It seems that proper jelly – ie, the stuff you make with gelatin, strained fruit and/or a generous measure of alcohol – is set to be this summer’s most fashionable pudding. Now, I have to admit that I’m no great fan of jelly, but I do love to entertain and, being a somewhat lazy cook, I am always on the hunt for dishes that will delight my guests with their novelty and beauty without testing my patience. Dishes such as jelly.
Jelly is, I discover, fantastically easy to make, but while a bowl of it will raise a nostalgic sigh from the average 40-plus guest, its real appeal lies in the fact that you can mould it. Once transformed, it becomes not just a pudding but an event.
My eureka moment came about a month ago and since then I have made a strawberry shell, a raspberry flower and, most fabulously ironic of all, a vodka rabbit. The shell and the flower were both created in simple plastic moulds which live in a drawer when not in use, but the rabbit was formed in a rather attractive glass mould made by a Spaniard who specialises in recycled glass (£18, 500ml). It also doubles as a pretty kitchen curiosity and thus proves to visitors not fortunate enough to come for dinner that I am with the jelly trend.