Ahhhh Pimm’s. Nothing quite says a lazy day on a river bank, watching a bunch of toff’s row boats down a river. This drink doesn’t quite have the best of images in England. It is quintessentially British, but also has a reputation as a drink for toff’s (posh people with more money than sense). God knows why to be honest – it tastes bloody great, and really isn’t expensive at all.
Whenever the sun comes out, I always end up making this great little cocktail. There are few drinks as honestly refreshing as this one. Pimm’s No.1 is gin that has been infused with herbs and spices. The recipe is a closely guarded secret apparently, so god knows what really goes into it. If you drink it straight, it has quite a herbal note, that is refreshing and somewhat sweet.
There are quite a few different varieties of Pimm’s cups out there – some use lemonade, others ginger ale, borage leaves, cucumber and on and on. I keep mine simple. Pimm’s, ginger ale, mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Oh, and lots of ice. Some people like to stick a bloody great bit of cucumber in it, but that is certainly pushing it way too far into toff-land for me. Some will say that it isn’t a proper Pimm’s cup without the cucumber, fine say it. I will drink this whilst I laugh at you with a cucumber in your glass. Originally the recipe actually called for the herb borage, not cucumber. However, borage has become increasingly hard to fine, so most pubs now use a cucumber (similar taste) instead.
So… don your union jack t-shirt, speak with a ridiculous accent, and call each other mate – and have a go at this great little cocktail. As a Brit, I love to share this one.
Pimm’s No.1 Cup
3 mint leaves
1 slice of lemon
1 thin slice of cucumber, if you want to be ridiculous
lots of ice
Fill a tall glass 3/4 of the way up with ice. Add enough Pimm’s to fill this about 1/3 full. Top the rest off with ginger ale. Put the mint leaves in, and have the lemon on the side. Muddle this together with a spoon or fork.. or in desperation, your finger. Toss the lemon in at the end. Shove that cucumber…… in the glass, if you wish.
Drink up, and practice your best British accent.
OK.. and on to the salad. This is really just a minor variation on a recipe that came out in this months Gourmet magazine. If you haven’t picked it up yet, do so – it has some really great authentic Italian recipes in there, that taste divine.
This is a sexy little salad that they have in there, which is really just a combination of sliced fennel, inner celery stalks, buffalo mozzarella, lemon juice and rind.
The result is a really light, really delicate salad. It is tasty. Really tasty. I have made it a few times this way, and like it a lot. This time round however I pondered the idea of grilling the fennel before adding it into the salad. I thought it might give the salad a more robust taste, make it seem a little more substantial. It did. It is great both ways to be honest, but I think my favorite is the grilled.
Here is the recipe.
Dama Bianca (white lady) – Fennel and Celery Salad
2 fennel bulbs, outer layer removed, and sliced vertically
4 pale inner celery stalks, sliced across the stalk
1 ball of buffalo mozzarella, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon of grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
really good olive oil
Preheat your grill to high. Toss the fennel slices in a little olive oil. Place on the grill – grill on both sides for about 2 minutes a side. We don’t want them completely cooked through and floppy. Allow to cool a little.
Place these in a bowl, and add in the celery, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add a couple of good splashes of olive oil, and a good pinch of salt. Using your hands, gently mix to combine. There should be enough olive oil to nicely coat the vegetables. Add in the mozzarella, and gently toss again.