Must Be Jelly Cause Jam Don’t Shake Like That

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Slim Paley photo (from my collection of jelly recipes)

.Happy First Day of Summer Everyone!!

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Awhile back I’d mentioned that I felt “Jellies” were making a happy comeback.  I say “happy” because I think there’s always something joyful in the jiggly presentation of a jelly, don’t you?  I know they’ve fallen desperately out of vogue for many years, and some people might relate to jelly more as hospital food than a culinary treat, but I’m here to  trumpet the triumphant return of  The Jelly!

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Gelatin as jewels by Bompas & Parr


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Bompas & Parr

Jelly not only harkens back to my childhood, but to my endless fascination with the world at the turn of the century (uh-that would be the 19th century)

Jellies, aspics and blancmanges played a large part in all the menus and cookbooks of the day.  Britain in particular was famous for it’s jelly- one of the few foodstuffs they excelled in over the French.  Take that Francois.

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Slim Paley photo  (from my collection circa 1924)

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Slim Paley photo

I love the wine jelly for the “Invalid”

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Apparently, the British are still the Reigning Kings of Quiver;

L’Enfants Terrible of Jellydom; Bompas & Parr

Bompas & Parr set up shop in 2007 and are already rather infamous in Europe for their bespoke jellies and moulds. “Blurring the boundaries between art and food”, they’ve appeared on Hester Blumenthal’s  program (he of the  world renown “The Fat Duck” restaurant), hosted a jelly banquet for  2000 guests featuring jellies designed by prominent architects, filled a gallery with a breathable gin & tonic vapor and created a four ton bowl of punch for people to row across in boats.
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Apparently, I’m just not going to the right parties.

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As of last month, their book  is now available on Amazon here in the U.S.

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Neon Jellies by Bompas & Parr

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Bompas & Parr

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 I couldn’t resist including this “Sugared Jelly” of a poppy that my friend snapped in her garden!

Isn’t nature amazing?!

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When I was little, one of my favourite treats was to pop open boxes of Jello and play “Lick-a-stick” with several flavours, my fingers and tongue stained alarmingly unnatural hues.

Somehow, this look triggered that memory!

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Bompas & Parr

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Bompas & Parr

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Bompas & Parr

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Broken Glass Jello  (find recipe on The Food Librarian)

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Slim Paley photo (told you I was a Jello-nerd)

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If sweet jellies aren’t shaking it up for you (see what I did there?) I offer up a couple of savory aspic recipes for the summer;

YELLOW GAZPACHO ASPIC

1/2 red bell pepper, stem, ribs, and seeds removed, flesh coarsely chopped,1 small red tomato, coarsely chopped, 3 dashes hot sauce, such as Tabasco, Coarse salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, 4 envelopes unflavored gelatin, (scant tablespoon each), 5 (about 2 1/2 pounds) yellow tomatoes, seeds and pulp removed and reserved, flesh coarsely chopped, 1 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and chopped, 3 scallions, coarsely chopped, 6 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, Freshly ground pepper, 1 clove garlic, Grape or cherry tomatoes, for garnish

Make bell pepper layer: Feed bell pepper and red tomato through an electric juicer. Pour juice through a fine sieve into a small bowl; discard any solids. Skim foam from surface with a spoon. Stir in hot sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice. Sprinkle 1 envelope gelatin over top. Let stand 5 minutes.

 Transfer mixture to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin has just dissolved, about 1 1/2 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer bell pepper mixture to a 4-cup scalloped gelatin mold. Refrigerate until just set and still sticky, about 20 minutes.

 Make gazpacho layer: Process yellow tomato flesh, the cucumber, and scallions in a food processor until almost pureed, about 10 seconds. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Finely chop basil; add basil, 1 teaspoon each salt and lemon juice, and the vinegar to bowl; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

 Puree reserved yellow tomato seeds and pulp with the garlic in a food processor. Pour through a very fine sieve into a medium bowl; discard solids.

 Sprinkle remaining gelatin over garlic mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Stir garlic mixture into the reserved gazpacho.

 When bell pepper layer has just set, pour gazpacho layer on top. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours. Aspic can be refrigerated, loosely covered, up to 1 day.

Run the tip of a paring knife around edge to loosen. Dip mold into a bowl of lukewarm water for several seconds. Pat mold dry, and invert onto a serving plate. Garnish with tomatoes and basil.

Serves 10 – 12. Martha Stewart Living

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AVOCADO PANNA COTTA WITH TOMATO GELÉE
Tomato gelée:
3 ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 shallot
1/2 garlic clove
salt and pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder (vegetable gelatin)
Panna cotta:
1/2 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon agar agar powder
2 avocados, halved and seeded
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup crème fraiche
Tomato gelée: Combine the tomatoes, shallot and garlic in a food processor and purée. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl, pour the tomato mixture into the sieve and refrigerate overnight to allow the tomato water to slowly drip through the sieve and into the bowl (do not press).
Panna cotta: The next day, bring half-and-half, milk and agar agar to a boil in a saucepan; transfer to a food processor. Spoon the avocado flesh into the processor and purée. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Spoon into six small glasses or 4-ounce cups and chill until firm, 20 – 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer the tomato water to a saucepan and add the agar agar and a pinch each of salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Ladle 2 tablespoons tomato gelée on top of each panna cotta and refrigerate until set, about 20 minutes. Top each panna cotta with a teaspoon of crème fraiche, and a spoonful of minced cubed fresh tomatoes mixed with oil, lemon and chopped basil.
Serves 6. Met Home, May 2005
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How pretty is this vegetable terrine in jelly?
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Or this simple little dessert via my friend R.B., via Martha;.
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LIMONCELLO GELÉE

1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon (from two 1/4-ounce envelopes) unflavored gelatin

3 tablespoons cold water

3/4 cup Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)

3/4 cup limoncello (Italian lemon liqueur)

1/2 cup sparkling water

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 thin lemon slices, for garnish

Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl. Let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.

Heat Prosecco, limoncello, sparkling water, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Add lemon juice and softened gelatin, and whisk until gelatin dissolves.

Pour mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until set, at least 45 minutes (or overnight). Cut into 4 portions, and garnish with lemon slices and mint.
Serves 4. Martha Stewart Living, May 2008
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Clementine and blancmange

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5 Great Things about Jellys

– They’re inexpensive and easy

-They’re not that fattening (I don’t think…)

– They’re fun to make with your kids

– They’re both “retro” and “of the moment” – so look at you, Trendsetter! “Oh this? It’s nothing! Just a little recipe from Bompas & Parr”

-They mix well with alcohol 🙂

and speaking of…

They have another book coming soon about a subject even nearer & dearer to my heart

Get on the list to be notified by Amazon when it arrives Stateside

No doubt there will be some  wickedly wobbly libations within

Bottoms Up (wiggle wiggle) 🙂

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54 Comments

  1. I think my upper-arms make me the reigning Queen of Quiver… thanks for the post! (When I was little, if I was sick my mom would make me hot jello to drink … good stuff!)

  2. Love this!
    I remember eating Jello as well, and the amazing colors we would turn….although our indulgence was as swimmers on a team, bored silly, and waiting for our race. Jello was a pure sugar shot!
    As I matured (?), I realized there was a zero calorie Jello, and it became my go-to diet staple.
    Now that I have definitely matured, I look forward to the book on cocktail Jello!

  3. My mother made a jelly ring every “Turkey involved” holiday called a Ruby Ring which was a mixture of raspberries, cranberries, orange, grand marnier, jello etc .. unreal! It NEVER went out of style as far as I am concerned. How about making jello and just before it sets whipping up egg whites and stirring them in for a jello chiffon .. yum. Go J-E-LL-O !

  4. Wow — an amazing display of a food (is it a food?) that I just cannot stomach — I had no idea it was SO popular….thanks Slim

  5. Jello reminds me of my adorable Great Aunt Goldie. She came up with beautiful and tasty jello creations. She would have appreciated this post!

  6. Love, love, love venturalimoncello.com locally grown and made — keep in the freezer. Can’t wait to try it with your Jello recipe! Fun post. My sis and I are making my mom’s recipe of Lemon Jello Cake for dessert at the lunch of her memorial service. If you knew her in th 50’s 60’s or 70’s she made it for you!

  7. Jello-nerd = funny 🙂

    I’ve never heard of Bompas and Parr.
    Their cocktail book is going to be pure genius.

  8. Your posts never cease to amaze me…fascinating as always!! And a four ton bowl of punch to row across in boats – now that’s a party. Think I may have to purchase the Bompas and Parr Cookbook to try and up my game…

  9. Gelatin and jello dishes have NEVER gone out of style in the south. My daughter lives in Seattle,where jello and gelatin dishes are not the norm, when they came home for a funeral one time, my daughter wanted her children to try the many jello and gelatin concoctions, I think it was a new tasting sensation for them. Of course, we know it doesn’t get very hot there so no need for cool food. Danette L

  10. My Mother’s favorite was that Dad married her because she made such good Jello.Her reply was “Any darn fool can make Jello!” (It really was the world’s best Jello however especially with grated apples in it!!!)

  11. EITHER YOU ARE LOSING YOUR MIND OR YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF NOT THINKING OF ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. UNBELIEVABLE. X

  12. What a great blog! Only you would come up with this. Can’t wait to try the limoncelle gelee and also the vegetable terrine. Lola is right, we used to get a whipped jello that was all fomey on top and the foam was a very light shade of the original jello base color. I’m reminded of my daughter volunteering me to bring jello molds for a second grade event at Laguna Blanca long ago. No one had ever told me you can’t put FRESH pineapple in jello, it won’t jell. I made three molds that never hardened. A quick trip from Hope Ranch to nearby Jordano’s in La Cumbre to buy more jello. Tried again and same thing happened. Most embarrassing, especially when a little girl stood there with her hands on her hips, sighed in disgust and announced, “My mother can make fancy things called souffles everyone thinks are great, but she can’t make a plain old jello mold!:” True culinary defeat!

  13. Oh Slim I am so with you on the Jelly! As a one year old my Mum made me a moulded jelly and turned it out onto a cake plate in front of me and it wobbled. I giggled hysterically with laughter so much that a photo was taken (now famous in our family) of a small dark curly headed girl with rosey cheeks chuckling uncontrollably in delight at this wonderous sight. Now I have grown children as do my other brothers and sisters and all children born into our family at their first birthday are always presented with a gorgeous colourful happy wobbly jelly – Long Live the Jelly!

  14. My grandmother grew up in a small town called Still Pond, Maryland. She made jellos that developed into tiered extravagances. Enire meals made of jello/aspic with the desert on the very top tier. I was equally fascinated by the food and her insistence that serving this specialty required a particular formal gold lame gown, and the full regalia of her best china and serving pieces (all part of the presentation). I loved the entire production, a cherished memory of a wildly eccentric relative.

    In her honor my daughter and i are going to make the broken glass and clementine examples (any link to the clementine recipe?). We are particularly looking forward to the look of horror on her 18 year old brothers face when we make the presentation (might need to add the vegetable terrine to get the full effect).

  15. Only you to call yourself a “jello-o nerd”… That’s so funny! Never heard that before.

    This was such a fun post. Super summer light! 😉

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    PS: If you have a min, please drop by. I think you gonna love the Aspen house I’m posting today. I thought of your mountain house. xo

  16. Oh my gosh Slim, this is great! One of my best ‘guilty” secrets is that we have , thanks to my almost 80 year old Mother, tomato aspic every holiday. The funny part is that we fight over the leftovers. I made it for my husband and he didn’t get it! Too bad, more for us! I am going to have to give some of these a whirl….Great post, as usual. Thank you.

  17. And for those of us with Southern relatives there is the venerable Jello Fruit Salad made with lime Jello, cream, canned fruit, cheese and nuts. I served this at a West Coast 4th of July party a couple of years ago. After the initial reaction of horror, the “salad” disappeared within an hour.

  18. Slim you never cease to amaze me with the scope of subjects you deliver us each and every blog.
    These photos are truly “good enough to eat ” BRAVO .ENCORE ox

  19. Amazing post Slim. Have to admit I love Jello!!!!! When I was growing up, jello was a dessert served often. Sometimes my Mom would make a custard and we would have the jello and custard together. Jello was always served as a dessert for Christmas and New Year’s dinner. My husband’s family had the same traditions. I have also carried it on with my family. Jello is the first thing I make when someone’s not feeling well (and of course chicken soup) I will be trying some of your recipes. Thanks.

    B J

  20. Hi Slim: just came across the following and immediately thought of YOU! Time to go back to NY, NY…I’ll join you…nothing could be a better combo!!!

    “Empty Calories, Heavy Designs
    Jell-O rises above its humble cafeteria-food origins this Saturday at the Gowanus Studio Space’s third annual Jell-O Mold Competition, the culminating event of a workshop co-sponsored by Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. Participants are required to develop completely new molds and must provide tasting portions to the judging panel, which includes Allan Chochinov, editor-in-chief of industrial-design blog Core77, and Emily Elsen, half of the sister duo behind Gowanus pie shop Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Public viewing starts at 6 p.m., and winners will be announced at 8 p.m. (166 7th St., nr. Third Ave., Gowanus; 347-948-5753; gowanusstudio.org; $8, students under 16 free). ”

    PS: Did you ever have Junket? Now that brings back the memories

    • Thanks for this Lynn- will pass on to Older Son who is in NY right now and I’m proud to say, turning into quite a fine “Foodie”

      and yes on the Junket- Haven’t heard that in ages!

  21. Dennis Miller just mentioned this post on his radio show. Really enjoyed it, can’t wait to continue reading your blog!

  22. I am new to your blog as well (also thanks to Dennis Miller) – it is fantastic. How did you come up with your nom de plume? I thought it might be a mix of two very elegant ladies – Slim Keith and Babe Paley!

  23. I live in Indonesia. Jellies play a significant part in their cuisine. Children eat them like American kids might eat popsicles.

  24. Wow…so gorgeous! If they weren’t making a comeback before…they certainly should now after this great post! You have my mouth watering so off I go in search of some of my own;)

  25. Your photo of the Neon jellos made me recall a comment made by my Professor
    in my Laser Physics class. At a party, he and his friends were able to
    to make the plate of molded jello “lase”, that is to say, by adding enough
    energy to the jello mold, it gave off light itself of a different color.
    He went on to explain it was because of the long chain dyes that give the jello
    such bright colors.
    Just your daily science moment.
    -Susan

  26. I’m surprised no one mentioned the beautiful flower…..LuvYa-MeanIt, Courtney. Gonna repost 🙂

  27. Hello, 🙂
    wonderful pictures !!!!! but that from the top with the multiple recipes left me with mouth watering …
    so, my (please ) ask is … can you share those recipes? and that one with terrine jelly?
    i’m addicted to everything called jelly.. and those pictures are fantastic ! so,
    being in Romania it’s extrimely hard to get those books so, if you pretty please share…
    i can share with you some beautiful romanian recipes already translated in english…
    and i’ll be your fan forever 🙂
    thank you !
    yours, Daniela

    • Greetings to you in Romania Daniela!
      This post was written 3 years ago. I’m sorry, but most of my ‘loose’ recipe files are all stored away in boxes right now so I do not have access to them. 🙁

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