We don't know all that much about Fanny Cradock's Mum. We know she was an actress. We know her name. Bijou. It may be that she chose that name however. Fanny told us she believed in Fairies. She played a good game of golf, and once almost qualified for Wimbledon. She danced like thistledown, whatever that was like. She drove a car wildly, but brilliantly. She would only play cards with men, as 'women cheat'. She seemed to know, as Fanny told us she kept 'all her lovers' until the day of her death.
Thanks to the part-work, however, we know that she was a 'gorgeous cook', although at times Fanny describes her cooking as 'erratic', with things never tasting the same twice. As ever with Fanny, the truth is often hidden behind a good story. We know what Bijou didn't like. Fanny tells us. She passionately disliked anything in the shape of a pond. We don't know how she felt about actual ponds. Just things that appeared like ponds. Shaped like ponds. Based on ponds. Ponds were out as far as Fanny's Mum was concerned.
So, Fanny tells us, Bijou invented a method (Fanny refuses to call it a recipe) for Fruit Salad which ensured that it could in no way be mistaken for a pond. For they often do, don't they? When I think 'Fruit Salad' I immediately think 'pond'. Don't you? I actually immediately think of a tin of soft pieces of fruit, with one bright pink cherry half and one slightly wrinkly grape. Bijou detested little bits of fruit floating in a vast pond or even a puddle of weak fruit juice, water and sugar which is barely fit for human consumption. No ponds. No puddles. We can only assume lakes were out too.
Bijou's famous invention involved slicing up the fruits - seasonal is best, whatever is to hand - and layering them in a tall, glass vase with little sprinklings of icing sugar between each section. Perhaps even a drop or two of liqueur, if it is liked. Bijou liked. Lemon juice is also required for apples and pears (and bananas if used) to prevent discolouring. The vase is then left in ordinary domestic refrigeration overnight where the fruit will 'make it's own juice' which will in no way resemble pond water. Never.
To make absolutely sure that your Fruit Salad looks nothing like a pond, it must be served in a pumpkin. Hollowed out of course. The discarded flesh can be cooked separately, but Fanny warns that pumpkin is an acquired taste - like custard-apples, mangoes, sweet potatoes, lychees, sweetcorn and heaven forbid, avocados - so proceed with caution. Unless you're a millennial. Fanny does give a recipe for Pumpkin Soup in a bid to 'turn' all the 'haters'. She is confident, however, that her mothers Fruit Salad will not be hated by anyone, especially those with an aversion to ponds. Or cheating women.
I was right on board with this till the pumpkin. Anyone else would make do with a nice glass dish. Oh Fanny, never change!ReplyDelete
(And having looked up her parents, I'm now keen to read some of her dad's books. Vintage adventure novels are my thing!)
I know right? Well, it wouldn't be Fanny without these flourishes! Did you see my post about her Dad a few weeks back? He seemed to write hundreds of books! Let me know what you may of them! ;-)Delete
I enjoyed rreading thisReplyDelete