Thursday, 30 June 2011

Two feasts of love

On the Friday after Corpus Christi the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is celebrated, and the day after that the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I always remember that these days come together, because I was brought up in a Parish run by the SS.CC congregation. I spent my teens running about the UK and Europe with a group of people for whom these two days were a feast of all the love in the universe, and all the love that ever inspired them to the life they lived. For that reason alone, this double feast is special to me.

I think I have said elsewhere that some of the pictures that go with celebrations and devotions to the Sacred Heart freak me out a little, so please excuse their absence here. I tend towards thinking about these feasts as the essence of love: love as self sacrificial, love as affirmation (fiat), love as bitter-sweet and glorious.

I would love to be able to say something more lengthy and profound, but I cannot. I have never been a great one for attempting to explain the inexplicable. I once tried this in a post, but the words would not say everything I felt or wanted to express. I was knocked off my feet that day. I am sure though, that I wanted to commemorate both these days together. It is important to me somehow.

I have chosen a bitter - sweet dessert; it is a River Cafe Book Green number. I hope that it will be an aide-memoire for this feast and all it entails. Enjoy it with those you love.

Red Wine Sorbet with Crushed Strawberries
(For 6)

500g Strawberries, hulled.
4 tablespoons Caster Sugar


1 Litre Valpolicella (Red Wine)
100g Caster Sugar
10 Whole White Peppercorns
6 Cloves
grated zest of 2 washed Oranges, discarding any pith.

Put the wine, sugar, white pepper, cloves and orange zest into a saucepan and boil to reduce by half. Leave to cool, then strain carefully. Discard the bits and pieces. Place mixture into a suitable container to freeze. After 20 mins, stir gently. Repeat this after another 10 minutes, and then again after a further 10. Leave until sorbet begins to harden.

Roughly chop strawberries and mix with the caster sugar. Place into individual bowls and cover with sorbet. Serve immediately.

(add cream if you must - I know a few people who really feel it is a necessity!)

I was tipped off about finding a recipe containing strawberries for this weekend. Over at All this life and heaven too,  a certain religious sister will probably been cooking up something with strawberries too. I guess they must be the most appropriate ingredient for a feasts about love: they are heart shaped, after all.  It is certain that strawberries are most associated with hot summer months, particularly June, which hosts not only the commemoration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but also....Wimbledon. There are few things I have to say about this ingredient though: strawberries are worth waiting for, the forced sort that comes out early are really tasteless, eugh! Wild strawberries have a smaller, softer fruit, and have a beautiful delicate flavour, they are great and easy to encourage in your garden. It is best to avoid washing strawberries, but if absolutely necessary, do so before you hull them. Do not put strawberries in the refrigerator; it ruins the flavour! Now, all that said, enjoy the feasts. 

1 comment:

Silvana said...

Delicious recipe! We had a bring and share meal after our Mass, and yes - someone brought strawberries!!

And your old Lourdes post was lovely, and reflected the way you were grappling with something powerful (which is what the love of God is) which had hit you in a new way. So don't worry about what you didn't say, I'm sure what you did say will have spoken to people...