At this time of year, we're all constantly thinking about the summer ahead, filling our minds full of eternal sunshine, endless days of fun, food and frolics in the park and packing our bags ready to jet off for our uninterrupted, precious, dearly-held holidays. Fanny is no different. She is forever telling us about the glorious 'foreign' recipes she has collected on her travels, and that we should be presenting to our guests, encouraging us to always refer to our creations with their French names. Except today. It's all about the wonderful world of the all-natural, all-British ingredients. Almost.
Fanny says they are indisputably (and, be honest, would you argue with her?) the very best in the world. She always maintains that 'this island' grows the finest fruit and vegetables of all. However, when she's in a particularly 'wry' mood she is compelled, for honesty's sake, to add "they just suffer a little when they reach some English doors!" Presumably she isn't talking about us, her dearly devoted followers? After all she is showing us the correct way to ensure that no produce suffers in our hands. Unless aspic is involved.
With summer in mind, and feeling a little nostalgic for the sunny days of youth, Fanny wants to revive an adult-only version of a childhood staple - a whipped fruit cream dessert. I was obsessed with Angel Delight when I was young, loving almost every flavour (even banana). So easy to buy, so easy to make, so easy to enjoy. Fanny has grander ideas of course, making good use of British strawberries, especially those which may not be perfect enough (yet) to simply enjoy with cream. She brings us the throughly British Spirit of July. or L'Espirit de Juillet, for those that simply cannot resist.
It's not only the desserts that are making Fanny reminisce. She's caught sight of herself in the mirror, in-between frantic cooking sessions. It must be hot in the kitchen and she's tired. Her face is burning up (only a little) and is looking a little, erm, shall we say, saggy. Before getting stuck into her Spirit of July, she reaches for an un-skinned and completely un-continental cucumber. She quickly tops and tails it, and rubs the pieces you'd normally throw away over her face for an 'instant' face-lift. Her clammy flesh muscles tighten and her face cools instantly, she tells us. She doesn't forget her sticky, sweaty neck or back either, for maximum cooling down possibilities. I am so glad she felt the need to share.
If we haven't lost our appetites, and to distract ourselves from Fanny's flushed face, we should throw ourselves into whipping up egg whites, whipping in whipped cream, whipping together Maraschino, Kirsch and icing sugar, and whipping through blitzed strawberries. The resulting whip is light and fluffy, and must, Fanny insists, be served in old-fashioned champagne glasses topped with a single, fresh, presumably acceptable looking, strawberry. This must be the all-British way. I was lucky if my Angel Delight made it beyond the mixing bowl in reality. Guaranteed to whip you back in time, or straight ahead into summer, whichever you desire. That's the spirit...