A ginger gin cocktail

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Well it’s Memorial weekend here in the US and time to get out the barbeques and cocktails. I’m not a huge gin drinker, but this combination with the mint and ginger beer is a winner!

Makes one cocktail

10 mint leaves
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. lime juice
1½ oz. gin
2 oz. ginger beer
Mint sprig, for garnish

Muddle the mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Add the gin and fill with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled cocktail glass; top with ginger beer and garnish with a mint sprig. Cheers!

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Strawberries with mozzarella and mint pesto drizzle

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I had this in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago and managed to figure out what was in it and work out a recipe.
It’s such a lovely idea to use sweet strawberries rather than tomatoes with the mint pesto and mozzarella, especially as strawberries go so well with balsamic vinegar dressing as well.

1 lb sweet strawberries, sliced
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup almonds, sliced
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 clove garlic
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (1/2 tsp for each serving)

 In a bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Cover and set aside.
For the mint pesto drizzle, in a food processor combine the olive oil, mint leaves sliced almonds, Parmesan cheese and garlic.
Divide the mozzarella and place the slices (overlapping) on each serving plate. Spoon ½ cup sugared strawberries around and on cheese.
Spoon ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the mint pesto drizzle over cheese and strawberries on each plate. Garnish with mint leaves.

 

 

 

 

 

Melon balls with tequila, lime and mint

Gorgeous, slimming, and refreshing at the end of a meal.

Try and get a “melon baller” for this recipe as it will make your life so much easier. They are easy to find these days and you can also get one online.

Serves 4

1 honeydew melon, preferably chilled
3 tbsp cold tequila
finely grated zest of 1/2 lime plus extra to serve
Juice of 1/2 lime
A tiny pinch of sea salt
A few sprigs fresh English mint, leaves only, chopped

Halve the melon and remove the seeds with a spoon. Using a melon baller, scoop the flesh into neat balls and place in a large bowl.

Mix the tequila, lime zest and juice, honey, and salt together in a small pitcher.
Taste and add a little more honey if the dressing is too sour.
Pour over the melon balls, toss very gently to mix and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Divide the melon balls among serving glasses, grate over some lime zest and sprinkle with freshly chopped mint to serve

 

Tandoori chicken bites with a yoghurt lime-mint dipping sauce

Lovely, simple and light. A good, low calorie appetizer from a fellow blogger

2 lbs chicken breast or thigh cut into bite sized pieces

Marinade
1/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp Garam Masala powder
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and black pepper

Yoghurt lime-mint dipping sauce

1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1 small handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin (I roast my own before grinding)
Juice of half a lime or a full lime if it’s not too juicy
1 clove garlic crushed
salt to taste

Mix all sauce ingredients together, stir well and allow to chill for a few minutes before serving.

Marinate the chicken with the yoghurt and spices for about 6 to 8 hours in the fridge, but bring it back to room temperature (sit out on the counter about 30 to 45 minutes) before cooking.

Place chicken bites onto a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with oil.

Set the oven to broil and broil for about 8 minutes per side until fully cooked. (165 F internal temperature)

Serve with the sauce and enjoy!

 

Grilled zucchini, Amalfi-style

Light, fresh, simple and stunning flavors. Lovely to serve alongside some marinated fish as a starter. Thank you Marcella Hazan.

Serves 4

2 lbs zucchini, as young and firm as possible, thoroughly cleaned, ends removed
Salt
4 garlic cloves; peeled and slightly mashed
2 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn into bits
Light olive oil; or vegetable oil, for frying
3 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper

Cut the zucchini into rounds or slices lengthwise and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and mix gently. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow the water to come off the zucchini.

Put the mashed garlic and mint into a large bowl.

Remove the zucchini from the colander and pat dry. Heat the oil in a large skillet until very hot, then place the zucchini in a single layer in the skillet. Cook on both sides until golden brown, then transfer to the bowl with the mint and garlic.

Sprinkle the zucchini with a little vinegar, then continue cooking any remaining zucchini. Sprinkle with more vinegar when done.

When all the zucchini are done, add olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately or the next day

Zucchini, feta, pine nut and caper salad

This is such a divine combination and wonderful with grilled or roasted meats. After you have made it a couple of times you can start experimenting and add Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, basil, scallions…. Limitless possibilities.

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Serves 4 (at most)

For the zucchini
1lb 4oz small zucchini, cut lengthways into fairly thin slices
1/4 tsp dried red chili flakes, optional
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

For the dressing
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar, plus extra to taste
1/2 tsp lemon zest, grated
1 – 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
2 tbsp capers, rinsed and soaked in cold water for 10 minutes, then drained

To serve
7 oz Greek feta cheese, crumbled
4 tbsp pine nuts toasted

For the zucchini: Put the zucchini in to a colander and toss with 1 tsp salt.
leave for 30 to 60 minutes to drain in the sink, then rinse and dry on paper towels.
Season with lots of pepper and the chili flakes, if using. Add the oil and toss to coat.

Heat a griddle pan or a frying pan until hot and grill the zucchini for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once until well browned and just tender. Transfer to a dish.

For the dressing: Put the oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, garlic and chopped mint and parsley in a bowl and whisk well.
Stir in the capers and pour the dressing over the zucchini.
Cover and set aside for 30 to 60 minutes for the flavors to marry.

To serve”  just before serving, mix in the feta cheese and serve sprinkled with the pine nuts and a few mint leaves.

 

Cucumber, feta, mint and dill salad

Such a lovely blend of flavors.

Serves 4

4 oz Greek feta cheese
4 lebanese (short) cucumbers
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp finely chopped dill
1 tbsp dried mint
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Crumble the feta cheese into 1/2 inch pieces and place in a large bowl.
Peel and seed the cucumbers and cut into 1/2 inch dice. Add to the bowl along with the onion and dill.
Grind the dried mint in a mortar and pestle or force through a sieve until powdered.
Combine with the olive oil and lemon juice then season with salt and pepper.
Pour over the salad and toss well.