Friday, May 30, 2008

Pomegranates, Pomegranate Ice-Cream and Psalms

Pomegranate Cross-section
Until recently, she'd flitted only in the peripheral vision of our experience, mysterious and vague.

A friend from Dubai was back for a visit so we sat around into the early hours of the morning catching up and reminiscing about old times. At first, when we were wet behind the ears and new to the Middle East, we'd been amused to find pomegranate arils garnishing every single dish. I'd distinguished myself by poking them around and saying,"Red ruby ah?" They didn't add much in the way of flavour to anything. So I'd been surprised that anyone would have believed that Persephone sold her freedom for four pomegranate seeds in Hades.

In any case, when a mound of Iranian pomegranates winked at me at NTUC, I took a couple home and made pomegranate ice-cream*.
No-churn Pomegranate Ice-cream
This is Nigella Lawson's (even-a-monkey-with-half-a-brain-could-do-it) no-churn pomegranate ice-cream recipe.
Ingredients
2 pomegranates
1 lime
175g icing sugar
500ml double cream

Preparation
  1. Juice the pomegranates and the lime and strain the juices into a bowl.
  2. Add the icing sugar and whisk to dissolve.
  3. Whisk in the double cream and keep whisking until soft peaks form in the pale pink cream.
  4. Spoon and smooth the ice cream into the airtight container of your choice and freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Scatter with some pomegranate seeds before you eat it.
Obviously this monkey possesses less than half a brain since I didn't even have the patience to follow the recipe. Anyhoo, the ice-cream was fairly creamy and, in vast quantities that popped in your mouth like juicy salmon roe, the pomegranate arils were cold and sweet. Next time, might try reducing the pomegranate juice over fire to achieve a more intensely pomegranatey ice-cream.

Love the whole pomegranate look: the shape and colour somehow conspire to give the fruit the air of a relic from medieval times. But several thousand years before that, the LORD was already telling Moses to decorate the hem of his priestly robes with the fruit (Exodus 28:33-34). And even without Tim Gunn's fashion tips, these were good enough for ministering before God. (Actually, if Tim Gunn'd heard God's instructions on the priestly garments, he would have said,"That's a lot of look!" But even though divine taste might flunk out of Project Runway, guess who'll win in the end?) Later on, Solomon had pomegranate latticework done in bronze in the great temple dedicated to the LORD (1 Kings 7:18, 20, 42; 2 Chronicles 3:16; 2 Chronicles 4:13). When they rebuilt the temple centuries later, they did not neglect this detail (Jeremiah 52:22 - 23).

Like the vine and the fig, the pomegranate appears to be some sort of reminder to the agricultural Jews of God's divine provision and sustenance. I think.

Half-gnawed leftovers from our recent 2 Samuel studies include discussions on reading the Old Testament in light of the New Testament. The usual Sunday school/ARPC/Project Timothy/evangelical way insists that the answer is "Jesus". But what is the link? And how does one arrive at that certain conclusion?

Still much to think through but for consideration, Michael Reeves (via Dave Bish) handling the Psalms:
Mike Reeves - Psalm 1
Mike Reeves - Psalm 51

PS: In other news, I wish to record the utter shock of being told, at a wedding rehearsal in a Methodist church, that the wedding photographers were not to get up on the carpeted stage area that the pastor alternately termed "the altar" and "the holy place". "Free church people", he said, did not respect this. In order not to jeopardise the chances of the couple finally getting married, I desisted from pointing out that God was very capable of causing to suddenly fail to exist photographers (or errant OT temple priests) trespassing on holy ground, and that the flower arrangement in the "holy place" had wilted quite badly and started to decompose. Maybe I should have suggested a comely clutch of pomegranates.

*Says Robert L. Wolke in What Einstein Told His Cook 2:
"Does eating ice cream in hot weather cool you off?...The answer...is in fact, no. After all, we are warm-blooded creatures with thermostats set at 37 degrees celcius, and eating something cold cannot change that. Our cooling mechanism is purely a surface phenomenon: the evaporation of perspiration from our skins, assisted, when we're lucky, by a breeze that hastens the process. Putting ice cream into one's mouth serves only to cool the mouth. you'd do much better by smearing the ice cream all over your body."

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