Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cook the Books Book Club - The Little White Horse

This month's Cook the Books Book Club selection was The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. It is a delightful fantasy, a book both for children and adults much like the Narnia series and, my personal favourite, Alice in Wonderland.

I had never heard of it before it's Cook the Books announcement, but it was written over fifty years ago and has had a resurgence in popularity since J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, declared it a childhood favourite and inspiration.

"The beautiful valley of Moonacre is shadowed by the memory of the Moon Princess and the mysterious little white horse. When Maria Merryweather comes there on a visit she finds herself involved with an ancient feud. She is determined to restore peace and happiness to the whole of Moonacre Valley. And Maria usually gets her own way."

I chose to make a dish based on one of the characters, Loveday Minette, who, apart from having a fabulous name, had a passion for the colour pink - especially for pink geraniums.

'There's something about pink that makes even a cave look homelike,' said Loveday, 'I love pink'.

Loveday Minette's Lovely Pink Yogurt
a frozen treat adapted from David Lebovitz - The Perfect Scoop

1 pound (450g) fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
3 tbsp strawberry liqueur
1 heaping cup Balkan style plain yogurt

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and liqueur, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.
Puree the strawberries and their liquid with the yogurt in a food processor until smooth. If you wish, press the mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

I served this with a strawberry coulis, this is an easy sauce - no measuring required. Toss a handful of hulled strawberries, a dollop of berry preserves and a glug of strawberry liqueur into a small food processor. Blend and sweeten to taste with superfine sugar. Blend again and strain the seeds out. Voila, infinitely easy and adaptable. The preserves give it body, something I learned from The Barefoot Contessa.

To include pink geraniums in my pink post, I wandered around my neighbourhood with my little point and shoot camera looking for a home with healthy looking pink geraniums with friendly looking home-owners. I found such a home about a block away, the home owner so thrilled that I wanted to take pictures of her geraniums that she invited me into the backyard to photograph her peonies.
In regards to the odd things that my neighbours catch me doing, this one is fairly light.
New participants are always welcome in Cook the Books. We read one book every two months and then create a dish inspired by the book. Sound like fun? Click here for details.