03 May 2009

next time, I'll hide the frogspawn

Sometimes, you're longing to re-create something you've eaten a long time ago. Out of a childhood memory, perhaps, or something that connects you to a special moment.

And if you do, it is good. Food can connect to memories in a way that only scent can match.

Unfortunately, those memories are rarely shared with others. Which led to my wife and my father-in-law leaving our table in disgust, yesterday evening.

I had made my grandmother's rhubarb and strawberry tapioca, just the way I remembered it. It was delicious. At least, that is what my mother-in-law and I thought of it.

My wife and her father just squealed as I put the bowl onto the table and left a few moments later. Admittedly, the dessert looked like pale, pink frogspawn, and everything but tasty.

But that't just the way I remember it!

Scratching our respective heads, my mother-in-law and I remained at the table, wondering what could be so wrong with something so delicious. Rillettes don't look any better, and no-one has ever complained about that in my household!

In retrospective, I have to admit that it might have been a little more diplomatic to boil fruits and tapioca separately, as the fruits wouldn't have completely disintegrated that way.

But hey, you live, you learn. Next time, I'll hide the frogspawn between pieces of fruits. ^^

And just to be nice, I'll give you another picture of the flowers in front of our house instead of the final dish. Pretty, eh?

rhubarb and strawberry tapioca
(serves six)

1kg fresh rhubarb
500g fresh strawberries
100g brown sugar
100 ml Cointreau (or similar)
150 - 200g tapioca (or sago) perls

Clean the rhubarb and the straberries, cut into small pieces.
Especially the rhubarb shouldn't be bigger than a few inches, as longer pieces will make the final dish draw strings like cheese.

In a large pot, gently heat the fruits, the sugar and a few tablespoons of the Cointreau. Bring to a gentle boil.

Once the fruits have drawn enough liquid to be submerged, add the tapioca while stirring gently. Keep on lowest heat until the pearls are soft with just a tiny, white eye in the middle, about ten to fifteen minutes.
This is the lazy man's version, as I have eaten it at my grandmother as a child. You could, of course, just blanch the fruit, boil the tapioca separately until they are neatly clear and mix them in the end. This lazy version is much less of a hassle, but it'll look like pink frogspawn. It'll taste just as good, and maybe you got some kids who'll love the thought of having frogspawn for dessert...

Take off the fire, and leave to cool for a moment. Add the remaining Cointreau and stir to incorporate.

Fill into a glass bowl or individual glasses and chill before serving.

Serve as it is or with some lightly whipped cream.

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