Ok, so England isn't the home of one of the world's greatest cuisines, but it has exported a number of delicious dishes. I'm particularly fond of crumpets, Summer pudding, bangers and mash, fish and chips, the Sunday roast with Yorkshire pudding, and chicken tikka masala (while not completely English the combining of chicken tikka with a masala sauce is believed to be a British invention). On the rise in popularity are sticky toffee pudding and perhaps one day, my favorite English sausage the chipolata.
Something else I think of as decidedly English that has not gained in popularity yet here in the States, are Jellies. Not jelly like grape jelly, but jellies for eating that we call gelatin or Jell-o. But the British versions are much more sophisticated often including booze and ending up like gelatinized versions of elegant cocktails. Every Summer, British cookery magazines feature a variety of these lovelies which can be served instead of a cocktail, as a starter, a palate cleanser or a dessert.
The possibilities are endless. One package of gelatin and you are on your way! Other requirements include little glasses and tiny spoons. I have collected some shot glasses for this purpose and also use my otherwise rarely used vodka set.
In fact, vodka is a good ingredient for some jellies. Look for juices, fruits and any number of liquors for inspiration. Any sparkling wine is wonderful "gelatinized". It's a great way to use up your bubbly, if you are left with some extra in the bottle. You could also add some fruit flavored syrup instead of sugar. Recipes are really more formulas than anything else. I'm working on a limoncello version at the moment...
1 envelope powdered gelatine (such as Knox) 1/4 ounce or about 1/2 Tablespoon
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar, depending upon your taste
1/4 cup cold water
1 bottle of sparkling wine, if it's missing a glass or two that's ok
fruit, as desired
In a saucepan combine the gelatin, sugar and water. Let sit for 10 minutes, stir to combine. Add the wine and heat until gelatin is thoroughly dissolved. Pour into glasses and top with fruit if desired. Chill for several hours.
by Ann Nichols