Fresh herbs are a bliss. Surely, dried ones are easier to store and they don’t need any attention or care. But those of you who are lucky enough to have balconies or even gardens, well, grow some herbs! There is nothing better than freshly cut basil for your tomatoes, or woody rosemary for your roasted lamb. If you are not into taking care of pots of fresh herbs it’s not the end of the world. Most of us can now access fresh herbs at our local market or shops.
There are so many things you can do with herbs. This week, we have something different for you. It is summer after all and as such, foods that don’t require an oven are always welcome. When these foods also happen to be sweet and cold, it’s even better. Have you guessed where we are going with that?
Granita of course! Granita is different than sorbet in that it has a crunchier texture. Ice crystals form because of its preparation method (you’ll see below). Which means it is also easier to make and requires no special equipment! It is kinda like making tea and freezing it if you think about it. It can be eaten as an ice cream, served in glasses, but also as a slush-type drink. If you want, you can spike it with the alcohol of your choosing and there you have it, your very own summer cocktail.
For 2 people you will need:
A small bunch of basil (30g), leaves and tender stalks only
150g orange blossom honey
3 medium-sized lemons (both zest and juice)
Finely chop the basil leaves or whiz them in a blender with the water.
In a small pot, and over medium heat warm up the water, basil and honey. Bring it to a boil and then turn off the heat and let it steep for 5 minutes. Add your lemon zest and juice. Taste. Have in mind that once frozen, the flavours will become less intense. However, the mixture needs to feel balanced. If you feel it needs more honey, lemon, or even basil add some now.
At this stage, you are faced with a deeply existential choice. To strain or not to strain. If you think about it, it is quite similar to soups. Do you prefer pureed soups like our trahana cream one or the fall pumpkin one? Or do you prefer soups with texture, like our spring one or the saffron tahinosoupa? The writer’s personal preference is texture. But of course we tried both. And yes, the writer’s own personal preference is still texture.
So strain (or please don’t) the mixture into a clean metal tray. Place your tray in the freezer. Ever half and hour or so remove it from the freezer and using a fork, scrape the semi-frozen liquid around. You can keep tasting and if you feel there is something you’d like to add, you can still do so. Just make sure to stir it all in. After around two hours the granita should be set and you should be ready for the herby bliss.