I was pretty excited last week to find that our fridge had won Wendy's fridge competition, but the excitement grew when I realised that Wendy was being sweet enough to send out a cookbook prize! She gave me a choice of two and I picked Deborah Madison's the green's cookbook. I picked it up from the post office depot on Friday morning on my way to the station and had to be very strict with myself not to read it all the way to London instead of writing my paper for the conference I was going to the next day. Fortunately I had a long bus ride out to Munchkin Granny's that evening and got to have a thorough flick-through.
As Wendy had said, it's a great all-round book. It's based on the recipes from Green's restaurant in San Francisco, and one of the things that appeals to me most about it is the writers' commitment to seasonal cooking. There's even an index to recipes by season, and they cover a great range of salads, soups (looking forward to exploring that section in particular), stews, pastas and desserts. I have my eye on lots of them already, but for that evening I picked out a really simple dessert recipe to round off my apple bread and apple soup dinner for Munchkin Granny: poached dried apricots with ginger. The dried fruit is poached gently in a sugar, lemon and ginger syrup, and turns out with a tasty zingy warmth and sweetness. The book was adamant it should be served really cold with cream or creme fraiche, but I was convinced that it would make a nice warm autumn pudding, and it did indeed. Thanks again Wendy - I look forward to trying out lots more of the recipes, and I will think of you and a certain little dog every time!
Poached dried apricots with ginger (from the green's cookbook)
40g peeled fresh ginger, cut along the grain into fine threads
175-225g dried apricots
peel of 1 lemon, cut into fine narrow strips
Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over a moderate heat. Add the ginger and simmer for 5 minutes; then add the apricots and lemon peel. Lower the heat and cook the apricots gently until they are tender but not mushy, about 25 minutes. The time will vary depending on how the apricots were preserved and how dry they were.
When the apricots are done, remove them from the syrup with a slotted spoon and put them in a serving dish. Simmer the syrup until small bubbles appear all over the surface and it has thickened slightly, 5-6 minutes, then pour it over the fruit. Chill until very cold [I served it hot]. Serve plain, with cream, or with creme fraiche, beaten and thinned to pouring consistency.