Friday, June 11, 2010
Happy Friday everyone! Kylie here! This is my very first blog posting and I get to start with one of my favourite things – FOOD! So let’s begin with something bright and cheery :o), a recipe or TWO, some hints and tips, and a FREE recipe card that you can download!!
This weekend, why not take it easy, put your feet up (you deserve it!!) and enjoy the sunshine. Summer has arrived and it’s time keep cool with a refreshingly icy treat, full of flavour, and no fuss to make. This dessert is so simple why not get the kids involved! They’ll love it!!
Orchards are bursting with sunny goodness! Why not take advantage of stone fruit & their blushing cheeks, masses upon masses of delicious berries, exotic tropical fruit, and the fruit of the season – pink and juicy watermelons! And what better way to enjoy this abundance of fruit (other than picked straight off the tree) than spoonfuls of icy GRANITA!!
Granita (Italian name), or Granite (French name) is a crushed ice dessert that combines a simple sugar syrup with various fruit purees, liqueurs, wines, brewed coffee or tea. Granita is often confused with its close cousins: sherbet and sorbet. Sherbet contains milk or cream and sometimes egg. It can also be churned like ice-cream to give a smoother, richer texture. Sorbets do not contain any dairy, are churned, and can be either sweet or savoury.
Here are some of my favourite Granita flavour suggestions. (But really the sky’s the limit as this dessert is just so versatile!)
Fresh, fruity and fun!
- Summer berries
- White peach and raspberry
- Orange and passionfruit
Or, for something a little different and ever so chic!
- Nectarine and black pepper
- Cherry and vanilla
- Fig and ginger
- Lime and mint
Or, for that special occasion & just for the grown-ups!
- Espresso coffee
- Pineapple, lemon grass and light rum
- Strawberry and Champagne
- Pink grapefruit and Campari
It really was too hard to pick just one recipe! So in the end I chose the two I love to eat the most! Watermelon – sweet and “fruitilious” and always refreshing! And my second choice – Espresso! – perfect on a hot day when a hot coffee just won’t do!
Making Granita is easy – choose a flavour, add to a sugar syrup and let the freezer go to work (a helping hand lovingly required, every so often)! Here are the recipes:
1kg (2 1/4 lb) watermelon flesh (de-seeded)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups water
Place watermelon flesh in a food processor and process until smooth. Alternatively you can push the flesh through a fine sieve. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir slowly over a low heat until sugar has dissolved. Add the watermelon puree, stir until well combined and then pour into a shallow 20 x 30 cm (7 3/4 x 12 in) metal tin or plastic container. Cover and place in the freezer. After 1 hour use a fork to scrape the newly formed ice crystals into the middle of the container. Return to the freezer and repeat every hour for 3-4 hours or until set. To serve, scrape the ice again with a fork and then spoon into chilled serving glasses or bowls. Serve with fresh pieces of watermelon, rockmelon (cantaloupe) or honeydew melon. Serves 6-8
4 cups (1L / 16 fl oz) strong filter or french press coffee
1 cup (220g / 7 3/4 oz) sugar
4 tablespoons of your favourite coffee liqueur
Place hot coffee and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat immediately and simmer for a few minutes until all sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir in the coffee liqueur and then pour into a shallow 20 x 30 cm (7 3/4 x 12 in) metal tin or plastic container. Cover and place in the freezer. After 1 hour use a fork to scrape the newly formed ice crystals into the middle of the container. Return to the freezer and repeat every hour for 3-4 hours or until set. To serve, scrape the ice again with a fork and then spoon into chilled serving glasses. Top with some whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon or drinking cocoa powder. Serves 6-8
Both these iced treats will keep in the freezer for up to one week. Be sure to cover them tightly to avoid other freezer smells.
Hints and tips:
Fruit and sugar – a balancing act! When making Granita the strength of the sugar syrup depends entirely on the type of fruit you choose and its ripeness. Citrus fruits – like oranges, lemons and limes, require a heavy sugar syrup as a base. While, sweeter fruit – like strawberries, cherries, nectarines, high in natural sugars only need a light sugar syrup.
Sugar syrup – a very important part of the Granita equation! A basic mix of sugar and water – with differing ratios depending on its use.
- Equal parts sugar and water (normal stock syrup)
- 1 part sugar to 2 parts water (light syrup)
- 2 parts sugar to 1 part water (heavy syrup)
When making a sugar syrup add the water to the saucepan first and then pour the sugar slowly to evenly coat the bottom. Bring to the boil on a low heat to prevent the sugar from crystallizing and burning before it has had time to dissolve. To check if all the sugar has dissolved, run your spoon along the side to see if it still feels grainy.
Equipment – It’s best to use a large, flat, shallow metal tin to freeze the Granita mixture. This will allow it to freeze quickly and evenly. And, use a large metal fork instead of a spoon to scrape and flake the newly formed ice crystals. If you’re not entirely happy with the result after the final scraping you can give it a quick whizz in a food processor/or blender to make the ice granules smaller – but not too long or it will turn to slush!
So if you feel like something fresh and fruity, pick a flavour combo, whip up a batch and sit back and ENJOY! (Warning: Over-excited eating may cause brain freeze! LOL!!) And, if you are short on time and have a cocktail blender or food processor that crushes ice well, why not pour the liquid Granita mix into some ice cube trays, freeze and pull out when you’re ready to serve. Pop no more than 5 cubes (depending on size) into the blender at one time. As simple as that!
Here is a 6 x 4” recipe card to get you started. Simply print it out and add to your recipe box! You may have noticed that I’ve used this week’s product spotlight – Island Chic! Really, how could I not – I have a total crush on those colours!! (Get it.. Granita, ice, crush! LOL! – sorry, couldn’t help myself! LOL!) :o)
Thanks for reading!! Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine! Oh and be sure to check back tomorrow for LOTW!!