Cucumber mousse is perhaps one of the most popular cold buffet dishes. To make other mousses, use this technique and substitute about 300ml(½pint) of mashed fish, grated carrot or chopped tomatoes for the cucumber. Always season cold mousses well as chilling weakens flavours. The decorated shimmering aspic top is purely optional, but is a good way of showing off.
The mousse can be set in a 1.2litre (2pint) pretty glass dish or divided between 8 individual ramekin dishes or moulds. Serve with a pretty salad garnish for a spectacular effect.
Make up 300ml (½pint) aspic and use half to line eight 150ml (¼pint) individual moulds, or a 1.2 litre (2pint) mould. Chill until set, then place a few mint leaves on top of the aspic. Pour over the rest of the aspic and chill again until set. Alternatively, use feathery dill, chervil or parsley instead of mint.
Meanwhile, peel, halve and deseed 2cucumbers. Coarsely grate into a bowl, then mix in 2tablespoons each chopped spring onion tops and chopped fresh mint. Mix in 150g (5oz) of softened low-fat soft cream cheese or 150g (5oz) fromage frais, 2tablespoonslemon juice and season well.
Dissolve 1 sachet of powdered gelatine in 3tablespoonshot water, then mix in. Add to the cheese and cucumber mixture. Whip 200ml (7fl oz) whipping cream and fold in, then pour the mixture into the moulds. Chill until set. Loosen the sides, dip the moulds briefly in hot water and turn out.