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!

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.

 

Marie Claire’s Vietnamese prawn and chicken salad (CleanCuisine)

This is so light and tangy and one of the best salads I know. Well worth making and wonderful for entertaining in the summer!

Serves 4 – 6

12 oz small cooked prawns
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp fish sauce
4 tbsp lime juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
15 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts, shredded
2-3 carrots, grated
4 oz snow pea sprouts or other sprouts
1&1/2 English cucumbers peeled, seeded and diced
6 scallions (spring onions) , finely sliced
3 x baby cos (romaine) lettuce, finely sliced
1 -2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
optional  1/3 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts
optional  1 avocado, cubed

Peel the prawns and put them in a bowl
In a small bowl, combine the cumin, fish sauce, lime juice, olive oil, sesame oil, mint and sugar.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the mixture over the prawns and toss until the prawns are well coated.
Add the chicken, carrot, snow pea sprouts, optional cubed avocado, cucumber, spring onion and lettuce.
Lightly toss together then pile onto a serving platter or into individual bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  (dry roasted peanuts)

 

Seared fish with beet, avocado, garbanzo bean and pecan salsa

This is so delicious and light! You can use a firm fish like halibut or even better, a fillet of wild salmon works really well with the salsa. It’s very pretty on the plate as the garbanzo beans turn bright pink!

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6 small diced cooked beets (If you roast your own, season them with salt and pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then cover them with foil and roast at 400 F for 1 hr 20 mins or until tender, then peel them, and allow to cool)
1 x 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained and rinsed
8 chopped scallions
¾ cup pecan pieces, toasted in the oven until browned
1 seeded and chopped red chili
3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2 tsp ground roasted cumin
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put the diced beets into a good-sized bowl. Add the chopped scallions, seeded and chopped red chili, chopped fresh mint, toasted pecans, cumin, lemon juice, balsamic and olive oil.
Mix and season well with salt and pepper. Add more balsamic or lemon juice if you think it needs it.

Season 4 fish fillets and sauté in hot oil over medium high heat on both sides until just done and crispy on the outside then serve on or beside a good dollop of the beet salsa.

Cucumber and avocado salad with lime, mint and feta cheese

This comes from another great food blog ‘Kalyn’s Kitchen”

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled and chopped  English cucumbers (3-4 medium sized ones or 2 large)
salt, for drawing water out of cucumber
1 – 2 ripe (but not too squishy) avocados, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 – 2 tsp fresh lime juice, to toss with the avocado pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint, measure after chopping
1/2 cup crumbled Greek (not French) feta, make sure you buy the solid block, not the crumbled.

Dressing Ingredients

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions

Peel the cucumbers and scrape out the seeds, if they are large. Cut the cucumber into half inch pieces and put into a colander. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. make sure you put a bowl underneath as there will be a fair amount of liquid that the cucumbers give off.
After 30 minutes use paper towels to blot the moisture and salt from the cucumbers.

While the cucumber is draining peel the avocados and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Put the avocado into a large salad bowl and gently toss with the 1 to 2 tsp fresh lime juice.
Wash the mint and chop finely.
Whisk together the olive oil and lime juice to make a dressing and measure out 1/2 cup of crumbled feta.

Add the drained cucumbers, mint and dressing to the avocado and combine.
Then gently stir in the crumbled feta into the salad ingredients.
Serve immediately.

This salad doesn’t do well sitting in the fridge for too long