Category Archives: Uncategorized

Things to drink when it’s hot outside

I am not a fan of summer.  Forty degree days, sunburn, public transport chaos, and sweating without even moving are just not my idea of fun.  I survive by staying indoors, closing all the blinds, sitting in front of the fan, and obsessively checking the Melbourne real time temperature update in hopes of a cool change.  Also drinking iced drinks.

Cold-brewed ice coffee

I can’t remember where I first encountered the idea – it was no doubt and excellent blog that I’m neglecting to credit.  Wherever it came from, it solved my coffee addict/heat despising dilema.

The idea with cold brewing (apart from not having to cool the brew down) is that you get all the flavour without the bitterness.  I have to say, it really works.  And it’s really simple.  Take a largish jug or other easy-to-pour from container, add a tablespoon of coffee per cup of water, and allow to steep for 12-24 hours.  Strain through a fine sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth into another jug.  Serve sweetened or milked to your liking.  I like it with a teaspoon of dark agave, some Bonsoy, and lots of ice.

The same method can be used for tea as well, although I’d advise brewing for a shorter time to avoid it becoming too tannic.  I’m particularly fond of cold-brewed chai, again with agave and soy milk.

Lychee Slushie

Inspired by the drinks at countless dumpling houses, this couldn’t be simpler, and works well with just about any canned fruit.  Mangoes are my other favourite.  You can also turn these into an adult beverage by adding the white spirit of your choice.

I use three trays of ice cubes to one large (560g) tin of lychees, which makes a little bit more than two of my glasses full.  Put the ice and lychees in a blender and blitz until they reach whatever consistency you like.  Pour into tall glasses and finish with a squeeze of lime.  Drink and be cool.

Pantry Pina Coladas

These aren’t ‘proper’ pina coladas by any means, but they are delicious and they get the job done and I usually have all the ingredients in my pantry, avoiding the necessity to leave the house and walk around in the heat. Much better to stay in and drink.

Fill your blender half full of ice.  Add a tin of coconut milk, a large tin of pineapple pieces (in syrup or juice according to your sweetness preference) and a good bit of white rum (again, according to your preference).  Blitz until the ice is crushed and the whole thing looks creamy and delicious.  Pour into glasses, drink, and be glad summer at least gives you an excuse to indulge.

Also be glad that, even though the fading light means your photos turn out badly, there should be a cool change coming soon.

Advertisements

Orange Radish Salad

I’m currently in the US.  I’ve been here for six weeks now, and I’ve been eating while I’ve been here – boy howdy, have I been eating!  I will tell you all about it soon, promise.  But first, a couple of catch-up posts, of the last things I ate before I leaving Melbourne.

Orange & Radish Salad

This salad is good.  It’s juicy and refreshing and sweet and bitter and crunchy and delicious.  The orange is what makes it.  And the radish.  And the onion.

It came about because I was craving radish.  It’s not something I usually crave, but for whatever reason, I was hankering after these bitey little red globes.

Radishes

I also had oranges from my veggie box that needed eating.  Orange and radish.  So good together.

Orange Radish Salad

1 small butter lettuce, or mixed leaves, or whatever leafery you’d like

½ red onion, finely sliced

3-4 small radishes, finely sliced

pinch of salt

2 oranges

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp mustard

1. Wash the radishes and slice as finely as you can.  Sprinkle with a little salt.

2. Slice the onion as finely as you can.

3. Segment the oranges by taking a sharp knife and cutting as close to the membrane as possible.  Work over a bowl so that you can collect the juice as it drips.  Give the membrane a good squeeze to get all the juice out.

4.  Combine ¼ cup of juice with the olive oil and mustard in a jar.  Seal tightly and shake.  Season to taste.

5. Break the lettuce into bite-size pieces if necessary.

6. Toss all ingredients together with dressing (there will be leftover dressing).

7. Serve as a side salad, or with some good, strong bread for a light meal.

Eggplant Crepes

I made this a little while ago but it’s taken me a while to get around to posting.  Things have been busy.  Nonetheless, they were absolutely delicious and I should have posted them sooner.  I love eggplant.  So much.

There was kind of a chain of leftovers in the inception of this dish.  First, The Socialist, not one to be wasteful, turned the leftover seasoned flour from the Giant Pumpkin Arancini into a spicy crepe batter.  The crepes had a subtle chilli kick that worked really well with maple syrup – yum!  Then there was leftover crepe batter, I had an eggplant in the crisper, and lo, eggplant crepes!

Eggplant Filling

1 eggplant, cut into 2cm cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tblsp harrissa (adjust to taste)
2-3 ripe tomatoes, chopped OR 1 tin tomatoes
250g fetta, cut into 1cm cubes
A good amount of fresh corriander, chopped

Heat a large pan and add a good glug of olive oil.  Add the eggplant cubes and fry, stirring occasionally, until they start to colour.  Add the onions, garlic, and harissa, and cook for a few minutes, until the onions start to soften.  Add the tomatoes, stir to combine, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the eggplant is soft and delicious.

Remove from heat, stir through the feta and the coriander.  A squeeze of lemon wouldn’t go astray here.

Crepes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk (I used soy)

Mix the chilli powder through the flour.  Make a well in the centre.  Crack the egg into the well and use a fork to combine with the flour.  Add the milk a little at a time to make a smooth paste, then gradually add until you have a thin batter, but not too runny (you may need to use more or less milk).

Heat a large pan and add a little olive oil.  Pour about a third of a cup (depending on the size of your pan) of the batter into the pan and swirl to spread a thing, even layer.  When the crepe is cooked through, flip over to brown the other side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Repeat until all batter has been used.

Serving

Place crepe on a plate (keep warm or reheat by returning to the pan for a few seconds each side).  Fill the middle third with eggplant mixture, leaving a little room at one end.  Fold up the end, then fold in the sides.

Delicious with a simple salad (I just had mixed leaves, pomegranate molasses, and a little olive oil).

Eat with gusto!

All the elements can be made up ahead and re-heated.  An assembled crepe does fine in the fridge over night, but if you were going to leave it any longer, I’d keep the parts separate then re-heat and assemble just before serving.