Cucumber Lemon Granita Slush

Keep cool with a tall, frosted glass of Cucumber Lemon Granita. This sweet, sour summer slush is not only refreshing, it's also great when spiked with a shot of vodka (expect flushing when you do).

It's time to say goodbye to the cool breeze of January and early February. It's time to say goodbye to the short, idyllic days wherein I could get away with wearing a light scarf and a cashmere sweater at work. It's time to say goodbye to the last waves of holiday fever--hot coco, thick soups, and all.

And it's time to say hello to the hot summer months. It's time to bust out tank tops, shorts, and sandals. It's time to say hello cool, soothing paletas and hot, spicy curries.

"Did you just say hot, spicy curries?"

Yes I did.

According to an article in Sans Rival magazine, certain food items can affect body temperature.

Ice cream is the quintessential summer nosh, but did you know that the fat content in ice cream actually heats up your body?

And although there's nothing better than drinking good ol' Filipino beer on the beach, did you know that too much alcohol can cause you to flush, and consequently, make your skin heat up like crazy?

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as cucumber, pineapple, orange, ang mango, can lower your body temperature, thus producing a cooling effect.

In addition, spice-laden, peppery curries induce sweating, allowing your skin to feel cooler. This is one of the primary reasons why curry is popular in hot countries such as India, Pakistan, and South Africa.

This summer, I am going to try out different curry and peleta recipes from the Sans Rival issue that features South African cuisine. If, like myself, you’ve gotten tired of the usual steak-ribs-wings backyard BBQ routine, these mouth-watering recipes will surely excite your guests and neighbors!

First off, we've got Chicken Durban Curry on the menu. This red-hot curry has got the right amount of heat and flavor. This dish is perfect as an appetizer over cracked papadums or as a main course with basmati rice. Mr. Flintstone enjoys this curry with cauliflower rice.

Next up, we've got Braii Lamb. This aromatic dish will leave your guests wanting for more. The addition of white wine, sugar, dried apricots, and peach chutney in the marinade provide an interesting sweet counterpoint to the grilled, smokey hunk of meat.

To go with all these is Bunny Chow, a hearty bean-based curry stew served inside a hollowed out bread. Tasty, unique, nutritious, and convenient. What more could you ask for?

Meanwhile, Mango Achara is a piquant sidedish that's meat to cut the spiciness of the curries. It also doubles as a wonderful sandwich condiment. Personally, I would like to slather this on a wedge of cold papaya as I bake on the beach on a hot summer day.

Wash these all down with a tall, frosted glass of Cucumber Lemon Granita. This sweet, sour summer slush is not only refreshing, it's also great when spiked with a shot of vodka (expect flushing when you do).
For dessert, Mr. Flintstone and I enjoy the fiery, icy sensation brought by Pineapple Chili Paletas. This popsicle toys with your nerves and electrifies you palate in a way that leaves you salivating for more.

The kids naturally prefer Navel Orange and Tarragon Paletas, an intensely citrusy, tangy popsicle that screams summer.

"Your kids are not put-off by the herbaceous notes of tarragon?"

When they were littler, I told them that all leafy greens and herbs are spinach, which like Popeye, could make them as strong as a sailor on steroids. Someday they will understand my brand of humor.

Adapted from Sans Rival

Cucumber and Lemon Granita Slush

Commonly considered a vegetable, cucumbers are actually a kind of fruit and are closely related to sweet cantaloupes and honeydews. So, why not try them in an icy, sweet-tart slush?

½ cup lemon juice
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Whole cucumbers, peeled
Plain yogurt
Vodka (optional)

To make the granita, combine lemon juice, water and sugar in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into a shallow container, such as a baking pan or glass casserole dish, and freeze until firm but not frozen solid. Meanwhile, using a vegetable peeler, shave long ribbons of cucumber and set aside.

When the granita is ready, scrape with a fork until it resembles finely crushed ice. Spoon granita into glasses and add a splash of vodka, if desired. Top with cucumber ribbons and generous dollops of yogurt. To eat, mix the granita, cucumber and yogurt like halo-halo.

Tags: sans rival

Easy 5-step recipes featuring the freshest and most exciting ingredients from Rustan's Supermarket.