So Can You Cook? 34

Beat the Heat

There are certain words that during the hottest days of summer can create images of relief. Words such as watermelon (or melons in general), sorbet, gelato, plums, peaches, mangoes, limes, oranges, salads, ice, spritzer, mint, basil and berries etc all evoke images of coolness to make you feel better in the oppressive heat and humidity.
The whole idea of food preparation for summer is to keep it simple, hassle-free and cool. No roasts or heavy meals at this time of the year.Whatever can be thrown on the barbie or served straight from the fridge is the order of the day.

It is also the time of the year to fully use and appreciate the fantastic array of tropical fruits, berries and citrus that are available at this time of the year. They are great for breakfast, for snacks or for desserts.
It is also the perfect time of the year for brunches, for long lazy lunches, and get-togethers with friends in the cool of early evening. Throw some cold meats and salads into a bag and head to the beach, or go for a long drive and just stop at some attractive spot along the way and lunch.
I don’t know about anyone else, but thoughts of this time of the year are what get me through winter – I loathe the cold.
Hopefully, all the following recipes will help you cool down this summer.

Watermelon Dessert;
4kg ripe seedless watermelon
200g caster sugar
75g cornflour
20ml rosewater (supermarket, deli, health food stores, chemists or ‘Herbies’)
50g pistachios, shelled & slivered or crushed
40g pashmak (persian fairy floss) – Middle-Eastern food suppliers, Norton St Grocers

Cut a 2kg wedge from the watermelon and set aside. Trim the skin from the remaining watermelon and roughly chop the flesh. Put the flesh in a food processor or blender and pulse until pureed, then strain through a fine sieve.
Put sugar and cornfour in a small pan and stir to combine. Gradually whisk in watermelon puree until smooth. Bring to the boil over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Pour mixture into 8 serving glasses and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.
Using a melon baller, form balls from reserved watermelon and put in a large bowl. Add rosewater, swirl bowl gently so that the melon absorbs the rosewater and refrigerate until ready to use.
Spoon melon balls into prepared glasses, then top with pistachio and pashmak. Serveimmediately.

SERVES 8

Iceberg Salad with Parmesan & Crispy Prosiutto;
1 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
200g thinly sliced prosciutto
½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
Dressing
⅓ cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed

Preheat grill to medium. Place prosciutto in a single layer on an oven tray. Grill for 2-3 minutes until crisp.
DRESSING – in a small jug whisk all ingredients together thoroughly. Season to taste.
Combine lettuce, prosciutto & parmesan in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Seaon with cracked black pepper to serve.

SERVES 8

Lemon Iced Tea;
1 litre boiling water
4 tea bags
1 cup caster sugar
2 lemons – juiced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
3 cups cold water
Ice, to serve

In a large bowl combine boiling water and tea bags. Set aside for 2 minutes. Discard tea bags.
Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Allow to cool.
Stir in lemon juice, and half the lemon slices. Chill overnight.
When ready to serve, stir in cold water and remaining lemon slices. Serve over ice.

SERVES 8-12

TROPICANA;
2 cups pineapple juice
2 cups orange juice
4 passionfruit, pulp only
Crushed ice
⅓ cup mint leaves
⅓ cup guava juice

In a large jug, combine pineapple and orange juice, and passionfruitpulp. Place crushed ice into serving glasses.
Top with an even amount of mint andjuice mixture. Carefully pour a little guava juice into each glass

SERVES 4

Berry, Yoghurt & Muesli Parfait;
2 x 250g punnets strawberries, hulled, quartered
150g punnet blueberries
120g punnet raspberries
1 kg tub berry yoghurt
1 cup toasted muesli

Fill the base of 8 parfait (or other) glasses with mixed berries, reserving a few for garnish.
Top each glass with yoghurt. Sprinkle with muesli. Serve topped with reserved berries

SERVES 8

Mango Passion Sparkling Wine Dessert;
1 cup water
¾ cup caster sugar
4 mangoes, cheeks removed, peeled, chopped
1 cup sparkling wine
⅓ cup passionfruit pulp, strained, seeds retained
2 egg whites

Combine water and sugar in a saucepan on low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, withoutsrtirring, for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
Place mango and syrup in a food processor or blender. Process until pureed. Stir through passionfruit juice and wine.
Pour into a large bowl or cake pan. Freeze for three hours, stirring occasionally with a fork.
Spoon mixture into a food processor or blender. Add egg whites. Process until smooth. Fold in passionfruit seeds.
Return to pan and freeze overnight.
Serve in scoops

SERVES 6-8

Mixed Berry & Chicken Salad;
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small chicken breast fillets, trimmed
100g baby spinach leaves
120g punnet raspberries
150g punnet blueberries
150g feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup mint leaves
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup flaked almonds. Toasted
DRESSING
125g strawberries, hulled, chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Heat oil in large frying pan on high. Cook chicken filets for 4-5 minutes each side until bowned and cooked through. Cool & slice thinly.
In a large bowl, combine chicken slices with remaining ingredients except almonds.
DRESSING – Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Process until smooth, Season to taste.
Sprinkle salad with tossed almonds. Drizzle dressing over salad just before serving.

SERVES 6

Feta & Lemon Dip with Crispy Pita & Tomato Salad;
4 small pita bread
Olive oil, for drizzling
250g cherry tomatoes, chopped
¾ cup basil leaves
¾ cup mint leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar (supermarket)
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
Feta & lemon Dip
200g soft feta, chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed
2tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 220°C. To make the lemon & feta dip, place the feta, lemon rind and juice, garlic and oil in the bowl of a small food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
Plave the pita bread on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 10 minutes or until crispy. Set aside.
Place the tomato, basil, mint, oil, lemon rind, vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix to combine.
Serve with the dip and crispy pita bread.

SERVES 4

Oysters with Lemon & Vodka Granita;
½ cup caster sugar
2½ cups water
½ cup lemon juice
⅓ cup vodka
18 oysters
Lemon wedges, to serve

Place the sugar, water, lemon juice and vodka in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into a shallow 20cm x 30cm metal pan and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Use a fork to take the top off the granita and freeze for a further hour. Repeat every hour for 3-4 hours or until set.
Grate with a fork to produce snow, and fill tiny shot glasses.
Serve with the oysters and lemon wedges.

SERVES 6

White Peaches in Pink Champagne Jelly;
3 cups pink champagne or sparkling wine
2½ teaspoons gelatine powder
½ cup caster sugar
3 white peaches, sliced

Place 2 tablespoons of the pink champagne in a bowl, sprinkle over the gelatine and stir well to combine. Place the remaining Champagne and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Bring to the boil and cookfor 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the gelatine mixture and stir untildissolved.
Place the peaches in a 5 cup capacity jar and pour over the jelly mixture. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

SERVES 6

Waldorf Salad with a Twist;
4 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 cup walnuts, chopped
2 cups watercress sprigs
Blue Cheese dressing
¼ cup whole-egg mayonnaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
Sea salt & cracked black pepper
100g soft blue cheese, chopped

To make the blue cheese dressing, place the mayonnasise, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper and blue cheese in the bowl of a small food processor and process until smooth.
Arrange the apple, celery, walnuts and watercress on serving plates and spoon over the dressing to serve.

SERVES 4

Raspberry Vinaigrette;
This easy, delicious dressing will go with just about any salad.

3 tablespoons light extra-virgin olive oil
1½ – 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt & pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a screw-top jar, and shake well.

SERVES 4

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2014

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