Monday, August 11, 2014

Luscious Lemonade (with magic ingredients)

Pin It

There are many recipes that claim to be the ‘best ever lemonade’ or the ‘perfect  lemonade’. I don’t make those claims for mine. It does, however, contain two magic ingredients that get my oven cleaned...
How?

Well, I take my inspiration from the bit in Tom Sawyer where Tom gets the neighbourhood kids to happily whitewash Aunt Polly’s fence using a little reverse psychology. Ok, it’s more bribery than reverse psychology in this case but hey…

Sigh,” I say to anyone within earshot...
“What’s up, Hester?”they say

“Well,” I say, “I was thinking of making a jug of my special lemonade... you know ... the one that tastes like summer…  the one with the magic ingredients… sigh
“Yes! Yes! Great idea!” they say.

“... but unfortunately, I won’t have time... because the oven really needs cleaning.”
“Oh,” they say.  “I’ll clean the oven, Hester; and you make the lemonade!”

“Really, you don’t have to...” I say, handing them the spray, the gauntlets, the sponge, the bucket, the protective goggles ...

Ok, it's time for me to get on with the lemonade to supply the thirsty worker(s). Salt and star anise are the magic ingredients. You won't taste them but they round out the flavour.

*BEFORE STARTING: How many lemons you use will depend on how juicy they are. I used 6 lemons for this batch. To get 25g of lemon zest for the recipe, I chose two with the most blemish-free skin, scrubbed them in hot water to remove any wax, then used a potato peeler to remove the yellow part of the zest, and further trimmed the strips of peel with a sharp knife to carefully remove any bitter white skin clinging to it. It is much easier to remove the zest BEFORE you squeeze out the juice.
It's easier to remove the zest BEFORE you squeeze out the juice

To make about 500ml of lemonade cordial (2-3 litres, diluted), you will need...
25g lemon zest (prepared weight) yellow part only*
250g caster sugar
250mls freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained to remove any pips or pulp
250mls water
¼ teaspoon fine table salt
1 point of a whole star anise


Take a moment to enjoy the gorgeous aromas

 Method
Place the prepared lemon zest and the sugar in a food processor and blitz until the zest is finely chopped.
Place this mixture in a medium saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
Cover and leave to cool. Strain to remove the piece of star anise and any bits of zest and transfer to a sterilised bottle or jar. Sealed, it stores in the fridge for up to a month.
Serve over ice, diluted with still or sparkling water to taste. Cheers!

Pin It

Monday, August 4, 2014

Maple French Toast Sticks – it’s an emergency !

Pin It
I’ve always had a vague desire for a swimming pool and on Saturday morning, the gods granted my wish. I should have been more specific with my daydream as the pool was rather inconveniently located in the sitting room.  
 
Two plumbers later, there was a gaping hole in the floor and the need to call out an electrician to fix the cable they’d severed in the hunt for the leaking pipe which they were chasing rather alarmingly with a pneumatic drill. I left them to it and escaped to the supermarket.

Returning home, the car boot popped open and spread half the groceries down the road. Argh! Two girls stopped short of running over my scattered purchases and put their hazard lights on, allowing me to collect up my bits and pieces. The runaway groceries were a little battered and dented but the only real casualties were the beer (which was gushing spectacularly from several cans) and the roasted red peppers which had been destined for great things but which had smashed at the bottom of a bag and subsequently leaked oil all over the inside of the car. Oh you gods are capricious!

Back at the ranch, both water and electricity had been restored and although it was way past breakfast time, it is never too late for brunch. It had to be quick. It had to be easy. It had to make my day a whole lot better.

There was nothing else for it – I needed an emergency batch of Maple French Toast Sticks, and quickly.

Look Inside the preview of Alchemy – a Cookbook on Amazon for this quick, easy, make-your-day-a-whole-lot-better recipe.
And don't forget the icing sugar!
 
 
Pin It