Recipe: Minty everything!
These recipes were adapted from a mint sorbet recipe by Crumbs on the Table - quantities modified into mugs (because that's easier than weighing and perfectly accurate enough if you're also measuring in "bunches" for the mint).
We found that adding about another half litre of water to the recipe was needed to make it refreshing rather than cloyingly sweet. We may also have added rather more mint...
So, for a variety of minty cold (and also chocolatey- come back tomorrow for more...) things in this hot weather, based on one sugar syrup, here goes:
Basic mint sugar syrup ingredients:
8-10 stems mint, any kind, about 1ft/30cm long each (this is how long the leafy bits of our mint stems currently are...)
1 mug sugar (approx 300g)
Lemon juice to taste
You will also need:
A saucepan with a lid
A large jar or bowl (at least 1l capacity)
A wooden spoon
Put the mug of sugar and 1 mug tap water into the saucepan.
Heat until the sugar is dissolved then bring to the boil.
Add the leaves from the mint stems (pull these off the stems).
Stir, then cover and leave to cool to room temperature.
Add an extra 1 1/2 mugs cold water.
Chill overnight in fridge (the mint leaves are still in at this point- which is why this ends up a REALLY strong-flavoured syrup!
Using the sieve, strain the syrup into the jar or bowl to remove the mint leaves.
Add lemon juice to taste (or not, as you wish)
Return to fridge or sterilise as for jam or preserved fruits (useful methods here).
This can be used as a cordial with drinks as it is, or continue for granita or sorbet ideas:
You will need:
Your mint syrup
A freezer-proof shallow dish (a deep baking tray is best)
A plastic tub, such as an old ice-cream tub
OR and ice-cream maker- this is NOT necessary but will make a smoother sorbet- you'll get a crunchy granita using just a fork and dish- which we like!
Add about 1 1/2 to 2 mugs cold water to the syrup, until it just tastes a little bit too strong (things taste less strong after freezing).
Chill in fridge.
Pour into a shallow freezer-proof dish and put in the freezer
Every so often (30 minutes, an hour, two hours... when you remember- but do remember at least a few times or you'll just get a block of ice), use your fork to stir up the mixture, until you have a fluffy dessert.
Scrape into the plastic tub for storage, or eat straight away.
This is a deliciously minty and refreshing palate cleanser or cooling treat in hot weather. Serve in small portions- it's sophisticated rather than for big helpings!
Here is a demonstration of why using a metal dish is best for freezing:
These are two granitas chilled and started in the freezer at the same time. On the left is a granita (it's lemon balm rather than mint, but it has the same amounts of sugar) made in a metal dish. On the right is a mint granita in a glass dish. You can see that the metal has allowed heat out of the left dish much faster than the glass has allowed heat out of the right hand dish: One is ready to eat, the other is still mostly liquid. So use a metal dish if you can!
And here's how it looks served out!
Come back tomorrow for instructions on the chocolate one...