Monday, March 3, 2008

Mint

Mint, they say, is one herb you will never get rid of. Once it is in your garden, it’s there forever and grows like a weed.

Well, for a long time, I thought I was an exception to the rule. Mint invariably died whenever I planted it. I would look good for a while, then promptly turn up it’s toes. I felt like a gardening dunce.

That was until this year, when the mint keeps on keeping on, and has sprung up in places where I don’t expect it. Dormant seeds, or plants, I don’t know. I suspect the higher than normal rainfall is something to do with it. I’ve read that mint likes to be well-watered and I’m known for forgetting to water from time to time…

[The converse of my oversupply of mint this year is my undersupply of continental parsley. I’ve always been able to grow fantastic parsley bushes, but this year my parsley is very s-parsley. Hee hee.]

Anyway, the mint’s there, and now I am looking for things to do with it.

One combination I adore is sweet pineapple and mint. It’s up there with tomatoes and basil, to my way of thinking. I was introduced to this combination by my Queenslander mother-in-law, when she took a pineapple and whizzed it in a food processor with mint and sugar, and served it as a sauce over ice cream. Yummo. Another take on this combination was published by delicious magazine in February 2007 where Tobie Puttock gave recipe for pineapple carpaccio with mint and ice cream. He simply slices the pineapple very thinly lengthways, then pounds mint and sugar in a mortar and pestle and sprinkles the paste on top of the pineapple and serves it with good vanilla ice cream.

A few days ago I bought a Queensland pineapple and planned to eat it with mint a la Tobie. I was idly flicking through Belinda Jeffrey’s 100 Favourite Recipes, as you do, when I found an interesting recipe for mint, yogurt and lemon ice cream. It sounded just the ticket to take my favourite pineapple-and-mint combination one step further. Reader, I was not wrong.

Belinda rightly promises that that the ice cream tingles on your tongue, and the combination with the pineapple, (and it has to be a sweet pineapple) is superlative.

One little quibble with the recipe, though. The accompanying photograph shows ice cream which is a pretty shade of pale green. When I made it the ice cream stayed whitish, with flecks of mint that had oxidised into a not-so-pretty dark olive colour. Not nearly as attractive or appetising, so I resorted to the food colour to get that cool jade effect. How did Belinda manage to get her ice cream so green? Is there something she isn't telling us, or is just my luck that my mint is not so attractive. Mmmm….

Just as an aside...I would have to nominate my ice-cream maker as one of my favourite kitchen appliances. I had reservations when I bought it, and worried that it would spend most of it's time in the far reaches of my outer cupboards, but I am happy to say it gets a workout often. It's really easy to use, and I like eating ice cream made with honest ingredients- cream, sugar, eggs - and no spooky hydrogenated, trans-fat and other dubious substances.

No comments: