Wednesday, 16 December 2015

mint-ginger strawberry-peach smoothie-mocktail

The combination of mint, ginger, strawberry and peach makes for a festive summer mocktail-smoothie.

Christmas is part of the deal that comes with summer in Australia, so here's a summer drink recipe that features the festive colours of red and green. Call it a smoothie, call it a mocktail, call it whatever you want. Zingy with ginger and fresh with mint, sweet with peaches and exuberant with strawberries, this is a pretty beverage that will cool you down and invigorate your spirits.

Plus, you can easily convert this into a fancy cocktail by simply adding a complementary spirit or liqueur. Something like gin would be nice, but there are so many possibilities - for example, vodka, rum, Campari or Pimm's No.1, just to name a few. Or top it up with champagne to produce an effervescent delight. Feel free to be creative with it!

mint-ginger strawberry-peach smoothie-mocktail
(serves 1)

2 soft, ripe peaches, peeled and pitted
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 tablespoon roughly chopped ginger
10 mint leaves
1 teaspoon honey (substitute with agave nectar / maple syrup to make it vegan-friendly)

Throw the peaches, strawberries, ginger and mint into the blender. Dissolve honey in 2/3 cup of water, and pour that in. Blend all the ingredients together until smooth, and you're done!

A pretty summer smoothie - lusciously red, with twinkling flecks of green.

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

honey-balsamic nectarine salad with rocket and almonds

Honey-balsamic nectarine salad with rocket and almonds.

It's summertime in Australia, which means dealing with super-hot weather, but also, thankfully, super-juicy stone fruits. Nectarines can be pretty hit-and-miss, but I had some truly amazing nectarines last summer from the farmers market, so when I saw them popping up again I was quick to the purchase. This early-season batch isn't the best I've had, but they were still pretty decent. Paired with sweet honey, tangy balsamic vinegar, peppery rocket and toasty almonds, the charm of the nectarine definitely shines through in this super-simple salad recipe.

honey-balsamic nectarine salad with rocket and almonds

2 nectarines, sliced, cores discarded
3 cups rocket (also known as arugula)
1/4 cup almonds, toasted in a pan until fragrant
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
salt and black pepper

Place nectarine slices, rocket leaves and toasted almonds in a salad bowl.
Whisk balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil and honey in a small bowl. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Drizzle the honey-balsamic dressing onto the contents in the salad bowl, and toss everything together.

Nectarines, almonds and rocket/arugula tossed in a honey balsamic dressing makes for a simple salad.

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