Ripe to buy

April 12, 2012

It’s been almost two years since I started this blog and although I don’t have as much time to do it as I used to, I still look forward to every one with relish (or chutney, ha ha). I knew it was two years because of the mango season – the first blog I ever did was You Know When You’ve Been Mangoed and the recipe was a mango salsa.

Mangoes have been at their best for the last few weeks and my local fruit and veg shop had some half-price this week because they were so ripe. Like tomatoes, this is the best time to buy them for using immediately. We’ve had smoothies for the last few days and the ones I used today were so ripe you could just peel the skin off. If you’re hacking away, the mango isn’t ripe enough to eat.

I don’t really favour the hedgehog method for chopping a mango since I always seem to waste a lot of flesh. The best way is to first make sure you have a ripe mango by pressing gently. It should leave a soft indent. The unpeeled fruit should also have a sweet, syrupy smell. Then, just slice of large slices around the stone and run your knife as close to the skin as possible to remove the flesh. There will be some left around the stone you can also slice off carefully.

This recipe uses a basic tiramisu principle for the mousse which can be adapted for many fruits – Nigella makes something called Barbados cream which uses rum and lime. I love any mousse but hate using gelatine so this is perfect because it gives a lovely set with just the right amount of wobble. It’s an ideal mousse to make in advance and an easy recipe to remember since for two people you pretty much use two of everything.

The little spicy chocolate biscuits are optional, but delicious. Those little ginger thins would be nice too.

Mango mousse with little spicy chocolate biscuits

Serves two or three

Two mangoes, prepared as above and blended to a smooth pulp

Two eggs, separated with the yolk going into the largest bowl you have

Two tablespoons of caster sugar

2-4 fluid ounces of double or whipping cream, depending on how creamy you like mousses (you can omit this for a very light mousse)

Using an electric whisk, whip the egg whites in a bowl to soft peaks, then the cream in another bowl to soft peaks, and the yolk and sugar until pale and creamy in another bowl. If you do it in this order, you won’t have to clean your whisk.

Mix the pureed mango into the egg yolk and sugar. Add the cream and fold in gently. Add a spoonful of the egg white and mix in briskly then fold in the rest using a large metal spoon. Take your time. Pile into two or three wine glasses and chill for at least two hours (overnight is fine).

Little spicy chocolate biscuits

Preheat the oven to 180C (170C for fan ovens)

4oz butter at room temperature

2oz caster or light brown sugar

tsp ground ginger (or chopped stem ginger should you have a jar lurking in the cupboard – the syrup is also nice drizzled over the mousse)

pinch salt

pinch chilli powder or black pepper if you’re a spice wimp

2oz cocoa

4oz plain flour

Cream the butter, sugar, ginger and spices. Stir in the cocoa and then add the flour gradually until you have a sticky dough. You can either roll it out and cut out shapes or just into a sausage and the slice thinly on the diagonal. Both work fine. Place on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to crack. Remove and allow to cool. They will become crunchy and brittle on cooling. Serve with the mousse. They also taste great with vanilla ice cream.

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