Winter solstice fruit salad with kirsched sea spaghetti

My mother and I concocted this salad to bring a breath of summer to the table when the December days are at their shortest and the trees and bushes are bare.

The summer garden fruit stores well in the freezer and responds well to overnight soaking in the luxurious mix of cherry brandy and syrup.

Kirsch or maraschino cherry brandy works best. The addition of brandied sea spaghetti, marinated overnight, also adds an exotic touch to this ultimate slow food fruit salad.

Seaweed used: Sea Spaghetti

Serves 6-8

Kirsched Sea Spaghetti

20g (3/4 oz) dried sea spaghetti, rinsed in cold water and snipped into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces
100ml (3 1/2 fl oz) of water
1 teaspoon honey
dash of kirsch or cherry brandy
dash of raspberry syrup

Fruit Salad

200g (7oz) dried figs or prunes or a mix of both
200g (7oz) unsulphured apricots
55g (2oz) good quality sultanas
300ml (1/2 pint) green tea
a squeeze of lemon juice
a generous dash of pineapple juice
1 teaspoon dark molasses sugar or honey
a good dash of kirsch or cherry brandy
raspberry syrup, optional
2 handfuls of frozen summer fruits: a mix of gooseberries, blackcurrants and raspberries
1/4 stick cinnamon
1 medium sized tin of sliced peaches

To prepare and leave overnight

1. Soak the sea spaghetti in the water, honey, kirsch or cherry brandy and syrup and leave overnight on top of a cool range, or in a cool oven, 40°C / 150°F.

2. Soak the prunes, apricots and sultanas in green tea, lemon juice, pineapple juice, honey, kirsch and raspberry syrup if using.

3. Defrost the frozen summer fruits at room temperature, overnight if possible.

Next day

4. Simmer the dried fruits and defrosted summer fruit, except the raspberries, gently together in the sock liquid with 1/4 stick cinnamon for 20 -30 minutes or until the gooseberries or other hard fruits are cooked.

5. Add the prepared brandied sea spaghetti, remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

6. Transfer to a large serving dish and add the raspberries, the sliced tinned peaches, and the peach juice. Mix all together gently. Taste and add honey if necessary. Add kirsch to taste and serve at room temperature.

Serve with a dollop of mascarpone cheese, custard, creme fraiche or millet and dulse pudding.