Fanny Cradock loves a mould. They are so useful to transport the simplest of dishes to a whole new level, into a whole new shape and often in a whole new way. Fanny has lots of moulds in her amply furnished kitchen, many which she has collected over the years from the many fantastic places she has visited. She likes to show them off. At. Every. Opportunity. She never misses a chance to demonstrate her one-up-(wo)man-ship, thinly disguised as educational, inspirational and aspirational.
She's clearly rubbed off on me, as I can barely resist eyeing-up and then buying-up a mould myself. I have them hidden in every available nook and cranny of my rather limited kitchen. I even have some on display. I know that I will never compete with Fanny. However, she continues to rub it in. She's making moulded ice creams, and shamelessly displays her multi-flavoured Bombes in all their glory, moulded in eighteenth century pewter moulds that she 'happened' to pick up for a measly £1.50 ten years earlier. In Halifax. I'm clearly searching the wrong fantastic places.
Fanny recognises that I am unlikely to have the same kind of moulds as she has. She's not wrong. She knows she has all the good stuff stashed away. Fanny doesn't think this is important. She obviously is overlooking my burgeoning obsessive collection tendencies that she herself has encouraged. The reason however that she thinks I shouldn't be too bothered is that I am likely to have the perfect mould already in my kitchen. Has she seen my paltry collection of everyday animals, traditional shapes and almost fancy-pants contours? No, dear old Fanny has another altogether more organic idea.
A melon. I don't need to travel to the heady heights of Halifax to obtain one of those. It hardly adds much glamour to my mould collection. A melon? Fanny suggests scooping it out so that it is hollow, which seems reasonable to me. Fanny, always concerned with food waste, has a delightful idea of what to do with the flesh. I'm imagining something fantastic that my neighbours will never even have thought about. No. Fanny's idea? Eat it. How terribly inventive.
More innovative, imaginative and perhaps ingenious is her idea for the ice cream. She calls it a Bombe Anglaise. It's actually Tomato Ice Cream. Savoury. It sounds avant-garde to me. Fanny makes it from what-she-calls Tomato Purée, but what I-would-call Passata. Fanny makes a savoury custard, which is like a sweet one but without any sugar. Fanny whips up some double cream. Fanny adds a range of Bloody Mary seasonings. Fanny beats them all together. Fanny fills the scooped out melons. Fanny freezes them. Fanny then un-moulds them and 'claps' them together to look like a giant tomato. With a mint leaf garnish. Fanny is incredible. Fanny is inspired. Fanny is impressive. The ice cream is 'Da Bombe'. I've almost forgotten about those antique moulds that I've yet to obtain. Almost.