. Very sadly, I do not have any Laphroaig at present (nor any deep smokey peaty beverage for that matter) and the booze cupboard is in drought season, but there was just  a wee dram (a trickle stream) of placid (heathery?) Dalwhinnie, so it will have to suffice. Beggars can't be choosers after all.

And you could say that my love of whisky (Scotch to some) runs in my blood, for I am of Highland descent on my paternal side but really, it was my mother who was my inspiration. She took it upon herself to finish off whatever education The State had bestowed upon me, by giving me Whisky Lessons. Oh yes. These sessions culminated in her rendition of The Whisky Song (no, not The Doors one, the British folk song naming all the types of Scotch), and a trip to Glencoe, whereupon she bought my impressionable self a thimbleful of Laphroaig, in none other than the utterly atmospheric Clachaig Inn. Oh, the yearning to be back there again! There is a much romanticised Welsh word for this state and it is hiraeth

Now, I have, once again (you will note the common theme running if you have been paying close attention), fallen upon Hard Times. So, what do you do when this happens? Well, firstly I kvetch loudly and incessantly, then I resort to various tactics:- sulk, blame, weep or moan, only to lead me eventually to the contemplation of a watery death off the harbour (for I am too much a wuss for a knife to the chest). In the end, after this predictable morose nonsense, I succumb to something sensible: making the most out of what I have lying around. A lemonade from lemons sort of affair. An indoor foraging session rewards one overripe melon, which is to be both our succour and sustenance.

But just one melon is good but not enough of a show, maybe not enough to steer me away from the harbour and so I decide to tart it up. Remembering a recipe from way back when called (maybe), Melon in Ginger Wine, I set to making my own version. 


*One overripe melon (a ripe one will do fine)

*A wee dram

*Fresh ginger

*Sugar, honey, agave nectar or coconut palm sugar

*The juice of one lime (or lemon or orange)

*Some edible flower petals (mine are marigolds and cornflowers, methinks but you could try rose and lavender, or anything edible, I guess)

*Maybe a few pieces of saffron

*A few fresh mint leaves 


The Blossom Cottage looked good in the picture but tasted like pants


*Halve the melon, de-seed it and chuck it into a bowl. If you have a melon baller, all's the better. Cover the bowl with cling film or the like and put it in the fridge.

*In a pan, add about an inch or so of water and to that add your lime juice, chopped ginger, saffron, mint leaves and flower petals. Of course, as long as things are non poisonous, you can really improvise here and use whatever you have in your cupboards or garden, and if you don't have lime, you could try lemon, or even a splash of bog standard orange juice.

*Gently heat the mixture and add a little sweetener to taste. Allow this brew to softly warm and very gently almost bubble, so that after half an hour or so, the flavours have started to infuse and it is very slightly syrupy.

*Now add the melon juice that has collected in the bottom of the bowl. Leave it to warm again for about another twenty minutes. The main thing is to be gentle and not to over boil your syrup. Taste and adjust as you are going along. 

*Leave your syrup to cool for twenty minutes and then add your whisky. How much to add? Well, I'll leave that one entirely up to you. 

*When the syrup is 100% cool, pour it over the melon pieces and leave the whole thing in the fridge for a few hours, so that the flavours get chance to mingle. 

*Serve on a warm summer's evening. 

Adding the flower petals is akin to alchemy

But I must not bid adieu without first sharing one of my favourite You Tube people with you, Ralphy, who, as he shares his esoteric knowledge, will enable anyone to reach the dizzy heights of whisky connoisseur. 

Papillon  X

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