A perfect festive pudding from Philippa

BEFORE heading down to Dorset to cook for her sister Helen’s Dorset Corset Theatre Company, who will be performing A Christmas Carol at the Shelley Theatre, Boscombe, Philippa Davis was cooking for clients in Holland Park, and had a chance to sample the amazing variety of first class food available in the heart of London.

It is a chef’s dream as far as sourcing quality produce is concerned, she says …

foodmenu-sorbetTHERE is the fabulous Lidgate Butchers where I had my first job in London), top notch greengrocers and just down the road there is the excellent Kensington Fish Shop, Chegworth apple store (for those discerning apple eaters for whom Pink Lady just don’t cut the mustard) and the super impressive Whole Foods.

For those of you who don’t know, I feel I must tell you a little more about Whole Foods. It is a predominantly organic supermarket that has exceptional standards. Staff are phenomenally polite –. even if you show the slightest sign of being vaguely lost or looking for something they will spring to your aid and / or they will bend over backwards to fetch, carry or hail a cab for you. I’m sure they would even agree to sing your favourite Christmas carol while you chose the most festive looking clementines if you asked.

The meat is excellent, the fish sourced well and I am convinced the vegetables are given a pep talk each morning to remind them to look their best and anything less than perfect will be marched off the shop floor with no second chances.

It is also the kind of place where you can find ethically sourced, completely natural, CO2 neutral, anti animal testing, biodynamic washing up liquid (that unfortunately doesn’t wash your plates very well) and breast feeding mothers happily sipping their decaf almond milk lattes (I spied eight in various bits of the shop over the week).

foodmenu-sorbetchardThere is also a fantastic local farmers market on Saturdays that had the finest display of brassicas I have ever seen as well as some happily reared meat, baskets of blue eggs, bread stalls that would impress even the French and bags of delicious UK apples.

o with fantastic shopping just a short walk/taxi/tube away sourcing the food for the parties was easy and fun. The menu read: Moscow Mules; canapés – goats cheese, San Danielle and balsamic; starter – pan fried scallops with whisky butter, bitter leaves, toasted hazelnuts and samphire with lemon; main – slow cooked lamb shoulder with vermouth, thyme and rosemary served with blanched chard and patats povres; dessert – clementine sorbet with mint sugar.

Clementine sorbet with chilled vodka

This dessert works really well around this time of year as with so many big meals and celebrations going on something light and refreshing to finish is most welcome. The difference between sorbet and granita is the texture achieved by freezing methods. A sorbet is churned and should be smoother and the granita will have ice crystals as is only agitated while being frozen. You can make this recipe into a sorbet or granita depending on preference.

Serves 6

30 clementines
zest and juice of 1 lime
100g sugar
50ml vodka plus extra shots chilled to serve

To serve: 12 mint leaves, 1 tbs demerara sugar,

Juice the clementines. Briefly bring to the juice to the boil with the sugar, lime juice and zest then leave to cool. Add the 50 ml of vodka (this stops it from freezing rock solid).

To make sorbet: Once chilled place in an ice cream machine to churn till frozen, or if you don’t have a machine, place in the freezer for about 4 hours (or till semi frozen), then blitz in a food processor till smooth, return to the freezer for another four hours or until fully frozen.

To make granita: Freeze in a dish occasionally agitating the mix with a fork. (about three times over the 6 -8 hour freezing period.

To serve the sorbet or granita: Place the mint and demerara sugar on a board and chop the mint so it gets crushed with the sugar. Place scoops of the clementine sorbet/granita in a serving dish and sprinkle with the mint sugar.

For more of Philippa’s postcard recipes visit www.philippadavis.com