Good Food Blog
Jelly for grown upsPosted at 10:02AM, 29 November 2010 by Carol Wilson - Food writer
Jellies are currently undergoing a revival in popularity, appearing at stylish events and weddings and even funerals. But today's jellies for grownups are a world apart from the garish teatime desserts served up at children's parties. Contemporary jelly is elegant and stylish, worthy of the poshest dinner party and comes in sophisticated flavours and complicated shapes.
At Michael Jackson's funeral, black cherry and Champagne jellies set with 24-carat gold were served. One company specialises in spectacular jellies which include a multicoloured version of Madrid's Barajas airport! At a recent food exhibition I tasted an eye-catching pyramid of jade-coloured jelly. The Ether and Riesling flavour (made especially for the exhibition) admittedly didn't grab my taste buds- but it looked divine!
Famous chefs are serving jelly in their restaurants and not just for dessert.
Famous chefs are serving jelly in their restaurants and not just for dessert. There are savoury jellies of cucumber, petits pois and green chartreuse; langoustines with a green apple and verveine jelly; cocoa jelly with a truffled terrine of foie gras and wholegrain mustard jelly with sashimi of gilthead bream. Heston Blumenthal has famously raised jellies to new gastronomic heights with his pigeon jelly with pea purée and crab cream for instance. In a Liverpool restaurant recently, I enjoyed a superb tomato jelly as a kind of solid dressing on a green salad.
Originally, jellies were a talking point at medieval feasts. At Henry VIII's Garter Feast in 1520, a gilded rosewater jelly was offered to guests. In the 19th century, elaborate jellies in jewel colours and delicate flavours were a fashionable dinner dessert.
The great thing nowadays is that jelly is so simple to make. I use leaf gelatine which produces a clear jelly and is easy to use. Vegetarians will opt to use, agar agar instead. If you're prepared to be a bit creative, you can flavour it with almost anything. I've made Bloody Mary jelly in shot glasses and a darkly translucent sloe gin jelly. Then there's wine of course - sparkling rose jelly is fabulous with strawberries. You can use a shaped mould, but if you can't be bothered, just make jelly in appealing dishes or wine glasses.
Do you have any new ideas for jelly?