I'm not much of a fruit person. Often, I prefer my fruit cooked rather than fresh and raw. For instance, I'd happily dig into banana cake or banana fritters; and I love a good apple pie or tarte tartin. But you won't soon find me eating a fresh apple or a banana straight from its comb. There are, however, certain fruits that I make exceptions for.
While this is one of those months where everything culminates into workdays and weeks that never seem to end—hence the long stretches between posts (my apologies to those who've been checking in only to find me MIA)—there are still a few little luxuries that I am thankful for. One of which is lychee and mango season, which kicked in about two weeks ago. These are probably the only two kinds of fruit that I eat and eat lots of, and given that my long workdays also mean my diet is completely out of whack (which means I eat anything that can be bought at a hawker stall), the arrival of these fruit at every fruit stand, stall and supermarket is a very good thing.
Few fruit have such sweet, juicy flesh that, when eaten straight from the refrigerator needs nothing more than a damp napkin too wipe the juices off your chin and elbows. It's not often that you find a ripe but sour mango or lychee. At least it's never happened to me before. However, it's not impossible to find yourself with a ripe mango that's relatively tasteless, or worse, lychees that are short on sucrose. Which is exactly what happened to me last weekend, when I picked up a kilo of plump red-shelled lychees from my fruit seller. When I got home and excitedly sat down to a bowl of them in front of the TV, I was disappointed to find that one after the other, the lychees were just short of tasteless, as if someone had forgotton to inject them with their requisite dose of syrupy sweetness.
What to do? Well, if, like me, you've just gotten a new ice-cream maker, you shell and seed the lychees, liquidise them, add water and syrup, and make sorbet. I adapted the recipe for Lime Sorbet in Frozen Desserts by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir and used the same proportions with my bum lychees.
The results were fab, but I still couldn't get my mind off the thought of biting into fresh, juicy lychees. So out I went again to the fruit seller, who brought out a more expensive batch, which she said was imported from China. I was skeptical at first because of its green hue (which I thought meant they hadn't ripened and would be tart), but she shelled one and literally force-fed it to me. And I was sold. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a whole basket of lychees and some episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives that I need to catch up on.