Thursday, 20 August 2015


Good Morning to you,

Have you heard the saying 'Your never too old to learn?'

Well that applied to me recently.... and I'll tell you why.

If you had asked me a couple of months ago how I felt about mangoes.  I would have told you they tasted like soap and in fact  they were a fruit I did not like at all.

.... but  oh dear me, how wrong could I be.

It all began on a sunny New Delhi morning, when George decided to stretch his legs by going to the grocers, to buy some mangoes for Natasha, as she loves them.  To be honest, I was a bit sniffy about them, because I had tried them once, many years ago and I really could not see their attraction. The fruit was a beautiful colour but as I said, I thought the flavour was rather soapy and one I really did not like.

George duly returned from the grocers and he showed our friend, Gaja, what he had bought.  Gaja took one look at the mangoes and told George, in a very nice way, that he had chosen the wrong mangoes and promptly took them from George and went to the grocery shop himself.

George thought Gaja had meant, he had chosen the wrong variety, so when Gaja returned he showed George which ones he had chosen. They were the same variety of mango called Alphonso, but Gaja had chosen the most wrinkly looking fruit and not the round firm fruit which George had bought. I was so surprised, because to be honest with you, I would have passed the mangoes by without a backward glance, thinking they were on the turn.... but here's the surprise. When Gaja cut the mango open and handed me a piece to try, I found it to be juicy and oh so delicious.... there was not a soapy note in sight.... I experienced the most wonderful  taste explosion. From that moment, mangoes became one of my favourite fruits.

Looking back, the mistake I had made, was the same as George's. I had bought a firm mango, thinking that was the right thing to do, when in actual fact it was totally wrong.

After the first slice which Gaja had given me, there was no turning back, my prejudice towards this fruit had disappeared and I can honestly say I absolutely love them. We went on to try different varieties of mango and do you know, I even ate a mango which tasted like a pineapple..... now that was a little confusing.

So if you are a complete mango novice like I was here's what you need to do.

Place your mangoes in a fruit bowl, on their own, and and allow them to soften. You might think that as the skin wrinkles they are 'going over' but they are not, honestly, try it,  you won't regret it.

So now that we are back in England, I decided to put the mangoes to the test, to see if they would be as delicious. I am sure you will agree, fruit always tastes different , when eaten in the country of origin, rather than when it has been transported thousands of miles from where it was grown. 

We visited our local market and decided to buy a variety of mango called Keitt which is grown in Puerto Rico. Yes, it was firm when we bought it, but this time  we knew what to do, it was placed in a bowl and left alone for a couple of days.  When I checked, it still was not ripe enough, so I left it a further two days, by which time the skin had become wrinkly and this time, it was perfect and ready to use

..... and this is what I made,

layers of cubed mango, with labneh mixed with vanilla bean paste and a roasted oat and walnut topping. This lovely little dessert was something Natasha made for us and we could not get enough of it.  The mango was so sweet that the slightly savoury labneh and the oat topping worked very well together.

Shall I let you into a little secret, the first time we tasted this dessert, Natasha made it for us and she placed it into small glasses, but as the weeks went by, the glasses seem to get larger and larger, especially when George made the dessert. 

So it's 'on with the pinnie', and the music I am listening to today is,

Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets by Gary Jules. If you are not familiar with Gary's music, you will probably remember when he sang the remake of the 'Tears for Fears' song 'Mad World'.  The song I am listening to at the moment reminds me of 1960's folk music. Listen to 

So whilst I listen to another song from the album, The Princess of Hollywood Way it is time to organise my ingredients.


Serves 2

How to make the Labneh
Do you remember we made labneh in April of this year.
You will need to make this the night before.

You will also need,
1 large very ripe mango
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Bean Paste



4 oz large oats
6 or 7 walnuts
2 oz dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons of agave syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon of salt


Slice either side of the mango. 

You will not be able to cut the mango down
 the middle because of the mango pit.

Remove the flesh from the other sides.

Plus any fruit which is left on the pit.
I usually manage to remove quite a bit, this flesh
may not look pretty, but it tastes divine so
you want to be sure you remove it all.

Take one piece at a time and gently run your
knife around the edge to part the flesh from 
the skin.

Then gently cut into cubes, but do not pierce the

Invert the mango.
You will see the pieces of mango squares which 
you cut.

Using a teaspoon
 remove the mango flesh from the skin
(I find a teaspoon is the easiest tool to use for this

place the cubed mango into a bowl.

Repeat with the rest of the mango.

(You will find some pieces are perfectly cubed
and others aren't, but don't worry, we will be
placing the cubes around the side of the glass
and the irregular shapes in the middle.

Place as much or as little mango as you like
 into the two glasses. 
(As I mentioned place the cubes around the outer
edge of the glass and the 'bitty' shapes in the centre.)
I tend to fill the glass 2 thirds full with mango.

Remove the labneh, you have already made,
 from the muslin 
place into a bowl.

Add the vanilla paste


gently mix together.

Spoon half on top of the cubed mango
then repeat with the second glass.

This is where we are stopping for today, because if I included the step by step instructions for the oat topping, then this would be a very long post indeed and I feel you would tire of reading the recipe.

So next week we will finish this dessert by making 
the roasted oat topping. I have listed the ingredients so that you will have them to hand.

I know this seems like a lot of fuss, but it really isn't. I make the labneh the evening before and also the oat topping, so once made all there is to do is to chop up the mango..... it just needs a little organisation.

..... but there is a variation, if you are busy, you can used Greek yoghurt on top of the mangoes, drizzled with just a little honey, not too much, as the mango is sweet and pop some chopped walnuts on the top.

This makes a lovely dessert as well.

So take care and I will see you next Thursday.

This week I will be joining,


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