Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Basic Fruit Granita

Category: Dessert
Style: italian
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar or to taste
3 cups fruit juice
2 tsp lemon juice or lime juice
2 tbsp vodka or gin

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Stir in fruit juice and lemon or lime juice and pour into a chilled 13 by 9 inch baking dish.
Place baking dish in the freezer and freeze, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes with a fork until all frozen pieces are broken into small shavings and mixed well with the remaining liquid. Continue to stir and freeze until no more liquid is in the granita. Serve.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

5-Minute Strawberry Ice Cream

Category: Dessert
Style: Western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

3/4 cup icing sugar
5 cup frozen strawberry
1-1/3 cup chilled whipping cream
fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Put strawberry in a food processor. Sprinkle with icing sugar. Process on high speed until strawberry resemble coarse sand.
While food processor is still running, pour whipping cream into the processor in a thin stream. Continue to process for another 2 minutes. You may need to stop processor and scrap down the side.
Mixture should resemble very thick milk shake. Serve immediately or freeze further for a firmer texture.
Serve with mint leaves as garnish.

You may need to do this recipe in batches if your food processor is not large enough to handle 5 cups of fruits.
Depending on the size of your strawberries, you may need to use more or less cream. Watch the consistency of the mixture and adjust accordingly.
You can also use other frozen fruits such as blueberries, mixed berries, mango etc. Adjust the amount of sugar for different fruits.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Homemade Mint Oreo

Category: Dessert
Style: western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Makes 2 to 3 dozens

1.5 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cup icing sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
mint filling
2 egg white
1/3 tsp peppermint extract
4 cups icing sugar

Beat butter until smooth and fluffy.
Sift together icing sugar and cocoa powder over butter and beat in. Stir in vanilla, egg yolk and milk. Add flour, salt and baking powder and blend until incorporated. Shape dough into a disc, wrap with plastic warp and chill for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
On a surface slightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes and transfer carefully to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cookies can be lifted easily away from the parchment. Allow to cool completely on baking sheet.
Put egg white in mixing bowl. Add peppermint extract and mix well. Beat in icing sugar, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, until a soft dough forms. You may not need to use all icing sugar.
To fill cookies, roll a teaspoon of dough into a ball and flatten with the palm of your hand. Sandwich between 2 cookies and press together carefully.

Always sift cocoa powder as it always has lumps!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Virgin Sangria

Category: drink
Style: western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion:Makes 3 litres

1.5 litre bottled purple, red or white grape juice, chilled
1 litre club soda, chilled
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup frozen peach
1 large orange, sliced
2 cups ice cubes

Combine juice and soda. Add fruit and ice cubes. Serve in a pitcher or punch bowl.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Light Farfelle Salad

Category: salad
Style: western
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 8

I lb small pasta bows (farfelle) or shells
1 lb cherry tomato
1 cucumber, diced
1/4 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
2 tbsp fresh chives, snipped
1 pack fresh basil, leaves roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put pasta and garlic in. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain. Pick out the garlic and set aside. Put pasta in a large salad bowl.
Cut cherry tomato in halves. Add to pasta with cucumber, olives and herbs.
Use a fork to mesh cooked garlic. Adding a little salt will help grind the garlic down.
Put meshed garlic, olive oil and vinegar in a water-tight bottle. Close lid, shake until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
Add dressing to salad and toss to combine. Serve.

Traditional pasta salad usually uses mayonnaise-based dressing, which makes the salad very heavy. This salad uses a vinaigrette-based dressing which is much lighter.
Remember to keep the tomatoes and cucumber in the fridge until just before you mix the salad and serve. Cucumber will only be crunchy when cold.
Do not mix the salad with the dressing until just before you serve it.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Insalata Caprese (Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad)

Category: salad
Style: italian
Difficulty: Easy
Portion: Serves 4 to 6

4 very ripe medium tomatoes
16 oz fresh mozzarella or bocconcini
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cut tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick slices
Layer tomatoes and mozzarella alternately on a platter.. Sprinkle basil, salt and pepper on top. Drizzle the oil over the platter and allow the flavour to meld for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.