Friday, 4 July 2008

Celebrate July 4th!

If you're an Americaphile like me, July 4th is a great occasion to get out the barbecue, have a fiesta with your pals, and of course, it's a chance to experiment with a few cocktails - take a look at Fiona Beckett's feature today on for some excellent peach cocktail recipes (including one of mine, albeit a non-alcoholic version). In the spirit of stars and stripes, I've decided to feature recipes for a colourful grilled fruit salad and a stellar minty iced green tea crush:  the fruit salad's a refreshing way to end your barbecue, especially if you've had lots of meat and gorged yourself on mezze, and the minty crush should sustain you through the evening...Happy Independence Day folks!

Grilled Fruit Salad (serves 8)
  • 2 punnets strawberries
  • 2 punnets blueberries
  • 3 bananas
  • 3 peaches 
  • 1/2 pineapple
  • handful mint
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 3 oranges
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
Minty Iced Green Tea Crush (serves 8)
  • 1 litre Iced Green Tea (recipe below)
  • 1 litre chilled soda water/sparkling water
  • 8-12 tbsp simple sugar syrup (recipe below)
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 2 limes
  • handful mint
  • cucumber slices for garnish
  • alcohol of your choice: rum or vodka work well, or just serve it as a virgin cocktail
Prepare the aluminum foil for the salad: take two long sheets and place one on top of the other, then prepare the fruit: simply halve the strawberries, quarter the peaches, cut the banana and pineapple into chunks. Place all this in a bowl, add the orange juice, zest and mint leaves (you can crush the mint leaves beforehand if you wish) and toss the fruit in the juice and mint. Place the fruit on the aluminum foil, create 4 edges by folding up the sides, and add a few tablespoons of the juice, plus the blueberries at this stage. Then sprinkle some sugar on top and seal the parcel very thoroughly. Grill on a low flame for 5-10 minutes and serve immediately

For the crush: steep 6 green tea (preferably the kind with a mint flavour, such as Jackson's) bags in simmering water, not boiling, for 2-3 minutes. Take the teabags out and allow the tea to cool completely. Make the sugar syrup: take 100g sugar and place in a saucepan with 100g water, bring to the boil, making sure that all the sugar has dissolved. Chill the syrup, and what you don't use for the crush keep in a sealed jar/container in the fridge for future cocktails!

Muddle the mint in a bowl, add this to a pitcher and then add your sugar syrup, blend thoroughly, add the juice and zest of the limes. Then add your crushed ice, blend again, and finally your alcohol of choice, minty green tea and soda/sparkling water. Taste for sweetness, and adjust accordingly. Serve immediately, with a sprig of mint and a slice of cucumber...

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