A couple of weeks ago, I had a good rip into the Irish mango scene. Practically every mango in every supermarket is as hard as Ronnie Kray on a bad day. Many of you will be too young, too foreign or too well brought up to know of the bold Ronnie. He and his brother Reggie made up the Kray Twins, who ran much of the crime in the West End of London during the 1950s and 1960s. They were a bad lot who killed their enemies with shocking regularity, dealt in drugs, gambling and extortion. They even mixed with politicians and celebrities. Unforgivable. I digress. I think you get the point about the hard mangos. This was my bugbear until I visited Ingredients Oriental Supermarket in our local village of Stillorgan.
This is not my first trip to Ingredients. The lads there carry a great range and are always very helpful. They even have a Halal butchery, if that is of interest to you. Last weekend, I managed to pick up a box of ripe, soft, delicious mangos there. I have been keen to prepare a mango and rhubarb dessert and this presented me with the opportunity. My Mango and Rhubarb Dessert really is a bowl of simple, healthy and delightful wonderfulness.
- 1 bunch of rhubarb
- 6 glorious ripe mangos
- 1 lemon
- Sugar to taste
The preparation for this is beyond easy. Trim, wash and chop the rhubarb.
Place it in a saucepan with the sugar and a little water. Heat slowly until the rhubarb has broken down. Taste and adjust the sugar levels. Let it cool. Using a stick blender, blend it into a smooth purée.
Deseed and cut the mango into cubes. This is a doddle to do with ripe mangos. Impossible with their bowling ball cousins. Just run a knife around the circumference of fruit, on the longest side. Gently probe with the knife until you find the stone. Cut along the edge of it until you have freed one half of the mango. Cut through the flesh but not the skin in a criss-cross pattern. (Try to not think of Reggie and Ronnie while you are doing it.) Pop the skin to make the fruit stand up in a hedgehog pattern.
Trim the cubes and reserve. Repeat the process with the other half of the fruit. I had one fruit that was too soft for this. I scooped it out with a spoon and added it to the rhubarb. When you have the mango fruit in a big bowl, Apply the lemon juice (if needed). My mangos were sweeter than a litter of kittens sleeping in a candy floss cloud while being tended to by a three year old cherub (if you like that sort of thing), so they needed a bit of lemon.
Put a couple of spoons of rhubarb in the bottom of a dessert bowl.
Cover with the smooth mango purée. Add a sprig of mint for fanciness.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Serve it to somebody who could do with a bit of softness. This is such a simple dessert, yet it has the potential to melt the hardest heart.
Footnote on the Krays. Have a read of the Wikipedia page linked here. It is salacious stuff. The cast of characters would be incredible in a work of fiction. Here’s some of them: Jack “the Hat” McVitie, Inspector “Nipper” Read, Frank “the Mad Axeman” Mitchell, “Scotch Jack” Dickson. There is even reference to a documentary produced by Channel 4 in 2009 called “The Gangster and the Pervert Peer”. No further explanation needed. Though I bet that if Violet (their beloved mother) had fed the twins on this dessert, we wouldn’t have this story to tell.