The salad days have more or less come to an end in the southern hemisphere – the salad greens in our garden are either as tall as I am or buried beneath agressive weeds – but that wasn’t going to keep me from the challenge of whipping up a salad-ish entry for Forever Nigella #5.
I feel a bit nervous whenever someone mentions fruit salad, thanks to the dire stuff we had at school. The cooks would open vast tins of budget fruit cocktail – that bleached, tasteless collection of mystery fruits and the requisite one ‘cherry’ per tin – add slices of mushy bananas and serve it with luridly coloured jelly. I think we ate it out of hunger and boredom more than anything else, especially on the nights when dinner was curried sausages or suspiciously green-tinged ham steaks. This one, inspired by a recipe in Forever Summer (one of my favourite and most-used books, whatever the season), is something else entirely.
Gingery Fruit Salad
Nigella’s original recipe has melons, fresh lychees, peaches and pomegranate, but mine is more seasonally appropriate (for the southern hemisphere, anyway). She makes a special syrup to drizzle over hers – I’ve gone the express, no mess, no waste route and used the syrup from the lychee tin instead.
1 tin lychees in syrup
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, sliced into thick coins
2 golden kiwifruit
1 lime, juice and zest
Drain the lychees into a serving bowl and pour their syrup into a small saucepan. Set this over gentle heat and add the sliced ginger. Let simmer gently for five minutes, then take off the heat and set aside.
Peel and slice the kiwifruit and persimmon and add to the lychees. When the syrup has cooled, drizzle it over the fruit. You won’t need all of it – save the rest in a lidded jar in the fridge and add to gin and tonics or pretend champagne (or soda water).
Zest the lime over the fruit, then squeeze in the juice. Scoop the passionfruit pulp out and stir through the fruit. Serve immediately or cover and keep in the fridge for a few hours. Serves four.