Monday, February 09, 2009

Challenge Book #32 - Lemonade Granita

My goodness, talk about bad times. Here in Canberra we have endured the hottest weekend in our history - two days of over 40C (104F). This following two weeks of 36-37C plus. Amazingly, this is actually quite mild with other towns further west and south hitting 47-48C.

It's been miserable. But this pales into absolute insignificance compared to what is happening in Victoria. 131 people have died in wildfires and there are fears that the toll with reach 230. 230 people - it is almost unbelievable. Entire towns have been wiped out. I can barely bring myself to watch the news it is just all too horrible.

In 2003 Canberra had it's own wildfire disaster when hundreds of homes were burned to the ground. I remember I was at a friend's baby shower. It got darker and darker and darker until, although it was only early afternoon, it was like dusk. After a call from the backyard, we all went outside and looked over the backfence. Suddenly there was the fire. It came over the crest of a heavily wooded hill just a few kilometres away across some vacant grassed paddocks. It raced down that hill at a breathtaking speed. Black charcoal leaves were falling out of the sky. It was the scariest thing.

Luckily that house and my own in the next suburb were safe. Too many people were not so fortunate. I hope these fires in Victoria are over soon. I really do!!!

Anyway, putting this national disaster to one side, what is one to do in the midst of a horrendous heat wave. Take to the ice, that's what!!! I stuffed the freezer with frozen drinks. I sucked and slurped my way through the weekend.

Top of the pops was this lemonade granita. Simple to make. Cool and refreshing. It was perfect for the circumstances. I imagine it would work well with any number of other flavours.

I found this recipe in this book, which is Challenge Book #32 in the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This is not a favourite book of mine. I have tried two other recipes from it previously and they have were terrible. I don't mean just displeasing. I mean shockingly bad, as in inedible. Which is a shame because I loved Silvana in The Best - my most favourite ever cooking show. So I'm glad that I have now managed to get something worthwhile from it.

Lemonade Granita
(adapted from Family)

juice and zest of six lemons
1 stalk lemon grass, bashed
175gm castor sugar
500ml soda water
150ml water

Put zest, juice, water and lemon grass in a saucepan. Heat until sugar is dissolved and simmer for five minutes. Cool.

Strain into a plastic container. Add the soda water. Freeze for at least two hours. Break into flakes with a fork to serve.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Challenge Book #31 - Greek yoghurt with condensed milk and oranges

A few weeks back I talked about my love of summer. This may have been a bit rash and precipitous. After two weeks of 35 plus temperatures I am rapidly heading towards over it. OVER. IT. Is there anything worse than feeling those beads of sweat sliding down your back and your legs. Ick!!!!

I have seen just about every movie that is out in a desparate effort to soak up some air conditioning. I highly recommend Gran Torino, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire and Bolt. Avoid Valkyrie like the plague, it is a surprisingly dull movie. Even curly hair can't help Tom Cruise, who projects all the charisma of a carrot. Not even a of baby carrot which can be kinda cute, in a carroty kind of way. More of a big old knobbly hairy carrot.

Inevitably, I have been avoiding the kitchen as much as possible. The thought of turning on the oven or a hot plate is an anathema. I'm all about the quick and the cool.

Which is how I came to this dessert. No cooking required. None. Nada. It is so easy. So simple. And so good. It is seriously delicious!! I think it is the perfect emergency dessert. Tins of condensed milk will sit happily in the pantry. And I always have yoghurt and oranges in the house. I'm so happy I found this recipe.

This recipe comes from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros - which is by the way Book #31 in the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This is one of my all time favourite cookbooks. You only have to browse through my blog to see that. I have made dozens of its recipes and there are dozens more I want to try. It's like this book was written just for me!!

Greek Yoghurt with Condensed Milk and Oranges
(adapted from Like Apples for Jam)

100ml sweetened condensed milk
300gm natural Greek yoghurt
2 oranges
juice and finely grated rind of 1 small orange

Slice the skin from the oranges and slice into large wheels.

Mix together the condensed milk, half the rind and 4 tablespoons of juice. Slowly mix into the yoghurt.

Cover and put into the fridge for a few hours until it is soft creamy pudding.

Serve with a few orange slices, a dollop of yoghurt, a sprinkling of rind and a dribbling of juice.

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