Guiltless Indulgence

There are certain flavour combinations that I love and get excited thinking about them. Two such combinations are watermelon-mint and strawberry-basil. I had mentioned a few weeks ago that I was strictly watching my diet for 2 months, well my sweet tooth has been howling and I am pleased to share with you a recipe that will make your tummy, your taste buds and your waistline happy.

Granitas

Granitas

The granita recipes below are quick and easy, but more importantly they are perfect for summer. Even though in New York the clouds say otherwise, summer is swiftly approaching and the watermelon-mint granita is so refreshing your mouth tingles.

Watermelon-Mint Granita

Watermelon-Mint Granita

I used to love “slush puppies” , “snow cones”, “kiskos”, “ice poles” or “ice lollies”, for some reason the overly sweet syrup with ice that made your lips bright blue was something to look forward to. The strawberry-basil granita is the adult way to relive your childhood memories, especially if you add a little rum. With or without alcohol, enjoy dessert and sacrifice no more.

Strawberry-Basil Granita

Strawberry-Basil Granita

Watermelon-Mint Granita Recipe (Approx. 4 servings)

Ingredients
  • 16oz cubed watermelon
  • Handful/0.5 cup of mint, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 limes, squeezed
  1. Blend watermelon and pour puree into a sieve.
  2. Using a wooden spoon push liquid into a dish (I used a baking tin) and throw away the solid left behind in the sieve.
  3. Add most of the mint (keeping a little for garnish), the sugar and lime juice to the puree.
  4. Mix well and freeze until hard, approx. 4 hours (I left mine overnight because I fell asleep waiting for 4 hours to pass).
  5. Remove from the freezer and scrape with a fork. If you are not serving immediately put the granita in the freezer until you are ready.
  6. Sprinkle with mint leaves and enjoy!

Strawberry-Basil Granita (Approx. 6 servings)

Ingredients
  • 1lb strawberries
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fruit juice
  • 1/4 cup vanilla rum (any rum is nice)
  • 1/4 cup basil, finely chopped
  1. Blend strawberries and pour puree into a sieve.
  2. Using a wooden spoon push liquid into a dish (I used a saucepan) and throw away the solid left behind in the sieve.
  3. Add the basil, the sugar, fruit juice and rum to the puree.
  4. Mix well and freeze until hard, approx. 4 hours (I left mine overnight because I fell asleep waiting for 4 hours to pass).
  5. Remove from the freezer and scrape with a fork. If you are not serving immediately put the granita in the freezer until you are ready.
  6. Add some strawberry slices for some style and enjoy!

Tell me what you think 🙂

Live, Love, Eat!

April x

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Tis’ The Season

Spring has definitely arrived! The trees are green and in full bloom, the temperature is warm with a gentle breeze (at least in NYC) and not that we ever had a winter this year but I’m still grateful for the change. I love this season, maybe because I’m a Spring baby or maybe it’s because everyone’s mood seems a little brighter and people are more sociable. When I wake up on a Sunday morning and see Spring at its peak, I think ditch the take home exam that you are dreading and have a picnic!

Tis’ the season for picnics. An excuse to enjoy family time and let kids stop watching tv to run and play outside, while you secretly look forward to how good their going to sleep tonight.

Or have an adult picnic with wine, cheese, music and tell everyone to bring a dish. Last Sunday, a friend and I discovered a park literally across the street, that was hidden behind a tall apartment building, and had a great impromptu picnic.

I believe there are some fundamental elements that must be included in any great picnic – wine, fresh weather (sun, breeze, blue skies), yumminess and great company. We enjoyed white wine (Grüner Veltliner), delicious sandwiches and my “adult cookies”. The recipes are below, so get a friend and/or a dog (even if your dog isn’t as cute as mine), spread a blanket and enjoy the outdoors. Relax, it’s Spring Time!

Adult Triple Chocolate Cookies

Makes 8

  • ½ cup flour, sifted
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp Amaretto
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven at 350˚

Mix dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt), then add wet ingredients (butter, egg, vanilla, Amaretto). Finish with combing chocolate chips to mixture. On lightly greased foil use a spoon to drop roundish dollops. Bake for 11 minutes. When you remove them from the oven they should look soft, they’ll continue cooking while they cool, so let them rest before indulging!

Sandwich

  • Fresh Bread (Italian or French)
  • Prosciutto
  • Fig Spread
  • Goats Cheese
  • Baby Spinach

Preheat oven at 350˚. Dampen the crust of the bread, (I wet my hands and pat the bread so that it is not soaking wet), before wrapping it in foil and warming in the over for 10 minutes. This allows the crust to be a little crisp while, the inside is moist as though you just baked it. Spread the fig spread, add spinach and prosciutto and lather goats cheese on top. Ultimate yumminess with the sweet, salty and creamy flavours.

Live, Love, Eat!

3-in-1

At Miss Universe one of the questions for our online videos was, if you were a food what would it be? I answered that I would be a banana because it is versatile, in Jamaica we eat it green and we also eat it ripe; I believe, like the banana, I have something for everyone. People probably doubted my belief in the versatility of the banana. Now whilst I was impressed with my on the spot answer, I really love the flexibility of this fruit. In addition to it being long, firm, curved and full of energy – get  your mind out of the gutter! Lol – you can do something with it in all its stages.

Bananas - From Green to Ripe

Although you can boil green banana to go with your main meals, use a ripe but firm banana in your smoothies or add them to your cereal, I am going to focus on the very ripe banana. I mean those bananas so ripe the skins are all black and they’re starting to feel mushy. I can never finish all my fruit so when I see these black-skinned bananas, I smile, add them to my zip lock bag and freeze them until I’m feeling for something sweet. The great thing about the three recipes – Deluxe Banana Pancakes, Banana Bread and Banana Fritters – is that they use practically the same ingredients just in different proportions. Try one, or all, and let me know. Enjoy!

Very Ripe Bananas (frozen)

Deluxe Caramelised Banana Pancakes
Total Prep & Cook Time: 30 mins
Serves 2 (Makes 6 pancakes)

Pancakes

1.25 cups all-purpose flour, sifted * 1 very ripe banana (the skin will be black) * 3 tsps baking powder * 1 cup of whole milk * 1 whole egg*
¼ tsp of salt * ¼ tsp cinnamon * ¼ cup of sugar * 1 tsp of vanilla extract * Dash of nutmeg (optional)

Caramelised Bananas

1 ripe banana (firm), sliced * ¼ cup of sugar * 2 tbsp dark rum (optional) * 3 tbsp butter, melted
 
 

How to make it:

  1. Crush very ripe banana with a fork.
  2. Add all the ingredients for the pancakes and mix through thoroughly, whether with a fork or a whisk, until evenly mixed.
  3. Lightly grease a frying pan, with olive oil or spray, and add pancake mixture to the pan with a ladle, for each pan.
  4. Roll bananas in sugar
  5. In a separate pan add the butter and remaining sugar
  6. Stir until dissolved and then add the rum and bananas.
  7. Bring to boil and then simmer.
  8. Plate the pancakes and drizzle with caramelised bananas.
Banana Bread
Prep Time: 20 mins Cook Time:  50 – 55 mins

Ingredients

4 very ripe bananas * 1.5 cups of flour * 2 tsp vanilla * 1 tsp baking soda * 1 tsp baking powder * 2 eggs, beaten * ¾ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted * ½ tsp salt * 1 tsp cinnamon * 1 tbsp milk * 1/8 cup almonds slivers, chopped (optional)
 

 How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven at 350˚
  2. Crush very ripe bananas with a fork.
  3. Combine with butter, eggs and vanilla and milk
  4. Then add sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and last add flour.
  5. Spray oil on loaf pan and add mixture.
  6. Bake for 50-55 minutes.

TIP: Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and drizzled chocolate

Banana Fritters
Prep Time: 7 mins Cook Time: 12-18 mins
Makes 9 fritters

Ingredients

2 very ripe bananas * ½ cup of flour, sifted * ½ tbsp vanilla * ½ tsp baking powder * 1 egg, beaten * 1.5 tbsp sugar * 2 pinches salt
½ tsp cinnamon * ¼ cup milk * Sprinkle of nutmeg (optional)

 How to make it:

  1. Crush bananas and combine with all the ingredients except flour and baking powder.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix evenly.
  3. Spoon mixture into greased pan over medium heat and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar (1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar)

TIP: Serve at room temperature. Great snack!

Live, Love, Eat!

April x