Watermelon & Gin Granita
It's officially a scorcher! Yowsas, I cannot believe the heat here at the moment ... we finally have our summer - woohoo, wahay, yahoo! And, er, if you didn't deduce from my sun-dance celebrations, I should probably inform you that I lurves the heat ... the hotter the better, keep it comin', no clouds allowed. When the sun is out I am one happy (freckly) girl - and yes, I do wear sunscreen before you ask. However, just because the sun's out doesn't mean I abandon my kitchen entirely. Instead I make sure I'm stocked up on refreshing snacks to keep us nice and cool ... enter my Watermelon & Gin Granita. If you already own my first book 'Keep it Vegan' you will no doubt have come across my Cointreau Granita (yes, I like to use alcohol is my recipes, so shoot me), which is not only ridiculously easy to make but is super versatile too. I simply use the sugar syrup base and then add whatever ingredients I fancy - or have to hand in the kitchen. Standard. Recently I made a grapefruit version, which was pretty darn spectacular - so much so, even my grapefruit-loathing Husband happily snaffled it before promptly asking for seconds. That. Good. This watermelon twist was also another hit at a little midweek meet-up I hosted with my Sister-in-Law and her Hubby. Almost like an adult slushie (who doesn't love an adult slushie?!), this simple little dessert seriously hits the spot on a piercingly hot summers day - in fact, straight after I took this photo, I practically inhaled the glass. Whilst it might look like fruity-coloured crushed ice (and it sorta is 'cept better), the texture is quite different ... soft and fluffy, kind of melt-in-your-mouth stuff, just amazing. I'm already onto my third batch in a fortnight and not even ashamed to say it. It's also a terrific option if you don't have an ice-cream maker - my one is basically broken (well, it never actually worked - long story), so I'm relying on granitas to see me through.
Because the weather has been so ruddy fantastic, we decided to forgo our planned holiday abroad and do a bit of stay-cationing instead. I mean, when you live in the best county in England (*cough cough*) it almost seems silly to fork out a fortune for a flight and hotel when we have some of the best beaches on our doorstep. Instead, we invested in a decent tent, as well as all the necessary accoutrements such as a gas stove, cooler bag etc. etc and headed to a part of Cornwall that we'd yet to properly explore - I highly recommend Polly Joke (quieter and more out of the way) and Crantock (busier but still fabulous). Last weekend was the trial run and it was beyond fantastic, so we really cannot wait to do it all again this Friday. As soon as Hubby gets back from work we are heading straight out (location yet to be decided) and pitching up for another glorious (fingers crossed) couple of days.
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the cinema on Sunday evening to see Ghostbusters. I don't think I can offer anything new to the overload of mixed reviews already on the internet except to say it had its moments but was generally disappointing. Even though I was optimistic and willing it to be great, it just didn't do it for me ... although I now have a total girl-crush on Kate McKinnon - or more precisely her character Holtzmann. I think Mark Kermode said she's like a modern-day Tank Girl so that probably explains the appeal because I flippin' loved Tank Girl! In actual fact the cast were pretty flawless and I think it has huge promise as a francise (bleugh) but it didn't give me the same goosebumps as the Star Wars reboot and was bordering on 'meh'. The story-line was the main issue (kinda crucial for a film) ... it was zipping along nicely (the 'haunted house' opening was superb) until they became 'the ghostbusters' and then it fell a bit flat. The momentum just wasn't there and even though I adore that semi-improv style, the pacing was off to me ... in fact, I found the pacing was a bit ramshackle in general and needed something driving it on a bit more. With that said, there are definitely a handful of laugh-out-loud scenes (Chris Hemsworth as 'Kevin' was impeccable quite frankly) and it was certainly entertaining in parts - Melissa McCarthy has the ability to save any scene, any film, in my humble opinion, so it's worth a watch for sure. On a positive note, I feel like now that they've established themselves as the new team, the next installment (if there is one?) will free them up to properly find their groove - I'm actually hoping they do make another one because it has heaps of potential ... any excuse to see Holtzmann in action again.
what you'll need
100g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
10g fresh basil
1/4 small watermelon
what you'll do
place the sugar, water, lime zest and juice, and basil leaves in a pan. bring to a steady boil and then reduce to a simmer for a minute or two or until the sugar has completely dissolved. remove from heat and set aside to cool.
cut the watermelon into large chunks and blend to a smooth puree. Strain the sugar syrup through a fine mesh sieve and add to blender. blitz until completely smooth. pour into a suitable dish or container and whisk in the gin.
freeze for an hour before scraping the semi-frozen granita with a fork. repeat every 30mins or so for a couple of hours until you achieve the desired consistency.
spoon into small tumblers or glass and adorn with a basil leaf.